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IOWA CITY A tear escaped Leanna Mysak's right eye, taking some mascara with it. Sidney Hopkins suffered a neck cramp after absorbing a bear hug from her boyfriend.
Both small inconveniences. Both completely worth it.
No. 11 Springville rallied from a two-game deficit to take down No. 3 New London, 20-25, 21-25, 25-20, 25-19, 15-11, in a Class 1A volleyball regional final Wednesday night at West High School.
"After the second game, I pulled them aside and said, 'If we're going down, we're going down swinging," said Orioles Coach Claude Howard.
They kept swinging. And they didn't go down.
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Springville players celebrate with their state-tournament banner after rallying from a two-set deficit to beat New London on Wednesday at Iowa City West. (Stephen Mally/Freelance)
Instead, the Orioles (30-10) are going to the U.S. Cellular Center next week. They'll face No. 2 Janesville in a first-round match Wednesday.
"We'll prepare, and we'll be ready," said Hopkins, who counted 54 assists to engineer a balanced offense four Orioles reached double-figures in kills. "We'll have fun tonight, but tomorrow, we'll be working hard again."
Springville won its 13th consecutive match. The Orioles are making their second state appearance; the other was in 2008.
New London retired at 37-7. The Tigers rolled through the first two games "They kicked us in the teeth," Howard said before the Orioles got in gear.
"We knew what we needed to do," said Mysak, who led the way with 18 kills. "It was like, 'Guys, this is our last chance. We need to pick it up. This is the season we've been fighting for."
The Orioles fought on. They didn't trail in the third set. Or the fourth set.
"Midway through (the fourth set), I knew they were done," Mysak said. "You could see it from the look on their faces. They started trying hitting over our blocks."
New London led 2-1 in the fifth, then Springville delivered the haymaker, an eight-point run on Hopkins' serve. Kerrigan Riley smacked four kills in a 12-2 run, and the Orioles led 13-4.
The Tigers battled within 14-11 before Hopkins' attack dropped for a kill, and the Orioles were state-bound.
Tears, mascara, neck cramps, victory.
Megan Wagaman added 17 kills, Riley 15, Tracy Kilburg 12.
"It's nice to have this many hitters," Hopkins said. "Who do you stop? You have to key on Megan, but the others are right there with her."
New London Coach Maureen Heath said, "Give Springville credit. They moved the ball around well. They'll do well at the state tournament.
"But it's frustrating. We couldn't finish. That's more frustrating than getting blown away."
Emily Parks had 19 kills for New London.