Archive for the ‘Girls Soccer’ Category

Time to kick some fanny on the soccer pitch. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Are you a girl, born in 2007 or 2008, and want to play soccer?

Then get your parents crackin’, cause there’s just eight days left to sign up for the Central Whidbey Soccer Club spring season.

The league wants players of all ages, and talent levels, but is especially hoping for those who could play on a U12 girls team.

To field a team, CWSC needs nine players, and, as of this moment, has just four.

“If we can’t find girls by Mar. 22, we won’t have a U12 team for girls, and that is heartbreaking,” said Michelle Cernick.

To register today, pop over to:


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Former Wolf Mike Duke is the new girls soccer head coach at 3A Rogers High School in Spokane. His nattily-dressed son approves. (Photos courtesy Duke)

Duke, up to shenanigans with fellow CHS alumni Will Butela.

“I claim this soccer pitch as my own!”

One of Coupeville’s best and brightest is hitting the big time in Spokane.

Mike Duke, a 2006 CHS grad who played five sports for the Wolves and helped turn the student section into the loudest in the land for several years, has been tabbed as the new girls soccer head coach for Rogers High School.

The Pirates are a 3A team which plays its games out of the 3A/4A Greater Spokane League, a top-level conference which includes big-timers like Central Valley, Shadle Park, Mead, and Gonzaga Prep.

While it’s his first varsity head coaching gig, Duke is no stranger to imparting wisdom or to the Pirates players he inherits.

He’s spent the past two seasons as a varsity assistant with the Rogers girls squad, while also being the boys JV head coach.

Along with his jump to the top of the girls soccer program, Duke is also moving up a rung with the boys, and will be a varsity assistant this season.

Toss in his role as co-coach with the school’s unified basketball and soccer teams, time spent with special needs athletes, and working as a para educator in the behavior intervention program, and the former Wolf ace knows his current school inside out.

Duke is taking online classes and working towards getting his teaching degree, with the goal of working full-time at the Spokane school.

Part of the reason for accepting the new soccer jobs is a desire to make an impact in both education and sports.

“I really didn’t want to have these girls have to go through another coaching regime change,” he said. “If they had hired another person it would have been the third total overhaul in the past four years. Which is just crazy to think about.

“So establishing some structure as well as providing these girls with the reassurance that someone taking this job cares about them and building this program (is big),” Duke added.

“Which at this school (very diverse, very low income) is something these kids don’t get a lot of at home.”

Back in his high school days, Duke bounced from sport to sport, and found success at every stop.

After opening with a season of high school football, he departed the gridiron.

Despite being the rare freshman to get an interception in a varsity game, being moved from his middle school slots on the offensive line and at linebacker to playing wide receiver and defensive back just “didn’t agree with me.”

Duke played four seasons of basketball and two seasons of baseball, before hopping over to join the school’s inaugural boys soccer team as a junior.

While on the pitch, he was a team captain, garnered First-Team All-League honors and led the conference in goals both years.

And, just to shake things up, he also ran track during his senior year, “for funsies.”

Both during their time at CHS, and afterwards, Duke and platonic life mate Will Butela set a standard yet to matched for creating fun, whether on the soccer pitch or bouncing in the stands at Wolf volleyball games.

Since graduation, the duo has appeared in several commercials together, at one point being the face(s) of a long-running Major League Baseball promotion, while also operating a podcast as The Fun Brothers.

Starting families, and the fact they no longer live in the same town, has made it a bit tougher to create good-natured havoc, but both vow not to let the good times totally die out.

“My goal is that it (the new job) will affect it in a positive way. More content,” Duke said. “We have been on a bit of a hiatus since my fellow fun brother has a family of five and I just had a son about 10 months ago, so it’s hard to find time (and space).

“But we will ride again, I can promise that.”

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Sage Renninger, the newest addition to the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Underrated in the extreme.

Over the past four years, Sage Renninger has been, without a doubt, one of the best athletes to wear a Coupeville uniform.

Graceful, hard-nosed, a quiet warrior who let her play do the talking for her, she carved out her own path, and it was a very successful one.

Having given up basketball after middle school, Renninger showcased her athletic skills a bit off the beaten track, starring in soccer and tennis.

The first of those is a sport in which my base of knowledge is, admittedly, limited.

I don’t understand a lot of the intricacies of the “beautiful game,” and often times revert back to frustration over the sport being satisfied with ties, and the number of times a play is just starting to get interesting, only to have the ball nick a random knee and shoot out of bounds.

I am not the person who is going to sit here and rhapsodize about the mystical joy of fútbol.

That being said, I can, and do, appreciate the level of commitment it takes to even play the sport, much less be a star.

And Renninger was a true star on the pitch.

Through four years in a Wolf uniform, which culminated with being a captain her senior year, she was as steady as they come.

Renninger could net you goals (the one part of soccer idiots like myself understand), but she was also a rock for Coupeville, controlling the pace and flow of the game.

She didn’t scream and holler, at least not on the pitch, but her teammates leaned in to hear her words, and they responded.

It takes a deft hand to be a true leader on a sports team, to command respect with your play, your attitude and an unshakable belief that you and your teammates will find a way to success, no matter the odds.

Few leaders have been as effective, or as well-liked by their teammates, as Renninger.

So, while I freely admit I don’t always understand soccer on a deeper level, I do recognize greatness, and there is no doubt in my mind Sage is one of the best the CHS girls program has been blessed to claim as one of its own.

Her other sport, tennis, is exactly the opposite, and exactly the same.

It’s the opposite, in, that having played the sport myself during my Tumwater High School days, I see the strategy behind the shots and have a far greater base of knowledge and appreciation for what is playing out.

And it’s the same, because Renninger, just as she did on the soccer pitch, was a serene, high-achieving wonder on the hard court.

She and partner Payton Aparicio were the #1 doubles team from the moment they first stepped on the court as freshmen, and they never let the crown slip from atop their heads.

Over the course of four years, they were, quite simply, the gold standard, the best Wolf duo since Mindy Horr and Taniel Lamb came within a handful of points of winning the 2005 state championship.

Renninger, who brought a potent mix of power and pace to the court, possesses a rare intangible which is often found in top tennis players.

In short, she abided.

By that, I mean, she never got too high when success came her way, and never got too low when defeat made a rare appearance.

Watching Renninger exit the court after a match, whether during her freshman season or her senior campaign, it always looked the same.

Perhaps a small smile, sometimes a more-enthusiastic racket bump with Aparicio, but always under control, always giving little away to her opponents.

She circled her foes like a shark, and watch a shark as it moves – there is often a calmness to its movements right before an attack.

When the death ‘n destruction came, her racket snapping off winners, Renninger was brutally efficient, and it was beautiful to see.

She and Aparicio closed their prep careers this past spring with a phenomenal postseason run, eventually winning three of four matches at the state tourney and claiming 4th place.

The duo’s only loss was an epic three-set defeat, in which things were decided by just a handful of points, and came to the private school girls who would end the tourney with their second-straight state title.

Afterwards, Renninger shared the moment with Aparicio, with their families, and with CHS coach Ken Stange.

Having played two days in blazing heat, she looks tired but satisfied in photos from that day. She also looks, as she always did, like a winner.

Renninger didn’t always get the headlines others in her graduating class did, but she won as much respect from us as any Wolf of her generation.

So today, we open the doors to the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame, and welcome her into an elite fraternity.

In the days and months and years after this, you’ll find Renninger hanging out at the top of the blog, under the Legends tab.

Because that’s exactly what she was, in her own self-contained way – a legend.

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Coupeville senior Lindsey Roberts (front) was named to the 1st team All-Conference squad by league soccer coaches. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Junior defender Tia Wurzrainer was also honored by the North Sound Conference.

Two for the win.

Coupeville High School landed a pair of players on the All-League team when North Sound Conference girls soccer coaches tabulated their votes.

Senior midfielder Lindsey Roberts and junior defender Tia Wurzrainer both landed on the 1st team.

Those honors, and many more, were revealed Thursday night as the Wolf booters capped their season with an awards shindig.

In addition to her All-Conference hardware, Roberts, a four-year starter who banged home 17 career goals, was tabbed as the team’s Player of the Year.

CHS coach Kyle Nelson also honored freshmen Mary Milnes (Rookie of the Year) and Lily Leedy (Most Improved), along with senior Sarah Wright (Most Inspirational).


Varsity letter winners:

Knight Arndt
Mollie Bailey
Kiara Contreras
Anna Dion
Maddy Hilkey
Natalie Hollrigel
Mallory Kortuem
Lily Leedy
Katelin McCormick
Mary Milnes
Avalon Renninger
Lindsey Roberts
Audrianna Shaw
Ema Smith
Genna Wright
Sarah Wright
Tia Wurzrainer


Participation certificates:

Megan Behan
Aurora Cernick
Casey Rogers

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Casey Rogers leads off a collection of Wolf soccer photos I didn’t get to use during the season. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Avalon Renninger

Mollie Bailey

Megan Behan shoots up the field during the season-opening jamboree in Oak Harbor.

Maddy Hilkey

Mallory Kortuem

Knight Arndt

After four years as a stellar starter, Lindsey Roberts has left the pitch.

The games are done, but the sorting of the photos continues.

Over the course of a season, John Fisken (and a lot of parents) gift me with numerous pics, and not all get used before the final whistle sounds.

Today, we’re catching up on Coupeville High School girls soccer glossies, dropping in seven portraits and an action shot which haven’t previously seen the light of day.

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