Archive for the ‘Girls Soccer’ Category

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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Lindsey Roberts, a four-year starter for Coupeville soccer, closed her prep pitch career Wednesday night. (Photo by Jackie Saia)

The final night was a stunner.

The North Sound Conference closed out its inaugural girls soccer season Wednesday, and upsets in two of three games threw the playoff picture out of whack.

South Whidbey shocked King’s 2-0 to give the defending 1A state champs their only league loss, while Sultan, which had been win-less in conference play for much of the year, beat Cedar Park Christian 1-0 for the Turks second win in a week.

All that, combined with Coupeville falling 5-1 at Granite Falls, flipped the league’s #2 and #3 playoff seeds and knocked the Wolves out of the #5 slot, ending their season without a postseason game.

King’s (9-1), South Whidbey (7-3), Granite Falls (7-3), CPC (4-6) and Sultan (2-8) advance to the modified double-elimination district playoffs against teams from the Northwest Conference, while Coupeville (1-9) stays home.

The Wolves, who finished 2-12-1 overall, with wins over Sultan and Port Townsend and a tie against Friday Harbor, entered the night holding a tiebreaker on Sultan for the final playoff berth.

While both teams had one win, coming against each other (CHS won 6-0 on their field, Sultan won 1-0 on theirs), the Wolves were a point up in the standings because of getting extra credit for a double-overtime loss to CPC.

That advantage vanished, however, when the Turks pulled out a nail-biter in the final regular season game.

Meanwhile, playing in Granite Falls, Coupeville got a first-half goal from junior Avalon Renninger, her third of the season, but it wasn’t enough to topple the rough ‘n tumble Tigers.

The loss turned out to be the final prep soccer game for four Wolf seniors, as Ema Smith, Maddy Hilkey, Lindsey Roberts and Sarah Wright depart.

The cupboard isn’t bare, however, as five of the six players who scored during the 2018 season can return next year, when it appears very likely Coupeville will drop from 1A to 2B.


Final scoring totals:

Genna Wright – 7
Lindsey Roberts – 4
Avalon Renninger – 3
Anna Dion – 2
Mallory Kortuem – 2
Tia Wurzrainer – 1

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Ema Smith was one of four Coupeville High School soccer stars honored Monday during Senior Night festivities. (Photos by Jackie Saia)

Lindsey Roberts hangs out with part of her vast family.

Sarah Wright (3) and lil’ sister Genna are joined by their parental units.

Maddy Hilkey has both grandma and mom with her on her big night.

The Fab Four and their coach for the past two seasons, Kyle Nelson.

Roberts lets mom Sherry get at least one hug in.

Hilkey exits with a laugh.

The Fab Four closed one chapter Monday, but they’re not done yet.

Playing at home for the final time in their prep soccer careers, Coupeville High School booters Ema Smith, Maddy Hilkey, Lindsey Roberts and Sarah Wright were honored on Senior Night, then went out fighting.

While the Wolves fell 3-0 to visiting South Whidbey, CHS, and its veteran leaders, have at least one, and possibly many more, games left this season.

Coupeville, which sits at 1-8 in North Sound Conference play, 2-11-1 overall, travels to Granite Falls (6-3, 7-6-1) Wednesday for the regular season finale.

The Wolves are tied with Sultan (1-8, 5-10) for fifth-place, and the last playoff slot, from the six-team league.

Except, because this is soccer and everything needs to be extra-complicated, Coupeville is actually a point up on the Turks, since one of their league losses came in double overtime.

If the Wolves hold on to the #5 slot — Sultan plays Cedar Park Christian (4-5, 7-7) Wednesday — they open the modified double-elimination district tourney Oct. 22.

Coupeville’s playoff game would be at the home of the #3 NSC school (either Granite or South Whidbey), and would be a loser-out affair.

Win, and the Wolves play Oct. 24, still on the road, one victory away from advancing to bi-districts or one loss from packing up their gear.

Everyone confused? Good, there will be a test later.

Facing off with their Island rivals for the second time this season Monday, the Wolves battled South Whidbey (6-3, 8-5-1) almost to a standstill in the first half.

The Falcons slipped home a goal right before the break, then tacked on two more in the second half to sweep the season series from Coupeville.

“The girls played real well, just not quite with the energy we needed to pull out a win,” said Wolf coach Kyle Nelson.

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