Bulldogs beat Class 3A, 4A teams en route to championship

by: PHOTO COURTESY OF KURTIS SCHONNEKER - Culver High School took home top honors at the Warrenton tournament on Saturday.The Culver High School volleyball team won the Warrenton tournament for the second straight year Saturday, defeating Class 3A Dayton 25-16, 25-22 in the finals.

Senior Gabrielle Alley had a career match at the service line for the Bulldogs, recording 11 aces to lead the team to the big win.

Sophomore setter Hannah Lewis notched 19 assists in her first match as the full-time setter for Culver.

In the eight-team tournament, Culver didn't lose a set on its way to the championship. The Bulldogs defeated Class 3A schools Colton and Rainier, and then took out Class 4A Seaside to run through pool play unscathed.

In bracket play, Culver downed Central Linn 25-13, 25-15 behind a 16-kill performance from Shealene Little in the first win. Culver then pounded Delphian 25-16, 25-10, with Alley notching six services aces and Little registering 11 kills to set up the final match against Dayton.

Head coach Randi Viggiano said the wins were definitely nice, but she noticed something more important throughout the day.

"As each match passed, I noticed we got more comfortable on the court," she said. "We improved on something, or some aspect of our game, with each match, and that's what I'm looking for right now."

Viggiano said she was especially impressed with how well Culver served the ball, as evidenced by Alley's 30 aces during the tournament as just one example.

"We served really tough, and when we missed serves, they weren't just lollipopped over the net," Viggiano said. "For the first time playing anybody, we did well."

For the tournament, Little ended with 64 kills, while Alley chipped in 32 kills to go with her huge ace total. Lewis finished with 117 assists, and averaged 14 digs per match. Emma Hoke and Little also averaged 14 digs per match. Andrea Retano contributed 11 kills during tournament play, as well.

The result of Tuesday's match against Central Linn was not available by press time. Culver will have its home opener at 6 p.m. Thursday, against Tri-River Conference rival Kennedy.

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