Posts Tagged ‘Island rivalry win’

A Coupeville hitter turns on the ball Tuesday during the first baseball game of the summer. (Photo courtesy Jon Roberts)

Play … ball?

While they wait for word on the fate of school sports during a pandemic, Coupeville baseball players returned to the diamond Tuesday for what coaches termed a “pick up” game.

The first of two games planned with next-door neighbor South Whidbey (the second is set for Thursday), the contest ended with a nail-biter of a 2-1 win for the Wolves.

Coupeville came from behind to knot things up, then pushed across the eventual winning run in the top of the seventh, and final, inning.

A Camden Glover sac fly to right plated Johnny Valenzuela with the go-ahead score, then Scott Hilborn, the third Wolf pitcher of the night, shut down South Whidbey in the bottom half of the inning to ice the win.

Hilborn, “looking ever much like Mariano Rivera,” according to Coupeville coach Jon Roberts, set down his rivals 1-2-3.

After forcing an infield out, the Wolf reliever closed the game with back-to-back strikeouts.

Coupeville set South Whidbey players on their heels thanks to a trio of top-notch hurlers, with starter Chase Anderson teaming up with relief aces Valenzuela and Hilborn to notch 9 K’s.

Anderson and Valenzuela each put in three innings apiece on the hill, with Valenzuela topping all Wolf pitchers with four strikeouts.

South Whidbey actually eked out the first run of the game, sending a runner around the bath-paths in the bottom of the first inning, but after that, Coupeville’s hurlers were in full lock-down mode.

The Wolves scratched out a run of their own in the top of the second, then the two squads remained deadlocked until the seventh.

Coupeville’s first run came courtesy Valenzuela, who singled, stole second and third, then streaked home when South Whidbey’s catcher lost the ball on what should have been a third strike.

From there, it was a defensive-minded stalemate, with the Wolves twice stranding a runner at third.

Coupeville finally found that elusive run in the seventh, thanks to walks to Valenzuela and Landon Roberts (who was plunked by a wayward pitch), which set Glover up for his heroics.

Jon Roberts, who has been waiting all summer to see his team in action, was happy for the game and happy for the victory, but interested in seeing his players continue to improve during difficult times.

“The win was great, but the game showed some areas that need serious work,” he said. “Batting will be a focus of the team. The number of strikeouts was way too high. We will be hitting the cages and trying to solve this issue.

“Besides that, it was great to be back on the field competing! You just gotta love baseball!”

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Cody Roberts helped key a huge comeback Friday, as Coupeville’s JV toppled South Whidbey. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Crunch time is their time.

The Coupeville High School JV boys basketball team is liberally sprinkled with guys who love the spotlight, who live to (metaphorically) gut rivals and leave them to bleed out on the floor.

So Friday night’s rumble against South Whidbey, capped with an electrifying come-from-behind victory, while thrilling, wasn’t especially surprising.

But satisfying? Oh, absolutely.

Charging back from a 14-point halftime deficit, the Wolves used a 27-point explosion in the fourth quarter to KO their hosts 70-63.

Coupeville’s third-straight win, it lifts the JV to 3-0 in North Sound Conference play, 7-3 overall.

The victory is big in the moment. But it’s also a clarion call for the future.

With all but two players on this year’s CHS varsity squad being seniors, the auditions for JV players hoping to move up next year is ongoing.

And, to a man, the younger Wolves are letting people know — they’re coming, and they’re coming for all the wins.

Friday’s tilt actually looked like it might be a South Whidbey romp in the early going, as the Falcons eased out to an 18-8 lead after one quarter of play.

Coupeville got closer during the second frame, but still headed to the locker room trailing 35-21 at the half.

Enter X-Man.

Sophomore sensation Xavier Murdy, having recovered from a preseason injury, is finally back on the floor and splitting time between the varsity and JV.

That limited him to just two quarters of action in Friday’s undercard, but he made every second on the floor count.

After warming up with a quick five points in the third, part of a 22-13 CHS surge, Murdy went off for 14 in the fourth frame, keying a 27-15 run across the game’s final eight minutes.

X-Man drained 9-10 free throws to supplement a variety of field goals, but he wasn’t the only Wolf to sting South Whidbey at crunch time.

Cody Roberts also came up big in the fourth, banking in six points, while Logan Martin and Grady Rickner popped for four and three in the quarter, respectively.

Dominating play in the second half to a 49-28 tune, Coupeville finished the night with 10 of 13 players scoring.

Xavier Murdy led the way with 19, all in the second half, while Martin hit for 12, Grady Rickner notched nine, and Roberts sank eight.

Rounding out the balanced attack were Daniel Olson (7), Sage Downes (7), Alex Murdy (4), Miles Davidson (2), Chris Cernick (2), and Andrew Aparicio (2), while Alex Jimenez, TJ Rickner, and Chris Ruck all saw floor time.

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Jack Porter swoops in to nab a runaway basketball. (Morgan White photos)

Quinten Simpson-Pilgrim goes strong to the hoop.

Cole White can’t be stopped.

Logan Downes flies in for a bucket.

Mikey Robinett has the magic touch.

Big wins, big excitement, big cleanup.

Playing in front of their home fans Monday, the Coupeville Middle School boys basketball squads swept three games from visiting Langley, claiming Island supremacy.

But the basketball wasn’t the only thing hitting the floor, as one fan related.

“You missed an epic night of middle school basketball … one poor soul playing for South Whidbey couldn’t handle the dominating pressure of our offense and upon exiting the court vomited all over the place.

“It was like something out of the movies, crowd reaction and all.”

Sadly, I wasn’t front row center for the unexpected side show, as I was down in Freeland clearing land for my sister and offering up plenty of dead trees and gnarled stumps to the great fire god Beavis.

However, having been trapped in the Coupeville gym during the Great Food Poisoning Game a couple years back, when Wolf players were heaving into trash cans on the bench, I’m pretty sure by “sadly” I mean “sweet sassy molassy, I dodged a bullet.”

But anyway, the basketball was good, from what I hear, so there’s that.

How it played out Monday (as deduced from scanning score-books):


Level 1:

Coupeville added to its roster, then went and blew out Langley 54-24 in the afternoon’s biggest romp.

The win lifts the Wolves to 3-6 headed into their season finale Thursday at home against Granite Falls.

CMS coach Greg White promoted several players from Level 2, and liked what he saw.

“Team 1 saw some new energy from Tim (Nitta), Hunter (Bronec), Hurlee (Bronec), and Johnny Porter,” he said.

“Those boys have been playing too well in practice and games to not move them up.”

The Wolves came out hot, jumping on Langley in the first quarter behind the shooting of ace gunner Logan Downes.

With the 8th grader popping for 11 of his game-high 27 in the opening frame, Coupeville went to the first break up 13-6.

After a 9-9 second-quarter battle royal kept things in place, the Wolves put the game away in the third, mashing the Cougars 22-4 behind the triple threat trio of William Davidson, Downes, and Cole White.

With his 27-point explosion, Downes brings his season average to 19 a night, while White chipped in with nine Monday and Davidson banked home seven.

Nitta (5), Zane Oldenstadt (4), and Hunter Bronec (2) rounded out the scoring, while Landon Roberts, Ryan Blouin, Nick Guay, Porter, and Hurlee Bronec all saw solid floor time.


Level 2:

The third quarter was magic for the Wolves one more time, as an 11-2 run broke open a tie game.

Coupeville’s most-successful team held on down the stretch, capturing a 29-21 win to run its record to 6-2-1 on the season.

Up until the third quarter, the game was a tense, back-and-forth affair, with CMS up by two at the first break, before Langley knotted the game up at the half.

Mikey Robinett did much of the damage for the Wolves, pounding home four of his 13 points in the third.

Blouin (5), Guay (5), Quinten Simpson-Pilgrim (4), and Davidson (2) all scored, with Jack Porter, Hurlee Bronec, and Johnny Porter chipping in with tough-nosed defense.


Level 3:

The big break-through.

After coming close several times this season, the young Wolves nabbed their first win of the season, winning 29-22.

Now 1-6 overall, the third CMS squad put the game away thanks to … wait for it … a strong third quarter.

Up 8-4 after one frame, then 12-8 at the half, the Wolves went on a 14-8 tear coming out of the break and that was that.

Five different Coupeville players scored in the third quarter, as the Wolves shared the ball and made smart choices.

Harlan Mouw and Nathan Ginnings led the way, tossing in 10 and nine points, respectively, and Justin Jansen popped for six.

Carson Fields and JP Edoukou each added two points to the attack, while Jesus Madrigal, Chris Villarreal, Jordan Bradford, and Alex Clark brought the hustle and heart.

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Vivian Farris was sensational Thursday, as she and the Wolf C-Team pulled off a truly stunning comeback win. (Brian Vick photos)

“We’re just here to take all the wins, baby!!”

Al Michaels called. He doesn’t believe it.

The announcer who gave the world “Do you believe in miracles?” ran out of words when confronted with what went down in South Whidbey’s #2 gym Thursday night.

Down a set and coming back to win? Sure.

Facing 12 consecutive match points and fighting them all off? Um…

Pulling together as a team and playing absolute flawless volleyball for five torrid minutes, the Coupeville High School C-Team volleyball squad shocked the crowd (and anyone reading this), while ripping out the collective hearts of their next door neighbors.

Reading the score, which came out 19-25, 25-16, 28-26 in favor of the Wolves doesn’t do it total justice.

And, as fate would have it, I wasn’t in the room for this one, as both the Coupeville JV and C-Team were playing at the same time, and I chose the main gym, where there was a pretty intense match-up of its own.

But the C-Team squad dodging death, destruction and what would have been its first loss to anyone other than the juggernaut known as King’s, was obviously the match of the night.

Possibly of the season.

“I can’t feel my face!”

“Is this real life?”

“Oh lord, where’s my pacemaker???”

“I’m just saying, there should be a 2-for-1 deal on hot dogs for all Wolf fans after that one…”

All pertinent comments coming out of the mouths of dazed, confused and deliriously happy Coupeville fans as they exited the side gym to rejoin their brethren in the big room.

The win lifts the Wolf spikers to 6-1 in league play, 7-1 overall, but is bigger, much bigger.

This is the kind of victory, the kind of jolt to the psyche of all involved, which can launch a thousand future celebrations.

Bouncing back from an early deficit, one of the few they have faced this season, Krimson Rector’s squad of furious fightin’ freshmen came roaring back multiple times.

A dominating performance in set two evened things up, but the Falcons seemed to have recovered, up 24-12 in the third frame, needing just a single, solitary point to get over the top.

It was a point which never came, as Wolf Vivian Farris, channeling the spirit of Lauren Rose, the calmest server in CHS volleyball history, went off on a tear at the line.

One point, two points, five points, the collar constricting around every Falcon’s neck, and the “we’ve got this” spirit growing in the soul of each Coupeville player.

All the way back to 24-24 the Wolves came, and then the two squads went at it in the middle of the ring, pounding shots to the ribs and refusing to fall.

Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson came up with big plays for CHS, and then the battlin’ Lucero twins, Allie and Maya, sealed the deal.

The final point was a wild one, with a return allegedly bouncing off a basketball backboard, before Coupeville put South Whidbey out of its misery.

At least for the moment.

Ten years from now, when a random Falcon player thinks back on this night, she may start screaming for no reason.

It’s possible. Very possible.

For the Wolves however, for Rector and her rampaging crew of win-happy big hitters, this will be one for the memory books.

The cold hard facts will show Ryanne Knoblich led the air attack, smacking seven kills, while Jordyn Rogers (3), Kalwies-Anderson (2), Farris (1), and Allie Lucero (1) all chipped in.

At the line, Gwen Gustafson popped a team-best four service aces, with Rogers, Farris, and Maya Lucero throwing down three apiece.

But, as is always the case with epic matches like this, it’s about more than just the stats.

It’s about Gustafson charging out of the side gym and bear-hugging a teammate as she told her the final score.

It’s about the Lucero twins, relating the tale of the final, frantic moments, words tumbling out, then dissolving into huge smiles as dad Aaron beamed like the sun over the Serengeti.

It’s about Rector, poppin’ gum and pumpin’ fists, as she rambled into the big gym to join fellow Wolf coaches Cory Whitmore and Chris Smith for the varsity contest.

It’s about the future of Coupeville volleyball. A future which seems to have few limitations.

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Zoe Trujillo stepped up big Thursday night, helping Coupeville volleyball sweep South Whidbey in straight sets. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Emma Mathusek and friends are 11-1 heading into Senior Night.

The freight train keeps rumblin’ down the track, wrecking almost everything in its way.

Overcoming a young, but feisty South Whidbey squad Thursday, the Coupeville High School varsity volleyball team continues to match the best start in program history.

Pulling out a 25-20, 25-17, 25-23 win on the road in Langley, during a rumble in which they came back from a 10-1 deficit in the final set, the Wolves improve to 6-1 in North Sound Conference play, 11-1 overall.

Coupeville sits a game off of King’s (7-0, 11-0) in the race for a title, and is a win away from clinching at least second-place in league play.

The Wolves, who have three regular season bouts left, starting with Senior Night Tuesday against Granite Falls, have matched the 2004 CHS spikers for the best record through 12 matches.

But, while they won in straight sets Thursday, it wasn’t a walk-over.

The Falcons, led by freshman Morgan Batchelor, who was ferocious at the net all night, led in every set, but ultimately broke when the much-more experienced Wolves fully bared their teeth.

Eight of Coupeville’s 12 varsity players are seniors, and they are a pack which has played together through middle and high school.

Their CHS days have come under the guidance of coach Cory Whitmore, who took the helm of the program as the current seniors arrived on campus as freshmen.

Together, coach and players have produced four straight seasons of 11 or more wins, two league titles (so far), and a trip to state in 2017.

They may bend at times, but the Wolves rarely break, as South Whidbey was reminded once again.

With a hyped-up crowd behind them, the Falcons jumped out to an 8-5 lead in the first set, before Coupeville used its strong team-wide serving to take control.

Maya Toomey-Stout was the first Wolf to go off, putting together a run of four straight points, with a huge spike from Zoe Trujillo and a Hannah Davidson kill which caught the top of the net and flopped over, helping to spark things.

With the score knotted at 10-10, that brought Wolf captain Scout Smith to the line, and the Falcon faithful to their feet.

To their credit, the South Whidbey student section brought the hootin’, the hollerin’, and the good-natured harassin’, yet they forgot one thing.

Nothing ruffles Scout Smith. Nothing.

Perhaps her insides are a cauldron of bubbling anxiety, but, if so, she never, ever betrays it.

Instead, Smith, like her brothers before her, just placidly stares ahead, ignores the din, and unleashes winner after winner.

With her serves, and her flawless passes, paving the way, Scoutosaurus Rex set the table, and Trujillo and Maddie Vondrak dined out, lashing winners and leading group cheers afterwards.

Up 16-10 after Smith’s service run, the Wolves got a five-spot from Raven Vick, who was crackin’ off lasers on her serve, and Coupeville stretched the lead out.

Batchelor refused to bend the knee, however, crashing a pair of eye-popping kills off the back corner, including one which held off set point, at least for a moment.

But what was meant to be was meant to be, as Toomey-Stout, once herself a preternaturally-talented freshman, and now a battle-hardened senior, came flying in to finish off the set.

Exploding skyward, scanning the Falcons for a weakness, “The Gazelle” locked and loaded, her arm rearranging the molecules of the volleyball as she pounded a final kill, angling it off a rival’s arm and out of bounds.

The second set was more of the same, with Batchelor playing like a star, but Coupeville responding with danger from every angle.

Lucy Sandahl was a delight at the service stripe, while Toomey-Stout, Davidson, Trujillo and Vondrak brought the heat with a tantalizing variety of kills, stuffs, and tips.

Coupeville took the lead quicker in set two, never surrendering it once up 4-3.

Trujillo, playing in front of big sis Valen, herself a CHS volleyball all-timer, upheld family honor with an especially-strong performance.

A late service ace off of Zoe’s fingertips was a true marvel, diving and burrowing under a Falcon player’s arms.

The less said about the first third of the final set, probably the better, as the Wolves, for a few minutes, seemed to collectively forget how to play their chosen sport.

But, a few quiet words from Whitmore later, Coupeville righted the ship and did so in a hurry.

Sandahl started the comeback with a six-point run at the line, several big kills from Davidson pulled the Wolves closer, and then, bam, Trujillo was once again the woman on the spot, slamming a ball off of a Falcon’s chin to push CHS up 15-14.

Even then, Batchelor and Co. kept coming, yanking the lead back and going up as far as 23-19.

With the crowd noise surging, and momentum seemingly slipping away from the Wolves, Coupeville needed a big-time play to turn the tide a final time.

Enter Toomey-Stout, who forced a side-out with a floor-shaking kill, and Vondrak, who ended the match with a five-point run at the line.

And exit to the bus a happy Whitmore, who has guided Coupeville volleyball to a .730 winning percentage (46-17) during his time on the Wolf bench.

“It was good to come out on top versus an improved South Whidbey team,” he said.

If he scanned the stat sheet on the short jaunt back to Cow Town, Whitmore saw a very-balanced attack, with Smith (25 assists, seven digs, two aces, two kills) and Toomey-Stout (11 kills, 16 digs, two aces) leading the way.

Davidson (eight kills, two blocks), Trujillo (five kills, three aces, four digs), Vondrak (four kills, two aces), Vick (two digs), Sandahl (two aces, four digs), Emma Mathusek (seven digs) and Lucy Tenore also joined in on the fun.

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