Posts Tagged ‘Castle Rock’

   Hope Lodell (1), here backed by junior Ashley Menges, is one of seven seniors who led CHS volleyball to its first state berth in 13 years. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

   Young fans sent the Wolves off to Yakima in style Thursday. (Susan Wenzel photo)

   Junior Emma Smith made it to state in her third season as a varsity player. (Wenzel photo)

   Sophomores (l to r) Emma Mathusek, Maya Toomey-Stout and Scout Smith are planning repeat trips to Eastern Washington. (Charlotte Young photo)

   Chelsea Prescott was the lone freshman to see varsity action this year. (Wenzel photo)

   Allison Wenzel, one of Coupeville’s seniors, the Magnificent Seven. (Susan Wenzel photo)

   Wenzel’s compatriots are (l to r), manager Kayla Rose, Lodell, Katrina McGranahan, Kyla Briscoe, Payton Aparicio, Lauren Rose and, in front, Mikayla Elfrank. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

From also-ran to powerhouse.

The seven Coupeville High School seniors who capped their volleyball careers Friday at the 1A state tourney in Yakima are responsible for an amazing turnaround.

While the Wolves couldn’t escape from an astonishingly-tough draw which pitted them against three of the state’s top six teams in the “Group of Death,” the spikers finished off their school’s best run in 13 years.

Coupeville took a set from undefeated, sixth-ranked Castle Rock in its opener, before falling 25-8, 22-25, 25-8, 25-9.

The Wolves then found themselves face-to-face with #1 Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls), the defending state champs, who hadn’t lost a set all year until being upended by #4 King’s.

The Eastern Washington juggernaut stayed alive with a 25-12, 25-10, 25-16 win, ending Coupeville’s season at 13-5.

Also headed home from Yakima is fellow Island squad South Whidbey, which lost to Charles Wright Academy and Naches Valley.

King’s plays Lynden Christian in one semifinal Saturday, while Cascade (Leavenworth) meets Chelan, which rallied from down two sets to one to CWA.

While the Wolves will not be hanging a state banner this year, their season stands with the best in program history.

The 13 wins ties the 2004 squad, the last to make it to state, for the most in a single season by a CHS spiker unit.

Along the way, Coupeville won a second-straight Olympic League crown, rolling to a 9-0 conference mark without dropping a set.

Contrast that against 2014, when three of the seven current seniors — Kyla Briscoe, Lauren Rose (and, in a late season cameo) Katrina McGranahan — played for a team which finished 1-11 under Breanne Smedley.

McGranahan, Allison Wenzel, Hope Lodell and Payton Aparicio were the core of a JV team that went 4-5 under Amy King that season during the first year of the then new four-team Olympic League.

As sophomores, Lodell, Aparicio and McGranahan made the full-time jump to varsity, and the Wolves improved to 6-10, including a district playoff win on their home floor against Seattle Christian.

The JV was the first to break through to a winning record, as Heidi Wyman guided the 2015 team to a 7-4 mark.

The big jump came in 2016, with Wenzel moving up to varsity and Mikayla Elfrank arriving from South Whidbey to make it a seven-pack.

Actually six, since a leg injury sidelined big-hitting Briscoe all season.

With Cory Whitmore sliding into the head coaching job after Smedley returned to her alma mater in Columbia River, the Wolves went 11-6, including an 8-1 run to capture a league title.

Kristin Bridges, making it three JV coaches in as many seasons, went 12-2 and the ascent continued.

For those who didn’t think there was much room left to improve, well, you were wrong.

This season Whitmore’s varsity, for the first time featuring all seven Class of 2018 spikers together on the same roster, zipped through a 12-2 regular season, then split two matches at districts.

A win over Cascade Christian, the school which knocked it out of the playoffs two years earlier, sent the Wolves back to Yakima.

And the JV?

Playing for new coach Chris Smith, with the help of now veteran assistant Ashley Herndon (the only coach to be on scene all four years), went 12-1.

That bodes well for the Wolves, who will have seven open roster spots when they return to chase a third-straight league crown and another trip to Yakima.

For the moment, though, the spotlight firmly remains on the splendid senior class, which includes five girls who came within a single strike of making it to state in softball last season.

This time, they broke through, and did it in style.

Read Full Post »

   Hot-serving Katrina McGranahan is one of seven seniors on this year’s state-bound Coupeville High School volleyball squad. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

   After missing her junior year with a leg injury, Kyla Briscoe returned to play a key role in the Wolves success.

Welcome to the Group of Death.

Coupeville’s first trip to the state volleyball tournament in 13 years comes with one small caveat — spikes are about to fly.

But, survive the beginning, and the finale could be sweet.

The 16-team, double-elimination tourney opens Friday with two matches for each team, and the Wolves companions are the deadliest to be found.

Coupeville’s block of four teams includes both remaining undefeated schools, including the defending state champs, who HAVEN’T LOST A SET THIS SEASON … and some rich, private school you all might remember named King’s.

The Wolves won at least one match in all four of their previous trips to the big dance, between 2001-2004.

To keep that going, though, they will have to play their best volleyball of the season.

The opening foe (3:15 PM Friday) is Castle Rock, which arrives bearing a 16-0 mark.

The Rockets were the regular-season champs of the six-team 1A Trico League, which also sends La Center to state.

Castle Rock captured the title at the District 4 tourney, with wins over King’s Way Christian and the aforementioned La Center, earning its 25th trip to state.

In their previous visits, the Rockets have emerged as state champs three times — 1987, 1993 and 2012. They were runner-ups in 1983, 2008 and 2011, as well.

Win or lose, Coupeville is guaranteed a second match Friday night, and that foe will either be former Cascade Conference rival King’s, or the hottest team in 1A currently, Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls).

The Knights, a longtime thorn in the side of the Wolves until CHS jumped to the Olympic League in 2014, are 15-2.

King’s only losses came to 2A Archbishop Thomas Murphy, a defeat it avenged late in the season, and fellow 1A power Lynden Christian.

That loss to the Lyncs kept the Knights from claiming a bi-district title, but they rebounded to drill Meridian to earn their 16th trip to the big dance.

Back-to-back state titles in 2008 and 2009 are the benchmark for King’s spiker program.

But while the Knights are undoubtedly top-drawer, they have a huge obstacle in front of them in Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls), which hails from Spokane.

After winning three straight state titles from 1999-2001, the Eagles captured their fourth championship in 2016, and are now back to take their 13th crack at the big dance.

Last year’s title win came against Lynden Christian, preventing the Lyncs from winning a third-straight championship.

While plowing through the eight-team 1A Northeast League, which also sends Freeman to state, Lakeside has been absolutely, positively perfect, winning all 48 sets it has played this season.

With Coupeville a tidy 13-3 itself, its four-team bracket carries a combined record of 60-5, a .923 winning percentage which far outweighs the other three groups.

Whidbey Island’s other state-bound team, South Whidbey, is joined by Charles Wright Academy, Chelan and Naches Valley, and their combined .761 winning percentage (54-17) is the lowest of any group of four.

The other two pods are 58-9 (.866) — La Center, Cascade, Kiona-Benton and Overlake — and 53-15 (.779) — Freeman, Lynden Christian, Bellevue Christian and Goldendale.

A breakdown of what’s coming this weekend:

What: 1A state volleyball tourney.

When: Friday and Saturday, Nov. 10-11

Where: Yakima Valley SunDome (1301 S Fair Ave)

Admission (all day/all tournament):

Adult — $11/$19
Student — $9/$15
Senior Citizen (62+) — $9/$15
Child (under 5) — Free


Team capsules:



Season record: 13-3

League finish: #1 in 1A Olympic League

Sets W/L: 40-10

Coach: Cory Whitmore

Mascot: Wolves


Bellevue Christian:

Season record: 12-5

League finish: #2 in 1A Nisqually League

Sets W/L: 37-18

Coach: Jenna Bronson

Mascot: Vikings



Season record: 14-1

League finish: #1 in 1A Caribou Trail League

Sets W/L: 42-5

Coach: Marni McMahon

Mascot: Kodiaks


Castle Rock:

Season record: 16-0

League finish: #1 in 1A Trico League

Sets W/L: 48-9

Coach: Jeana Bayes

Mascot: Rockets


Charles Wright Academy:

Season record: 13-4

League finish: #1 in 1A Nisqually League

Sets W/L: 42-18

Coach: Mindy McGrath

Mascot: Tarriers



Season record: 12-4

League finish: #2 in 1A Caribou Trail League

Sets W/L: 39-13

Coach: Jenifer Rainville

Mascot: Mountain Goats



Season record: 14-3

League finish: #2 in 1A Northeast League

Sets W/L: 42-10

Coach: Eva Windlin-Jansen

Mascot: Scotties



Season record: 12-5

League finish: #3 in 1A SCAC West

Sets W/L: 42-24

Coach: Jodi Bellamy

Mascot: Timberwolves



Season record: 15-2

League finish: #1 (tie) in 1A/2A Cascade Conference

Sets W/L: 46-10

Coach: Jeff Fransen

Mascot: Knights



Season record: 15-2

League finish: #1 (tie) in 1A SCAC East

Sets W/L: 44-10

Coach: Jolene Calzadillas

Mascot: Bears


La Center:

Season record: 14-5

League finish: #2 in 1A Trico League

Sets W/L: 47-21

Coach: Cymany OBrien

Mascot: Wildcats


Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls):

Season record: 16-0

League finish: #1 in 1A Northeast League

Sets W/L: 48-0

Coach: Kara Moffatt

Mascot: Eagles


Lynden Christian:

Season record: 15-2

League finish: #3 in 1A/2A/3A Northwest Conference

Sets W/L: 49-12

Coach: Kim Grycel

Mascot: Lyncs


Naches Valley:

Season record: 14-4

League finish: #1 in 1A SCAC West

Sets W/L: 46-20

Coach: Sherri Partlow

Mascot: Rangers



Season record: 15-2

League finish: #1 in 1A Emerald City League

Sets W/L: 46-11

Coach: Justice Magraw

Mascot: Owls


South Whidbey:

Season record: 15-5

League finish: #3 in 1A/2A Cascade Conference

Sets W/L: 50-15

Coach: Mandy Jones

Mascot: Falcons




Read Full Post »