INDEPENDENCE - The Astoria volleyball team went 5-1 in pool play, then dropped a semifinal match to Stayton to finish third at the Central Tournament Saturday.

Now under the direction of new head coach Jeff Leo, the Fishermen opened the day with a split against Woodburn, then swept past Molalla (25-16, 30-29) and Scappoose (25-21, 25-23) to finish first in their pool.

Stayton won two straight games in bracket play to finish Astoria's day.

"We played real well," said Leo, whose team hosts Yamhill-Carlton Tuesday. "We only have two girls playing with varsity experience, so I thought we did a good job. The top four teams (Banks, Stayton, Molalla and Astoria) were all pretty even."

Seaside takes secondSEASIDE - Tough serves and an improved passing attack helped the Seaside volleyball team place second in a seven-team round robin tournament Saturday.

The host Gulls changed their lineup after the first two matches, and went on to finish behind La Center in their opening action of the 2002 season. Junction City took third, following by Taft, Tillamook, Warrenton and Delphian.

Chelsea Morrisey ran the Seaside offense, and "our passing was 10 times better than at the (Cowapa League) jamboree," said Gulls coach Jason Boyd. "Also, speeding up our offensive attack helped. Our tough serves really slowed the other teams' offense down."

Seaside served at an 83 percent clip, with 21 aces. The Gulls also had 66 kills on the day and a 77 percent hitting effort.

"The kids competed hard and worked together very well," Boyd said. "Wegained a lot of confidence on Saturday"

The Gulls play at Taft Tuesday.