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Posts Tagged ‘Cory Whitmore’

Start playing volleyball young, and you might be as good as Raven Vick when you hit high school. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Love volleyball and are currently a 4th, 5th, or 6th grader in the Coupeville School District?

Then do I have a deal for you!

Coupeville High School coaches and players are bringing back the ultra-popular Wolf Pup Volleyball program for a third go-round this spring, and they want you to join them in the gym.

The event runs across six weeks, with two-a-week practices for young athletes looking to have fun and learn the fastest-growing sport in town.

Cost is $50 per player, with payment due on the first day of practice, which breaks down to a hair over $4 a pop if you hit every day.

Though CHS varsity volleyball coach Cory Whitmore is quick to stress the number of practices each athlete attends is completely optional.

If your child is involved in other activities or sports, volleyball is flexible.

“If they’re only available for one of the two days a week, that’s perfectly fine,” Whitmore said. “We are just looking to introduce eager young players hoping to learn and play the game!”

Practices run Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-6 PM in the Coupeville Middle School gym.

Planned sessions are April 14, 16, 21, 23, 28, and 30, as well as May 5, 7, 12, 14, 19, and 21.

Each day will feature drills to teach the players various skills, followed by fun and competitive games at the end of each session.

All money raised by Wolf Pups goes to enhance the CHS volleyball program.

Players need to be registered by April 7, which you can do by popping over to https://bit.ly/3adpIuo

For any questions, contact Whitmore at cwhitmore@coupeville.k12.wa.us or (509) 347-6301.

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Coupeville senior Scout Smith, the ultimate warrior. (Charlotte Young photo)

Embrace the good times…

and remember the joy. (Brian Vick photos)

There was pain in the thousand-yard stares, in the slump of their shoulders, in the shiners under their eyes.

But there was pride, too.

Strong, feisty, whip-smart, deeply committed to each other, in good times and rough times, Coupeville’s varsity volleyball players were undone, but unbowed.

They were battered, exhausted, numb, trapped in an unfair ending to what has been a brilliant season.

But they never took a knee. They stood tall, as individuals and a team, united for life.

The eight splendid seniors on the Coupeville High School volleyball squad, their four fast-rising underclassmen teammates, and their coaching staff, didn’t get the reward they deserved Tuesday night.

A team which tied the program’s single-season win record fell twice in day two of the District 1 tournament, nipped in a pair of five-set thrillers in which the Wolves actually won more points than both their foes.

Up two sets to one in both matches, Coupeville couldn’t hold on against either dangerous Meridian or plucky Sultan, and fell just short of advancing to bi-districts.

The hurt is real, physical and emotional.

Speaking as an admittedly biased observer, the Wolves deserved to keep playing.

They left every last ounce of sweat on the court this season, fought with everything they had in their hearts and souls, both Tuesday and in the two months leading up to the finale.

Finishing 14-5, the 2019 Wolves tie the 2004 CHS squad for wins.

That they didn’t get to 15 victories stings.

But it doesn’t erase everything which came before.

It can’t, because these young women are too strong, too talented.

This season, this high school volleyball experience, was a huge part of their lives. The mix of joy and pain will be with them for a very long time.

Scout Smith. Zoe Trujillo. Maya Toomey-Stout. Willow Vick. Hannah Davidson. Raven Vick. Emma Mathusek. Lucy Sandahl. Lucy Tenore. Kylie Chernikoff. Chelsea Prescott. Maddie Vondrak.

Twelve young women who soared athletically.

Twelve young women who helped take their program to new heights, on and off the floor.

Twelve young women who reached out to the next generation of Coupeville spikers, through clinics and through the positive image they showcased each time they pulled on their Wolf uniforms.

Twelve young women, who I hope can embrace the words of their head coach, Cory Whitmore.

“We had a beautiful season, and our seniors had beautiful careers. I hope they remember the success they had and think of it fondly, instead of being fixated on how it ended.”

It was a season in which the Wolves went 8-2 in North Sound Conference play, losing only to undefeated King’s, claiming second-place in the six-team league for a second consecutive year.

Coupeville also prospered despite a lopsided schedule which sent it on the road for 11 of 19 matches, finishing a very-strong 9-2 in road rumbles.

The season ended for the Wolves in their own gyms, backed by the roar of a packed, pro-Coupeville crowd.

In the end, CHS held a 206-184 edge in points Tuesday, beating Sultan 107-89 and Meridian 99-95. It wasn’t enough, however.

Meridian, which hails from the always-tough 1A/2A/3A Northwest Conference, is led by splendid sophomore setter Malaysia Smith (daughter of former CHS boys basketball coach Anthony Smith), and upset Lynden Christian, the #4 ranked team in 1A, earlier this season.

And yet the Wolves almost took them down, before falling 25-22, 13-25, 17-25, 25-17, 15-10.

The opening frame set the tone for the match, with both teams swinging from their heels, swapping leads and highlight reel-worthy plays.

There were seven ties, the final at 21-21, and Coupeville had a four-point lead halfway through the set.

Sparked by a beautiful tip winner off of Davidson’s dangerous fingers, followed by back-to-back Earth-shaking kills by Trujillo, the Wolves were rumbling.

Meridian chased down a lot of shots which seemed like sure winners, however, and fought back to take the lead.

Proving they could also employ a bold, never-say-die style, the Wolves got a wicked service ace from Raven Vick, which crawled up a rival player’s arm and kissed her violently on the cheek as it skidded past.

Trujillo was playing out of her mind in the opening set, coming up with a sizzlin’ batch of kills, with the most electrifying one staving off a set point.

While Meridian escaped with a first-set win, Coupeville seized control of the match after that, using long, successful runs at the service line from Raven Vick, Toomey-Stout, and Prescott to thrash Meridian in the second frame.

Prescott, just recently returned to action after missing a month with a leg injury, ripped off eight straight points on her serve to ice the set.

She got some help from her teammates, with Smith making a spectacular save while flat on the floor, and Mathusek pulling another ball off the top of her shoelaces to keep a point alive.

With the crowd getting louder, and Meridian showing signs of cracking, the Wolves pushed their advantage in the third set, mixing zingers on their serve with mighty blasts on their kills.

Maddie Vondrak, living up to the potential nickname of “The Mad Masher,” abused the volleyball, then danced away, grinning and pumping her hands in the air, while Toomey-Stout flat-out knocked the air out of the orb with each hit.

But Meridian didn’t get to where it’s at by giving up, and the Trojans dug down deep to get back in the match.

Other than a couple sweet service winners from Sandahl, and a brutal slicer by Trujillo which peeled the skin off of a Meridian player’s arms as she tried, and failed, to return the ball, most of the fourth set highlights came courtesy the visitors.

All of which set up the first, but not last, fifth set the Wolves would play this season.

Mathusek, maybe the most underrated player on the roster, doesn’t get much of the stat glory, but she has been indispensable as the team’s libero.

The glue which holds together the Wolves, she was as good Tuesday as she’s ever been, and a play at the start of the final set showcased why.

Meridian had the point won, and yet Mathusek, sliding across the floor, got her fist under the ball at the last split-second, flipped it skyward, then narrowly avoided crashing into a falling teammate.

Given new life, the Wolves not only kept the play alive, but won the point, with Toomey-Stout pulling the trigger on a nasty kill a few second later.

Off to the side, Mathusek jumped, pumped her fist, then quietly went back to being quietly awesome, the perfect unsung, but not unrecognized, warrior.

A 3-0 lead for CHS slipped into a 3-3 tie, then 4-4, then 5-5, then 6-6, before things slipped away from the Wolves.

Davidson delivered a rolling roundhouse of a kill late, but it was one play, when Coupeville needed, and couldn’t quite find, two or three at the very end of crunch time.

Their backs to the wall after the loss, needing a win to keep their season alive and capture a ticket to bi-districts, the Wolves moved from the CHS gym to the smaller, steamier CMS gym, and showed no signs of a letdown.

But it wasn’t enough in a frustrating 26-24, 10-25, 13-25, 25-21, 15-12 loss that brought an unexpected end to a rollicking season.

Coupeville came out hot, stayed hot, and led through 98.7% of the first set.

It was just that last 1.3% which hurt, and hurt badly.

Up 23-17, the Wolves seemingly put point #24 in the books, only to have the Turks somehow scrape the ball off the floor, force an intense rally, and end things with a stunning block.

Given new life, Sultan shocked the fans, and even themselves a little bit, by closing the set on a 9-1 run, and suddenly Coupeville found itself in an unexpected hole.

To which the Wolves immediately responded, savaging the Turks in spectacular fashion over the next two sets.

The second frame was all-Prescott, all the time, as the Wolf junior opened the set with a scorching ace, then closed things with a run of 12 straight points on her serve.

That surge featured Tenore, the fab frosh who is the bright future of the program, delivering a knee-buckling kill, and Toomey-Stout erasing the back line from existence by blasting a winner which tore all the paint off said line.

If the second set was quick and brutal, the third set was almost identical, a merry mix of big hits from Vondrak, artful tips from Davidson, and superb serves from Raven Vick.

Victory was in sight, but the Turks, the #5 seed from the North Sound Conference, are the Cinderella team of these playoffs, having already eliminated third-seeded Cedar Park Christian.

Proving it wasn’t a fluke, Sultan toppled Coupeville, the #2 seed, by being patient, keeping everything in play, and getting some major paint peelers from its big hitter in the front row.

Coupeville trailed from start to finish in the fourth set, and while the Wolves held off four set points, this was a night which begged to go on and on forever.

Anxious to get their second and third set mojo back, the Wolves came up empty in the 10th set they played Tuesday night.

Playing to 15, there were three ties, at 6-6, 7-7, and, finally, 12-12, but otherwise Coupeville was fighting from behind at every other instance in the final frame.

Sultan lost its opener Tuesday in three quick sets to Nooksack Valley, and seemed far fresher at the end, with more of a spring in their collective steps.

The Wolves looked tired, and kills which once seemed automatic went long, or fell into the net at the very end.

Sandahl, making her final trip to the stripe as a high school player, gave CHS a fighting chance with a couple sharp serves, but Coupeville couldn’t hold off the end as it came creeping steadily closer.

The season closed with a loss, yes. But it didn’t close with losers.

Twelve young women, under the guidance of Whitmore and assistant coaches Chris Smith and Krimson Rector, rose to new heights.

Conquered new worlds.

Continued to lay the foundation for a resurgent program, winners of 49 varsity matches in the past four seasons, primed for more success moving forward.

They walked out of their gym winners, no matter what the scoreboard might say.

I hope they always remember that.

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Back row, l to r, are Anya Leavell, Lucy Tenore, Hannah Davidson, Scout Smith, Zoe Trujillo, Raven Vick, Chelsea Prescott, Cory Whitmore. Front, Emma Mathusek, Maya Toomey-Stout, Lucy Sandahl. (Photo courtesy Charlotte Young)

It’s been a busy summer so far for Cory Whitmore.

The Coupeville High School volleyball coach has been running around non-stop since school got out, bouncing from camp to camp.

Whether with the Wolves in Bellingham for the Western Washington University camp, or bouncing around the state by himself, it’s been a whirlwind.

Having been given a (brief) break, Whitmore filed this report from the bleachers in Pullman, where he was networking and coaching at the Washington State University camp.

WWU camp was fantastic.

The coaches, staff and players are very attentive to our goals and needs and run a well-organized and challenging camp.

They took us through some game challenges that extenuated strengths and exposed some weaknesses.

A big focus for us was to improve our attacking efficiency by creating comfortable serve receive options.

Losing Emma (Smith) and Ashley (Menges) (to graduation) meant that players had to step up from the JV speed to match the varsity game and expectations and I’m really excited about the ease in which players stepped up across the board.

We had seven seniors with us at camp and so the experience was extremely valuable to have, as there was a single junior, sophomore and freshman to round out our roster of 10.

We competed well and calmly and that’s a product of our senior leadership and experience.

This group works very well together already but we wanted to stress the productive communication and inclusivity of the entire team and we took great steps toward that goal.

Plenty to work on and we’re looking forward to the start of the season!

I’m really proud of how leaders stepped up and younger players followed.

Going to be a fun one with a great group! Go Wolves!

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Coupeville spikers (l to r) Chelsea Prescott, Taylor Brotemarkle, and Allie Lucero were honored for their play at a skills camp. (Photos courtesy Cory Whitmore)

So were Emma Mathusek, Taygin Jump, and Lyla Stuurmans.

And Abby Mulholland, Madison McMillan, and Kylie Chernikoff.

As well as Ryanne Knoblich, Skylar Parker, and Raven Vick.

They’re all aces.

Honoring the program’s building blocks of Attitude, Competitiveness, Effort, and Service, Coupeville High School volleyball coach Cory Whitmore honored 12 players during a recent skills camp.

The four-day event was open to spikers entering grades 7-12.

Taking home awards:

 

Attitude:

Chelsea Prescott
Taylor Brotemarkle
Allie Lucero

 

Competitiveness:

Emma Mathusek
Taygin Jump
Lyla Stuurmans

 

Effort:

Abby Mulholland
Madison McMillan
Kylie Chernikoff

 

Service:

Ryanne Knoblich
Skylar Parker
Raven Vick

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CHS and CMS volleyball stars work with the next generation during a recent K-6 skills camp. (Photos courtesy Cory Whitmore)

Start young, have strong role models, and the future is bright.

Lucy Sandahl teaches a girl who just discovered she wants to grow up to be the next Lucy Sandahl.

Layer upon layer.

That’s how you build truly-successful sports programs, bringing in athletes when they’re young, then having current stars work with them.

Coupeville High School volleyball guru Cory Whitmore embraces the idea, which is why the K-6 skills camp he, assistant coach Chris Smith, and their players ran the past couple of days is so important.

You can see it in the photos above, as high school and middle school players embrace the chance to be role models and coaches in their own right, and elementary school athletes discover someone to emulate.

A few years down the road, the lil’ kids will be the teachers, and the current spikers will be the ones visiting and seeing how their efforts paid off.

It’s how you build success, one layer upon another layer.

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