Bulldogs wrap up TRC top seed

Culver dispatches Regis in league tourney title game
True to form, the Culver volleyball team had to mount a huge comeback during the third set to take out Regis and claim the Tri-River Conference tournament championship Saturday in Culver.
   With the match split at a set apiece, Regis built an 18-11 lead in the third set, and looked like they were about to take control of the match.
   But, of course, this is the Culver volleyball team we're talking about here.
   The Bulldogs went on a 7-0 tear to tie the match, capped by a Shealene Little kill to tie it at 18-18, then kept the pedal down and stretched out a 22-19 lead.
   Junior outside hitter Gabrielle Alley ended the set with a pair of kills, then the Bulldogs seized control of the match and went on to claim the tournament championship.
   "We've been talking about these lulls all season," Culver head coach Randi Viggiano said. "During the timeout, we talked about it being point-by-point, small games to five, and we wanted to get four before they got two, and kept going."
   Senior middle blocker Cassie Fulton, who finished the match with seven kills and five blocks, said she really can't explain how the team comes back all the time for sure, but she had some pretty good ideas.
   "There's something in our mindset that won't allow us to quit," she said. "We had a determination and a drive to not let it go."
   Fulton scored a kill and a block in the fourth set to give the Bulldogs a 14-10 lead, then the team traded points to 20-16, but still a Culver advantage.
   The Bulldogs ended the match on a 5-0 run that included a block and a kill from Alley, a service ace from Lynze Schonneker, then Fulton polished off the Rams and match with her final kill of the night.
   Following the match, six Bulldogs were honored with all-conference selections. Little and Alley were named to the league's first team, Fulton and setter Jahnie Cleveland were second-team selections, Schonneker was a third-team pick and Andrea Retano was named to the honorable mention squad.
   Little, a sophomore, was also named the conference's player of the year and Viggiano was tabbed as the league's coach of the year.
   Retano, one of Culver's middle blockers, suffered an ankle injury and it's unclear whether or not she will be available for Culver's first-round playoff match this weekend.
   Culver's opponent in the first round was not known by the Pioneer's deadline, but they will have a home game on Saturday. And if they win that one, it's back to the state final site, but this time it's a little closer to home.
   The Class 2A quarterfinals, semifinals and championships matches are at Ridgeview High School in Redmond this year, rather than at Pacific University in Forest Grove like last season.
   "I'll take the not staying in a hotel experience in exchange for sleeping in our own beds and getting homecooked meals," Viggiano said. "But we've got to take care of our first match before we can think about that."