Bulldogs make history with 2A title
- Billy Gates
- Madras Pioneer - Sports
The Culver volleyball team always had the talent to be considered a state title contender, but no championships are won on talent alone.
>2012 Culver sports year in review
A combination of talent, dedication, tireless work and occasionally a little luck all factor in to making a team that hoists the big trophy at year's end.
That formula, coupled with great coaching and community support, allowed the Bulldogs to roll through the Class 2A state tournament and beat the Days Creek Wolves in a five-set see-saw battle that will go down as one of the best matches in the tournament's history.
For the program, the win was huge. It was the first time a Bulldog volleyball team had won the state title at Class 2A and was the first since 1987.
Culver beat St. Paul that year while the school was in the state's smallest classification at the time, Class 1A.
The Bulldogs played their best volleyball at the right time, the end of the season. The season turned out pretty much exactly like any other championship season. Once the team came together after an early rough patch, including losses to Class 1A Dufur and Heppner, the team the Bulldogs beat in the semifinals, Culver couldn't be touched.
The team's fifth loss of the season, their last one, came to Kennedy on Sept. 18 in Mt. Angel.
It was the team's only league loss, and after it the Bulldogs ran off 19 straight victories on their way to the state title.
After the tournament, sophomore outside hitter Shealene Little and senior middle blocker Cassie Fulton were named to the first-team all-tournament team. Junior outside hitter Gabrielle Alley was named to the second-team all-tournament team.
As far as Tri-River Conference honors go, the Bulldogs placed six players on the league's all-star team.
Little was named the conference player of the year and an unanimous choice for the first team. Alley was also an unanimous choice for the league's top team.
Little ended the season with some eye-popping statistics, particularity in kills and kill percentage.
The sophomore smacked 502 kills on the season and had a hitting percentage of .380.
Like a good hitter on a baseball team, any average above .300 is considered good.
She also had 212 digs, good for second on the team, and led the team with 102 service aces.
Alley also had a remarkable season from a statistical standpoint. She ended with 350 kills and a team-leading 276 digs. She also had 100 service aces.
On the second team were Fulton and senior setter Jahnie Cleveland.
Cleveland led the team in set assists with 826 as the Bulldogs' main setter while Fulton scored 87 blocks to go with 243 kills.
Fulton also had 75 services aces.
On the league's third team was freshman defensive specialist Lynze Schonneker and sophomore middle blocker Andrea Retano was named to the honorable mention team.
Culver head coach Randi Viggiano was named the Tri-River Conference coach of the year.
The Culver football team went through a number of tough situations, from low numbers to injuries, and ended up finishing the season 0-9 with a pair of forfeits.
Culver head coach Brian Silbernagel and his staff, along with CHS Athletic Director Brad Kudlac, continued to put the players' best interest and safety at the forefront, however.
After a rash of injuries in the middle of the season would have forced Silbernagel to put too many of his freshman, not ready for varsity football, on the field, he and Kudlac made the decision for forfeit Tri-River Conference games against Central Linn and Kennedy.
After the team played a couple junior varsity games and healed up, the Bulldogs took the field and played its most competitive football of the season in a 32-13 loss to Santiam.
The Culver soccer team had a rough go at it in the tough Special District 4, going 1-6-1 and 2-8-3 overall.
The team's only league win came against Central Christian.