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Logan Downes rolls out. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

“We will be better next week.”

Coupeville High School football coach Marcus Carr was already looking ahead as he and his young team headed home after absorbing a 21-0 loss Saturday night in La Conner.

The defeat, coming a week after the Wolves won in a clash on Whidbey between these same two teams, evens both squad’s records at 1-1 in Northwest 2B/1B League play.

For Coupeville, next up is a road trip Saturday, April 24 to play a non-conference tilt against Lummi Nation.

The Blackhawks are 2-0 after knocking off Concrete 16-12 and pounding Darrington 38-24.

Once Coupeville makes it through that road rumble, they’re projected to have some time off before wrapping the pandemic-shortened season at home May 8 against Concrete.

A possible non-league matchup with 1B powerhouse Neah Bay, which was projected for either April 30 or May 1, now seems unlikely to happen.

When discussing the La Conner rematch, Carr was ready to move on and focus on the next challenge, simply saying “We are young in some areas and still learning.”

Saturday was a busy day on Whidbey Island, as I watched three events play out a mile from my home — girls soccer, JV and varsity volleyball — so I wasn’t anywhere near La Conner.

And, unfortunately, if the game was streamed, it’s not popping up anywhere online at this moment.

Which is a long way to getting around to saying I don’t know much about how things played out.

If more surfaces, I’ll pop back in and update this story.

Until then, enjoy a collection of photos from last week’s game.

Coupeville dogpiles a La Conner runner.

Waiting for the action to unfold.

Brett Casey charges into action.

Dakota Eck hits the gap.

Ben Smith (6) and Tim Ursu (1) team up to bring a Brave runner down.

“Show me some standings!” (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It’s a war so far.

With fall sports up and going — at least where Covid is not making teams sit right back down — the race for the most team varsity wins is a close one.

While Coupeville thoroughly dominated the spring sports which kept win/loss records, fall is a three-way battle.

The Wolves, who have at least one league victory in four sports — boys and girls soccer, football, and volleyball — are tied with La Conner with six wins total, while Mount Vernon Christian has five.

Orcas Island offers up three wins, all in boys soccer, while Concrete has one, and Darrington remains winless thus far.

Friday Harbor is actually winless as well, but, with all its fall programs shut down by a rise in positive Covid cases on San Juan Island, they’re not really a factor.

The week ahead offers a mix of games for Coupeville, with one constant — they’re all on the road.

Girls soccer is the only Wolf program set to play more than once, with a road game Friday at La Conner, followed by a 3 vs 3 mini-tourney Saturday at Mount Vernon Christian.

Meanwhile, boys soccer travels to Grace Academy Wednesday, volleyball and cross country will be on Orcas Friday, and football meets Lummi Nation Saturday night.

That last one is a non-conference clash, rare this time around as almost all Age of Coronavirus games are being played against league foes.

 

Standings through April 18:

 

Northwest League boys soccer:

School League Overall
Orcas Island 3-0-0 3-0-0
Coupeville 1-0-0 1-0-0
MV Christian 2-1-0 2-1-0
CPC-Lynnwood 2-2-0 2-2-0
La Conner 1-1-1 1-1-1
PC Christian 1-3-0 1-3-0
Grace Academy 0-3-1 0-3-1

 

Northwest League football:

School League Overall
Coupeville 1-1 1-1
La Conner 1-1 1-1
Concrete 0-0 0-2
Darrington 0-0 1-1

 

Northwest League girls soccer:

School League Overall
MV Christian 1-0-0 1-0-0
Coupeville 1-1-0 1-1-0
La Conner 0-1-0 0-1-0

 

Northwest League volleyball:

School League Overall
La Conner 4-0 4-0
Coupeville 3-1 3-1
MV Christian 2-1 2-1
Concrete 1-2 1-2
Darrington 0-3 0-3
Orcas Island 0-3 0-3

Abby Mulholland and her teammates showed grace under fire Saturday, rallying for a five-set win over previously-undefeated Mount Vernon Christian. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

“It’s about heart.”

“No, it’s about conditioning.”

“Well, if you have the heart, you’re going to go get the conditioning.”

As we headed into that most pressure-packed of high school sports situations Saturday night — the fifth set of a varsity volleyball match, where two teams make a wild dash to get to 15 points first — the debate raged in the stands.

And then, to the delight of the hometown Coupeville fans, it turned out the Wolf spikers had both heart and conditioning.

Nice.

Capping a comeback from being down two sets to one, CHS pulled out a gut-wrenching 24-26, 25-21, 17-25, 25-11, 15-11 win over visiting Mount Vernon Christian, sending the faithful off to spend the rest of their weekend with smiles on their faces and an extra skip to their step.

Now 3-1 in Northwest 2B/1B League play, Coupeville sits solidly in second-place, a game off of two-time defending state champs La Conner, which is 4-0.

MVC, which entered the night unbeaten as well, left Whidbey at 2-1 after fading down the stretch.

The fifth and deciding set opened and closed exactly the same way — with Wolf senior Chelsea Prescott smacking the soul out of the ball for very-convincing winners.

In between those titanic spikes, she got a lot of help from her teammates, with Kylie Chernikoff, Lucy Tenore, and Abby Mulholland coming up big in the spotlight.

Chernikoff, who kept the positive chatter booming throughout the epically-long match, rose up once, twice, three times, tattooing the ball for winners as the Wolves surged.

The biggest roar, however, probably came when Mulholland stuffed Mount Vernon’s biggest hitter at the net, sending a would-be winner right back at her.

That staked the Wolves to a 13-5 lead, and all was well.

Until it almost wasn’t.

Finding their own inner spark, the tired but very-game Hurricanes put together a 5-0 run to get back within 13-10 and tighten the collar of everyone wearing red and black in the CHS gym.

But not to worry, as the aforementioned Prescott was flexing her biceps and taking names all evening, and she closed out things with two spikes which hit like the hammer of the gods.

The crunch-time theatrics capped a royal rumble where two pretty evenly matched squads went toe-to-toe and punched, jabbed, and parried in rapid succession.

The opening set seemed to belong to Coupeville, which led from 1-0 after a Chernikoff slicer, all the way up until 24-23, with Prescott giving the Wolves set point after blistering a spike off the back line.

But it wasn’t to be, as MVC won the final three points of the set, two of them thanks to CHS tips getting lost in the net.

If the Wolves were a bit nervous after that stumble, it didn’t show, however, as they basically repeated the first set in the second set — leading all the way — but this time clamping down at the end to close things out.

Prescott, Chernikoff, and Mulholland all came up big once again, with sophomore setter Maddie Georges alertly flicking passes from player to player, while Maddie Vondrak made her presence felt.

Playing in front of former Wolf volleyball greats such as Emma Smith and Valen Trujillo, Vondrak hit the ball so hard on one winner you could literally hear the ball scream “Mercy, Maddie!!” as all the air in the orb evaporated.

The third set started competitive, but then turned sour, as MVC went on an 11-4 tear to turn a one-point advantage into an eventual 25-17 win.

The highlights were few and far between in the set, but they were there.

Mulholland flicked a tip winner, after Prescott made a sensational running save to keep the ball alive, and sophomore Gwen Gustafson made her varsity debut.

But again, the Wolves showed a deep willingness to fight, and a refusal to give in, even when trailing.

Coupeville, after looking a bit disorganized in the third set, immediately jelled again in the fourth, with veteran leaders like Jaimee Masters and Chernikoff settling their team down.

Georges ripped off five straight points on her serve to get things flowing in the right direction, while Tenore and Vondrak were on-point as well when they rotated behind the stripe.

The biggest clue of what was to come in the finale came by watching the Hurricanes noticeably tiring, while the Wolves seemed to be growing stronger with each swing.

Young guns Gustafson and Ryanne Knoblich brought a big burst of energy to the floor during their shifts, while the grizzled seniors — Chernikoff, Masters, Vondrak, and Prescott — showed their protegees how to stay calm and cool under fire.

Coupeville’s previous wins — over Concrete and Darrington — came in straight sets.

Which is nice, but sometimes you need a five-set bar brawl like the Wolves faced Saturday to find out what kind of team you really are deep down.

If so, test passed.

Big spikes, big win

Grey Peabody dominated at the net as Wolf JV volleyball rolled to a win. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

They found their groove.

After coming from behind to win the opening set Saturday, the Coupeville High School JV volleyball squad found a different gear, piling it on in a three-set sweep.

By the time the young Wolves were done, they had shellacked visiting Mount Vernon Christian 25-22, 25-5, 25-13 to run their record to 3-1 on the season.

And they did it by showcasing all the playing styles, going from being scrappy bar brawlers to dominating destroyers.

The afternoon opened with the two squads trapped in a down-and-dirty rumble, their first set featuring 10 different ties and a whole lot of mood changes.

Coupeville came out strongly, with nice service runs from Grey Peabody and Allison Nastali combining with strong work at the net from Jordyn Rogers and Isabel Johnson.

Up 13-6, the Wolves looked like they were rolling, but then the wheels got a bit wobbly.

The visiting Hurricanes not only rallied to catch up, they went ahead by as many as four points at 21-17.

Enter Allie and Maya Lucero, twins with sunny personalities and killer games, who lit a spark in Coupeville’s attack down the stretch, helping power an 8-1 close.

The biggest point in the rally came off the fingertips of Peabody, who went airborne and flicked a devastatingly-great tip for a winner which put the Wolves ahead for good.

Riding high on confidence after the first-set rally, Coupeville’s mighty mashers unloaded in the second set, with the Lucero twins combining to win 15 points on their serve as CHS shot out to a 16-1 lead.

Johnson delivered a gorgeous spike which hugged the line as it hit pay-dirt, then skidded away from a flailing Hurricane, while Peabody was at the top of her game at the net, dropping daggers disguised as tips.

Rogers closed out the set with a run of four straight points off her serve, including a screaming ace which used and abused a would-be returner, before Allie Lucero iced things with a tip which froze her foes in place.

With the win in hand, the third set was more for practice than anything else, but the Wolves never relented.

Nastali had a hot hand at the service stripe, Gwen Gustafson and Skylar Parker delivered nice hustle plays, and Olivia Schaffeld brought the heat with some nasty put-aways.

Johnson enjoyed an especially-strong finale, lacing winners which sliced ‘n diced the defense, while earning an enthusiastic “Yeah, baby!!” from her mom.

It was a reaction which fit perfectly on a day when the rising stars of the Wolf volleyball program brought their best effort to the floor for coach Ashley Menges.

Genna Wright and Coupeville soccer fell to a strong Mount Vernon Christian squad Saturday afternoon. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Speed kills.

Unable to slow down a much-quicker Mount Vernon Christian squad, the Coupeville High School girls soccer team endured a rough game Saturday afternoon.

The visiting Hurricanes hit like a … well, hurricane, deluging the Wolves in goals en route to a 9-0 win.

The loss evens Coupeville’s record at 1-1 in Northwest 2B/1B League play.

MVC benefited from a bit of luck, taking advantage of several caroms which bounced perfectly, but also dominated in every aspect of play.

The Hurricanes, who racked up six of their goals in the first half, with the opening score coming less than two minutes into play, are a talented bunch of sharpshooters.

But, while he wasn’t thrilled about the final score, Coupeville coach Kyle Nelson was pleased with how his team rebounded in the second half.

“They didn’t drop their heads after the break, and played competitively with a good team with a lot of quality players,” he said.

“We still have two more games with them, and we have a solid chance if we can match their intensity.”

It was the season-opener for MVC, while Coupeville was coming off of a 4-0 win over La Conner.

With Friday Harbor sitting out this season in all sports after a spike in Covid cases, those three teams are the only ones playing girls soccer.

The Wolves hit the road to play La Conner April 23 and MVC April 28, then come back home to play the same squads May 3 and 7, respectively, during a pandemic-shortened campaign.

While Coupeville couldn’t crack the Hurricane defense for a score, it did have several decent shots on goal, with a booming kick from Carolyn Lhamon coming the closest to splashing home.

On defense, Nezi Keiper, Audrianna Shaw, and Co. put up a good fight in a losing cause.