Lauren Grove prepares to unleash total freakin' domination. (John Fisken photos)

At the ref’s signal, Lauren Grove will unleash Hell. (John Fisken photos)


Wolf spark-plug Jae LeVine (3) and teammates celebrate a point.

Different gym, same result.

Two days after beating Port Townsend in its own gym, the Coupeville High School JV volleyball squad returned home Thursday night and drilled the Redhawks again.

Grabbing their fourth win of the season, the Wolves ran away with a 25-15, 25-16, 19-25 win that was sparked by power hitting from Lauren Grove and Abby Parker and precision serving from practically everyone on the roster.

Grove, the vocal team leader, delivered a series of winners, each picking up more velocity.

Meanwhile, Parker started her night off with a service ace that drilled a Redhawk in the body, before cracking a shot from the middle of the court that singed the net as it zipped across it, merrily skipping away as two Port Townsend players watched it sail between them.

Coupeville broke the first set open with five straight points on Allison Wenzel’s service.

Stepping to the line with the Wolves clinging to a 7-5 lead, the freshman reeled off her string of serves without Port Townsend getting the ball back across the net even once.

The highlight was a Wenzel ace that caught air and seemed to be headed out, only to drop at the last second, kissing the back line gently and setting off much hootin’ and hollerin’ from the Wolves.

The second set played out somewhat similarly, but this time it was Hope Lodell who carved up the Redhawks with her serving prowess.

Capping Lodell’s run, teammate Mackenzi Valko popped a ball over the head of several Port Townsend players during a rally, dropping it neatly into the one available corner for a sweet winner.

Plays like that came easily all night for the Wolves.

Early in the second set, the Redhawks seemed to have a point won, when Jae LeVine crashed hard to the floor to save the ball at the last second.

Popping it skyward, LeVine, maybe by accident and maybe on purpose, laid it up flawlessly for a drifting Kameryn St Onge, who elevated, caught the waiting ball with her fingertips and deposited it over the net for another winner.

While CHS let the final set slip away, the highlight reel continued, with St Onge dropping a pair of sparkling tips for winners and Wenzel slicing off another service ace with an offering that sharply dove as a Redhawk swung and missed.

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Sage (John Fisken photo)

   Sage Renninger scored her second goal of the season Thursday. (John Fisken photo)

“I told these girls the first day of tryouts, they were special. Still feel the same way today, even more so!”

Coupeville High School girls’ soccer coach Troy Cowan has talked his team up all year and they have responded, continuing to play scrappy, intelligent ball even with several starters out with season-ending injuries.

The Wolves capped their regular season Thursday by drilling visiting Port Townsend 3-0, garnering a bit of revenge for an earlier loss to the Redhawks.

The victory also gave CHS (6-6-1 overall, 3-3 in Olympic League play) 2nd place in the final league standings and a home playoff game. Sort of.

As the #2 team from the Olympic League, Coupeville hosts the #3 squad from the Nisqually League, Vashon Island, in a loser-out game Saturday, Nov. 1.

Win that game and the Wolves advance to the double-elimination portion of the district tourney Nov. 4-8.

But, despite earning a home playoff game, Coupeville is still being sent on the road.

The Olympic League requires all district games to be played on turf, and Cow Town boasts natural sod, baby!

So the “home game” will be held at Kingston High School, which is 45 miles away.

Efforts to move the game to Oak Harbor, which does have a turf field and sits less than 10 miles up the road, were unsuccessful. The Wildcats field will be occupied Saturday by an all-day cheer camp.

Being forced to travel a chunk to host a “home” game left Cowan a bit bemused.

“We have a new season to look forward to.  Unfortunately, the Olympic Conference has some strange ways of rewarding their higher seed playoff teams,” he said. “Not sure who gets the home field advantage for this match???

“I can say for certain that CHS doesn’t have the home field advantage.”

Still, he’s not dwelling on the matter.

“Regardless, we are in the playoffs and will be ready to play Vashon Island no matter the location,” Cowan said. “Finishing 2nd is awesome and the entire Coupeville community should be proud of our Lady Wolves and the terrific season we had.

“Not sure I remember when CHS ladies soccer finished with a .500 record across the board.”

Coupeville, which had lost 1-0 at Port Townsend Tuesday, came out firing on this night.

“Best passing and possession match of the year for us,” Cowan said. “They really moved the ball well and played a very intelligent match.

“Even with two defensive gems (Jacki Ginnings and Jenn Spark) missing due to injuries, our defense played really well,” he added. “I think the earlier match certainly provided us with a ton of information.

“They have some solid players, but I was not going to allow the Lady Wolves to let a team come into our house and take away our chance at making history!”

Seniors Erin Rosenkranz and Marisa Etzell each banged home their third goals of the season, while freshman Sage Renninger tallied her second.

Rosenkranz picked up two assists while Renninger recorded the other one.

Much respect, ladies!!


   Hailey Hammer, seen here hustling to hit a ball over her head in an earlier match, has been a rock for CHS for four seasons. (John Fisken photos)

The Fab Five.

Departing seniors (l to r) McKayla Bailey, Monica Vidoni, Kacie Kiel, Hammer and Madeline Strasburg.

The record is deceptive.

A quick look at the final Olympic League standings paints a dire portrait for Coupeville High School volleyball. But you shouldn’t stop with a quick look.

True, a 25-16, 14-25, 25-19, 25-19 loss to Port Townsend at home Thursday ended the Wolves season at 1-11 overall, 1-5 in league play.

A fourth-place finish in the four-team league leaves them on the outside looking in as Klahowya (6-0), Port Townsend (3-3) and Chimacum (2-4) head to the playoffs.

But the season was more than the won-loss record.

Playing under their third head coach in as many seasons, the Wolves, who often started two ninth graders and carried a combined six freshmen and sophomores on their final varsity roster, were a work in progress.

And they showed substantial growth as their first year under Breanne Smedley played out.

Coupeville played up to the level of their opponents at times, pushing undefeated Klahowya hard and rarely, if ever, being blown out.

Numerous matches could have swung their way with a point here, a point there.

Freshman Lauren Rose, thrust into being the starting setter after Sydney Autio was lost for the season with an injury, blossomed, while sophomore Valen Trujillo cemented herself as the team’s star of the future.

From the top of the roster to the end of the bench, the Wolves scrapped impressively from opening night through the final moments of the season.

“They fought really hard and I am proud of how much they improved,” Smedley said. “We have a good future ahead of us. I will miss the seniors, but am proud of them all.

“I’m happy with how much progress they all made, how they made it so easy to learn and really bought in to the culture,” she added. “They have made the job fun.”

Coming off of a first go-round with Port Townsend in which they struggled mightily to get on track at the beginning, Coupeville came out with a much more fiery attitude.

Madeline Strasburg, one of five seniors trying to keep their high school spiker careers going past the evening, jumped out of her shoes on her first several spikes.

Exploding like a rocket into the heavens, she crushed a pair of winners, then ceded the spotlight to Hailey Hammer, who blistered a spike off of a Redhawk player’s toes.

The Wolves might have been too amped up, however, as a number of spikes went long, derailing Coupeville’s momentum.

CHS fought off four set points, culminating with a pair of winners from Kacie Kiel — the first a sound barrier-busting spike, the second a tip that froze multiple Port Townsend players in place as it slid through a sliver of space and found pay dirt — before finally falling.

The second set was more of the same, with the big three slamming crisp shot after crisper shot, only this time they all stayed in for winners.

Young guns Katrina McGranahan and Kyla Briscoe teamed for a key block at the net and Hammer, Strasburg and Trujillo all ran off impressive strings at the service stripe.

The final two sets were bitterly contested affairs, with six ties in each and moments midway through when Coupeville clung to the lead.

Ultimately, though, a few errors and a couple of nice hustle plays from the Redhawks, who contested everything, killed hopes of a comeback.

Coupeville went down fighting until the end, as McGranahan held off one match point with a beautifully-placed shot.

Hammer (15 kills, two blocks), Strasburg (eight kills, five aces and 22 digs) and Kiel (seven kills, three aces and 18 digs) paced the offense. Rose collected 27 assists and Trujillo went low for 31 digs.

The match marked the end of the run for Wolf seniors Hammer, Kiel, Strasburg, Monica Vidoni and McKayla Bailey.

Back to state!!

CHS tennis coach Ken Stange carries a big racket and teaches his players how to use it.

   What makes CHS tennis coach Ken Stange happier? Seeing his players earn a trip to the state tourney, or this industrial-sized racket? Tough call.

Eastern Washington, the Wolves are coming back.

With two wins Thursday at the district tennis tourney in Tacoma, Coupeville High School senior Aaron Curtin punched his ticket for a second trip to state.

After making the big dance as a doubles player as a junior, he’s going in as a singles sensation this time.

Curtin will play in the district final Friday, then will have to wait until May to play any more.

The boys’ tennis season in Washington is split between schools who play in the fall and spring, with state being held at the end of the school year.

Curtin had three teammates along with him at districts and they are all still alive after day one.

Fellow singles player Sebastian Davis won his opener, then fell in the semifinals, while the duo of Loren Nelson and Connor McCormick used a forfeit to advance early.

They then got steamrolled by the three-time defending state champs, but, like Davis, can still rebound to claim third and a trip to Cheney.

Complete results from Day 1:


Aaron Curtin beat Steen Jennings 7-6(8-6), 4-6, 6-3
Curtin beat Wyatt Iverson 6-4, 6-1

Sebastian Davis beat David Bacher 6-2, 6-2
Davis lost to Griffin Welsh 6-2, 6-1


Loren Nelson/Connor McCormick won by forfeit (migraine)
Nelson/McCormick lost to Teddy Grenley/Phillip Grenley 6-0, 6-0

UPDATED: Too far?


  Cheer for your team, but keep the harassment within reasonable bounds. (John Fisken photo)

For the second straight year, complaints have risen about the conduct of a student cheering section during a Coupeville High School volleyball match.

Unlike last year, when the complaint was directed at Wolf students and their choice of attire and chants, this year’s complaint concerns alleged sexually harassing remarks aimed at a CHS player by members of the Port Townsend student section during Tuesday’s game on the mainland.

Coupeville coaches confirmed a Wolf player exited the varsity match in the late going in tears.

While they were aware of loud, consistent verbal harassment from a group of PTHS students who occupied the front part of the stands, it was only later that coaches were made aware that comments directed at the player had been of a violent sexual nature.

If they had known during the match, CHS coaches say they would have stopped play immediately until the situation could be dealt with.

After the Wolf player told her parents about the incident on the way home, it was relayed to coaches and the two school’s athletic directors.

“Any incidents are reported to the Athletic Director and it is handled by the appropriate authority at the school,” said Coupeville Athletic Director Duane Baumann. “All sportsmanship and crowd issues are also talked about as a league at the monthly AD meetings.”

Port Townsend AD Scott Wilson responded strongly to the incident. His statement in full:

We cannot pinpoint which student was making any specific comment and naturally, no one claims to have heard it, even the adults who sat near the group of boys who were yelling.

I was at the game and periodically stood in that corner of the gym to check on the student section.

The Coupeville coach told me that someone was directing comments to her players, but she did not say what was said or who it was directed to.

I went back to the student section and once again told them to NOT talk to the opposing team and to only cheer for their team.

I wish that the player or coach would have told me at the time. I was right there and did not hear any specific comments directed at players.

 That said, I received a phone call and an email in regards to what was allegedly said by one of our students. The comment is entirely inappropriate and certainly not acceptable.

I have met with each of those boys to investigate and to be clear about what is acceptable and not acceptable behavior as they sit in the stands.

I relayed the consequences for the behavior including suspension from school. We do not tolerate harassment of any kind.

As a member of the Olympic League, we follow the guidelines of sportsmanship and fair play as outlined in the Olympic League handbook. 

On behalf of Port Townsend Athletics, I apologize for any inappropriate behavior and comments from a select few students who sat in our stands.

Their actions do not define the true character of the majority of our students who were appropriately cheering for their team.


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