Bulldogs top Warrenton in title match
The Culver High School volleyball program opened their season just as they would like to end it, as champions.
The Bulldogs captured the Warrenton Invitational championship this past weekend in dominating fashion.
"It was an awesome day," CHS head coach Randi Viggiano said. "Our goal was to get better with each game, and the girls did just that."
After opening the tournament with a 25-15 loss to Warrenton in pool play, the Bulldogs rattled off five pool-play victories, defeated Central Linn in the semifinals 25-12, 25-16 and topped Warrenton 25-15, 25-19 to earn top honors.
"We were a totally different team by the time we played Warrenton in the championship match," Viggiano said. "We received a lot of compliments for not only our play, but for the way the girls conducted themselves on and off the court, and I was very proud of them for the way they represented our school."
Against Class 3A Warrenton, Gabrielle Alley, Cassandra Fulton and Shealene Little each had six kills, and CHS setter Jahnie Cleveland booked 12 assists to lift the Bulldogs. Fulton also had five blocks.
"It was nice to see the balance," Viggiano said. "Cassandra was a blocking machine and it was fun to watch her go up against Warrenton's middle blocker, who was 6-2."
Little took 16 swings against Central Linn in the semifinals, and booked 14 kills. Fulton added eight kills, Alley had six kills to go with four aces and Cleveland had 22 assists.
"Our experienced players played well, and we had a lot of younger players step up, like freshman Lynze Schonneker, who took care of the ball all day long and I know she left that tournament with more confidence," Viggiano said.
In pool play, Culver defeated Vernonia 26-20, Delphian 25-20, Central Linn 25-13, Clatskanie 25-7, Seaside 25-19 and Rainer 25-15.
The Bulldogs opened Class 2A Tri-River Conference play Tuesday against Regis, but results were after press deadline. Culver hosts East Linn for a TRC match at 6 p.m., before playing in the Heppner Tournament Sept. 8.
CHS is the defending TRC regular-season and district champion. The Bulldogs finished last year with a fourth-place finish at the OSAA Class 2A state championship volleyball tournament.