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James Wood is one of five seniors on the Coupeville High School boys tennis squad. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The only action Tuesday was on the sidelines.

Denied a chance to play a final match in front of their home fans when The Bush School ran out of players, the Coupeville High School boys tennis team still gathered at the courts.

Basking in the glow of their forfeit win, the Wolves nine-man roster sipped hot chocolate provided by coach Ken Stange and held Senior Night festivities under cloudy skies.

Five of Coupeville’s nine players graduate in spring 2020, and Tuesday was about saying farewell to James Wood, Mason Grove, Koby Schreiber, Thane Peterson, and Zach Ginnings.

The Wolves still have the Emerald City League tournament this weekend (or next week, if rain hits Sammamish as expected), but Senior Night, even in a slightly different version, offered Stange a chance to honor his team as one.

“It’s been a pleasure working with my Fab 5 from the Class of 2020,” the Wolf coach said in his prepared remarks. “The five of you gave me a combined 17 seasons.

“There were many road trips and ferry rides, and quite a few important discussions about where to eat after the match.

“Tons of practices … sun, wind, rain. Wins and losses and new doubles partners, mixed in with some Around the World and Sitting Duck, or is it Sit and Duck?

“Nonetheless, these are the memories I have – the memories we share. Thank you for the memories.

“More importantly, thank you for trying hard and for enjoying yourselves.”

Schreiber, Grove, and Ginnings played all four years for CHS, with Peterson putting in three seasons and Wood ruling the court the past two years.

All will depart with a solid cache of memories.

“The people on the team and especially our coach have been amazing,” Peterson said.

“In the past few years we have been faced with teams that have much more skill than we do, but I have found that even if we lose I still had a lot of fun in the match.”

That was a sentiment echoed by his fellow seniors.

“I’m grateful for all the amazing help and support I’ve gotten from teammates, coaches, friends, and family,” Wood said. “As it was only my second year playing tennis, I’m proud to say I have had some of the most fun I’ve ever had in a long time.

“It opened up the reality of all the fun games there are out there, and I couldn’t have done it alone,” he added. “This year was one to remember.”

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Zach Ginnings teamed with James Wood Monday afternoon, winning in straight sets at #1 doubles. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

This has a familiar ring to it.

When I tell you the Coupeville High School boys tennis team fell 3-2 to visiting Bear Creek Wednesday, you’ll probably respond, “I’ve heard that score before. A lot.”

And you have.

With a thin roster, the Wolves have battled for their life in their second season in the Emerald City League, the toughest 1A tennis conference in the state, and don’t have a lot of wins to show for it this time around.

But when you look at their 1-10 record, also take a moment to realize nearly half their matches have been decided by the slimmest of margins, that familiar 3-2 score.

Wednesday the wins came at #1 singles and #1 doubles, but the third win proved elusive.

Things should get a lot better Thursday, as the Wolves get a one-match reprieve from the ECL, hosting Friday Harbor in a non-conference rumble set to tip off at 3:30 PM.

If we can believe the record-keepers, Friday Harbor has spent much of its season playing themselves, and only themselves.

They currently show a 0-1 record, with that loss coming by a margin of … 3-2.

 

Complete Monday results:

1st Singles — Drake Borden won 6-2, 6-0

2nd Singles — Mason Grove lost 6-2, 6-2

1st Doubles — James Wood/Zach Ginnings won 6-2, 6-1

2nd Doubles — Thane Peterson/Andrew Aparicio lost 6-1, 6-1

3rd Doubles — Miles Davidson/Logan Martin lost 6-1, 6-3

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After a ton of off-season work, Drake Borden returns to anchor the Coupeville High School boys tennis squad at #1 singles. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Zach Ginnings is part of a solid core of returning Wolf players.

He’s never been in this position before.

Longtime Coupeville High School boys tennis guru Ken Stange has built a successful program, one which has boasted deep rosters and plenty of success.

But this season he’s facing the prospect of trying to achieve the latter without having the former.

Eight days out from their first match, the Wolves have just seven players.

While they’re all returnees, that’s not even enough netters to fill a full varsity lineup.

Coupeville needs eight men, with their league matches consisting of two singles players and three doubles teams.

With school starting Tuesday, there’s hope of at least one freshman showing up, and Stange and Co. continue to chase down every lead which might lead to a CHS boy with a pulse.

But, even if they get any late-comers, the Wolves will have to forfeit a match in each of their hard-court rumbles until the newbie(s) get 10 practices under their belt.

While he doesn’t have much depth, Stange does have a solid core of players, led by Drake Borden, who inherits the #1 singles slot from the graduated Jakobi Baumann.

“Our strength is having seven returning players with experience,” Stange said. “Another strength is Drake, who played all off-season and is primed for a solid season.”

Backing Borden are Mason Grove, James Wood, Zach Ginnings, Andrew Aparicio, Thane Peterson, and Koby Schreiber.

Of the returning players, two – Borden and Ginnings – played in the postseason last year.

Regardless of how many players he ends up with, Stange enters the season with the same mind-set he’s employed for the past decade-and-a-half.

“I expect us to compete hard and win some more individual matches,” he said. “I hope our team is able to win a few, too.”

While all of Coupeville’s other sports teams compete in the North Sound Conference, tennis joins up with South Whidbey to take on the private school powerhouses who camp out in the ultra-exclusive Emerald City League.

It’s a conference led by perennial state title contenders University Prep and Seattle Academy, and no match is an easy match.

But the Wolves made a nice statement for public schools everywhere last year, finishing in the top half of the eight teams in the ECL.

It might not have a deep roster in year two, but Coupeville has no intention of backing down quietly.

“We finished fourth in the league last year,” Stange said. “Finishing that well again would mean we had a strong season.”

Coupeville opens Sept. 11 at home against South Whidbey.

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Coupeville captain Teo Keilwitz fires the ball into play. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Wolf superstars (l to r) Avalon Renninger, Hannah Davidson, Tia Wurzrainer, Maya Toomey-Stout, and Mallory Kortuem brave the weather to cheer on their classmates.

James Wood pulls off a tasty tango, leaving his foe grasping at mere air.

Aram Leyva gets his head into the game.

Sage Downes is out for a run.

Owen Barenburg (13) holds off a pesky rival, while Nathan Ginnings (21) keeps an eye on the developing action.

Wolf legend Mandi Black, on hand to cheer for nephew Xavier Murdy, nails the season’s first selfie.

CHS goalie Dewitt Cole denies Oak Harbor.

We’re officially back to action.

While the mini-games at Thursday night’s three-team boys soccer jamboree in Oak Harbor won’t affect anyone’s win/loss records, they do kick off the spring sports season.

Coupeville went up North to clash with South Whidbey and host Oak Harbor, a tune-up before the regular-season opener Saturday at home against Chimacum.

While playing on the frozen tundra, the Wolves had their photos snapped by John Fisken, who had a short drive from his nearby home.

To see everything he shot, pop over to:

https://www.johnsphotos.net/Sports/Coupeville-Soccer-2018-2019/BS-2019-03-07-Jamboree-at-OH/

And, as we head towards graduation and year-end awards ceremonies, remember that any purchases help fund scholarships for two CHS senior student/athletes.

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Jacob Burke volleys Wednesday during Coupeville’s tennis match against visiting Bear Creek. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Even bothered by a shoulder injury, Mason Grove drops in another winner.

In a battle of animals, or at least animal mascots, the smaller, feistier one carried the day Wednesday afternoon.

Sweeping singles, and picking up a key win at #2 doubles, the Coupeville High School boys tennis squad slipped past visiting Bear Creek 3-2.

The victory, proving Wolves can topple Grizzlies, lifts CHS to 2-2 on the season.

It also confirms Coupeville, a small public school suddenly jammed into the ultra-ritzy Emerald City League for tennis, has no plans to back down from its new private school rivals.

Other than Island mate South Whidbey, which is also along for the ride, Coupeville has little history with the remaining ECL schools, all big-city, big-bucks, big-brains institutions.

That means almost every match, at least the first time through the schedule, will feature the Wolves feeling out their new foes, while also playing to win.

CHS coach Ken Stange, who has seen a little bit of everything during his time mentoring Wolf tennis players, came away pleased with what he witnessed.

Especially from the guys at the top of the lineup.

“I can’t say enough about (singles players) Jakobi (Baumann) and Drake (Borden),” Stange said. “They were both showing the perfect combination of controlled aggression and patience.

“They were relentless.”

Coupeville clinched the match with a win at #2 doubles, which featured an injured Wolf and an enterprising one.

Mason Grove took a nasty fall in warm-ups before the previous match, landing awkwardly on his shoulder, and was expected to be day-to-day.

Wednesday that translated into “I’m playing today.”

Mason, playing with one arm, was a model of excellence,” Stange said. “He dialed it down quite a bit, which paid off big time.”

Grove’s partner, first-year player James Wood, was on service in the second set, down 5-4, when he pulled off something even his wily veteran coach had never witnessed.

“Big Game James was lights out at times, and he even did something I’ve never seen in my 27 seasons in Coupeville,” Stange said.

Wood blasted a serve that nailed the Bear Creek player at the net, inflicting not only a potential bruise, but winning the point in unexpected fashion.

“The ball was nowhere close to being in, but the rules state that if the ball hits a player before it hits the ground, the player who got hit loses the point,” Stange said with a chuckle. “Good stuff!”

 

Complete Wednesday results:

 

Varsity:

1st Singles — Jakobi Baumann won 6-3, 6-3

2nd Singles — Drake Borden won 6-3, 6-4

1st Doubles — Zach Ginnings/Jacob Burke lost 7-5, 7-5

2nd Doubles — Mason Grove/James Wood won 6-3, 7-6(7-3)

3rd Doubles — Jaschon Baumann/Tiger Johnson lost 6-1, 6-4

 

JV:

4th Doubles — Koby Schreiber/Andrew Aparicio lost 7-6(7-3)

5th Doubles — Harris Sinclair/Thane Peterson lost 6-4, 6-3

 

To see more photos from Wednesday’s action, pop over to:

https://www.johnsphotos.net/Sports/Coupeville-Tennis-2018-2019/BT-2018-09-19-vs-Bear-Creek/

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