Culver take Tri-River
- Billy Gates
- Madras Pioneer - News
>Culver wins its second conference title in a rowThe Culver volleyball team wrapped up its second Tri-River Conference title with a pair of wins in Halsey against Central Linn and Waldport on Saturday.
With Kennedy's 3-2 loss to Regis in the Trojans' final game of the season, Culver picked up two victories to finish a game ahead in the final standings at 13-1.
Culver beat Central Linn in four sets, 23-25, 25-14, 25-18 and 25-16 to kick off the evening. Then they demolished Waldport, 25-12, 25-5 and 25-15, to cap their TRC schedule and claim the league regular season title.
Culver head coach Randi Viggiano said it was something she thought her team would be able to accomplish since the beginning of the year.
"It was one of our goals, to win another league title," she said. "It's just a testament to our returning players and how much they stepped up to help the younger players and led them."
Sophomore outside hitter Shealene Little had a huge night for the Bulldogs with 36 combined kills in the two matches. She notched 16 against the Cobras in the opening match, then blasted 20 against the hapless Irish.
Viggiano said Little is starting to really develop a rapport with setter Jahnie Cleveland, and it couldn't have come at a better time with playoffs around the corner.
"Jahnie and Shealene are connecting better and better as the season goes on," Viggiano said. "Shealene is recognizing block patterns now and is learning to hit around those, as well."
Little also had 16 digs against Central Linn, where Viggiano said the team was a little rusty to start because they arrived in Halsey two hours before they were set to play.
"It didn't take as long to get there as it usually does," she said. "And we ended up starting 20 minutes later, too, so we were a little out of rhythm. But we took care of our business, anyway."
Also with a big match against Central Linn was Gabrielle Alley. The junior had 12 kills and 23 digs in a great all-around match for her. Cleveland had four aces from the service line.
Against Waldport, Culver just served, and served, and served, then served some more in a blowout.
In the second set, Viggiano said they were stuck in one rotation for nearly the entire match, because all of their serves were essentially unreturnable.
"Our girls knew they had to finish and win this match if they wanted to win the league title," Viggiano said. "We just served off the board."
Senior middle blocker Cassie Fulton had five kills and four aces to go with Little's 20-kill match against the Irish.
With the wins, Culver will host the conference tournament, done for state playoff seeding, on Saturday. The third/fourth place match, with the winner grabbing the final playoff spot, will begin at 12:30 p.m.
Culver has a bye straight to the championship and will play at 2 p.m. against either Regis or Kennedy.
The Class 2A state first-round playoffs are set for Nov. 3, with the tournament finals beginning Nov. 9 at Ridgeview High School in Redmond.
At any rate, the Bulldogs will benefit from another match against a quality opponent in the TRC tournament. Just playing either team will help boost their RPI, which is used to seed teams at the state tournament, but a win should help them potentially climb back into either second or first.
Culver breezes through Corbett Tournament
The Bulldogs played a bit of a tune-up tournament in Corbett on Saturday, and brought home some more hardware for the trophy case.
They beat Class 3A Clatskanie in straight sets in the semifinals, then pounded Fort Vancouver, Wash. in the finals, also in straight sets. The Bulldogs are now 20-5 on the season.