Posts Tagged ‘first-place battle’

Even with a loss Tuesday to the defending state champs, Ashley Menges and Coupeville volleyball are a strong 5-1 on the season. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Maddy Hilkey and her Wolf soccer teammates are back playing at home Thursday.

Welcome to Hell Day.

Tuesday offered Coupeville High School female athletes a reminder there are six schools in the North Sound Conference, and five of them are chasing the sixth.

King’s, one of the true premier, sports-orientated private schools in the land, entered this year as the defending state champs in both volleyball and girls soccer, and little has changed.

Both Knights squads are undefeated in league play, with just a single non-conference loss to a 3A school from the Metro League (soccer) and a 4A school from Kingco (volleyball).

So, it comes as little surprise that the Wolves, despite putting up strong effort Tuesday, were swept aside by King’s on the road in Shoreline.


Varsity volleyball:

The big match-up of the night, as Coupeville and King’s entered play tied for first-place.

The Knights, whose only loss was to undefeated 4A North Creek, held steady, winning 25-12, 25-13, 25-15.

The loss drops the Wolves to 3-1 in league, 5-1 overall, while King’s rises to 4-0, 6-1.

Coupeville didn’t go down easily, fighting for every point and scraping shots off the floor.

“It got progressively better and more competitive,” said CHS coach Cory Whitmore. “Just let a few strings of points get away from us without coming up with our own.

“We dug the ball tenaciously, which we can be proud of, and made them earn their points,” he added. “That definitely was the strongest part of our game and we received compliments for our grit.”

The teams will meet again in three weeks, when King’s visits Whidbey Oct. 23, and the Wolves will be ready.

“We need to take a look at some things in practice and be ready to take on our next opponent, looking to take care of business,” Whitmore said. “Then we’ll get a second chance at them second half of season.”

Scout Smith paced the Wolves with 17 assists and two service aces, while Emma Smith (five kills, two aces), Maya Toomey-Stout (four kills, three digs) and Chelsea Prescott (two kills, three digs) provided solid back-up.


JV volleyball:

Coupeville was swept in three sets, but JV coach Chris Smith liked the fight his players showed.

“King’s played well,” he said. “We battled and kept our chins up.

“We just have to keep working. We have a lot of good things to learn playing a team like King’s.”

With the loss, the young Wolves slip to 1-3 in league play, 2-4 overall.


Varsity soccer:

King’s tied its season-high in goals, routing Coupeville 9-0.

The Knights, who lost their season opener 1-0 to 3A Lakeside, have won eight straight, while outscoring foes 45-2.

The Wolves, meanwhile, drop to 1-5 in league play, 1-8-1 overall. They have been shutout in six of 10 games this season.

“We lost to the defending state champs, and they showed that they look like possible repeat champs as well,” said CHS coach Kyle Nelson. “They are very tough on their home field.

“I thought in many ways we had a better game this time than when we lost to them 4-0 earlier in the season,” he added. “We had better ball movement, and for good portions we defended well against a very fast and dynamic Kings attack.”

One bright spot for the Wolves is the schedule gets easier the next couple of games.

CHS gets a break from conference action when it hosts former league rival Port Townsend (1-9) Thursday.

After that comes Coupeville’s final four league games, starting with a road trip to Sultan Oct. 9 to face a team it blasted 6-0 the first time around.

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   Wolf grad Makana Stone tossed in 20 points and hauled down 10 boards Friday in a crucial win for Whitman. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

If the season comes down to one rebound, start writing thank you notes to Makana Stone.

The Coupeville grad pulled in her tenth and final board Friday with just 15 seconds to play, sealing a nail-biter win for Whitman College in a game with sole possession of first-place in the Northwest Conference on the line.

Stone’s rebound came with the Blues clinging to a two-point lead, and four free throws from Casey Poe later, Whitman had bounced visiting George Fox 77-71.

With their 14th straight win in hand, the Blues rise to 6-0 in league play, 14-1 overall, while George Fox slips to 4-1, 11-3.

Whitman took the battle for league supremacy in large part because it had the two most dangerous players on the court in Poe and Stone.

The All-American senior netted a game-high 29, including two free throws with 10 seconds to play, and then two more freebies with a single tick on the clock.

Poe added five assists, five steals and four blocks as she controlled every aspect of the floor.

Right on her tail came the sophomore sensation from Cow Town, as Stone rattled the rim for 20 points to go with her 10 rebounds. She also made off with a pair of steals.

Whitman, ranked #4 in D-III basketball, led from start to finish, but couldn’t quite pull away from the #25 Bruins.

With Poe (11) and Stone (6) combining for 17 first-quarter points, the Blues stormed out to a 21-12 lead at the first break, only to see George Fox trim it back to five at the half.

The lead hovered in the 7-9 point range through much of the second half, until a late fourth-quarter comeback roused the visitor’s hopes.

Kaitlin Jamieson slashed to the hoop for a layup with 2:33 to play, cutting Whitman’s lead to 72-71, and the home fans went pale in the face.

But never fear, as the Blues defense proved to be the real MVP, holding the Bruins scoreless the rest of the way.

Helping matters was four consecutive missed free throws by George Fox, a surprise since the visitors were a fairly-hot 24-31 at the charity stripe up to that point.

Whitman was on point at the line, hitting 28-34. Poe (13-14) and Stone (6-7) led the way there, as well.

Clinging to the one-point lead, the Blues got a big rebound from Stone, then a solitary free throw from Emily Rommel to push the margin to 73-71.

That set up the pressure-packed final 20 seconds.

The Blues went for the dagger, but sharp-shooting frosh Kaelan Shamseldin clanked a three-ball.

At which point Stone out-jumped the world for the rebound, then promptly fed Poe, who held on to the ball, absorbed the abuse of the quickly-arriving foul and did what she does best — ice games.

Whitman is now off for six days, returning to action next weekend when it travels to Oregon to play at Linfield Friday and Willamette Saturday.

After a strong freshman season in which she quickly became a starter for a team which went all the way to the Elite Eight, Stone has taken her game to another level as a sophomore.

She has 207 points, 98 rebounds, 31 assists and 11 steals, and is shooting 58% from the field (89-153) and 76% from the line (29-38).

Stone tops the team in rebounding and field goal percentage, while trailing Poe by just eight points in the team scoring race.

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   Tamika Nastali reached base twice Friday, including dropping a bunt for a single. (John Fisken photo)

They are getting close.

A still-young Coupeville High School softball squad has taken enormous strides this season while piling up wins at a rate not seen since the legendary 2002 Wolf sluggers, who finished 3rd at state.

They’ve taken down traditional powers like Lynden Christian, won twice against Klahowya and its two-time MVP pitcher and bashed home runs like never before.

Now, the next step is to get over the hump and dethrone two-time defending Olympic League champ Chimacum.

And they are getting close. So close.

The Cowboys, to their credit, played virtually error-free ball on their home diamond Friday, holding on to nip the Wolves 7-4 in a battle for sole possession of first place.

The loss snaps a six-game winning streak for Coupeville and drops it to 4-2 in league play, 13-2 overall.

Chimacum (5-1, 7-3) sits a game up with three league games left, and owns the tiebreaker, having taken the first two meetings this season.

But the Wolves, who started seven underclassmen Friday, including freshman third-baseman Scout Smith, who filled in for an ill Mikayla Elfrank, still have a shot at a league title.

They’ll need to complete a season sweep of Klahowya with a win at home Monday, then hope the Eagles can help them out by stunning Chimacum a second time.

Both front runners also have a game remaining against Port Townsend, which has lost 48 straight games.

If Coupeville tacks on two wins, and the Cowboys split, the two schools would be sitting at 6-2 and play for the title when they close league play May 8 back at Chimacum.

Friday afternoon the Wolves were one hit away from taking control of the game, more than once.

But, despite rapping out nine hits, led by three base-knocks from sluggin’ sophomore first-baseman Veronica Crownover, Coupeville died a slow, agonizing death on the base-paths.

The Wolves stranded nine base runners, with five of them sitting at third when the final out came.

Meanwhile, Chimacum used well-placed hits (and six Wolf errors) to slowly build up a lead it never relinquished.

One run in the first, two in the third and another in the fourth staked the Cowboys to a 4-0 lead entering the fifth inning.

During that time Coupeville failed to capitalize on two prime opportunities, leaving runners sitting at second and third in the second, then stranding a runner at third the next inning.

That one hurt maybe a little more, as the stranded runner, Tamika Nastali, had landed on the bag with just one out.

Beating out a bunt, she went to second on a passed ball, took third on a fielder’s choice, then had nowhere left to go as a strikeout and a pop-up ended things too soon.

Coupeville finally broke through in the top of the fifth, and it was a bit unexpected.

With two outs and no one on base, Nastali struck again, eking out a walk to light the fuse.

Lauren Rose followed with a single to center, Jae LeVine walked, then Katrina McGranahan smashed a long blast to right field.

Having their one spotty moment on defense, the Cowboys saw two of their outfielders nearly collide, with one letting the hard-hit ball glance off her glove as three Wolves churned for home.

But, with a chance to tie or take the lead, Coupeville couldn’t keep the rally going, as Sarah Wright’s shot to deep center was snagged.

Chimacum, a veteran squad led by twin senior sisters Shanya and Mechelle Nisbet, didn’t flinch, tacking on two runs in the bottom of the fifth to stretch the lead to 6-3.

Then, senior Cowboy hurler Holly Snider escaped her biggest moment of danger, even while taking a piece of dirt in the eye.

Singles from Crownover and Hope Lodell and a walk to Tiffany Briscoe juiced the bags with one out in the sixth, but again … that one big hit was not to be found.

Coupeville’s final shot in the seventh had its moments, including singles from McGranahan, Smith and Crownover to plate a run.

But with runners at first and third and the tying run at the plate, Snider escaped one final time, inducing a game-ending ground-out.

While the loss stung, the Wolves, even without Elfrank, played much better than in the team’s first meeting, when they fell 15-4.

Smith made a superb snag and throw at third, while Wright, working behind the plate, gunned down a runner trying to take an extra bag.

“We played them better than the score dictates,” said CHS coach Kevin McGranahan. “Gonna be a battle to the end this year, I hope.

“The girls are in good spirits and ready to go for Monday.”

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   Robin Cedillo whacked an RBI single down the first-base line Wednesday afternoon. (John Fisken photos)

   Swinging a big bat, Veronica Crownover collected two of Coupeville’s seven hits, including an RBI double to straight-away center-field.

Round one to the Cowboys.

A day that started in torrential downpour morphed into a wind-fest and then, in the biggest surprise, turned into a sun-splashed, fairly calm afternoon on the prairie.

Unfortunately for the Coupeville High School softball squad, its previously-pristine record absorbed its first ding at the same time, as aggressive, hard-hitting Chimacum showed why it’s the two-time defending champions of the Olympic League.

By the time the Cowboys were done raining down hits, and tearing up the base-paths, they had run off with a resounding 15-4 win in a game called after six innings thanks to the mercy rule.

The loss drops Coupeville to 2-1 in league play, 7-1 overall, and it slides a game-and-a-half behind Chimacum (4-0, 5-1).

The Wolves have six games to play before the first of two rematches with the Cowboys Apr. 28.

The squads also tangle May 8, with both games on Chimacum’s diamond.

Along with four non-conference games, CHS has league tilts with Klahowya (0-2, 2-3) and Port Townsend (0-3, 0-4) before they again face the Cowboys.

When they do, they won’t need big changes, just a general clean-up.

“It was a good loss,” said Coupeville coach Kevin McGranahan. “You never seek it (a loss) out, but it’s not always a bad thing.

“They hit the ball. I expected us to hit with them and we just didn’t today,” he added. “We need to hit and button down on the little knick-knack errors.”

The Wolves put bat on ball, and a glance at the score-book shows they were only out-hit 9-7.

But Chimacum, which was led by Shanya Nisbet (two doubles) and Grace Yaley (three singles), packed their hits together, while Coupeville’s base-knocks were far more strung out.

Add in an uncharacteristic five errors (and numerous bobbled balls) by the Wolves, and CHS was fighting uphill most of the way.

Trailing 3-0 after a half an inning, Coupeville cut the lead to 3-2 in the second, then promptly gave back five runs in the top of the third to seal its fate.

The Wolves scraped together their first runs after Mikayla Elfrank led off the second by lining a long shot to right field that was dropped for an error.

Veronica Crownover followed by crushing a laser shot of an RBI double to straight-away center-field — the hardest-hit ball by a Wolf all game.

Three batters later, Crownover, putting the pedal through the metal, beat a throw home after Robin Cedillo drilled a single off the first baseman’s glove.

Coupeville tacked on two more in the bottom of the third, slicing the lead to 8-4, and did all its damage after starting the inning with two outs and no one on base.

Katrina McGranahan walked, Sarah Wright slapped a single up the middle, then both came flying home on a thunderous double to left-center off of Elfrank’s still-smokin’ bat.

But, while the Wolves had runners on base every inning, they also left a lot of them high and dry, stranding runners in five of six innings.

The only time they didn’t, the inning ended on a runner being snuffed out at second on one of the few plays the field ump was actually on top of…

Chimacum hurler Holly Snider only whiffed two Wolves (while Katrina McGranahan notched seven K’s), but she was quite adept at getting Coupeville hitters to punch fly balls that her steady fielders ran down.

The Cowboys had three errors, but they all came at times where they ultimately mattered little.

Crownover, who also battled the wind to track down and snare a dangerous foul ball wide of first, paced Coupeville with two hits.

Both she and Elfrank had doubles while Cedillo, Katrina McGranahan, Hope Lodell and Jae LeVine added singles.

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Makana Stone (Sylvia Hurlburt photo)

   Makana Stone and her new teammates at Whitman College suffered their first loss Saturday, falling 73-71 in overtime. (Sylvia Hurlburt photo)

The home fans got everything but a win.

Playing on their home court in Walla Walla Saturday, with sole possession of first place in the Northwest Conference at stake, the Whitman College women’s basketball squad finally ran out of answers.

Giving up a bucket with 2.3 seconds to play in overtime, the Blues fell 73-71 to the University of Puget Sound in a thriller.

The loss drops Whitman to 14-1 overall, 5-1 in league play, while UPS rises to 14-1, 6-0.

The two schools will play again Feb. 10 in Tacoma in a game which might very well decide the league title.

Whitman, which got another strong performance from Coupeville grad Makana Stone, came within a ref’s call of perhaps sealing the deal in regulation.

With the Blues up 61-59 with 14 ticks on the clock, Casey Poe hit the back end of a one-and-one opportunity, only to have the make waved off after refs ruled a Whitman player had moved off the line early.

Given new life and only trailing two and not three, UPS was able to go inside, drew a foul and hit both free throws to knot things at 61-61.

When a final Poe shot skipped off the rim, it was on to overtime.

Stone, who played 12 minutes off the bench for the Blues, collecting two points and a team-high seven rebounds, was on the floor for the game’s final two minutes.

Trailing 71-68, Whitman got the ball to leading scorer Chelsi Brewer, who drew contact on a three-point shot as the clock slid under 10 seconds.

She calmly sank all three free throws, barely rippling the net, but UPS responded by coming down and getting a game-busting bucket in the paint from Elizabeth Prewitt.

Unable to call time, and with the clock running, Whitman threw up a half-court shot at the buzzer but could not buy a miracle.

Stone also picked up two blocked shots, a steal and an assist.

Her bucket came off of a mid-range jumper from the right side early in the second quarter, while her rebound set up a three-point bomb at the third-quarter buzzer by Mady Burdett.

Through the first 15 games of her freshman campaign, Stone is averaging 4.9 points and 4.9 rebounds a night.

She’s third on the team in rebounding with 73 caroms, and also has 11 steals, 10 assists and five blocks.

Whitman plays seven of its final 10 regular season games — all conference affairs — on the road, starting with a trip to Oregon next weekend.

The Blues face George Fox University (13-2, 5-1) Friday, Jan. 20 and Lewis & Clark College (10-5, 3-3) the next day.

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