Posts Tagged ‘Emma Smith’

When he wasn’t walking the line, Wolf dad Brian Vick documented the CHS volleyball season with pics and video. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The Wolf varsity, together as a team one last time at Tuesday’s season-ending awards banquet. (Jennifer Menges photo)

With all due respect to soccer, tennis, cheer, cross country and football, the fall belonged to volleyball.

The Coupeville High School spikers had the best record of any Wolf squad, went the furthest in the postseason, and, seem to be the only team with their own hype man.

Brian Vick, dad of high-flyin’ twins Willow and Raven, shot a ton of footage as the season unfolded.

Tuesday night he unveiled his magnum opus, a seven-minute tribute to the Wolf sisterhood of the traveling volleyball, at the team’s season-ending banquet.

Now, thanks to papa Vick dropping his work on YouTube, everyone in Wolf Nation can see what he put together.

And, as they watch, everyone should take it as a challenge.

We want hype videos for every CHS team going forward. Every single one, I said!


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The paparazzi pops off a mirror-aided selfie before shooting pics Saturday at the Coupeville Booster Club Crab Feed. (Photos by Ema Smith)

Jeannie Sandahl and Brian Vick keep the bubbly flowing.

Volleyball aces (l to r) Lucy Sandahl, Ashley Menges and Emma Smith can’t pass up a photo op.

Randy and Laurie King enjoy a night on the town.

Fab frosh (l to r) Audrianna Shaw, Ella Colwell and Samantha Streitler hang out with Stephanie Grimm and Bonnie Shaw.

While the crabs cook, Kole Kellison (back, left) ponders how long it will take to turn his ’70s cop ‘stache into a magnificent beard o’ the sea, like the one Mark Hammer rocks.

Why did Superintendent Steve King bounce from Oak Harbor to Coupeville? The food’s much better over here.

Ciara Smith (middle) offers some sisterly love as lil’ sis Ema clicks away. 

Having captured lemon bars for her table, Kim Robinett floats on air.

Lucy Sandahl and dad Michael win the award for the photo most likely to make people say, “aaaahhh…”

The circle of life is fueled by crustaceans.

The Coupeville Booster Club threw its yearly Crab Feed shindig Saturday, packing the Nordic Lodge Hall and raising a ton of money for CHS athletes.

The event is the biggest fundraiser for the boosters, and, along with the food, and the auctions, it also attracts a high class of paparazzi.

Ema Smith, uber-talented Wolf senior, returned to swing the camera lens on the crowd, and the photos above are courtesy her.

To see everything she shot (all photos can be downloaded for free), pop over to:


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Emma Smith (left) and Ashley Menges said farewell to their home court Wednesday, as Coupeville volleyball crushed Sultan on Senior Night. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

They have lived their lives in the gym, together, as teammates, friends, and, ultimately, sisters from another mother.

Through wins and losses, on school teams and club squads, through endless practice drills, long journeys through the night on school buses and ferries, playing while sick, while hurting, while dealing with the encroachment of real life, they have persevered.

Together, they grew, they matured, they grew confident – as athletes, as students, and, most importantly, as friends.

I won’t tell you they got along perfectly every day of every month of every year. Even friends can argue, have moments when things aren’t flawless.

But I can tell you that pretty much every time we, the fans, saw them, on the court, or in real life, they seemed to take such joy in each other’s company.

Once there was a trio, and then Maddy Hilkey moved to soccer as a junior, and, on the volleyball court, at least, it became a duo.

Sports may have separated the three, with Emma Smith and Ashley Menges staying with volleyball, but, off the court, where it mattered most, they remain close-knit sisters for life.

Wednesday night, the two who remained spikers took the court at Coupeville High School for the final time.

There are still practices ahead, and a trip to the district tourney starting Saturday for a Wolf team which finished the regular season 10-3, with two of those losses coming to the defending state champs.

But Wednesday was the final time Menges and Smith played on their home court, their personal kingdom, their haven, in front of their classmates, their parents and their fans.

And they got the storybook ending they deserved.

Six years of work, of commitment, of growing from girls learning the sport to young women leading by example, in how they played and how they conduct themselves, culminated in a 25-8, 25-21, 25-19 romp over visiting Sultan.

The duo and Wolf coach Cory Whitmore have been part of three straight teams which have posted double-digit win totals.

The win, which ended with Menges reeling off three straight points at the service line – two scorching aces, then a hustle save by Menges which set up a winner by Hannah Davidson – brought the Wolves to 7-3 in league play.

After back-to-back Olympic League titles, Coupeville moved into the tougher North Sound Conference this season and finished 2nd in an often brutal six-team league.

The Wolves toppled arch-rival South Whidbey twice, pushed state champ King’s as hard as any 1A team has this season, and proved they could compete in any league.

Coming on the heels of 11 and 13-win seasons, this year’s total of 10 victories and counting gives CHS a 34-14 record during Cory Whitmore’s three-year run as coach.

Smith and Menges have been constants during that surge, bringing different skill sets to the floor, but the same love of the game.

The former uses her height to ruthlessly defend the net, stuffing would-be kills, then pounding winners that crack the psyche of her rivals.

The latter is a scrambler, a fighter, a hustler, body always in motion, the belief she can, and will, catch up to every runaway ball, no matter how far she has to fling her body, or how hard she has to hit the deck.

As seniors, the duo became captains, sharing duties with junior setter Scout Smith.

The seniors have been the first out of the locker room, the pair at the front of the line as the Wolves circle the floor to begin warm-ups.

All season, all career, they have played for their own success, certainly, but they have played for team above all.

“To my sisters, who others know as my teammates, I couldn’t imagine any other way for my senior year to go,” Menges wrote in her Senior Night remarks.

“I love each and every one of you so much and will cherish the memories I’ve made with all of you,” she added. “You girls have no limit and I believe in you all so much, and can’t wait to see what you all are able to do in your years to come.”

Menges hangs out with dad Terry, brother Cody and mom Jennifer.

It’s a sentiment shared by Emma Smith, as well.

“From the seniors my freshmen year, to the freshmen my senior year, without knowing it, every single one of you has inspired me,” she wrote.

“The commitment all of you had or have made me want to be a more committed player. The grit and passion all of you had or have made me want to have more grit and passion,” Smith added. “And finally, the love you had for the game has made me fall even more in love with it.”

The playoffs loom ahead for the duo, and there is always, tantalizingly in the background, the whisper of more playing days if either or both follow in the footsteps of former teammates and seek out a chance to play in college.

There will be fans who follow the Wolves on the road for the postseason, but Wednesday was a final chance to feel the full roar of the Coupeville faithful.

And the roar came, as Menges struck first, dropping a dagger of a winner while floating the length of the net.

With sophomore Chelsea Prescott ripping off nasty serve after nastier serve, Emma Smith rose to the moment.

She flung her arms skyward, rejected a Sultan shot, then bounded back up to smash the incoming reply, the first of three straight winners she lashed.

The third, and final, kill was a mix of unrelenting power and uncanny precision, landing in the very tiniest part of the far left corner and tearing a chunk out of reality itself as it detonated.

From there, the senior duo, and their younger teammates, picked the Turks apart, trailing only once in three sets, and then just by a single point.

Menges toasted the Turks for seven straight points on serve, with one epically nasty ace slicing a hunk of flesh off the would-be returner’s arm, before Maya Toomey-Stout closed out the opening set with another long, blistering run at the line.

Smith is joined by sister Savannah and mom Konni.

The second and third set were moderately closer, as Sultan fought with an intensity which belied their 1-9 mark in league play.

“They are a better team than their record might indicate, and have improved since the first time we played them,” Whitmore said.

While Sultan had spunk, Coupeville has killers, and that carried the Wolves through a few rough spots.

Prescott, who “did a great job in the front row,” was a sniper, smacking kills off Sultan arms, legs, and every other body part she could find.

Her fellow underclassmen on the floor — Toomey-Stout, Hannah Davidson, Scout Smith, Emma Mathusek, Maddie Vondrak and Lucy Sandahl — all sparkled.

Scout Smith doled out 16 assists, Toomey-Stout peeled the paint with 10 kills, and Prescott racked up six kills and nine digs, but the night belonged to the seniors.

Emma Smith had six kills, five aces (with several leaving Turk players with their mouths gaping wide open) and two blocks, while Menges notched five roasty, toasty aces, four digs and three kills.

But their impact, in this final home win, in the four years they spent in the CHS program, in the six years they have chased their volleyball dream, came from much more than mere stats.

In this one momentary (but not final) ending, as in the beginning, it was their spirit, their desire, their love of the game, of each other, and of their teammates, which mattered most.

That was shown when Sandahl momentarily broke down while offering a heartfelt pregame thank you to Menges.

A small sob caught in Lucy’s throat, but then a giant smile broke across her face, as all the positive memories she has shared with her mentor, teammate and friend rose up and pushed away any sadness.

And it echoes in the final words offered by Menges herself.

“You have all given me so much to be thankful for and I’ll miss being on the court with all of you.”

The dynamic duo.

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Emma Smith had seven kills and four blocks Monday as Coupeville volleyball thrashed South Whidbey. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

They were sick. They were tired. They were under siege.

But, in the end, all that mattered was the size of their hearts.

Overcoming illness, weariness and some nicely rowdy visiting fans, the Coupeville High School varsity volleyball squad bounced back from its toughest moment of the season by delivering a classic knock-out punch to its arch-rivals.

The Wolves, backed by their own increasingly enthusiastic band of student supporters Monday, drilled visiting South Whidbey 25-22, 9-25, 25-18, 25-18, sweeping the season series from their next door neighbors.

With the win, CHS jumps to 5-2 in North Sound Conference action, 8-2 overall and solidifies its hold on second-place in the six-team league.

Coupeville trails defending 1A state champ King’s (7-0, 10-1) by two games, with three to play, and is a game up on Cedar Park Christian (4-3, 8-4) and South Whidbey (4-3, 7-5).

Granite Falls (1-6, 3-8) and Sultan (0-7, 3-8), two of the three teams the Wolves play in the final week-and-a-half of the regular season, bring up the rear.

When they took the floor Monday, the Wolves had a lot of excuses for feeling blue.

They were coming off an unexpected five-set loss to Cedar Park Christian in their last match, they were tired after making the long trip East for this weekend’s Wenatchee Invite, and their roster was racked with illness.

To which they said, “shrug it off.”

The spirit was best exemplified by one of the sickest of the bunch, junior Maya Toomey-Stout.

Bent over, frequently coughing into her shirt, both hands taped up, “The Gazelle” looked like a boxer who had already gone 10 rounds.

Which didn’t mean she wasn’t still fully capable of delivering hay-makers that made the court shake, her opponent’s knees quake and her fans lose their ever-lovin’ minds.

Same thing with senior Emma Smith, who came roaring in to open the match with a spike that peeled paint off the floor, and sophomore Chelsea Prescott, who followed almost immediately with a kill which thudded home with so much force it permanently warped the court.

The first time Coupeville and South Whidbey faced off, they played the full five sets, with each frame so close only an error here, a brilliant serve there, provided the slimmest of slim wins for the Wolves.

This time around, other than in a brief burp during the second set, Coupeville controlled the flow of action in every aspect of the game.

The opening set was tied 10 different times, the last at 22-22, but the Wolves only trailed once, and then by only a single point at 13-12.

Coupeville immediately responded, with Emma Smith taking a set-up from Scout Smith (one of her 24 assists) and crushing a spike that started on the left, zinged to the right like a bolt of lightning, then fried any Falcon within a two-mile radius.

From there, Toomey-Stout got down with her bad self, hammering home a winner, popping off a run of sizzlers at the service line, then sealing the deal with an unexpected bit of mid-air ballet.

With the set knotted at 22-22 and the teams rallying, “The Gazelle” suddenly shot up the middle of the court, sprang almost over the net in a single bound, and flicked the ball to the side for a crippling winner.

In that single play, all the momentum shifted Coupeville’s way, and, sure enough, two plays later, Emma Smith sealed the deal, rising majestically on set point to deliver one of her match-high four blocks.

The less said bout the second set, the better, so we’ll keep this brief and … big breath.

Emma Smith and Toomey-Stout delivered a handful of kills, Prescott and Emma Mathusek chased down everything humanly possible, Hannah Davidson had a sweet tip winner, Maddie Vondrak cracked an ace as soon as she hit the floor, and it all wasn’t enough to save the Wolves.

Moving on.

The third set was better, much better, and, even though Coupeville had to fight from behind, not leading until 14-13, the mood in the gym swung big time.

After letting seven South Whidbey students (and the metal sign they were clanging away on) carry the load in the early going, Coupeville’s fan section picked up their game.

With Teo Keilwitz and Gavin Knoblich pounding flag poles on the bleachers, the Wolves took advantage of their larger numbers and finally shouted down the frantic Falcon faithful.

Spurred on by their support crew, the Wolf spikers launched into overdrive, with Prescott and Davidson delivering tip winners that splashed down with a happy little sigh, while Ashley Menges crushed aces down the middle of the floor.

That opened up things for Emma Smith, who blocked back-to-back Falcon shots, one with the palms of her hands, the other with just the very tippy-tips of her fingertips.

With Menges on a final, decisive tear at the service stripe, Toomey-Stout soared airborne, hung there for a day-and-a-half, then knocked all the air out of the ball (and all the willpower out of the Falcons) with a mighty, mighty mash.

If South Whidbey thought it had a chance in the fourth, and final, set, that went away quickly.

Or in about the time it took Toomey-Stout to whip another spike off the back line and out into the parking lot. I’m thinking .002 of a second.

As they surged towards the win, and the final knockout punch, every Wolf on the floor was firing.

Scout Smith dropped a Kareem-style sky-hook for a surprise winner while Mathusek flicked a shot that slowly crawled up and over the net, before suddenly flopping to the floor on the other side, kicking away as an unlucky Falcon ripped out her back muscles trying to lunge for the runaway ball.

And Toomey-Stout?

Jabbing, jousting and jolting, in between filling her shirt collar with germy goodness from frequent coughs, she was in top form, her remarkable skill and soaring heart pulling her tired, battered body along for the giddy ride.

Take a look at a reporter’s notebook and the notations about Toomey-Stout’s play in the fourth set are filled with terms like “rise and destroy,” “launched the eruptor,” smoked a fool” and, finally, “Dang! Think she killed that girl.”

The match ended in the only way possible, as Toomey-Stout, coming up the left side of the floor like a semi-truck with no brakes about to turn a Kia Sorento into a grease spot on the open highway, blasted the ball off the face of a hapless rival.

In the moment, swept along by the joy of the win, the delight of reaching down deep and finding a gear maybe they didn’t know they had, the Wolves rejoiced.

As they did, their coach, Cory Whitmore, one of the few to have escaped the illness besetting the spikers, smiled, while keeping a healthy distance from any coughers.

“We had a mental gut check and came out on the other side of it, which is exciting,” he said. “I’m proud of our mental toughness. The girls don’t make excuses for themselves or for each other, they just raise their play.

“Now, it’s lozenges and orange juice for everyone tomorrow!”

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Wolf libero Emma Mathusek got a rare chance to shine at the service stripe Thursday during Coupeville’s three-set rout of Port Townsend. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Every woman on deck.

Bouncing back from its first loss of the season with a vengeance, the Coupeville High School varsity volleyball squad thrashed visiting Port Townsend Thursday in a match in which all 11 players saw major floor time.

Two days after falling on the road to King’s, the defending 1A state champs, the Wolves returned home and sailed to a 25-13, 25-14, 25-14 non-league win, kicking their season record to a sweet 6-1.

They get a few days off now before traveling to Sultan Tuesday, Oct. 9 to face a Turks squad which is mired in last-place in the North Sound Conference at 0-4.

That match will mark the halfway point in league play for Coupeville (3-1), which has sole possession of second-place in the six-team conference.

Thursday’s match offered the Wolves a chance to rekindle a rivalry with one of their former mates in the Olympic League, though CHS was not in a charitable mood.

In control from the first serve of the night until the final play, a dazzling hook shot winner thrown down by a suddenly sky-high Scout Smith, Coupeville had plenty of opportunity to experiment, tweak things, and, most importantly, get back that winning feeling.

Even better, they did it while getting swing players Lucy Sandahl, Zoe Trujillo, Maddie Vondrak and Raven Vick their most extensive varsity playing time of the season, and all four came through with big plays.

“I’m excited to see how we adapted with different lineups,” said CHS coach Cory Whitmore. “Everyone on the team has been working really hard in practice, and it was good to get everyone in, and give them an opportunity to show what they can do in live play.”

Coupeville came out firing on all cylinders, with big hitters Emma Smith and Maya Toomey-Stout torching the RedHawks early with ferocious spikes.

With their foes a bit on their heels, the Wolves took advantage, riding a hot streak at the service line from Ashley Menges, who reeled off seven straight points, to blow the lead out to 15-3.

Whitmore mixed things up almost immediately, having three of his swing players serve in the opening set, with a Vick bomb setting up a weak return which Chelsea Prescott promptly whacked into the far corner for a winner.

The second set was more of the same, with Emma Smith dropping a blistering spike for a winner, in between two plays on which she used her height and leaping ability to soar above the net and flick tips in between defenders.

Scout Smith and Menges ran off six points apiece on serve, while Hannah Davidson came bounding out of nowhere on one play to snare the ball with her fingertips and spin it between a pair of RedHawks who both swung and whiffed.

The final frame offered Trujillo and Emma Mathusek a chance to shine at the service line.

Trujillo ripped off four straight serves on which the RedHawks managed to touch (not return) just one, then Mathusek, the hardest-working libero in the biz, got a bit of sweet reward for all her digs and floor burns.

Given the ball and free reign at the line for the first time this season, Mathusek fired off a truly nasty ace which ripped a hole in the court, then her second serve set up Trujillo for a tip winner which froze the defense.

While few of the Wolves spent their usual amount of time on the floor, Toomey-Stout nailed a match-high 12 kills and collected five digs.

Scout Smith, showing off her rapidly-expanding repertoire of sets (including a fair amount of set-ups created while bounding skyward), collected 16 assists to go with five service aces.

Menges (seven aces), Mathusek (six digs), Prescott (four digs), Emma Smith (three kills) and Trujillo (three aces) all chipped in to crafting an extremely-balanced stat sheet.

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