Seaside took second and Warrenton finished fourth Saturday in the Warriors’ annual volleyball “Tip-Off” tournament. Knappa took fifth in the 14-team tourney.
Oregon Episcopal won the title match, topping the Gulls in three sets, 25-15, 25-17, 25-20. The Aardvarks’ championship brought an end to Culver’s eight-year streak as tournament champions.
“The girls played awesome,” said Seaside coach Demi Lund. “A lot of them are playing positions they have never played before and being very flexible.
“The lineup is constantly changing until we find what works best for us,” she said. “Emma Brown has really peaked and taken over the leader position of the team. She is playing middle this year and has been doing awesome.”
The Gulls nearly didn’t make it out of the first round in the championship bracket, before finally getting past Knappa 27-25, 25-27, 15-2.
Seaside had to play another three sets to beat Delphian, 25-19, 19-25, 15-11, to reach the title match against OES.
Meanwhile, Warrenton opened with a two-set win over Jewell, 25-22, 25-21, but dropped a semifinal match to OES, which topped the Warriors in three, 25-17, 17-25, 15-9.
In the third-place match, Delphian defeated Warrenton, 21-25, 25-20, 15-7.
Knappa was a perfect 3-0 in pool play, as the Loggers began with a win over Clatskanie, 25-17, followed by a 25-14 victory over league rival Faith Bible.
The Loggers wrapped up pool play with a 25-17 win over Western Christian, which built a quick 6-0 lead before Knappa’s Hannah Dietrichs stepped to the service line and fired off eight serves in a row to give the Loggers the lead.
Undefeated in pool play — but not having enough of a point spread to be seeded No. 1 or 2 — the Loggers were seeded third and found themselves playing Seaside in a first round match of the championship bracket.
Knappa led the Class 4A Gulls almost the entire first game, until Seaside rallied and took a 25-24 lead. The Loggers tied it at 25-25, but the Gulls reeled off the next two points for a 27-25 win.
Game 2 saw Knappa turn the tables and rally for a 27-25 victory.
The third and deciding set was all Seaside, which posted a 15-2 win to advance in the bracket.
Dietrichs led Knappa with seven kills, while Ava Skipper had 10 assists, Vicki Ramvick added six blocks and Aiko Miller finished with nine digs.
The Loggers dropped into consolation play to face Culver, a state title contender the last few seasons.
But Knappa bounced back from its Game 3 loss to Seaside and took down the Bulldogs in two games, 25-18, 25-17.
Sophia Carlson led Knappa with five kills, Skipper had 10 assists and Dietrichs added four ace serves.
Culver is “in a rebuilding year, as they graduated 10 seniors from their program last season,” said Knappa coach Jeff Kaul, “but there were several players from that team still there, so they have that state championship mentality. The Loggers stepped up to the challenge,” behind strong hitting from the Knappa front line.
The Loggers advanced to face Faith Bible for a second time.
After a sluggish start, Knappa heated up and won Game 1, 25-19. Faith Bible had several big rallies in Game 2, but the Falcons could not keep pace with the Loggers, who scored a 26-24 win to take fifth place in the 14-team tournament.
Skipper again led Knappa with 12 assists, with Miller adding 10 digs and Carlson a team-high eight kills.
Seaside lost in four games Tuesday at Stayton, “and all four games were very close,” Lund said. “Emma Brown and Ellisa Blodgett led the team in kills. Sandee Adriano led the team in digs and passing was amazing.
“A surprise player has been Tristyn McFadden in the back row,” she said. “She is very energetic and a good team leader who goes for any ball on the court.”