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Coupeville lineman Ryan Labrador recovered a fumble Friday as he and his defensive mates put up a strong fight in a loss to Friday Harbor. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

For one play Friday night, everything was perfect.

Freshman kicker Xavier Murdy lofted a beautiful ball, dropping an onside kick exactly where he wanted it to be.

And that landing spot was right on the fingertips of teammate Gavin Straub, who bounded off the ground as he hurtled down the right sideline, neatly plucking the ball from the skies.

It was a single football play run to perfection.

One which sent the student section into an explosion of cheers, as chants of “G-3! G-3! G-3!” rained down on Straub as he clutched the ball to his chest with an iron grip.

If the rest of Friday night had gone in the same direction, we’d be talking about the first Coupeville High School football team to go 3-0 in a very, very long time.

But, unfortunately, we are not.

Unable to get their offense into gear, and beset by rain, (distant) lightning and a very strong Friday Harbor defense, the Wolves fell 17-0 on their home turf.

The non-league loss drops Coupeville to 2-1, with a road game at La Conner next week the final warm-up before North Sound Conference play begins Sept. 28.

Friday’s rumble pitted two running backs — Wolf junior Sean Toomey-Stout and Friday Harbor senior Emeron Geiser — who had each racked up 500+ rushing yards across their first two games.

But this game was a tale of two defenses, as neither runner was able to really break free.

While Geiser scored a pair of late touchdowns, he only ripped off a 20+ yard run once Friday night.

Toomey-Stout was bottled up even more, attacked from all sides by an aggressive Wolverine D which kept him from getting to the corners.

His biggest play came not on a run, but a pass play, as he hooked up with Dawson Houston on a 32-yard catch-and-run, in which the run part covered most of the yardage.

The two squads spent the first half exchanging body blows, playing smash-mouth football, moving the chains a bit, but suffering from slippery fingers.

A torrential downpour which hit for the first 5-10 minutes of the game, before greatly abating, helped to put a sheen on the ball, even when it was toweled down. Cue players jumping on loose balls every third play or so.

Coupeville came up with two big turnovers in the early going, with Jake Pease and Ryan Labrador recovering fumbles, but the Wolves also gave the ball back twice.

A fumble at the 17-yard line brought an abrupt end to the one and only time Coupeville got inside Friday Harbor’s 20-yard line, while a picked off pass set up the only score of the first half.

Handed the ball at Coupeville’s 16-yard line with under a minute to play in the half, the Wolverines tried to ram the ball into the end zone, only to be thwarted by a fired-up CHS defense.

Still, Friday Harbor walked away with something, netting a 25-yard field goal off the toe of sophomore Milo Geiser to carry a 3-0 lead into the half.

Coupeville, which was tied 6-6 and 0-0 headed into the third quarter of its first two games, respectively, has been a second-half team in 2018.

The magic never showed up this time, however, as the Wolves gave Murdy plenty of chances to work on his punting after the break.

While the freshman booter took advantage, nailing one for a solid 50 yards with no return, it’s hard to win a game when your punter is operating as your biggest weapon.

Coupeville’s defense kept its offense in the game for a long time, holding the score at 3-0 until Emeron Gleiser slipped away on his only semi-long run of the night, a 27-yard TD bolt up the middle.

The PAT kick sailed wide, and hope hung in the air for at least a few more ticks … then things got weird.

The game came to a screeching halt at the 3:57 mark of the third quarter when a lightning strike somewhere up around Albuquerque (or Everett, I’m bad at geography…) sent the game into a half-hour delay.

Wolf fans filled the time with a dance-off, with the song selections cued up by Ema Smith delivering one sweet bonus.

That was the reappearance of 2008 rap hit turned dance sensation “The Wobble” by V.I.C., which used to play after every Wolf football game until it was unfairly banned by an uptight former administration.

For one night, as rain drops splattered down on Mickey Clark Field and lightning sparked somewhere up around San Jose (still bad at geography…), the forbidden dance was back.

Somewhere, in a different part of the world, former Head of Mischief Brian Norris snapped to attention, pulled his vuvuzela horn from its hiding place and screamed, “I’m on my way!!!”

If only, if only…

Anyway, back in the slightly misty reality of Coupeville, circa 2018, the players were finally let back on the field, as the lightning had seemingly moved on to Caracas.

What do you mean I’m in the wrong country, now? Geography, kicking my butt since 1971…

Anyway, the Wolf defense filled the remainder of the game with inspired plays, even as the offense continued to spin its wheels.

Chris Battaglia blew up a dude five steps behind the line, Isaiah Bittner knocked the very soul out of a rival, and Alex Turner, after shedding multiple blockers, administered one tackle known simply as “The Back Breaker.”

Meanwhile, Shane Losey, while stretched out and airborne, snagged a runner by his shoelaces and promptly untied the laces before both he and the runner met the Earth together.

But Emeron Geiser added a six-yard bolt to the end zone to stretch the lead to 15-0, and a late safety on a muffed Wolf kickoff return set the final margin in amber.

While the end result wasn’t what he wanted, Coupeville coach Marcus Carr handled his first loss in red and black with a calmness which filtered out to his players.

Already looking ahead at La Conner, the Wolf boss realizes a little rain must fall into everyone’s lives.

“They kept fighting, and I’m happy with that,” Carr said. “The guys never gave up.

“We’ll get back to basics, work on a few things and get back at it. When we execute well, good things happen. We just need to execute.”

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Put a volleyball in the hands of Willow Vick (or twin sister Raven) and they will unleash Hell on Earth. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Don’t hurt ’em, Vick sisters! Whoops, too late.

Combining to win points on 19 serves, the twin terrors that are Raven and Willow Vick (friendly, artistic souls off the court, cold-blooded assassins between the lines) were on fire Thursday night.

Actually, so was everyone else in a Wolf uniform, as the Coupeville High School JV volleyball team mashed visiting Friday Harbor in a match where the word “rout” would be an understatement.

Kicking off their season with a 25-7, 25-9, 25-11 cakewalk, the Vick-powered wrecking crew left coach Chris Smith leaning back in his chair, contented grin on his face as his game plan came together flawlessly.

Coupeville controlled the match from the service stripe, with one player after another going off on sustained runs in which they peppered Friday Harbor receivers with balls which had no chance of ever coming back over the net.

Abby Mulholland, Maddie Vondrak, Ivy Leedy, Eryn Wood, Izzy Wells – didn’t matter who was spinning the ball and rocketing sweet, sweet missiles over the net. They all had the magic touch.

But it was the Vicks who put the final stamp on the night.

Willow ripped off four-straight aces at one point in the final set, with each serve kicking in a different direction (except for the one which tattooed a Friday Harbor player in the chest).

Her twin was even more lethal, as Raven went on a tear which netted 12 consecutive points as the Wolves cruised through the second set.

She got some help from Zoe Trujillo, who cranked a winner off a rival, unleashing a shot which just about tore the girl’s arm out of its socket.

Other than that brief rally, Friday Harbor could not get anything off of Raven Vick, however, as she dropped aces in front of them, then blasted aces to the deepest, darkest part of the court.

Picking up inspiration from her older teammate, Wood, a freshman making her high school debut, put together her own run of six straight points on serve.

Fellow frosh Mulholland bashed a serve off of a Friday Harbor player’s very-surprised face, while Lucy Sandahl got nasty with her own serves, launching bombs which dove and bit the court, spraying fragments everywhere.

With Coupeville’s service game firing on all cylinders, there weren’t a whole lot of sustained rallies, but buried in the midst of a series of one-off plays there was one majestic conflict.

After Jaimee Masters put the ball in play off of her serve midway through the second set, both teams pulled off unexpected last-ditch saves, keeping the ball in the air longer than at any other point in the match.

While Friday Harbor looked like they had a winner, Vondrak, roaring up the middle of the floor, stretched out, using every last inch of her frame to scrape the rapidly-descending ball off the floor.

Pushing it skyward, she not only kept the play alive, but popped it perfectly on to Trujillo’s fingertips, allowing the Wolf outside hitter to pound home a convincing winner.

With everything falling his way, Chris Smith was able to use all 14 players on his roster, with Kylie Van Velkinburgh, Abby Meyers, Anya Leavell and Noelle Daigneault also seeing solid floor time.

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Wolf junior Tia Wurzrainer netted her first goal of the season Thursday as Coupeville soccer played to a 2-2 tie with visiting Friday Harbor. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Well, they’re headed in the right direction.

After being blanked in a season-opening loss earlier in the week, the Coupeville High School girls soccer squad bounced back Thursday to net a hard-earned draw in its home debut.

Garnering goals from Genna Wright and Tia Wurzrainer, the Wolf booters exited the field with a 2-2 tie against visiting Friday Harbor.

The stalemate leaves Coupeville sitting at 0-1-1 in non-conference play, heading into its first games as a member of the new North Sound Conference.

CHS faces defending state champ King’s Sept. 11, then squares off with Sultan Sept. 13, with both games scheduled to play out at Coupeville’s Mickey Clark Field.

Thursday night the Wolves and Friday Harbor played a classic back-and-forth game.

Wright, who set a CHS freshman record with 10 goals last season, banged home her first score of her sophomore campaign off of a first-half penalty kick.

Knotted at 1-1 at the break, the teams exchanged scores down the stretch, but neither team was able to find a magical third tally.

Wurzrainer saved the draw for Coupeville by finding the back of the net with the equalizer, negating a 2-1 Friday Harbor lead.

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Ashley Menges had five kills, five assists and five aces Thursday as Coupeville routed Friday Harbor. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

They were back in black (uniforms), and bad to the bone.

Pounding the ball with glee, the Coupeville High School varsity volleyball squad opened a new season Thursday in style, savaging visiting Friday Harbor in a display of cold precision mixed with electrifying shot-making.

The Wolves stormed to a huge lead, hit the snooze button for a brief moment in the middle of the match, then flicked things back into over-drive, romping to a 25-8, 25-19, 25-16 win.

“We came out confident and firing in the first set, then got a little too comfortable,” CHS coach Cory Whitmore said. “I was excited with how we responded, though.

“We got some good starting lessons and made steps in the right direction,” he added. “Going forward, we want to continue to put our best foot forward in every match. It was a good first outing.”

Coupeville, coming off its first trip to the state tourney in 13 years, lost seven seniors to graduation.

Two of those spikers, Hope Lodell and Mikayla Elfrank, were in the gym Thursday, with Lodell on the bench as a volunteer assistant coach, and Elfrank winning the hearts of the crowd with the public debut of her new baby daughter.

The mass exodus left the current Wolf roster with just four returning varsity players — Emma Smith, Ashley Menges, Scout Smith and Maya Toomey-Stout — but the new mix of players met with immediate success.

Younger players like Emma Mathusek, Hannah Davidson and Chelsea Prescott stepped into the starting lineup with ease, while Lucy Sandahl, Raven Vick, and Zoe Trujillo contributed strong cameos off the bench.

The Wolves snatched control of the match from the word go, riding six straight points off of serves from Scout Smith to claim an early 7-0 lead.

The junior co-captain smoked an ace off the last bit of paint in the far left corner, then zinged her very next serve right off of the chin of a rival player.

The sting was real, both to the Friday Harbor spiker who crouched, rubbing her chin and praying the ball would go the opposite way after that, and to her teammates, who deflated around her.

Another successful run at the service line, this time from Menges, broke the set wide open, while the rest of the Wolves took turns trying to outdo each other with plays primed for the highlight reel.

Toomey-Stout dropped a gorgeous winner that sliced off a Friday Harbor kneecap as it went by, while Emma Smith decided to see if she could reach up and touch the roof of the gym.

The senior standout, a graceful powerhouse who evokes memories of aunt Joli Smith, a Wolf volleyball legend, caught an elevator straight to the clouds on one play, catching the ball with just the tips of her fingers.

That was enough to re-direct it between two flailing foes for a winner.

A few plays later, she was back at it, this time pounding the snot out of the ball on a spike which ripped a chunk out of the gym floor as it skipped away for a winner.

The second set was basically a mirror image of the first, with Emma Smith once again mangling the hapless volleyball (and potentially giving PTSD to the Friday Harbor players).

Meanwhile Toomey-Stout spent her time hoppin’, hangin’ in mid air for an eternity, then unleashing lasers, while Davidson fired off a variety of aces while on serve.

Up 19-8, Coupeville had its only setback, and it was a self-inflicted one.

While Friday Harbor went on a 10-2 run to pull back within 21-18, it would be hard to point out anything the visitors did to achieve the momentary burst of success.

Pretty much, they kept the ball in play, and the Wolves mentally went out to get a snack, handing away some points.

After a timeout or two, and some gentle words of wisdom from Whitmore, however, CHS got its mojo right back.

Menges fired off a couple more winners from the service stripe, before Prescott popped in from the side, elevating and snapping off a perfectly-placed tip to close out the set.

In the moment, it was like the Coupeville sophomore was Moses and the Friday Harbor players were the Red Sea, as three went one way, three went the other way, and the ball splashed down right in the middle.

The final set, while semi-close in the early going, again allowed the Wolves to showcase their skill-set.

Mathusek, Prescott and Vick all had strong runs on serve, Emma Smith hit the ball so hard it may be permanently bruised, and then there was Toomey-Stout once again doing things that defy the laws of physics.

“The Gazelle,” while hanging in mid-air for a solid 90 seconds, had to reach far behind her head, where a wayward ball was trying to make a run for freedom.

Plan foiled, as Toomey-Stout snagged the orb, her arm flashing forward and driving the ball over the net with sweet vengeance.

I’d like to tell you Friday Harbor tried to make a play in response, but it’s closer to reality to report all six players rocked back on their heels, mouths agape, as the winner cracked the gym floor in half and exploded out the side door.

Meanwhile, Toomey-Stout is still hanging in mid-air and doesn’t appear to be coming down anytime soon.

As they celebrated their opening night win, the Wolves did so as their beaming coach nodded appreciatively as he surveyed a very-balanced stat sheet.

Emma Smith paced the Wolves with seven kills, while fellow senior captain Menges collected five kills, five assists and five service aces.

Scout Smith peppered Friday Harbor for six aces and nine assists, Toomey-Stout collected eight digs and five kills and Davidson pounded out five kills.

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   Kameryn St Onge ripped off a series of silky shots Wednesday as she and partner Maggie Crimmins sailed to a straight-sets win. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It was a genteel beat-down.

In a match where every other sentence began with “thank you” and the sound of laughter-laced conversation drifted from almost every court, Wednesday’s girls tennis match was far from a fight to the death.

Even if one team convincingly crushed the other between the lines.

The victor was a Coupeville High School squad which captured its fourth win in its last five matches, blanking visiting Friday Harbor 5-0.

The non-conference victory, coming against a longtime foe, lifts the Wolves to 4-5 on the season.

Adding two wins in three JV matches (against Friday Harbor’s varsity players), Coupeville was on cruise control all afternoon.

In fact, CHS coach Ken Stange gave his top two players a break, sending doubles duo Payton Aparicio and Sage Renninger off to train with a volunteer assistant coach rather than play against Friday Harbor.

The Wolves who did take the court were often deadly efficient, with Kameryn St Onge and Avalon Renninger, in particular, ripping off some extremely-nasty left-handed winners in two different matches.

The biggest drama came at #1 singles, but it didn’t involve any shot-making or rallies.

Instead, it arrived thanks to a broken shoelace which momentarily brought Coupeville ace Claire Mietus down low midway through the second set.

But, after pulling out the remaining lace, moving it around and retying a now much-shorter lace, she was able to keep her shoe on her foot long enough to close out her second win in as many days.

 

Complete Wednesday results:

Varsity:

1st Singles — Claire Mietus beat Alli Benz 6-2, 6-4

2nd Singles — Genna Wright beat Laurel Robertson 6-2, 6-3

1st Doubles — Avalon Renninger/Tia Wurzrainer beat Midi Thomas/Joely Loucks 6-0, 6-2

2nd Doubles — Maggie Crimmins/Kameryn St Onge beat Katie Kulseth/Tori Polda 6-2, 7-6(7-5)

3rd Doubles — Jillian Mayne/Zara Bradley beat Rachel Snow/Kai Di Bona 6-0, 6-2

JV:

4th Doubles — Heather Nastali/Megan Behan beat Thomas/Loucks 8-6

5th Doubles — Jaimee Masters/Emily Fiedler lost to Benz/Robertson 6-4

6th Doubles — Nanci Melendrez/Elaira Nicolle beat Di Bona/Snow 7-5

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