STAYTON — Riding the play of senior outside hitter Gabrielle Alley, the Culver volleyball team cruised to 6-0 in Tri-River Conference play Tuesday with a 20-25, 25-14, 25-16, 25-21 victory over Regis.
Alley, who was a key contributor on the Bulldogs’ 2012 team that won the Class 2A state championship, recorded 26 kills and 18 digs against the Rams. Shealene Little added 14 kills and 17 digs for Culver and sophomore setter Hannah Lewis dished out 42 assists.
Unforced errors plagued Culver in its first game, said Bulldog coach Randi Viggiano, but the reigning state champs, who have collectively been battling a team-wide bout of illness, rallied and won the next three sets.
“I was especially impressed with how they played after that first game,” Viggiano said. “There’s a funky virus that’s been going around school, but the girls muscled up and played through it.”
Sophomore libero Emma Hoke provided a spark for Culver at the service line, ending the night 22 of 23 with six aces. She also contributed 17 digs.
“We got fired up after that first game and started to find our rhythm,” Viggiano said. “I’m proud of how they won the next three games and didn’t allow the match to go to a fifth set.”
Viggiano admits the goal of a perfect record in league — something the Bulldogs did not accomplish last season — was a bit of a motivator.
“That’s obviously not our end goal, but it’s a goal,” said Viggiano, whose squad plays league matches against Toledo and Waldport at Mill City’s Santiam High on Thursday. “It’s a steppingstone to where we want to be.”