Posts Tagged ‘Cris Matochi’

Myra McDonald (8) and Willow Leedy-Bonifas (18) are back for a new season of volleyball. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

So is Adeline Maynes.

Coupeville’s gyms are alive with the sound of volleyballs smacking into the hardwood.

The high school season is well underway, while the middle school spikers are gearing up to kick off their own campaign.

CMS coaches Cris Matochi and Raven Vick have 19 girls on their current roster, though that number may change going forward.

Whoever is still standing begins play Oct. 3 with a home match against Lakewood.

The young Wolves have eight tilts on the schedule, with the first three coming at home.

CMS plays Sultan and Langley twice each, while vying with King’s, Granite Falls, Northshore Christian Academy, and the aforementioned Lakewood once.

The early roster:


8th grade:

Capri Anter
Haylee Armstrong
Isabella Bowder
Lexis Drake
Myra McDonald


7th grade:

Cheyanne Atteberry
Isabella De Souza Oliveira McFetridge
Alexis Hewitt
Willow Leedy-Bonifas
Inara Maund (Manager)
Adeline Maynes
Alyssa McGee
Rhylin Price
Tenley Stuurmans


6th grade:

KeeArya Brown
Emmy Carlson
Emma Leavitt
Olivia Martin
Ashlee Wells

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Raven Vick fires off a serve during her high school days. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

She’s coming home.

Coupeville grad Raven Vick, a two-sport star during her time as a Wolf, has been tabbed to coach middle school volleyball in the same gyms where she once played.

Vick replaces Katie Kiel, who moved to California, and will work with Cris Matochi as they prepare young spikers for the journey ahead of them.

The hire was confirmed Friday by Coupeville Athletic Director Willie Smith and will be official after the school board approves it.

Middle school volleyball practice kicks off this coming Monday, Sept. 12, with the first match Sept. 29 at Langley.

Vick’s first home match as a coach is Oct. 3, with Lakewood visiting Whidbey.

The twin sister of Willow, Raven Vick graduated in 2020 after a successful run as a volleyball and track athlete at CHS.

Raven (left) and Willow Vick await the serve. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

During their senior season, the sisters were part of a Wolf spiker squad which tied the program record with 14 wins.

A strong all-around player, Raven’s best work came at the service stripe, where she ripped off lasers on a regular basis.

On the track oval, she put in three seasons, losing out on her senior campaign when the pandemic erased all spring sports.

Raven ran the 1500 and 1600 as a freshman, before moving full-time into throwing events.

She advanced to the league championships in the shot put, discus, and javelin, while making it to districts and bi-districts in the last of those three events.

Raven celebrates track and field success. (Brian Vick photo)

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Natalie Perera leads off a collection of CMS volleyball portraits. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Let the spikes (and the photos) fly.

As a new season of Coupeville Middle School volleyball gets underway, photographer John Fisken delivers a selection of portraits featuring Wolf players and coaches.

Ava Carpenter

Isabella de Souza Oliveira

Coach Katie Kiel

Abbigail Bond

Carly Burt

Adeline Maynes

Coach Cris Matochi

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Cris Matochi, who started playing as a young man in Brazil, brings an extensive  volleyball background to his new job as a Coupeville Middle School coach. (Photos courtesy Matochi)

“I truly love being here and working with these incredible kids.”

Having traveled around the world in pursuit of volleyball excellence, Cris Matochi brings a deep knowledge and appreciation of the sport with him.

And now, against considerable odds, the Brazilian native has landed at Coupeville Middle School, tabbed as a new spiker coach ready to help launch the Wolves into a new stratosphere.

The longtime player and coach, who is an Environmental Health Specialist for the Island County Health Department, has lived and worked in big cities from Los Angeles to Louisiana.

But it’s The Rock which calls to him now.

“After visiting Whidbey, I instantly felt in love with the island and the community and decided to move here,” Matochi said. “I received an incredible opportunity to work at Island County and I did not think twice before making the move.”

Love played a big part in the transition, as well.

“However, the biggest reason I moved here was to be closer to Cory, as he is my life partner and soulmate,” Matochi said with a smile.

The Cory in question would be Cory Whitmore, who has lit a fire under the Coupeville High School volleyball program in his four years as head coach.

Cris is a great addition to the staff and brings an incredible amount of experience to the program,” Whitmore said.

“He has a magnetic personality that will be a huge inspiration to his players and is a hard worker with a deep passion for the sport and a deep commitment to the community.

“I’m really looking forward to working with him as we push the program to new heights.”

The chance to combine his love of volleyball with a chance to work with his partner made Matochi’s decision to accept the CMS job an easy one.

“I am absolutely ecstatic to coach these kids at Coupeville,” Matochi said. “This is such an incredible community and I feel so lucky to be accepted with so much love.”

In his time on the job, Whitmore has helped shape the CHS program into one which expects to compete for league titles and trips to the state tourney.

With the middle school and high school programs working in tandem, expect the growth to continue.

“My goal for the upcoming season is to be able to develop players that not only excel in volleyball but also in school and life,” Matochi said. “There is so much more than just playing volleyball, and making a good experience out of it is always my number one priority.

“When kids truly love the sport, everything else falls in place,” he added.

“My long term goal is to be able to help Cory create a volleyball powerhouse for this community, and preparing the young ages for high school, and potentially college.”

Matochi began his own volleyball odyssey as a young man in Brazil, first pursuing the sport at age nine.

By the time he was 14, he was playing for the city team in Sorocaba, while already working as a coach with older players.

The team’s head coach pulled double duty, helming a professional women’s team, and gave Matochi a chance to help out at practices.

When the assistant coach departed mid-season, his replacement was already in the gym.

“I was super young and inexperienced but the fact the I also played for him helped me to be able to coach the players consistently with his style of coaching,” Matochi said.

Jump forward a few months, and when the head coach ran for a city council position, he asked the young spiker to run practices.

Matochi has been coaching since he was a teen.

From there, it was a whirlwind of advancement, with Matochi heading onwards and upwards in the coaching world.

A coach from an NCAA D-I school in America came to town to size up the local talent, and quickly began to pick the mind of the young volleyball savant.

After he helped her recruit players, she aided Matochi in launching his American coaching career.

“Because I did not speak English at that time, she placed me in a junior college in Oklahoma where I coached for three years and got my associate’s degree,” Matochi said.

“After graduating, I transferred to be her assistant at the University of Louisiana, where I coached with her for six seasons.”

Matochi also coached Cajun Elite volleyball, a national traveling team which featured players with college and professional experience.

He could have remained a success in the deep South, but the bright lights of California came calling.

While working as an actor, Matochi coached at the Los Angeles Volleyball Academy, one of the top clubs in the nation, as well as working as director for a middle school program at Sierra Canyon School in Chatsworth.

Ruling the beach volleyball scene.

After deciding to pursue a PhD in Environmental Science at Washington State University, he swapped out Cali life for the Evergreen state, but never left the volleyball world.

From working at Wazzu volleyball camps to his new Coupeville gig, Matochi’s appreciation of the game, and his desire to help others, has never waned.

“I would like for my players to get to truly LOVE volleyball and have fun while doing it,” he said. “I also want them to be able to use volleyball as a tool for success with their curricular, social and professional endeavors.”

A chance to impart joy, while preaching hard work and commitment, is what brings him to the gym every day.

“Volleyball practices are the highlight of my day,” Matochi said.

“I am very energetic and passionate, and I will always work extra hard to make sure that players and parents have a good experience with this incredible sport that provided me everything that I have today.”

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