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Wolf senior Alita Blouin played strongly Wednesday in her final high school volleyball matches. (Bailey Thule photo)

“They’re a special, special group.”

Coupeville High School volleyball coach Cory Whitmore walked away from the bi-district tourney Wednesday proud of the effort his team brought to their final matches.

The Wolves won’t advance to the state tourney, as they fell to three-time defending 2B champ La Conner in the final, after upending Northwest Christian of Lacey in the night’s opening match, but that doesn’t take any of the shine off what CHS accomplished.

“There is just so much to say about how this incredible team finished their season,” Whitmore said. “So much fight, so much heart and a lot of belief.

“When we started the season, we talked a lot about making sure that we were peaking and playing our best at the right time, and we can without a doubt walk away knowing we did just that.”

With the split at bi-districts, Coupeville finishes 10-6, nabbing double-digit wins for the sixth time in seven seasons under Whitmore’s guidance.

The only time the Wolves failed to reach that mark? That was 2020, when Covid shortened the season to just nine matches.

While the Wolves lose seniors Alita Blouin, Jill Prince, Maddie Georges, Taygin Jump, and Ryanne Knoblich, six of the other eight girls to see varsity action this season were just sophomores.

How Wednesday played out:

 

Northwest Christian:

Coupeville dominated at the net, picking up six block assists and a solo block in a 25-18, 25-16, 25-15 win.

Northwest Christian entered the night at 12-3 and was the top seed from District 2, but the Wolves showed no fear.

“We took a little bit to find our groove in the first set, going back and forth with the Wolverines,” Whitmore said. “But we did a great job of finding a way to get loose and create separation.

“Our passing was so strong all night and this allowed us to get our middles going.”

Wolf junior Grey Peabody “was so efficient and big at the net” as she pounded out 10 kills on 19 swings.

Coupeville also dropped daggers from the service stripe, ripping off 13 aces with just four errors.

Georges paced the Wolves, peppering Northwest Christian with five aces, while Jump and Madison McMillan added three apiece.

“Northwest Christian never let up and we had to earn our points,” Whitmore said. “It was a great way to start out district play.”

Maddie Georges bows out after a stellar four-year run. (Bailey Thule photo)

 

La Conner:

The Wolves struggled to contain the Braves power hitters during their regular-season matchups, but Wednesday night they stood tall.

La Conner eventually escaped with a 25-21, 25-19, 25-13 win, but Braves coach Suzanne Marble, wrapping her 30th, and final, season at the school, offered praise for the Wolves in the Skagit Valley Herald.

“Coupeville came out with everything they had,” Marble said. “And we had a rough time getting in a groove.”

With nothing to lose, and only one ticket to state in play this year for Districts 1 and 2 — it’ll be two next season — the Wolves brought the heat.

“I’m so proud of this team for their performance, and while it didn’t end the way we hoped, we played them tougher than we ever have,” Whitmore said.

“Our gameplan was to take aggressive swings, push them back with our serves and make sure to create chaos on their side, allowing us to dig up as much as we could – the girls did just that.”

Regardless of which players were on the floor at any given time, the Wolves showed grit and determination.

“Everyone really filled their roles and adjusted when we needed them to,” Whitmore said. “La Conner had to really earn their points this time – we averaged 14.6 digs per set, which is big time against a team like that; I’m so proud of our tenacity.”

“From those digs and strong passing, we averaged 11 kills per set,” he added.

“And like I said before, I’m just so proud of the improvement and we played our best when our best was needed.”

The end of a season almost always means players are leaving, and Whitmore will look back fondly on this year’s veterans.

“There is just so much to say about our five outgoing seniors,” he said. “They have worked so incredibly hard with me to build the culture that we have now and I’m so grateful to them and their families.

“All five came up big last night but they have been coming up big for years now, and I am going to miss them like crazy.

“They leave a huge impact on our younger players and a tone that will help us continue to push and build.”

 

Wednesday stats:

Alita Blouin — 1 kill, 28 digs, 3 assists, 2 aces
Mia Farris — 7 kills, 1 dig
Maddie Georges — 1 kill, 12 digs, 52 assists, 8 aces, 1 block assist
Taygin Jump — 2 kills, 10 digs, 3 aces
Ryanne Knoblich — 14 kills, 10 digs, 1 ace, 1 block assist
Katie Marti — 2 digs, 1 ace
Madison McMillan — 5 kills, 9 digs, 3 aces
Grey Peabody — 19 kills, 1 dig, 2 block assists, 1 solo block
Jill Prince — 12 kills, 3 digs, 1 block assist
Lyla Stuurmans — 1 kill, 1 dig, 1 block assist

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Cameron Epp gets his head into the game. (Morgan White photo)

They hide on the internet but show up on the field.

It’s nearly impossible to find info on the Summit Atlas boys soccer squad online.

In person however, the Orcas proved to be a quick, slightly chippy group, one which bounced Coupeville from the bi-district playoffs Tuesday night.

Slipping in a pair of goals, while blunting most of the Wolf attacks, Summit Atlas came out on top 2-0 in a game played at Oak Harbor’s Wildcat Memorial Stadium.

The loss ends Coupeville’s season at 5-9, while the Orcas, now 4-1-1, advance to play Mount Vernon Christian Friday, Nov. 4 at Sedro-Woolley High School in a loser-out, winner-to-state clash.

CHS pitch guru Robert Wood watches the action unfold. (Morgan White photo)

Tuesday’s tilt, played on a slightly slick turf field under a hanging patch or two of fog, was one of the few times the Wolves didn’t play on natural grass this season.

That seemed to throw Coupeville off a bit at times, while Summit Atlas looked a little more natural sliding across the pitch.

The Orcas were far from spectacular, but they were efficient, they were willing to bump and grind as long as the refs looked the other way (and they frequently did), and they caught just the right angles on their goals.

There were no thunderbolts, no deftly slapped shots, just two balls — one in each half — which found a small break in the Wolf defense and ended up nestled in the back of the net.

Summit’s first score came in the game’s 11th minute, while its second hit paydirt in the 63rd.

The Orcas kept the majority of the action on Coupeville’s side of the field, allowing their goalie to spend a fair amount of time cooling his heels and hopping around in an effort to stay warm in the slightly chilly early-November air.

Aidan Wilson, who paced Coupeville in scoring during his senior season, had two decent looks at the net, but that was about it for the Wolves.

One of his shots went wide left, while a backwards header while airborne brought a roar from the pro-Wolf crowd but went up and over the crossbar.

While Coupeville’s offensive attack was a bit muted, its defense hung tough, with Preston Epp, Grant Steller, and crew fighting off several Summit charges, in addition to a collection of wayward elbows, hands, and knees.

Grant Steller unleashes a nuclear blast. (Morgan White photo)

Wolf goalie Nick Guay stood tall in the net, blocking several close-range shots and providing calm leadership for the backline.

The playoff game was the final high school soccer contest for CHS seniors Steller, Wilson, Reiley Araceley, and Cameron Epp, but Coupeville can return 12 of 16 player’s next season, including five who scored this fall.

Playing in the toughest 2B/1B league in the state — a conference which includes the defending state champs — the Wolves held up well.

Coupeville beat Friday Harbor, currently ranked #3, and held top-ranked Orcas Island scoreless for the first 30 minutes in a recent game.

As CHS coach Robert Wood and his players build back from the program being nearly shutdown after the pandemic, the Wolves are headed in the right direction.

“I’m very happy with our season, and how we played most of the time this year,” Wood said. “It’s all positive progress.”

 

Final season scoring stats:

Aidan Wilson – 10
Preston Epp – 5
Cameron Epp – 4
Cole White – 3
Reiley Araceley – 2
Nick Guay – 2
Alex Smith – 2
Cael Wilson – 2
Grant Steller – 1

A final group photo op. (Morgan White photo)

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Once she gets her shoe on, Madison McMillan is coming for all the kills. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

CHS coach Cory Whitmore plots strategy.

Three teams, one gym, one ticket to state.

Three-time defending 2B state champ La Conner hosts this year’s District 1/2 volleyball tournament, kicking off the final run of coach Suzanne Marble’s 30-year career.

The event is set for Wednesday, Nov. 2 with Coupeville and Northwest Christian of Lacey attempting to play spoiler, while knowing next season our region gets two slots at the state tournament.

This time around, though, there’s just one berth at stake, making a potential path to success much more dangerous.

The set-up is simple — Coupeville and Northwest Christian play at 5 PM in a loser-out match, with the winner advancing to spar with La Conner at approximately 6:45 for a trip to state.

 

Ticket prices:

Adults or students without ASB – $8
Children (5-12) – $6
Senior Citizen (62+) – $6
Students with ASB – $6

 

Tickets can be purchased in person or online at:

https://gofan.co/app/events/762383?schoolId=WA86277

 

Team capsules:

 

Coupeville

Season record: 9-5

Sets W/L: 31-21

League: Northwest 2B/1B

Trips to state: Five (Most recent: 2017)

Coach: Cory Whitmore

Seniors: Alita Blouin, Maddie Georges, Taygin Jump, Ryanne Knoblich, Jill Prince

Mascot: Wolves

 

La Conner

Season record: 13-3

Sets W/L: 39-9

League: Northwest 2B/1B

Trips to state: 30, including six state titles (Most recent: 2021)

Coach: Suzanne Marble

Seniors: Josie Harper, Makayla Herrera, Ellie Marble, Kennedy Miller

Mascot: Braves

 

Northwest Christian

Season record: 12-3

Sets W/L: 38-20

League: Sea-Tac 1B/2B

Trips to state: Two (Most recent: 2011)

Coach: Jack Lizee

Seniors: Erin Boogerd, Alex Ceniza, Katie Mack

Mascot: Wolverines

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Andrew Williams and CHS soccer host a bi-district playoff game Tuesday night in Oak Harbor. (Morgan White photo)

November kicks off with high-stakes action.

Having won a three-team tiebreaker for a playoff berth, the Coupeville High School boys soccer team hosts Seattle-based Summit Atlas Tuesday, Nov. 1 at Oak Harbor’s Wildcat Memorial Stadium.

Game time for the loser-out bi-district playoff game is 6 PM.

Unlike regular season soccer games, the playoffs require fans to pony up hard-earned cash to gain entrance.

Prices are:

Adults or students without ASB – $8
Children (5-12) – $6
Senior Citizen (62+) – $6
Students with ASB – $6

Tickets can be purchased in person or online at:

https://gofan.co/app/events/760340?schoolId=WA86277

The winner of Tuesday’s game advances to play a road rumble against Mount Vernon Christian in a loser-out/winner-to-state game.

Coupeville sits at 5-8 on the season, while Summit Atlas, which has seemingly done its best to hide athletic info from the internet, may be 3-1-1.

At least that’s what it says on the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association site, though past history teaches us to take WIAA standings with a grain of salt.

Summit Atlas, which uses an Orca as its mascot, is listed as beating Rainier Christian 7-0, Sound Christian 9-0, and Crosspoint Academy 7-1.

A 6-2 loss to Auburn Adventist Academy is Summit’s lone listed defeat, while a 1-1 tie with Concordia Christian Academy likely pleased hardcore soccer fans who lust for pitch stalemates.

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Coupeville’s Ryanne Knoblich is off to the state track and field meet in three events. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Sixteen Wolves are headed to the big dance.

High school track and field state championships will be held for the first time in three years, and Coupeville will be well-represented.

The pandemic erased all spring sports in 2020, before Washington state schools competed in just limited regular season action in 2021.

But now everyone is heading back to Cheney for three days of competition May 26-28, with the lure of state meet medals in the air.

To punch their ticket, the Wolves had to survive the District 1/4 meet Friday in Chehalis, a 21-team mega-rumble.

Coupeville’s boys finished 5th in the team standings, while their female counterparts claimed 11th.

The Rainier boys and Raymond girls finished atop the leaderboard.

“Spectacular showing for the boys!” said CHS coach Elizabeth Bitting.

The day was a long one, but the Wolves held up nicely.

“No matter what kind of day they had, they were all supportive of one another and cheered each other on!” Bitting said. “It was heartwarming!

Aidan Wilson roars out of the blocks.

While the CHS boys put up more points Friday, they faced a stiffer test to advance to state.

Because of a discrepancy in how many 2B schools are competing in track this spring, there will be 16 competitors in each girls event at state, but just 12 boys.

That gave the Wolf girls an advantage Friday, as a top seven performance was state-worthy, while the CHS boys needed to crack the top five to advance.

Coupeville senior Ja’Kenya Hoskins — the only active Wolf to already have a state meet medal in their possession — and junior Ryanne Knoblich qualified for state in three events apiece to top Coupeville.

Hoskins (200, 4 x 100, 4 x 200) and Knoblich (4 x 2, high jump, long jump) will join freshmen Lyla Stuurmans (400, 4 x 2) and Ayden Wyman (4 x 2), sophomore Ava Mitten (4 x 1), and juniors Carolyn Lhamon (shot put, 4 x 1) and Claire Mayne (4 x 1) in Cheney.

Mitten is an alternate for the 4 x 2 unit, a role junior Taygin Jump (4 x 1) and sophomore Issabel Johnson (4 x 1, 4 x 2) also embrace.

Scheduled to make the trip for the Wolf boys are seniors Logan Martin (shot put, discus) and Caleb Meyer (4 x 1), as well as juniors Aidan Wilson (800, 4 x 1), Dominic Coffman (4 x 1, high jump), and Reiley Araceley (4 x 1).

Junior Nick Guay and sophomore Mikey Robinett are alternates for the boys relay squad.

Five of the Wolves are making their second trip to state this school year.

Mayne qualified as a cross country runner in the fall, while Meyer, Coffman, Martin, and Guay played for a CHS basketball team which faced Kalama and Lake Roosevelt at the 2B championships.

 

Complete Bi-District results:

 

GIRLS:

200 — Ja’Kenya Hoskins (6th) 28.73

400 — Lyla Stuurmans (6th) 1:06.86

1600 — Ayden Wyman (14th) 7:24.62

3200 — Cristina McGrath (13th) 15:42.22 *PR*

4 x 100 Relay — Ava Mitten, Claire Mayne, Carolyn Lhamon, Hoskins (4th) 54.49

4 x 200 Relay — Wyman, Stuurmans, Ryanne Knoblich, Hoskins (5th) 2:00.63

Shot Put — Lhamon (4th) 31-00 *PR*; Reese Wilkinson (11th) 26-04 *PR*

Discus — Lhamon (11th) 81-01; Wilkinson (12th) 80-07; Taygin Jump (15th) 69-03

High Jump — Knoblich (4th) 5-00 *PR*; Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson (16th) 4-04

Long Jump — Knoblich (6th) 14-03; Hoskins (12th) 12-05

Triple Jump — McGrath (14th) 27-06.50

Coupeville’s state-bound 4 x 100 relay unit is comprised of (l to r) Ja’Kenya Hoskins, Carolyn Lhamon, Claire Mayne, and Ava Mitten.

 

BOYS:

100 — Caleb Meyer (7th) 11.86; Dominic Coffman (8th) 11.96

200 — Meyer (8th) 24.32

400 — Meyer (6th) 54.12; Aidan Wilson (7th) 54.85

800 — A. Wilson (2nd) 2:07.14 *PR*

1600 — Mitchell Hall (10th) 4:57.11; Carson Field (13th) 5:07.81

3200 — Cameron Epp (7th) 11:14.43 *PR*

110 Hurdles — Reiley Araceley (8th) 18.42

4 x 100 Relay — Araceley, Meyer, A. Wilson, Coffman (3rd) 45.20

Shot Put — Logan Martin (2nd) 45-04

Discus — Martin (2nd) 148-11; Zac Tackett (11th) 111-00 *PR*

Javelin — Hall (15th) 107-09

High Jump — Coffman (5th) 5-08; Nick Guay (8th) 5-06 *PR*; Cael Wilson (13th) 5-02

Long Jump — Coffman (15th) 16-02.75

Triple Jump — A. Wilson (6th) 38-10

Logan Martin is ready to rumble with the big boys.

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