Wolf defensive ace Jenn Spark had to be taken to the ER after suffering an MCL injury in the final two minutes of Tuesday’s win. (John Fisken photo)
Whether they wear Oak Harbor or Coupeville colors, they’re all Whidbey Islanders in the end. L to r, Scott Rosenkranz, Becca Pabona, Jacki Ginnings, Erin Rosenkranz, Paige Waterman, Kenzie Perry, Micky LeVine, Jacalyn Hefflefinger, Sean LeVine.
It was two minutes of ecstasy and agony.
A scoreless duel between the Coupeville High School girls’ soccer squad and visiting Mount Vernon Christian took two huge swings in the waning moments Tuesday night.
First came the joy of senior Micky LeVine burying her third goal of the season into the back of the net, off an assist from fellow captain Erin Rosenkranz, to lift the Wolves to a thrilling 1-0 non-conference win.
Then came the stab through the heart, as junior defensive ace Jenn Spark, owner of the hardest-kicking leg in all the land, went down, badly hurt.
A three-hour visit to the nearby ER at Whidbey General later, it’s believed to be a sprained MCL, and not a blown one, as originally thought.
Either way, CHS coach Troy Cowan would prefer not to relive the moment.
“Let me start by saying the CHS Lady Wolves community needs all hands on deck with prayers and positive thoughts,” Cowan said. “When the referee waved me on to the field, I knew it had to be serious because Jenn is ferocious and tough as nails; simply put, she is a “warrior”.
“The early diagnosis, thankfully, is a sprained MCL, and with any luck she will only be off the pitch for a few weeks,” he added. “Jenn is one of those players that you CANNOT replace, but it’s next woman up. Please pray for Jenn and for a quick recovery.”
Leading up to the final two minutes, Coupeville, which improved to 3-2 with the win, dominated the match in every category.
The Wolves rained down shot after shot, only to see the MVC goalie barely escape time and again.
“Overall, the girls played really well,” Cowan said. “We spent a lot of time in practice this week on winning those all-important 50/50 balls and checking all the way to the ball.
“Don’t have all the numbers in front of me right now, but would speculate we won probably 85-90% of all free balls,” he added. “The girls really focused on winning the ball and maintaining possession, very proud of their efforts.”
On their own half of the field, the CHS defense, led by goaltender Julia Myers, was lights out.
“Once again our defensive unit stands tall and played some incredible soccer,” Cowan said. “Jenn, Jacki (Ginnings), Christine (Fields), Ivy (Luvera) and Mckenzie (Meyer) all stood up today and said, “not today” and absolutely controlled the pitch with sheer determination and hustle and sweat.
“Jacki and Ivy were awesome!!!,” he added. “Both used speed, ball control and an iron will to carry the ball into our offensive end of the pitch and help provide an offensive push.”
Coupeville was the far more aggressive team, with freshman Mia Littlejohn playing “like a caged animal tonight” and leading the attack.
“Her aggressiveness is extremely refreshing, but cost us a few runs by getting caught in an offside position,” Cowan said. “I told Mia, keep playing aggressive, just play smart Wolves soccer and mark that last defender.
“Mia is an incredible athlete and outstanding soccer player,” he added. “She is very smart and will learn from this match and be even stronger for our next match.”
Cowan also credited Sage Renninger, Rosenkranz, Ana Luvera and Lauren Bayne for doing “a great job of controlling the pitch,” while saving his biggest praise for LeVine.
With a group of her GU18 Whidbey Islanders select teammates from Oak Harbor High School cheering her on, LeVine lit up the net at crunch time.
“Two-Fist LeVine played one of her finest matches and was instrumental all night,” Cowan said. “She just has a knack for being our spark; I don’t always understand it and find myself asking, where did she come from, but Micky is a powerful catalyst that sparks a lot of offense.
“She is a very dangerous weapon and can be deceptive because of her size, but dynamite comes in small packages too!”