It’s a feeling Springville volleyball coach Claude Howard hopes his team can get accustomed to, especially when it comes to later this November.

Winning tournament championships.

The class 1A second-ranked Orioles dominated their own Springville Invitational Saturday, Sept. 18, winning the first of what the team hopes will be several tournament titles this fall, the last hopefully coming at the state level in Cedar Rapids.

“On Homecoming Day, we stayed focused and went undefeated at our home tournament,” said Howard, as his team was rarely even tested cruising to the championship with a perfect 4-0 record on the day.

“Our team was really well-balanced offensively and did a nice job in the serve and receive games all day long. The only struggle was the 8 a.m. start against Cedar Valley Christian, but the team quickly got past it and held strong the rest of the day. We were proud of the kids for setting aside distractions and taking the hardware home.”

Springville (15-2, 1-0) opened the tournament with a 21-10, 21-14 win over Cedar Valley Christian as six different Oriole hitters slammed down kills in the match led by five from Lily Clark while Nia Howard set eight assists.

Springville serving was also outstanding as Savannah Nealman connected for four of the team’s nine total aces going a perfect 7-of-7 from the line while Morgan Nachazel was 11-of-12 which included a long run of points in the first set.

In the second and final game of pool play, the Orioles routed a Belle Plaine program they defeated in the class 1 regional championship match last fall, taking a 21-4, 21-10 contest.

Kennady Breitfelder, like she did last fall, was too much for any Plainsman defender to slow down hammering an Oriole-best 10 kills while Lauren Wilson added six more. Nealman and Clark chipped in with four kills each as Springville tallied 27 of them in the quick two-game sweep.

Howard was brilliant setting 26 assists while Grace Matus, the newly minted Homecoming Queen, found her way to 13 digs for the Oriole defense.

Howard was also clutch at the service line going 18-of-18 with three aces.

In the championship pool, the hosts went against a very familiar foe in rival Central City, and cruised to another impressive rout taking a 21-10, 21-11 decision.

Seven different Oriole hitters tallied kills led by six from Nealman while Wilson added five more. Clark and Molly Stamp came through with four kills each with Howard setting 19 assists.

Nothing changed in the tournament championship match either, as Springville took control of Jesup early and never let up claiming a 21-14, 21-16 title-winning victory.

More balanced Oriole offense keyed the rout as Nealman (6 kills) and Wilson (5) combined for 11 of the team’s 19 total kills while Breitfelder added three more as Oriole hitters were attacking from every angle.

Howard set 15 assists while Matus tallied 10 digs.

Central City defeated Jesup in the consolation match to take second overall at the event while Jesup (third), Cascade (fourth), Easton Valley (fifth), Cedar Valley Christian (sixth), North Tama (seventh), North Cedar (eighth) and Belle Plaine (nine) rounded out the tournament standings.

The Springville girls prepped for their tournament run with a 25-19, 25-13, 25-19 triumph over Central City Thursday, Sept. 16, in their first Tri-Rivers West division contest of the 2021 campaign.

“We settled in from the rivalry jitters halfway through the first set and never really looked back,” Howard said. “Central City didn’t have an answer for Lauren, Kennady or Lily and that may have been the difference.”

Wilson and Breitfelder drilled nine kills each leading a 35 kill Oriole offense while Stamp added seven more. Clark tallied six kills.

Howard and Breitfelder were busy in the back row defensively coming up with 15 digs each against the scrappy Wildcats while Breitfelder also added three solo blocks.

“Central City dug the ball well later in the match and definitely had fight,” Howard said. “Sara Reid is a solid middle who gave us some trouble at times, but ultimately our offense and some good defensive hustle kept the Wildcats at bay.”

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