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Raven Vick and Coupeville volleyball are 12-2 heading into their regular-season finale. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Big hitters like Zoe Trujillo are ready to wreak havoc in the playoffs.

The experts have spoken.

If the Washington State Volleyball Coaches Association knows what it’s talking about, Coupeville is going back to the state tournament this season.

When the first poll of the season was released earlier this week, the Wolves were one of 16 teams (the same number which go to state) to receive votes, landing at #15, between Kiona-Benton and Klahowya.

But, as good as CHS has been this season, winning 36 of 46 sets, they also happen to sit in the same league as King’s, which was ranked #2 in that poll, behind just Chelan.

And the Knights have been the one team the Wolves just haven’t been able to solve … yet.

Thursday night, playing on its home court in Shoreline, King’s held off a scrappy Coupeville squad, winning 25-9, 25-13, 25-15 to claim a second-straight North Sound Conference title.

With one regular-season match left to play, the Knights (9-0 in league play, 13-0 overall) and Wolves (7-2, 12-2) are locked in as the league’s #1 and #2 seeds for the district playoffs.

Cedar Park Christian (5-3, 10-4), South Whidbey (3-5, 4-8), and Sultan (2-7, 6-9) are also headed to the post-season, while Granite Falls (0-9, 3-11) has been eliminated.

To see the bracket for districts, pop over to:

http://www.nscathletics.com/tournament.php?tournament_id=3120&sport=10

Coupeville has mashed everyone not in a King’s uniform this season, only dropping four sets to other schools, but hasn’t been able to match the Knights mix of big hitters and impeccable passers.

But the Wolves did take a step forward from their performance in the first match-up between the schools.

“King’s is a very good team and we needed to access a new level of play and couldn’t quite find that gear,” said CHS coach Cory Whitmore. “We passed much better than our previous meeting with them and handled some real tough serves but couldn’t get the ball to the ground on their side often enough.”

He praised the play of his team, with a special tip of the hat to senior smasher Maya Toomey-Stout.

Maya had a massive game for us,” Whitmore said. “Very calm on the pass, took a ton of swings and played all-out in the middle back position digging their widespread attack.”

Toomey-Stout finished with four kills, three digs, and two blocks, while Scout Smith (12 assists, two digs), Zoe Trujillo (five kills), and Hannah Davidson (four kills and a block) also sparkled.

Emma Mathusek added three digs, Lucy Tenore and Maddie Vondrak each delivered a spike, and Lucy Sandahl zipped a service ace past the Knights defense.

Coupeville closes the regular season on the road Monday, traveling to Sultan, and a win would match the most victories in a single season by a Whitmore-coached CHS squad.

The 2019 team is just two wins shy of the best mark in program history, the 14 wins thrown down by the immortal 2004 Wolf spikers.

As he and his team prepare for their playoff run, Whitmore has a simple answer to how Coupeville can bounce back from their loss to King’s.

“Back to practice, to focus on our long-term goals.”

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Maya Lucero prepares to unleash sweet death ‘n destruction on her foes. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It was a fight to the finish. A back-alley brawl. A royal rumble.

In other words, a very, very close match.

The Coupeville High School C-Team volleyball squad has only lost to one school this season, and both of those defeats have been by just a handful of points.

The Wolf freshmen are 7-2 in North Sound Conference play, 8-2 overall, with the only small dings on their record coming thanks to the big baddie of the region, private school power King’s.

Thursday night’s tango in Shoreline was about as close as possible, with Coupeville winning the first set 25-20, before the Knights bounced back to take sets #2 and #3 by the very same score.

While she was looking for a win, CHS coach Krimson Rector was still in a positive mood while bouncing across the back-roads of America in a school bus on the way home.

“The girls played strong and focused through all three sets,” she said. “It was a good, competitive game that with the right swing of momentum I think we could’ve had.

“Regardless, the girls got a lot of play in with long rallies and big points.”

Facing off with their toughest foe by far, the young Wolves showed their coach they won’t back down.

“I was proud of the girls ability to keep their minds focused while having a strong competitor do the same,” Rector said. “The girls played hard through each point of each set until that last whistle.”

Jordyn Rogers led the Wolf attack, rifling six kills and three service aces, while the Lucero twins combined for a strong evening, with Maya nabbing five kills and an ace, while Allie had four aces and a kill.

Coupeville also got solid work from Ryanne Knoblich (four kills and an ace), Vivian Farris (four aces), Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson (an ace), and spark-plug Gwen Gustafson.

Gwen played great defense across the net from some strong hitters,” Rector said. “And stayed calm and collected while digging balls left and right.”

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Heidi Meyers fires up a serve. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It was there, and then it was gone.

For the second time this season, the Coupeville High School JV volleyball team snatched the opening set from King’s, only to see the Knights slip away in the end with a three-set win.

Thursday, playing in Shoreline, the Wolves ultimately fell 11-25, 25-13, 25-15, dropping to 7-2 in North Sound Conference play, 10-3 overall.

With one match left, next Monday at Sultan, the JV spikers have proven they can stand with anyone.

Their only losses have been to King’s, whose varsity squad is ranked #2 in 1A in the state poll, and 2A Anacortes.

Both of the matches with the Knights were tense, close affairs.

First time around, Coupeville actually won more points, coming out ahead 67-62, while losing 2-1 in sets.

In the rematch, King’s held a slight 61-53 advantage, but the Wolves fought until the final point.

“They played well,” said CHS coach Chris Smith while discussing his squad. “I was very pleased with how they played!”

Kylie Chernikoff led the way for the Wolves, pounding six kills, firing five aces, and scraping seven digs off the floor.

Spreading out the rest of the kills were Taygin Jump (4), Jill Prince (3), Anya Leavell (2), Maddie Georges (2), Ivy Leedy (1), and Alita Blouin (1).

Georges handed out 12 assists, Jump (7) and Blouin (6) were big on digs, and Heidi Meyers fired off four service aces.

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Jill Prince soars to stuff a shot during a recent Coupeville C-Team volleyball contest. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

These freshmen don’t back down.

When coach Krimson Rector lets loose her Coupeville High School C-Team volleyball squad, they come flying right at folks, mixing up things with a ferocious mix of kills and service aces.

After coming dangerously close to upending North Sound Conference powerhouse King’s Monday, the young Wolves returned to their home court Wednesday and polished off Sultan in a matter of minutes.

How one-sided was Coupeville’s 25-5, 25-8, 25-7 win over the Turks?

Well, let’s just say Sultan didn’t return a serve over the net until late in the first set, and won only two points total all night.

If the Wolves, who now sit at 4-1 in league play, 5-1 overall, hadn’t banged a few serves into the net, the Turks would have really been hurting.

Wednesday night’s whuppin’ started with a bang, which was the sound the volleyball made after it slammed into the floor on Sultan’s side of the court, having been launched from the cannon-like serving arm of Allie Lucero.

The fab frosh ripped off five straight service winners, then teammate Ryanne Knoblich went her three better, peppering the Turks for eight consecutive serves which couldn’t be returned.

Up 14-1 at one point in the opening set, the Wolves polished off the frame in 13 minutes, 10 of which were spent waiting for Sultan to go retrieve the ball after it skidded by on the way out the door.

Taygin Jump closed the set with a nice run at the service stripe, while Knoblich ended the one, and only, mini-rally with a gorgeous tip for a winner.

The second set was a bit different, as Sultan put the ball in play more often, but that just gave the Wolves a chance to work on other skills.

Jordyn Rogers, Jump, and Vivian Farris all connected on big put-aways, while Gwen Gustafson came tip-toeing through the tulips to launch a perfectly-placed drop shot for another winner.

That brought a smile to the face of older brother Clay Reilly, a Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Famer back in his old gym to watch lil’ sis launch her own star.

Sultan finally won a point thanks to its own play, and not missed Wolf serves, 24 points into the second set.

Which cut the lead to a modest 18-6, and with Lucero and Knoblich returning to the service line, things still ended quickly.

But not before Rogers bounced into frame once again, freezing two Turks and poking a tip between them for an especially sweet winner.

Jill Prince, Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson and Maya Lucero made positive splashes in the final set, while Allie Lucero, Gustafson, and Farris continued to spur chants of “ace, ace, ace” as they fired away at will.

The match ended with two plays which perfectly summed up the night.

Down 24-6, Sultan obtained only its second point off of its own play, followed by Knoblich launching herself airborne and smoking a set-ending kill approximately 1.3 seconds later.

The young Wolves filled up the stat sheet, with Gustafson (10), Allie Lucero (9), Knoblich (5), Rogers (4), Farris (4), and Jump (3) racking up aces.

Allie Lucero had 10 assists to pace her squad, while Rogers blasted a team-best six kills.

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Freshman Carolyn Lhamon, launching an impressive long ball, came within an inch of scoring Tuesday against King’s stellar varsity defense. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Brekyn Clark collected an assist in the JV game, as Coupeville and King’s combined rosters and played a one-goal thriller.

“I think this might be the best girls team I’ve had here.”

No matter what the win/loss record says, Coupeville High School girls soccer coach Kyle Nelson has never swayed in his belief in his injury-plagued, but resilient players.

Tuesday night made for rough sledding for the Wolves, as they welcomed one of the premier 1A programs to town, finding themselves on the wrong end of a 7-0 rumble with visiting King’s.

The loss drops CHS to 0-6 in North Sound Conference play, 0-8-2 overall, but it is still just a game off of a playoff berth.

After facing the high-powered Knights, who have been a regular visitor to the state tournament, the schedule gets much, much easier over the next week.

Coupeville heads to Port Townsend Thursday for a non-conference tilt with an 0-8 RedHawk team which has only scored in one game, before hosting Sultan (1-5 in league, 1-8-2 overall) Tuesday, Oct. 15.

The Turks nipped the Wolves 1-0 on turf in Sultan the first time around. Playing on regular grass in front of its home crowd, the chance for Coupeville to net some revenge is huge.

And necessary, if CHS wants to remain in the race for the fifth, and final playoff berth out of the six-team NSC.

While Tuesday’s tango might have seemed one-sided on the scoreboard, if the Wolves can bring the same energy they had against King’s, anything is possible.

“They played hard all game long against a very tough opponent,” Nelson said. “I never saw any hanging of heads, which I’m very happy with.

“From start whistle to end whistle, they competed.”

The Wolves also came close to puncturing a strong Knights defense which has collected six shutouts in 10 games.

“We definitely had a lot more shots on goal than the first time around, which is really good,” Nelson said. “We were inches away from scoring on them.”

Coupeville’s best chance came on a free kick awarded after a Wolf player was sent sprawling by a rival.

Freshman Carolyn Lhamon took the shot, and emulating former Wolf Jennifer Spark’s bionic leg, crushed a high, arcing ball which curved away from the King’s goalie as it picked up speed.

Unfortunately, the curve was just slightly too far, as the ball slammed off the far post, then rebounded to a teammate who immediately fired again, only to send the ball just wide on the right.

“Close, very, very close,” Nelson said with a small smile.

King’s got on the board less than 70 seconds into the game, slapping in a short shot, then followed that up with three more scores in the first half.

Wolf goaltender Mollie Bailey turned away her fair share of shots, including making a sensational diving save to deny a Knights player who had a one-on-one breakaway and seemed destined to hit pay-dirt.

Sprawling to her right at the last second, the 25th generation (give or take a generation) Coupeville native hit the turf, slid, and snared the ball, pulling it to her chest and not letting go while almost being stepped on by the rampaging shooter.

That play was symbolic of how the Wolf defense played all night.

King’s, with its band of club ball pros, can hit from anywhere, and came in waves, hitting one goal on the third rebound, as Bailey stopped back-to-back shots in rapid-fire motion before being unable to twist into a pretzel fast enough to deny the final shot.

But she and CHS defenders such as Tia Wurzrainer and Nezi Keiper stood tall, fighting for every ball, and frequently forcing the Knights out of their comfort zone.

On one play, a King’s player came curling in from the right side, seemingly with an open shot, only to be met by Wurzrainer, who hip-checked her into the stands to a mighty roar from the Wolf faithful.

Along with Lhamon’s blast, the Wolves got several shots on goal from Avalon Renninger, including one from distance, which curved just wide at the last second.

Coupeville also got strong attacks out of Mallory Kortuem and Audrianna Shaw.

 

JV mixes things up:

The Wolves only had six JV players in uniform, so King’s offered up a couple of players to even out the sides, and the teams played to what would be a 3-2 win for the “bad” Knights over the “good” Knights/Wolves.

Since it was regarded as a friendly, the loss doesn’t affect Coupeville’s record.

Both CHS goals were knocked in by rented players, with Wolf Brekyn Clark assisting on the first score.

Also seeing action for the Wolves were Lily Leedy, who came dangerously close to scoring on a second-half shot, and Izzy Wells, Camryn Clark, Anna Myles, and goalie Katelin McCormick, who snagged several nice saves.

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