Third-ranked Tigers toppled by No. 11 Springville
IOWA CITY — They were just one set away.
After claiming the first two games of its Class 1A regional final match against No. 11 Springville, the New London volleyball team needed just one more win to earn a spot in the state tournament.
Just one more win, and the Tigers would be making the trip to Cedar Rapids.
Instead, Springville rallied to take game three. And the Orioles didn’t stop there — they took game four as well, tying the match at two games each.
In the end, their momentum proved too much for the Tigers: Springville took the deciding game as well, upsetting third-ranked New London and ending the Tigers’ season earlier than they had hoped.
New London Coach Maureen Heath gives a lot of credit to the Orioles for their big comeback.
“I thought Springville turned the burners on and really kicked their offense to another level,” she said. “They had a variety of hitters and we had trouble stopping them all.”
Four different Springville hitters finished in double figures — Megan Wagaman had 18 kills, followed by Leanna Mysak with 17, Riley Kerrigan with 14 and Tracy Kilburg with 12. The team had 66 total kills on the night.
The New London defense did everything it could to stop the ball from hitting the floor, but the Springville attack was relentless.
The Tigers finished with 123 digs as a team in the five-set match, led by Sami Koontz and Emily Parks with 30 each.
Sarah Holtkamp added 17 digs, while Ashley Davey had 11 and Frankie Johnson and Jorgi Krieger had 10 digs each.
The New London attack was led by Parks, who had a match-high 20 kills on the night.
Krieger added 18 kills and Christner put down 10. Josten Boyer had six kills.
Sarah Holtkamp set up the offense and had 47 assists for the Tigers in the match.
But when Springville stepped up its offense, its defense improved, too.
“What was falling for us in the first two games wasn’t falling in the last three,” Heath said.
In the first two sets, the score was close, but New London was in control. The Tigers won by scores of 25-20 and 25-21.
“We got out to a pretty good start in both games,” Heath said. “Springville was in the games, but we were able to close them.”
But Springville took over from there, claiming game three by a score of 25-20 and taking game four by a score of 25-19.
In the fifth set, the Orioles were able to take a big lead early. New London fought back, but couldn’t erase the deficit, and fell by a score of 15-11.
“The girls played great. They followed the game plan and worked hard,” Heath said. “Our stats were great.”
Along with their 56 kills, 51 assists and 123 digs as a team, the Tigers had a good night serving — they missed only three serves in the match.
Parks was 15-for-15 serving with two aces for the Tigers and Krieger was 15-for-17 with two aces.
Christner had one ace on 17-for-17 serving, and Ashley Davey also had an ace on 18-for-19 serving.
Koontz was 16-for-16 and Holtkamp was 11-for-11.
New London did have fewer aces than usual, Heath notes, but again gives the credit for that to the Orioles.
“Springville was very good at passing,” Heath said.
Wednesday’s regional final was the last match for six New London seniors: Sarah Holtkamp, Kristen Allen, Mahala Jewett, Ashley Davey, Dani Holt and Sami Koontz.
New London finished the season with an overall record of 37-7.
“I’m really proud of the season we had — it was the fourth-best wins record in the last 16 years,” Heath said. “They worked really hard as a team and are a great group.
“They can be proud of themselves.”