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Maddie Georges collected her 300th assist as a high school volleyball player Monday night. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Slip-sliding away.

For a half hour or more Monday night, the undefeated Coupeville High School varsity volleyball team looked very good.

Then, things splintered a bit, and now the Wolves have their first loss of the season.

It’s a non-conference defeat, and it came against Cedar Park Christian-Bothell, a solid private school foe — and former league rival — who exited with a 25-23, 25-14, 25-19 victory.

The loss drops Coupeville to 3-1, but the Wolves get a chance to bounce right back Wednesday when they travel to Darrington, where they’ll seek their fourth Northwest 2B/1B League win in as many matches.

Moving forward, CHS will try to avoid the pitfalls of Monday’s clash with the visiting Eagles, when it spent too much of the match playing from behind.

“Errors down the stretch hurt us a bit,” said Coupeville coach Cory Whitmore.

“When you’re climbing out of holes, and keep on having to do it, that’s always tough, especially against a team which takes cares of the ball reasonably well.”

Coupeville battled CPC every step of the way in the opening set, with the two teams combining for 12 ties, the final one at 23-23.

The Wolves got to that last stalemate thanks to a nasty spike off the fingertips of Lucy Tenore, which came shortly after freshman Savina Wells blistered another winner.

Coupeville’s big hitters, which include Olivia Schaffeld and Jill Prince, were clicking, and the Wolves matched the Eagles kill for kill.

But CPC slipped away with the opening frame after Coupeville sent a serve long at 23-23, then muffed a play right on top of the net while facing set point.

Schaffeld had opened play with a spike which tore a chunk out of the floor in the back corner of the court, before fab frosh Lyla Stuurmans unleashed a collection of heat-seeking missiles of her own.

Freshman Lyla Stuurmans popped five kills against Cedar Park Christian.

The cousin of former Wolf MVP Payton Aparicio is already making a name for herself, thunking winners from the left side, then stamping her feet on the ground in joy as her squad celebrates around her.

Whitmore has a very-young team this time around, with two freshmen (Stuurmans and Wells) and a sophomore (Schaffeld) starting, with another sophomore, Grey Peabody, showing great promise.

Toss in a collection of juniors, who had a pandemic-shortened sophomore campaign, and no active seniors, and the Wolves are still a work in progress.

Case in point, the second set.

Coupeville came out strongly, with Wells and Prince spraying winners, while Schaffeld and Tenore teamed up to stuff a CPC gunner at the net.

But after trailing just 13-11, things went sideways for a bit, with the Eagles mounting a 12-3 surge to close out the frame.

That downward trend from the Wolves carried over to the start of the third set, with CPC blowing out to a 5-0 lead, then stretching it out to 18-10.

While Coupeville’s young guns couldn’t get all the way back, they did find some nice grit in their game, playing the Eagles straight-up the rest of the way.

Schaffeld collected back-to-back winners, Prince staggered CPC with some ferocious blows, and the Wolf role players came full-tilt in the final stages of the match.

“That one right there, she was an animal on the back row,” Whitmore said as Ryanne Knoblich stopped to say good night to her coach.

“She and (libero) Alita (Blouin) are really finding their niche,” he added. “And while it won’t necessarily show up in the stats, Lyla passed really well tonight.”

While he would have liked getting a win against a tough-nosed rival, Whitmore remains positive, already looking forward to a chance for his players to fine-tune their games.

“We’ll learn from this,” he said. “We’ll head back to practice tomorrow and focus on the importance of the first half of every set.”

While the Wolves lost the match, two of their juniors did reach personal milestones, which were hailed by team manager Abby Mulholland.

Georges collected her 300th career assist midway through the night, while Blouin passed 100 digs.

 

Monday stats:

Alita Blouin — 19 digs, 1 assist, 1 ace
Maddie Georges 
— 1 kill, 5 digs, 14 assists, 1 ace
Taygin Jump 
— 1 dig
Ryanne Knoblich
— 4 digs
Jill Prince — 4 kills
Olivia Schaffeld 
— 5 kills, 1 dig, 2 block assists
Lyla Stuurmans 
— 5 kills, 4 digs
Lucy Tenore 
— 4 kills, 1 dig, 2 block assists
Savina Wells 
— 7 kills, 6 digs, 2 aces

Jada Heaton, soaring in an earlier match, crunched two kills Monday night. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Consider it a bump in the road, with lessons learned.

At least that’s the hope for the Coupeville High School JV volleyball squad, which dropped its first sets, and first match, Monday night.

Facing off with non-conference foe Cedar Park Christian-Bothell, the previously-undefeated Wolves fell 25-16, 25-13, 25-23 at home.

The loss drops Coupeville to 3-1 on the season, though it will get a chance to jump right back into action.

The Wolf JV heads to Darrington Wednesday for a Northwest 2B/1B League rumble, before appearing Saturday at a tourney in Oak Harbor.

The clash Monday with CPC reunited Coupeville with a former rival from the 1A North Sound Conference, and the private school spikers certainly played up to past performances.

Controlling the action most of the way, the visiting Eagles closed the first set on a 7-1 run to bust open what had been a fairly close battle.

Coupeville’s only lead in the first frame came at 2-1, but the Wolves did force three ties, the last at 8-8.

That came courtesy a zinger of a serve from Gwen Gustafson, the lone Wolf to put together a strong run at the service stripe in the early going.

Gustafson also had two of her team’s three biggest hits in the first set, launching a pair of sharply-angled kills to complement one by teammate Madison McMillan.

The second set may seem lopsided if you just look at the score, but Coupeville was in it for the first half, with six ties and a lead as late as 10-8.

Jada Heaton delivered a resounding kill which ripped down the middle of the court, rising up and smacking the crud out of the ball, to fuel the run.

Meanwhile, McMillan artfully dropped a pair of tip winners, and Grey Peabody stuffed a CPC hitter just as the Eagle was about to unload.

Madison McMillan (left) and Isabel Johnson both filled up the stat sheet.

Unfortunately, Cedar Park then hit a major hot streak, closing the set on a 17-3 tear to officially seal the win.

Despite the match being decided, the two teams had time to kill, so played a third set for practice, and it was a tense affair not decided until the final second.

Isabel Johnson, Mia Farris, and McMillan were sharp at the service line, with the latter running off six straight points to stake CHS to a 23-21 lead.

Cedar Park finally broke her run, however, then closed out the set and match for the sweep.

 

Monday stats:

Taylor Brotemarkle — 1 dig, 11 assists, 1 ace
Mia Farris — 1 kill, 1 ace
Gwen Gustafson — 5 kills, 4 digs, 2 aces
Jada Heaton — 2 kills, 1 dig, 1 assist
Isabel Johnson — 6 digs, 2 aces
Madison McMillan — 4 kills, 6 digs, 4 aces
Grey Peabody — 2 kills, 1 solo block
Aby Wood  — 1 dig

Carolyn Lhamon, as the Masked Photographer, leads off a look at CHS volleyball fans, coaches, and players. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Who was that masked man? And woman? And child?

Volleyball is the one Coupeville High School fall sport played indoors, and the ongoing pandemic requires all involved to cover up at games.

Wanderin’ photographer John Fisken, between clicking action on the court, snagged these pics of fans, coaches, and players modeling different face wear.

To see many more photos, from every sport currently being played — some with masks, many without, pop over to:

https://www.johnsphotos.net/

 

Miguel Puente dances with the ball. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

The wind snapped hard, the photographer’s finger on his camera even harder.

Battling through some truly-impressive wind gusts Friday, wanderin’ cameraman John Fisken managed to stay upright long enough to snap pics of the Coupeville High School boys soccer squad in action.

To see everything he shot, and ponder buying some glossies for Aunt Myrtle in Palm Springs, pop over to:

https://www.johnsphotos.net/Sports/Coupeville-soccer-2020-2021/BS-2021-09-17-vs-Orcas/

 

CHS girls soccer players come out to support their male counterparts.

Andrew Williams prepares to launch a rocket.

Aidan Wilson maintains a laser focus.

Buffeted by the breeze, Wolf players huddle low to hear coach Robert Wood (in black jacket) discuss strategy.

Coupeville fans try and pretend they’re warm. Spoiler: they’re not.

Grant Steller runs away from the defense.

Alex Murdy is off to create some havoc.

You run, she’ll snap

Reiley Araceley, stylish as always. (Morgan White photos)

Time to run, time to shoot.

Coupeville High School cross country opened a new season Saturday in Langley, and Wolf mom Morgan White was on hand to capture some of the first images.

The pics above and below are courtesy her.