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Senior captain Scout Smith delivered 22 assists and four service aces Saturday as Coupeville volleyball mashed Chimacum, improving to 3-0 on the season. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Maddie “The Mad Masher” Vondrak rattles the gym (and the soul of every rival player) with a knee-buckling spike. (Photo by Brian Vick)

Maddie Vondrak was on fire. Maybe literally.

At one point during her torrid performance Saturday afternoon, the Coupeville High School junior stepped back after smashing another wicked spike and fanned herself.

Now, maybe it was just that the gym was a little warm on a summer-like day and she had been bouncing around like a wild woman.

Or, maybe it was that Vondrak, who introduced her fists to Chimacum, did a mic check on both of them, then unleashed holy hell on the Cowboys, was so red-hot she was burning up from the inside out.

Probably the second choice.

Either way, with Vondrak and her teammates mashin’ the ever-livin’ crud out of the ball, Coupeville strolled to a straight-sets win in its home opener, improving to a flawless 3-0 on the season.

The non-conference victory, coming on the heels of victories at Friday Harbor and Anacortes, was fast, brutal, and a lot of fun for the Wolf fans who wandered in to the gym to see a show.

It played out to a crisp ‘n tasty 25-11, 25-12, 25-5 tune, full of lightning bolts disguised as service aces, and big, booming put-aways from a Wolf unit which utterly dominated at the net.

It started early in the first set, with Zoe Trujillo and Hannah Davidson delivering winners which blistered the skin of their rivals as they zinged by, smashed into the floor, then skidded out the side door.

Trujillo’s laser tore a chunk out of a Chimacum player’s unfortunate fingers, while Davidson’s blast crushed the back-line, tearing off flecks of paint as it shot away from the Cowboy defense.

Davidson, a volleyball and basketball standout who is rumored to be considering a return to softball for her senior swan song, was on point all afternoon from the service stripe, as well.

She turned the match from a semi-close affair to the start of a romp with her first run at the line, turning a 9-7 advantage into a 15-7 lead.

One ace was as artful as it was unexpected, a high, looping serve which touched the heavens (or the gym roof, at least), then dropped between two Chimacum players, kissing the floor with a gentle, happy plop.

Not that the power show was gone for long, as Vondrak flung herself skyward to reject a Cowboy return of a Davidson serve, with the ensuing spike slamming into the floor with the sound of a melon hitting the pavement after being thrown from the top of the Empire State Building.

At which point Vondrak whirled to the side, did a little bounce, a stamp on the floor as her teammates converged on her, then another twirl back around, a death mask slipping back down her face to hide the smile she otherwise wears 99.992% of the time.

Chimacum played the remainder of the match — it was in their contract — but the Cowboys were a lot more gun-shy after that, staying safely back from the net whenever possible.

Vondrak, hunched over, arms twirling, ready to unleash hot death ‘n destruction, stared straight ahead, her unspoken thoughts fairly easy to read from the stands.

“You can run, my little Cowboys, but you can’t hide. Mamma’s coming back and she’s bringing spankings for every one of you!!”

The second set was a lot more of what folks saw in the first.

Chimacum stayed competitive for a few points, continued to show a lot of hustle, but had no way of dealing with the laser show erupting from the other side of the net.

When it wasn’t Vondrak or Davidson, it was Maya Toomey-Stout sprinting around the court, then erupting skyward to unleash her own version of scorched Earth.

Or, Chelsea Prescott gliding in from the sides, dropping the hammer of the gods.

Or, Scout Smith, in mid-air, about to drop another perfect set-up for a teammate, and then, instead, corkscrewing her body while in flight, defying the physical laws of the universe itself and flicking a lil’ winner over the net and into an impossibly-small hole in the defense.

Everyone on the floor for the Wolves chipped in with something special, with Willow Vick, Lucy Sandahl and Raven Vick coming off the bench to peg sweet serves, while Kylie Chernikoff and Lucy Tenore, the net-minders of the future, displayed their own skills at slappin’ spikes.

If the first two sets had moments when things seemed sort of balanced between the teams, the third and final frame was all Coupeville, all the time.

Smith opened the set by running off nine straight points on her serve, before Prescott came around to deliver her own nine-point assault on Chimacum.

Up 19-1 at one point, the Wolves looked for their entertainment by upping the difficulty on some plays.

Coming hot on the heels of smashes from Toomey-Stout, who hung in the air for an impossible amount of time before zinging a winner, and Vondrak, who scorched the hardwood with her kill, CHS pulled off the rally of the afternoon.

It started with Smith running full-tilt off the right side of the court for save #1, picked up momentum when Emma Mathusek flung herself across the floor for save #2, then finished with Toomey-Stout delivering the coup de grâce.

Roaring in to drive the final stake home, “The Gazelle” hit the ball so hard, if it didn’t pop, then a whole bunch of ear drums surely did.

And yet, with a match full of so much fury, the actual final point was a quiet, graceful one, with Prescott, moving like a ballet dancer, dropping an artfully-placed tip which found its resting place and refused to be returned.

Whether they used fury or grace, or some of both, the Wolf spikers filled up the stat sheet.

Vondrak finished with a team-high 10 kills, without a single error, which brought a particularly big smile to the face of Coupeville coach Cory Whitmore.

Prescott and Toomey-Stout chipped in with six kills apiece, while Mathusek (six digs), Davidson (six aces), and Vondrak (two solo blocks) topped other individual categories.

For Whitmore, the win was sweet, but the development of his players, both on and off the court, was bigger.

The Wolves hosted young volleyball players at a kids clinic earlier in the day, then ate lunch with the girls who will one day inherit their CHS uniforms.

Once on the floor, they seized momentum and pushed their advantages.

“We’re trying to develop the hitter/setter connection; we want to use a varied offense and be able to attack from multiple places and different directions,” Whitmore said. “We’re definitely making progress on that.

“It was also nice to see how the players responded to running the clinic,” he added. “It all made for a good Saturday – not a bad day at all.”

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Coupeville boys basketball, which boasts nine players who will be seniors this coming season, went 5-0 this weekend, winning the Crescent Classic. (Mindy Grove photo)

The underclassmen join the action. (Photo courtesy Brad Sherman)

Right now, at this moment in time, they’re undefeated.

The high school boys basketball season is still months and months away, but that’s not stopping Coupeville from getting after it.

Prepping for an upcoming team camp, the Wolves traveled off-Island this weekend, and returned home as Crescent Classic champs.

Coupeville, facing off with Chimacum, Forks, and the host team, went 5-0 to nab the title.

Having traveled 154.8 miles round-trip to Crescent, the Wolves earned a win for every 31 miles.

CHS coach Brad Sherman had his full team at his disposal, with all nine returning full-time varsity players in attendance.

That group includes Jacobi Pilgrim, Jered Brown, Hawthorne Wolfe, Jean Lund-Olsen, Gavin Knoblich, Ulrik Wells, Mason Grove, Koa Davison, and Sean Toomey-Stout.

Also along for the trip were Daniel Olson and Xavier Murdy, who were swing players during the 2018-2019 season, and Tucker Hall.

After a season in which Coupeville had just one senior, the now-graduated Dane Lucero, the Wolves could boast nine 12th graders this winter.

The only underclassmen in the current varsity group are Olson, who will be a junior, and Wolfe and Murdy, who will be sophomores.

Their coach came away from the trip pleased with the results, and, more importantly, thrilled with the effort he saw from his players.

“Was a good opportunity for our guys to get out and play before camp,” Sherman said. “Good team basketball; really great team effort.”

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Noelle Daigneault teamed with Katelin McCormick Wednesday, playing strongly at #4 doubles. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The Cowboys got a bit of revenge.

A year ago, almost to the day, the Coupeville High School girls tennis team nipped Chimacum 4-3 in the regular season finale, clinching a fourth-straight 1A Olympic League title.

Jump forward to Wednesday, and this time it was the Cowboys who prevailed 4-3, albeit it in a clash with a lot smaller stakes.

With Coupeville now in the North Sound Conference, the trip to Chimacum was the one, and only, non-conference match on the schedule this season.

Now 2-5, the Wolves travel to Granite Falls Thursday, where they’ll play a match-and-a-half against the Tigers.

The two teams need to finish a match postponed by rain, before playing their season finale.

After that, both schools will join South Whidbey, Friday Harbor, and King’s at the district tourney May 7-8.

 

Complete Wednesday results:

 

Varsity:

1st Singles — Genna Wright beat Makaela Caskey 6-1, 6-2

2nd Singles — Jillian Mayne lost to Madison Hess 7-6(7-4), 6-1

3rd Singles — Elaira Nicolle lost to Denise Lopez 6-1, 6-0

1st Doubles — Tia Wurzrainer/Avalon Renninger lost to Renee Woods/Grace Yaley 6-4, 7-5

2nd Doubles — Eryn Wood/Emily Fiedler beat Mika Briggs/Olivia Mattern 7-6(8-6), 6-1

3rd Doubles — Jaimee Masters/Abby Mulholland beat Isabel Hill/Sophia Arnovitz 6-1, 6-3

4th Doubles — Katelin McCormick/Noelle Daigneault lost to Sophia Patterson/Tiffany Bell 6-4, 6-0

 

JV:

5th Doubles — Cecilia Camarena/Bruna Moratori beat Jaden Long/Caitlin Boyd 7-6(7-4)

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Matt Hilborn had Coupeville’s lone hit Monday in a loss to Chimacum. (Photo by Karen Carlson)

The bats need to wake up.

The Coupeville High School baseball team has put together solid stretches of pitching this season, played some inspired defense, and are nailing most of the intangibles.

But the Wolves just can’t score.

After a closer than it probably sounds 7-1 non-conference home loss Monday to Chimacum, Coupeville has the same number of losses as runs scored this season.

That number is six, and when you average a run per game, it’s not especially surprising to be sitting at 0-6.

“We have solid hitters, but the bats are just sleeping right now,” said CHS coach Chris Smith.

“I always say, if you can score seven runs, you’re probably going to win at least 75% of your games at the high school level,” he added. “Score one run and…”

He trailed off then, as the rain drops began to fall on the prairie, before immediately bouncing back with his customary high energy and positive attitude.

Talk of getting a chicken and reenacting a Major League-style curse breaker on his player’s bats brought a smile to Smith’s face and a chuckle from his assistant coaches.

And it’s true.

While Coupeville is still adapting to having lost eight seniors to graduation after a 15-6 season, this year’s roster does have players with pop in their bats, such as Matt Hilborn, Jake Pease, and Dane Lucero.

And there were multiple times Monday when it seemed the Wolves were about to break through, about to crack things open against their former league rivals.

But, it wasn’t to be, as a few few timely hits from Chimacum’s bottom of the order hitters fractured a pitcher’s duel.

“That’s the kind of timeliness of hitting we’re looking for over here,” Smith said. “We did a nice job with our bunt game today; our “small ball” game is really working, but we just haven’t been getting the kind of big hits we need.”

After both teams pushed across a run in their half of the first inning, the teams carried that 1-1 tie all the way until the top of the fifth.

Chimacum got on the board first, thanks to a two-out error on a high, arcing ball which banged off a retreating infielder’s glove as it plunged down into no man’s land between second base and center field.

Given new life, the Cowboys plated their runner with a steal followed by a sharp RBI single back up the middle.

Coupeville promptly answered, with Hilborn walking, taking second on an impeccable sacrifice bunt from Hawthorne Wolfe, then coming around to score after the Cowboy catcher airmailed a throw into center on a botched pick-off.

Lucero was humming on the mound, whiffing six through the first four innings, while getting a bit of help from his defense.

Mason Grove, making his first start of the season at catcher in place of Gavin Knoblich, who was out of state at his grandparent’s 45th wedding anniversary celebration, came up big in the third.

Popping up from behind the plate, Grove whipped a strike down the line to Pease at third base to nail a Cowboy who mistakenly thought he might steal the bag.

Mason going in to play at what is a big, big position, I thought he handled himself well,” Smith said. “I’m proud of how he played out there.”

Grove’s sniper act was immediately followed by Daniel Olson making a superb stab on a ball hit deep into the hole at second, then spinning and flicking the ball to Wolf first-baseman Ulrik Wells for the wham-bam out.

But, while Lucero and Co. were stifling the Chimacum bats, the same thing was happening on the other side of things.

Coupeville’s one, and only hit of the day, came when Hilborn beat out an infield single in the bottom of the fifth.

It could have been his second base-knock, but one at-bat before he had been brutally denied by the same ump.

Missing his seeing-eye dog, the man in blue was the only person in the stadium to believe the Chimacum first-baseman tagged Hilborn as he shot by trying to beat out another infield chopper.

Unable to generate much offense, Coupeville hung tough until the fifth, when one well-placed hit, and some luck, let the Cowboys crack the game open.

Two of the three Chimacum hitters to reach base in the inning did so thanks to judgement calls in which the ump felt the Cowboy hitter beat the throw to first by a (very small) hair.

The third hit was legitimate, though, a rocket to right which capped a game-busting three-run rally.

Lucero closed strongly, coming back to notch strikeouts #7 and #8, with the first one coming after the Wolf hurler dug himself into a 3-0 hole on the count.

Chimacum added another three-spot on the scoreboard in the sixth to ice things, but Lucero and freshman reliever Cody Roberts, who tossed 1.2 innings of scoreless ball, made the Cowboys work for everything.

Olson gave a big helping hand to Roberts, pulling off a double play to end the sixth.

The sophomore second-bagger slid to his left to spear a liner, then doubled a straying Chimacum runner off of first to slam the door shut.

While Coupeville only had the one hit, it did put runners on base almost every inning, thanks to six walks.

Shane Losey scampered to first base twice after winning a battle of wills with Cowboy hurlers, while Hilborn, Pease, Lucero, and Bryce Payne each walked once.

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Aram Leyva uses his Jedi mind skills to freeze the soccer ball in place. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.com)

Sage Downes sends the ball away with a smile and a whispered “You can do it!”

Snoozing in the pre-game sunshine.

Back in action after recovering from a broken foot, Alex Jimenez smokes a pass across the field.

“Well, I’m just saying, if you’d listen to me the first time, maybe we wouldn’t be having this same conversation for the seventh time…”

Owen Barenburg, and the mightiest crop of hair in Wolf Nation, stretch out.

Having heard about the rascally deer who went viral after interrupting a CHS football game this fall, Mr. Whiskers makes his run for internet glory.

Sam Wynn, using the speed he honed as a cross country runner, leads the attack.

Maybe it really is spring.

Maybe…

The Coupeville High School boys soccer squad opened a new season Saturday afternoon, throwing down goals against Chimacum under what looked suspiciously like blue skies and sunshine.

As any battle-hardened Central Whidbey sports fan will tell you, that can’t possibly be true, as “spring” sports in Cow Town are almost always accompanied by sideways rain and howling wind.

But, for the moment at least, the photos don’t lie.

To see everything John Fisken shot before he skipped town and headed back to Oak Harbor, pop over to:

https://www.johnsphotos.net/Sports/Coupeville-Soccer-2018-2019/BS-2019-03-09-vs-Chimacum/

And remember, any purchases help fund scholarships for two CHS senior student/athletes. So, you give some, and some comes back.

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