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Tanner Kircher

Tanner Kircher

Deeds, not words.

Tanner Kircher makes his statement, and it’s a loud one, by fiercely guarding his patch of the soccer pitch.

A skilled defender who has also successfully doubled as an emergency goaltender this season, he’s a strong, sometimes underrated, linchpin for the Coupeville High School boys’ soccer squad.

Try and bring the ball into his territory and he will ruthlessly crush your dreams of scoring.

“One of my strengths is clearing the ball,” Kircher said. “I want to work on moving up with the offense to make some plays.”

The Wolf junior has spent much of his life on the pitch, following in the footsteps of older brother Nathan, a former CHS star himself.

“I’ve played soccer for about eight years and I started because my brother played soccer and I wanted to be like him,” Kircher said. “I enjoy the play making in soccer; it’s amazing when a play comes together.”

The two Kirchers eventually played together at CHS, one of the high points of Tanner’s soccer career.

With mom Dawn Brock claiming her status as one of the loudest ‘n proudest of any soccer mom in the land, it was a full-on family celebration.

“My brother has made a huge difference in my life,” Kircher said. “If it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be playing soccer.”

Away from the game, he enjoys woodworking, while, on the field, he wants to help the Wolves nab a district playoff berth.

Soccer is Kircher’s only official school sport, but he’s game for just about any sport you can offer him.

“I don’t play any other school sports but I like to play anything that is physical.”

Scout Smith, seen here during the middle school season, helped drive Coupeville's offense. (John Fisken photo)

Scout Smith, seen here during the middle school season, helped drive Coupeville’s offense. (John Fisken photo)

The future for Wolf girls’ basketball is a bright one.

Both high school squads went undefeated in Olympic League play this year, while the next generation of CHS stars continue to fine-tune their already impressive skills a rung below.

A nine-player squad made up of Coupeville Middle School girls played strongly at the Tulip Tournament in Skagit Valley this past weekend, claiming fifth place out of 12 teams.

The young Wolves opened with hard-fought losses to Anacortes and North Sound Elite, before rebounding to drill Stanwood and Olympia.

Along the way, every team member got the ball in the bucket, and Coupeville coach Scott Hay was impressed with the heart and hustle he saw on display.

“Everyone contributed in many ways,” he said. “Kalia (Littlejohn) and Scout (Smith) did a good job with the point guard duties, Lindsey (Roberts) and Ema (Smith) did great work handling the ball and got better as the weekend went on with the press.

Tia (Wurzrainer), Avalon (Renninger) and Emma (Martin) all played tough defense and after some jitters started putting up quality shots,” Hay added. “Hannah (Davidson) and Sarah (Wright) fought on the boards all weekend long and were a big part of us controlling the glass in just about every game.”

Despite having a roster split between 7th and 8th graders, who played on different teams during the middle school season, the Wolves quickly jelled.

“These girls were an absolute joy to coach. You would have thought they were all the same grade because there was no separation between them,” Hay said. “They were a tight group who played tough team basketball all weekend long.”

While the first two games were close, Coupeville was stung by flatness against Anacortes and an inability to break North Sound Elite’s press.

Taking what they had learned, the Wolves jumped on Stanwood, beating its 2-3 zone by pounding the ball inside to the posts, then nailing long-range jumpers from the outside.

“I think that was our best game of the tourney,” Hay said. “We had seven girls score and everyone contributed in one way or another.”

Heading into the finale against Olympia, Emma Martin was the lone Wolf not to have scored, so her teammates made it their goal to get her name on the stat sheet.

“All weekend she had come close, only to have the ball roll off the rim,” Hay said. “All the girls made it their mission to make sure she had every opportunity to score.

“She finally had to just swish a high mid-range shot to take the rim out of the picture all together,” he added. “Big moment for her and all the parents and teammates gave a healthy cheer for her.”

Erin Rosenkranz makes with the fancy footwork. (John Fisken photos)

Erin Rosenkranz makes with the fancy footwork. (John Fisken photos)

She turned 19 the day before, but age hasn't slowed down the spring in Micky LeVine's step.

   She turned 18 the day before, but old age hasn’t slowed the spring in Micky LeVine’s step.

Kendra Warwick

Kendra Warwick, motoring her way to Player of the Match honors.

Sean LeVine’s pillow might be a bit tear-stained this morning.

The GU19 Whidbey Islanders select soccer coach had a restless night after watching his squad fall apart a bit Sunday during its State Cup opener.

A day after closing the regular season with a thrilling win, the Islanders were sluggish, out of sorts and a step behind, falling 1-0 to visiting Seattle United South.

“It was pretty bad for us,” LeVine said.

Seattle United nabbed the game’s lone score inside the first 10 minutes, slipping a ball into the net off of a poorly-defended free kick.

“Our team apparently fell asleep during the free kick and allowed three players to run into the box unmarked and get about three touches on the ball before scoring,” LeVine said. “It way really ugly defending, or actually no defending.”

While the Whidbey defense clamped down after that, the offense was nonexistent for much of the day.

“Much of the rest of our game was sluggish and uninspiring,” LeVine said. “We had several great through passes to get in behind the defense, but poor timing or bad touches plagued us in the final third and we were unable to get any good shots off.”

The Islanders best opportunities both involved Micky LeVine.

On one, she took a through pass from Kendra Warwick and had the goalie beat, only to see the ball slide just wide of the open net.

On the second, Micky LeVine chipped the ball to Lydia Peplinski in front of the goal, but the young gun got caught up in a scrum and couldn’t get her shot off.

Playing with no reserves (again) and back-to-back games took its toll on the Islanders.

“We were the better team, but they came to play and we were too sluggish, possibly from playing a tough game the day before with no subs,” Sean LeVine said.

Warwick, the ultimate spark-plug, ran away with Player of the Match honors.

“That kid has a motor and she was flying around disrupting anything the other team tried to do in the middle,” Sean LeVine said. “She also put more through passes behind the defense than I could count.

“We just need someone to finish those chances that she creates.”

He also called out goaltender Kenzie Perry for her solid play in net.

Kenzie kept us in the game, making some tough saves and she again played a full 90 in the net,” he said. “She’s been playing very well for us this season.”

The Islanders have two weeks off before returning to State Cup play. They’ll hit the road to play Seattle United Shoreline Sunday, April 12.

To see more photos from this game, pop over to:

http://www.shutterfly.com/progal/gallery.jsp?gid=768a5498ce7fdabc075e

Ryan Freeman (right) blows up a defender. (Sylvia Hurlburt photos)

   Ryan Freeman (right) just wants to dance and no defender will ever stop him. (Sylvia Hurlburt photos)

The peanut gallery vamps it up for their favorite photographer.

The peanut gallery vamps it up for their favorite photographer.

Aaron Wright strikes a dramatic pose against the prairie sky.

Aaron Wright strikes a dramatic pose against the prairie sky.

Zane Bundy launches a laser.

Zane Bundy launches a laser.

Josh

Wright, Josh Datin (6) and Abraham Leyva (21) tangle with a grabby rival.

"NOOOOOOO! The camera will steal our souls!!"

“NOOOOOOO! The camera will steal our souls!!”

Datin

Datin unleashes the beast.

Guest photographer Sylvia Hurlburt, about to run really, really fast at a track meet. (John Fisken photo)

   Guest photographer Sylvia Hurlburt, about to run really, really fast at a track meet. (John Fisken photo)

Is there anything Sylvia Hurlburt can’t do?

No. The answer is no.

The Coupeville High School junior is an accomplished track runner, ballet star and cheerleader and now she’s putting all the other photographers to shame with her mad skills behind the camera.

It’s Sylvia’s world. We’re just living in it.

Coupeville's 5th/6th grade squad celebrates with coach Lark Gustafson. (Katy Wells photo)

Coupeville’s 5th/6th grade squad celebrates with coach Lark Gustafson. (Katy Wells photo)

7th

Scott Hay oversees the 7th/8th grade team. (Jon Roberts photos)

Advantage, Coupeville.

Advantage, Coupeville.

Trophy time. (Dawn Hesselgrave photo)

Trophy time. (Dawn Hesselgrave photo)

Flowers and basketball players were blooming.

Several packs of Coupeville Wolf hoops stars spent part of the weekend playing in Skagit Valley’s 23rd annual Tulip Basketball Tournament

By the time they were done, both squads had played numerous games (the older girls claiming 5th place in a 12-team tourney), but still had time to pose for photos.

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