Posts Tagged ‘Ashley Menges’

Even as a freshman, Ashley Menges loved being on the volleyball court. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

“Smashley” rises up to flick a winner.

The end of the road, as Menges and Emma Smith bring a close to a successful run with Coupeville High School coach Cory Whitmore.

Ashley Menges was the glue.

During her four-year run at the heart of the Coupeville High School volleyball program, “Smashley” gave the Wolves a bit of everything.

She could smoke service winners, flip end-over-end to save balls which looked like goners, soar into the heavens to smash spikes, and deliver perfect lil’ set-ups for her teammates to get the glory.

Through it all, the transcendent young woman who ended her career as a team captain, as a key player on back-to-back league title teams, as a state meet veteran who helped CHS to three straight 10+ win seasons, was pure class.

Menges is talented, is a firecracker on the floor, and worked as hard as anyone.

But it was her willingness to take on whatever role was necessary for the betterment of the team which made the biggest impression on those in the stands.

Want her to be a setter? Check.

Want her to be a big-time hitter? Check.

Want her to dominate from the back-line, sacrificing her body (and her stats) to do the dirty work? Check.

Through it all, Menges played with great joy.

Teaming up with Emma Smith and Maddy Hilkey, or Maya Toomey-Stout and Chelsea Prescott, or any of a thousand other teammate combinations, the versatile Wolf ace lived and breathed for volleyball.

Well, when she wasn’t riding her horse and taking all the medals in equestrian competitions, at least.

Menges balanced her love for horses and spikes through a torrid four-year high school run that was all about winning.

As a sophomore, she was part of new CHS coach Cory Whitmore’s first team, which finished 11-6 overall, claiming the Olympic League title with an 8-1 mark.

A year later, Menges and Co. went a flawless 9-0 in conference action (winning all 27 sets they played against Klahowya, Port Townsend, and Chimacum).

After finishing 12-2 in regular-season play, the Wolves split matches at districts, knocking Cascade Christian out in a winner-to-state rumble.

It was the first time Coupeville volleyball had punched a ticket to the big dance in 13 years.

While the Wolves fell to powerhouses Castle Rock and Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls), it remains a huge turning point for the CHS program.

That carried over into Menges’ senior season this past fall, as she and Smith accepted the roles of team captains as Coupeville moved to the tougher North Sound Conference.

Along with stepping to the forefront, Menges also slid into a new position late in her career, moving out from setter to patrol the floor on the right side.

That allowed the team greater flexibility, while giving “Smashley” a chance to live up to her nickname.

And she did, helping the Wolves survive and thrive.

Coupeville (11-5 overall, 7-3 in league) claimed second-place in their new six-team surroundings, twice smushing arch-rival South Whidbey in key matches and giving undefeated league champ King’s some of its toughest bouts.

In her final moments in a Wolf uniform, Menges fought on every play, helping the Wolves make a run which came up just short at districts.

The CHS spikers pulled off a stunning come-from-behind win over Cedar Park Christian, however, avenging a late-season loss and eliminating their league rivals.

Then, Menges and Co. went five brutal sets against Nooksack Valley the day before Halloween, their season ending on a miracle, bloop shot which somehow worked its way through a maze of Wolves and found the floor.

The loss hurt at the time, but it never took a bit of the shine off of Menges, of how hard she played, how much she honored herself and her teammates through four years with her attitude, her skills, and, most of all, her heart.

Ashley’s mom, Jennifer, was always one of the most-enthusiastic Wolf fans, and her daughter deserved every one of those cheers.

Today, the dynamic duo have something more to celebrate, as the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame opens its doors to welcome “Smashley” into its hallowed halls.

After this, you’ll find her hanging out at the top of the blog, up under the Legends tab.

It’s a fitting residence for a young woman of great talent, strength, and grace, a killer on the court and an even-bigger winner in real life.

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CHS spikers (l to r) Maya Toomey-Stout, Ashley Menges, Emma Smith, Hannah Davidson, Zoe Trujillo, and Scout Smith. (Photo courtesy Charlotte Young)

A six-pack of Wolves ruled the volleyball world this weekend.

Coupeville High School stars Emma Smith, Ashley Menges, Maya Toomey-Stout, Zoe Trujillo, Scout Smith, and Hannah Davidson play for the Whidbey Volleyball Club 18U team, and they sparked that squad to a championship in the final tourney of the season.

Whidbey roared through pool and match play to claim 1st place in the Silver Bracket at the PSRVB regionals at Henry Jackson High School.

The team, which mixes players from several Whidbey Island high schools, finished second in pool play Saturday, then opened play Sunday by toppling the #1 seed in its bracket.

After taking a loss in their second match, the spikers bounced back to win two more bouts and walk away with the trophy.

Menges and Smith, who wrapped impressive four-year careers with the CHS volleyball program in the fall, graduate in June, but the other four Wolves are expected to anchor next year’s team.

The experience they picked up playing club will be invaluable, said their older teammates.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better tournament and team,” Menges said. “It’s definitely a different dynamic than school and having a lot of the Coupeville girls playing different positions made their game so much broader and they are so more well-rounded.”

She hailed Davidson, currently a CHS junior, for her play in the championship match.

“I would just like to throw out that Hannah had the best game I’ve ever seen her play in our last match,” Menges said.

Smith agreed with her fellow Wolf legend.

“This has been one of the best teams I’ve ever played with,” she said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better group of girls to play my last club tournament with.

“Also, the Coupeville girls have improved so much, and will make such a difference on the team next year.”

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Jaylen Nitta flies high enough to singe his hair on the gym ceiling lights. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Brayden Coatney fires a pass under the hawk-like gaze of clock guru Joel Norris.

Tony Garcia would just like you to get open, now.

CHS senior sports stars (clockwise, from bottom left) Lindsey Roberts, Emma Smith, Ashley Menges and Ema Smith show their support for Coupeville’s boys basketball C-Team.

Chris Cernick towers over the competition.

Nitta gets his team running, while Cernick and Jonathan Partida (right) give chase.

“And just where do you think you’re going?!?!”

Ben Smith gets down ‘n dirty.

It’s their turn in the spotlight.

The Coupeville High School boys basketball C-Team had sole possession of the big gym Thursday, hosting Mount Vernon and attracting wandering paparazzi.

The action photos seen above, with a cameo from Wolf female athletic stars in the crowd, come to us courtesy John Fisken.

To see everything he shot, and possibly purchase some glossies for the grandparents (or for yourself) pop over to:


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Team, from first serve to last point. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The volleyball hung in the air for a brief, tantalizing moment.

One more chance, one more play, one more rally, one more opportunity to write a happy ending to this tale.

Then it was gone, the ball splashing down inches away from the net, squirting away between outstretched hands. A perfectly-placed tip for one team, and perfect agony for the other.

And with that, a season of joy came to a sudden close Tuesday for the Coupeville High School spikers, with the wrong team celebrating in the cramped Lynden Christian Middle School gym after a tense, thrilling, five-set, two-hour-plus loser-out playoff match.

In a brawl of fire and fury, of sensational saves and remarkable poise under pressure, Nooksack Valley, a battle-hardened 1A team which survived playing in a league chock-full of 2A and 3A schools, nipped the Wolves 25-19, 20-25, 23-25, 25-19, 15-13.

With that win, and a four-set romp over South Whidbey immediately afterwards, the Pioneers claimed the #3 seed from District 1, and advance to bi-districts Saturday, two wins away from a trip to state.

For the Wolves, for senior leaders Emma Smith and Ashley Menges, who gave everything they had to the program over the course of four seasons, and for the talented underclassmen who signal a bright future, the seasons ends.

Coupeville exits at 11-5, the third-straight season the Wolves have finished with double-digit wins under coach Cory Whitmore.

After dominating the Olympic League the past two seasons, CHS helped inaugurate the new North Sound Conference this year.

With three of six league teams having made the state tourney in 2017, including the champs, King’s, the level of play in their new home was greatly elevated, but the Wolves responded.

They swept a pair of matches from their Island rivals, were one of just three teams to take a set from King’s in the regular season, and claimed second-place in the standings.

Having split their first two matches at the district tourney Saturday (narrowly falling to Meridian before eliminating Cedar Park Christian), the Wolves headed back to Lynden Tuesday needing just one win to advance.

What they got with Nooksack was a full-on royal rumble, a brawl between two extraordinarily-even teams.

Time and again, players on both squads made truly startling saves, keeping rallies alive long after the odds said they should have ended.

If the same two squads meet tomorrow, it’s very likely Coupeville comes out on top.

Keep playing, World Series-style, in a best four-of-seven affair, and it’s anyone’s guess which team prevails.

The opening set was a perfect example, as the Wolves and Pioneers staged 10 ties, from 1-1 up to 14-14.

Maya Toomey-Stout got things poppin’ when she lofted a shot up and over the heads of the entire Nooksack defense, the ball seemingly headed out of bounds.

Instead, it suddenly tailed off — just as “The Gazelle” planned — miraculously dropping and catching the final flake of paint on the end line, causing the line judge to jump out of his shoes as the large Nooksack crowd wailed in unison.

From there, the opening set was a battle of attrition.

Scout Smith jumped high, then banked home a lil’ sky hook for a winner, Chelsea Prescott came roaring in from the left side to absolutely paste the air out of the ball on a spike, and Emma Smith used her long reach to flick the ball where the defense wasn’t.

Unfortunately, Nooksack was also adept at dropping little pokes and tips into the gaps, and the Pioneers swung things their way with an 11-5 run to break the 14-all tie.

While they weren’t happy about dropping the opening frame, the Wolves didn’t let it slow their roll.

Bouncing right back, with Emma Smith patrolling the skies ruthlessly, using the very top of her fingertips to snuff out would-be kills, CHS hung tough, then made its move.

Trailing 14-11, the Wolves went on a 5-0 run to reclaim the lead, then never gave it back.

Strong service runs from both of the Smith “sisters,” Scout and Emma, kick-started things, a couple of lasers from Toomey-Stout scattered the defense, then Coupeville got dynamic to seal the deal.

Two sensational saves on what should have been kills for Nooksack — one from Emma Mathusek, the other from the tag-team of Prescott and Scout Smith, who both punched the ball with outstretched fists — set up the Wolf big hitters.

Closing on a 14-6 run, the Wolves had the momentum, and they hammered the pedal through the metal in the third set.

Once they had the lead, and it came early at 2-1 when an Emma Smith block keyed a booming kill from Toomey-Stout, who leaped almost high enough to clear the net, they never gave it back.

Hannah Davidson, who was an artful tipper all night, sent one pretty winner skidding past the defense, but saved her best bit of ninja work for crunch time.

With Nooksack charging back from down 19-14 to knot things at 23-23, the collars on the shirts of Wolf coaches Whitmore and Chris Smith were tightening big time.

Enter Davidson, who stuffed a Nooksack shot to put CHS back in the lead, before pulling off a ballet move which ended with another tip winner, to seal the third set and set off a team-wide celebration.

Wolf bench players Raven Vick, Lucy Sandahl, Zoe Trujillo, Willow Vick and Maddie Vondrak, who were vocal all night, rushed to meet the incoming players and the party was on.

And then the party was off, as Nooksack came out to open the fourth set and played its best ball of the night.

Through three sets, Coupeville had won 69 points to 68 from the Pioneers, but things took a sickening turn as Nooksack surged out to a 15-6 lead.

Other than one spike on which Emma Smith cranked it up and opened a can of whup-ass on the ball, it was shaping up as a set to forget, or, maybe, one in which you take the film, burn it, and bury it in a landfill.

But, as they proved all season, these Wolves are resilient.

After a Nooksack serve sailed so long it almost left the gym, Coupeville handed the ball to Scout Smith, and the splendid setter promptly went off on the longest run on serve of any player, on either team, all night.

With some help from Prescott, who won a mid-air tip battle, forcing the ball up and over her rival’s hand, a little scrambling defense from a charged-up Menges and a lot of mashin’ by Emma Smith, the Wolves ran off seven straight points.

Scout Smith did most of her damage by making sure she kept her serves in play, then relying on her team’s attack, but “Scooter” also zipped one ace which ripped skin off of a Nooksack player’s unlucky hand.

The comeback, as unexpected and inspired as it was, never fully got over the hump, however.

Coupeville, which was being waxed, got back within a single point three times, with the final time coming at 17-16, but couldn’t regain the lead.

To give credit where it’s due, it wasn’t Wolf errors which denied them down the stretch in the fourth frame, but Nooksack winners.

The Pioneers came with everything they had, and it was just a little more than CHS wanted to give up.

And that was how the fifth, and final, set went down as well.

Toomey-Stout lashed a looping, curling streak of lightning that bit off the back end of the line for a winner, Davidson had yet another tip winner and Coupeville’s senior duo went out battling with everything they had.

Down 12-9 in a race to 15 points, the Wolves forced a 13-13 tie with Emma Smith and Menges firing serves which resulted in the final Wolf points of the season, and their stellar careers.

The stage was set for an emotional finale, and the teams delivered.

Two final plays, rallies which went back-and-forth and sucked the oxygen out of lungs on both sides of the net, and then it was over.

One team cried with joy, one group of fans screamed with glee.

If we knew the Nooksack girls personally, knew their stories, their hopes and dreams and plans for the future, and if their joy didn’t come at the expense of our town’s young women, it would probably be easy to be happy for them.

The Pioneers played their hearts out. They earned their win.

But this isn’t Nooksack Sports.

The team I watched play all season hails from Coupeville, and while I wanted a win for them, I also know this loss isn’t the end.

The 12 young women on this Wolf volleyball team are too talented, too bright, outgoing and intelligent, too full of potential, to have the rest of their lives defined by one volleyball match.

When they look back, in a few days, in a few months, in a few years, after they have conquered other worlds, and are achieving great things, I hope they remember several things.

What it felt like to be part of a team playing as one, each young woman pushing themselves to their limits, and sometimes beyond.

Playing through taped-up hands, hurting knees, aching backs, refusing to bend no matter the name on the front of the other team’s jersey.

The times and moments that were yours and only yours, that didn’t belong to the fans, or the parents, or your classmates.

The time spent on buses, on ferries, late-night trips when it was just you and your coaches and the bus driver, slashing through the night.

Tuesday night, as the team headed home, the bus stopped at a mall and the Wolves took over the food court, bouncing between Panda Express, Two Guys Burgers and Subway.

There were tears, there were giggles, there was sadness in a season ending, in the high school volleyball careers of Menges and Emma Smith coming to a close.

But there was also pride, in individual accomplishment and team achievement, and there was a closeness you don’t see with every team.

As they strolled back to their bus, dodging rain drops, but clumped together, forever a team, and not just a random group of individuals, one thing was obvious.

I was watching winners walk away, and no scoreboard will ever change that.

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Maya Toomey-Stout rises and destroys. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Ashley Menges flies the friendly skies.

The Wolf student section is a group of many moods.

Hannah Davidson delivers a killer tip.

The rampagin’ Vick sisters, Raven (left) and Willow, wait to destroy another team.

Steve Kiel, the mack daddy of CHS volleyball.

Jaimee Masters gets the offense set up.

Peytin Vondrak (left) and Ema Smith, artistic smack talkers.

Right back at it.

Less than 24 hours after playing King’s Tuesday, the Coupeville High School volleyball squad was back on the floor Wednesday to face Sultan.

And right there, along with them, was travelin’ paparazzi to the stars John Fisken, who made it two nights in a row in Cow Town.

The pics above are courtesy him. To see everything he shot, pop over to:


When you do, remember that any purchases help fund scholarships for CHS senior student/athletes. Circle of life depends on you.

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