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Sophomore Maddie Vondrak was a big-hitting, point-winning terror Tuesday against Anacortes. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Tuesday’s JV volleyball match between Coupeville and visiting Anacortes was a knock-down brawl, full of big hits and wild mood swings.

And while the Wolf spikers eventually fell 25-18, 26-24, 25-19, evening their record at 1-1, the night belonged to Maddie Vondrak.

Many of her teammates had strong performances against the Seahawks, especially Zoe Trujillo and Raven Vick, but it was the Wolf sophomore who captured, and held on to the spotlight the longest.

The smooth-hitting swing player was a veritable tower of power, ripping off frozen ropes from the front court and back court.

Not content to just deliver a tasty assortment of kills via the power game, Vondrak also proved extremely nimble around the net, elevating and stuffing Anacortes shots, one after another.

It was a star-making performance, and, coming against a larger 2A school, further proof Vondrak is more than ready for a prime time role.

While Coupeville trailed the entire first set, the Wolves rallied several times, cutting an early Anacortes lead down from seven points to three.

Vondrak delivered winners on three straight points during that run, while Trujillo cranked an especially nasty slider for another big put-away.

CHS led for a big stretch of the second set, even having set point at 24-23 after a Lucy Sandahl serve set up a rally which culminated in Vick deflating the ball with a spike which tore off a hunk of the floor.

It wasn’t to be, though, as Anacortes rallied to take the middle set before closing out the sweep with an efficient performance in set three.

Wolf freshmen Eryn Wood and Anya Leavell teamed up on a nice block at the net in the final set, while Sandahl unleashed an ace which blew past the would-be hitter like the Road Runner leaving Wile E. Coyote in the dust.

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Senior Emma Smith delivered 12 bone-rattling kills Tuesday, sparking Coupeville volleyball to a win over 2A Anacortes. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Scout Smith never stopped running.

The play was dead, it was over, it was done, it was finito, it was time to brush it off, take a deep breath and move on … except Scout Smith never stopped running.

Sprinting from one side of the court to the other, using every last stretched-out inch of her slender frame, she threw out one curled-up fist at the last millisecond and spun the volleyball over her head as she crashed through the bench on the way to the stands.

Improbably, impossibly, the ball rolled through the air, found the outstretched fingertips of one of Smith’s teammates, and flopped over the net, dropping to the floor with a soft plop which sent the Coupeville High School gym into delirium.

It was one small play, one small point, but in the blink of an eye, as a dead play turned into one more magical moment for a hyped-up Wolf volleyball squad, one thing was certain.

There was no freakin’ way Coupeville was losing Tuesday night.

Playing on coach Cory Whitmore’s birthday, the Wolf spikers put together one of the most electrifying team performances in program history, stunning 2A Anacortes 27-25, 16-25, 25-16, 25-23.

The non-conference victory, which came backed by a fan base which collectively lost its mind (and possibly, their voices) as they stamped until the bleachers cried uncle, lifts Coupeville to a pristine 2-0 on the season.

“I’m so excited to see us play this way,” Whitmore said. “We played to our strengths, rolled with every punch, and then immediately came back and won points almost every time playing the way we wanted to play.”

The key was six Wolves on the floor firing as one, “digging like crazy, serving consistently, getting on a roll, feeling it, and pouring it on.”

Whitmore ran eight players through his rotation against Anacortes, and every single one had at least one play that stands as a “that’s the way you do it” moment.

From Zoe Trujillo stepping off the bench midway through the match, and immediately getting a kill on her very first play, to Scout Smith, who doled out a team-high 22 assists (and never stopped running), the Wolves attacked from all angles.

But you have to step back, gaze in wonder at what Emma Smith accomplished, and know this match, right here, right now, is the one she could show to college coaches.

One she can tell her irrepressible niece about, again and again, as Aunt Emma’s biggest little fan gets old enough to appreciate the stories.

One she and longtime running mate Ashley Menges — seniors who have lived and breathed volleyball for half their lives and are off to a fantastic start to their swan song — will remember long after they have retired their knee pads, but are still best friends.

It was a night when Menges was on fire, when Maya Toomey-Stout was hoppin’ and poppin’, spraying daggers and takin’ names, when super sophomore Chelsea Prescott had the biggest plays of her career, when Hannah Davidson and Emma Mathusek played inspired ball.

But it was also the night Emma Smith strode into the gym a star, and exited as a legend.

It wasn’t just her 12 kills, but the fact every last one came at a major turning point.

That she used her height, her jumping ability, her fast fingers on blocks and tips, and, in the end, a right hand that smote the volleyball like Thor’s hammer connecting with the heads of so many Frost Giants.

“That’s my granddaughter and don’t forget it!!” bellowed Coupeville football legend Steve Smith, his buttons popping with pride.

“The best night of my life!!!” exclaimed mom Konni Smith, as she danced out of the gym.

Emma was feeling that confidence,” Whitmore said, wearing a smile just a fraction smaller than that of his player’s mom. “Her play, both with her kills and her serving, was infectious, and everyone fed off of it.”

It was a match where both teams came full-tilt, making few errors and forcing their rivals to earn every point they won.

Anacortes, which had a size advantage, delivered heavy hits and tried to control the pace, but Coupeville was not in a mood to crack.

Almost every set featured the two squads taking turns putting together runs, and the stage was set right from the first moments.

The Seahawks jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead, only to lose the lead when Scout Smith cracked off a run of five straight points on her serve.

Once ahead, Coupeville jammed its foot through the floor boards, stretching the lead out to as far as seven points, with Emma Smith slicing off body parts with a variety of wicked shots while stalking the net.

A nice run at the service stripe from Prescott, a monster mash of a spike off the fingertips of Menges, and the first set was turning into a run-away.

Until Anacortes rediscovered its groove, turning a 19-12 deficit into a 24-23 lead.

With the ball in hand and set point on tap, the Seahawks were unbeatable and … Emma Smith just killed someone. For really real.

Rising up and over the net with a single bound, nostrils flaring, eyes full of lightning, the Wolf senior smashed a winner which tore through the heart of the Anacortes defense, slamming into the floor and leaving a permanent dent.

Pity the poor janitor who has to buff that one out.

With both teams saving a set point, the first frame was finally settled when Prescott came flying up the middle of the court, following her own serve.

Bringing a furious end to a brief rally, the future (and present) of Wolf sports walloped a winner between two Seahawk defenders, sending her teammates jumping in a team-wide display of unbridled joy.

While the second set went to Anacortes, Coupeville hung tough, peppering its share of big hits and artful tips, and very little air went out of the gym.

And why not?

Mere seconds into the third set, Emma Smith was back to going medieval on the ball, Toomey-Stout was hanging in mid-air, firing from every angle and Mathusek and Scout Smith were keeping every ball in play.

Even the ones they shouldn’t have been able to reach.

Trujillo smacked a winner from the left side on her first swing of the night to stretch Coupeville’s lead to 14-9, Anacortes fought back to within 16-15, and then the gunfighter went to work.

Returning to the service line with a vengeance, Emma Smith fired off a string of winners, with one particularly nasty serve peeling three layers of skin off the Anacortes player who tried, and failed, to return the ball.

And her running mate? Right by her side, being awesome in perfect stride.

Menges closed the third set with an emphatic spike, going airborne on the right side and lashing the ball off the line on the left side, then the two seniors combined to slam the door in the night’s final set.

Control of the fourth frame veered madly, as Coupeville went up by three, then down by five, before things got knotted up at 20-20 when Emma Smith whacked a sizzling line-drive off of someone’s scalp.

Not to be outdone, Menges and Toomey-Stout followed up with big hits of their own, before three Wolves teamed up to stuff the final shot of the night from Anacortes.

The ball started to come across the net, met the combined resistance of the Wolves, and flopped backward, hitting the ground and rolling away as the celebration rippled across the court, through the CHS bench and to every layer of the gym.

Afterwards, after the cheers had quieted and the fans had departed, the Wolf players walked out, some solo, others in groups, all bouncing, all alive with the moment, flush with new, positive memories which will stay with them for the rest of their prep careers, and far beyond.

Sitting sprawled on the floor, waiting for her dad, assistant coach Chris Smith, to finish up, Scout Smith had finally stopped running.

She looked a little tired, a little jazzed, and a lot happy.

It was a good look.

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Andrew Martin and Coupeville High School football kick off their season Aug. 25 at a jamboree. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Three weeks from today it gets real.

The Coupeville High School football team heads to Anacortes Saturday, Aug. 25 for a jamboree, marking the start of the fall sports season.

The 1A Wolves will play mini-games against 2B Concrete and their 2A hosts, with action starting at noon.

The match-up against Concrete is a reunion for Marcus Carr.

Coupeville’s new head coach led the Lions program the last two seasons, posting winning records both times out.

The regular season kicks off Friday, Aug. 31, when CHS travels to Port Townsend for a non-conference tilt against their former Olympic League rivals.

Coupeville volleyball then travels up-Island to play in the Oak Harbor Jamboree Sept. 1, and, with that, fall sports are fully underway.

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   Nick Etzell rapped out four hits at a weekend baseball tourney. (John Fisken photo)

Ignore the record and focus on the lessons learned.

That was the mantra for the Coupeville High School baseball squad after it absorbed four losses in as many games at a three-day tourney in Anacortes.

“It’s not a weekend we are going to brag about, but we put together a team and now we need to learn to play together and work as a team,” said CHS coach Chris Smith.

“We had a very good chance to win three of our four games and unfortunately we lacked the mental maturity and toughness to do so under less than ideal situations.”

Coupeville had to fight through player availability issues and injuries to field a squad.

“We had a lot to work around this weekend,” Smith said. “There were some big challenges and overall as a team we just couldn’t quite overcome them to pull off a W.”

The Wolves were one-runned in two of their games, being nipped 6-5 by Oak Harbor and 2-1 by host Anacortes.

CHS also fell 16-7 to Meridian after having the early lead and 20-2 to Lake Stevens.

While scrambling to get enough bodies, Smith also had to juggle those he had, with several players in new spots.

“As a coach I had the opportunity to see a number of guys in different positions, which was very helpful for me,” Smith said.

He praised the play of outfielder Kyle Rockwell and catcher Gavin Knoblich, as well as the hot bat of Nick Etzell, who delivered “some offensive firepower that apparently he has been waiting to unleash all year.”

Hunter Smith ripped five hits, including a pair of doubles, to pace the Wolf attack.

Etzell (four hits), Matt Hilborn (3), Jake Pease (3), Jake Hoagland (2) and Jonathan Thurston (2) had multiple hits, while Taylor Consford, Joey Lippo and Jacob Zettle chipped in with a base-knock apiece.

Consford and Hoagland had triples, while Lippo’s hit was a resounding double.

“Overall, we have got to keep learning, we have got to keep working to get better and we have to form into a cohesive unit if we want to do well as a team,” Chris Smith said.

Coupeville returns to action at a tourney in Gray’s Harbor June 30-July 3.

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   Melody Wilkie, seen here in an earlier game, whiffed 11 Wednesday. (John Fisken photo)

The often wild and wacky world of little league took another spin down crazy lane Wednesday night, and the detour stung Central Whidbey.

The facts are murky, but let’s take a stab at figuring this out.

When Anacortes showed up to Coupeville’s diamond for a Juniors softball tilt, it either did, or did not, depending on who we believe, have nine rostered players as game time approached.

If it did not, the game would never have started, at least as an official contest, as little league rules stipulate a full nine to each side at first pitch.

Thankfully (for Anacortes), it produced a ninth girl who, depending on which story we believe, had either A) forgotten her uniform or B) didn’t have a uniform cause she’s not even on the team in the first place.

There was little doubt she was the most skilled player on the field, even playing in (rather suspiciously) Chuck Taylor high-tops.

Taking balls at short, she commanded the field in a way most little league players simply don’t.

Perhaps because, even though the Anacortes coach only gave up her first name, a quick internet search easily confirms she’s a seasoned travel ball vet and high school freshman.

Age-wise, no issue, as depending on birthdays, high school freshmen can, and do, play juniors softball.

Of course, if our mystery girl (who can’t hide in the age of the internet) wasn’t on the roster in the first place, and quite possibly isn’t even signed up for little league itself, that could, and should, have been an issue.

Especially once she ripped a bunch of hits, made several web gems and sparked Anacortes to a 17-11 win.

While, of course, remaining on the field for the full game even after two other players who actually had legitimate uniforms arrived slightly late to join the visitors bench.

Central Whidbey, which failed to properly retaliate by stealing away any Coupeville High School players who might have been wandering by, did rally for seven runs late to tighten the game up.

A single from Coral Caveness, her second of the game, set up Melody Wilkie for the biggest hit of the game for the home squad.

Wilkie, who whiffed 11 Anacortes hitters in the pitcher’s circle, jacked an RBI double to straight-away center off of “Chuck Taylor Girl,” who closed the game as a pitcher after also playing short and first.

It was a frozen rope of a hit for Wilkie, one legitimate moment in an (allegedly) illegitimate game.

Central Whidbey also pulled off some sweet defensive plays, all from players really on their roster.

First-baseman Jill Prince made a gorgeous running snag on a foul pop-up falling fast to the Earth in front of her, while Taylor Fifield had back-to-back gems in the fourth.

On the first play, she took command, calling off Wilkie at the last second while pulling in a high fly ball over second.

A moment later, Fifield went to her right, snared a hot grounder, whirled and dropped a throw right on the money into Prince’s waiting mitt.

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