Posts Tagged ‘Klahowya’

   Jake Pease and the rest of Coupeville’s underclassmen will jump to a new league next school year. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Change is in the air.

After a very-successful four-year run in the 1A Olympic League, in terms of wins, titles and confidence restored, Coupeville High School is swapping leagues.

Now the question is which direction CHS goes in — down to 2B, where it thrived for many years, or to a new 1A league formed out of the smoldering ruins of its former home in the Cascade Conference.

Coupeville Athletic Director Willie Smith confirmed Wednesday the school would leave the Olympic League at the end of the 2017-2018 school year and outlined the wide-open future.

In his words:

Coupeville has decided to leave the Olympic League (high school) and North Olympic League (middle school) for the following reasons:

**Out of class time for students: we are very often leaving the school at 11:00-12:00 and not returning until 9:30 at night.

During district tournaments the return times are often much later, as the majority of the tournaments are in the Tacoma area (and this year fast-pitch will be traveling to Lacey to play their tourney) requiring us to take the Mukilteo/Clinton ferry at a much later time.

**Cost: we were over our transportation budget by over $15,000 last year due to the use of the ferry for every away league game in HS, every away game in MS, many non-league away games with the 2A’s of the Olympic League, travel to/from district events in Tacoma, and staying overnight for district tournaments that were two-day tourneys that played on back-to-back days.

**Scheduling: we have to schedule games around the PT/Keystone ferry schedule. Neither the ferry or reservation system works as consistently as we need and we had multiple re-schedules as well as cancellations due to ferry-related issues.

In addition, the 1A’s were planning on reducing the number of league games we played each from three to two, which would result in trying to find an inordinate amount of non-league games for each season.

As an example: in a 20-game season (basketball, baseball, fast-pitch) we would only have 6/20 league games and trying to find 14 non-league games to fill the schedule.

The resulting schedule would not be consistent in days we play, number of games per week, and more importantly, in meaningful league games.

So what’s our path?

We are at the end of the first two years of the WIAA four-year cycle, which means we can apply for two things: re-classification or joining another league; we are doing both.

Our current grades 9-11 enrollment is below the 2B cutoff and we are in process of appealing to the WIAA to move into the 2B classification.

We will not find out their decision until January 28th.

If approved, we would then apply to join the Northwest 2B League (Concrete, Darrington, La Conner, Friday Harbor, Orcas Island).

We don’t know what the WIAA will consider as significant change in enrollment, as this is the first time the WIAA has ever had to render these decisions.

Neither myself or WIAA representatives can really speak to whether we have a legitimate chance of winning the appeal but we are appealing.

We have had a long history of playing all of these teams and play them in non-league games on a regular basis, so it’s not really a stretch for us to move in this direction.

We have also inquired and have begun the process of looking into joining the newly formed 1A North Sound Conference, which currently consists of Sultan, South Whidbey, Granite Falls (appealing to drop from 2A to 1A), King’s, and Cedar Park Christian.

We have had a long history of playing the majority of these teams and play them in non-league games on a regular basis, so it’s not really a stretch for us to move in this direction.

It’s a 1A only league, which we have not been in for over 10 years.

Nothing, other than exiting the Olympic League at the conclusion of this year, is set, and even that needs approval from District 3, District 1, and the WIAA, which should happen, but is not always 100%.

There are a lot of documentation, hearings, and legwork that is currently being done, and will continue to be done before anything firm happens.

I would like to add that I have nothing but positive things to say about the Olympic League and its Athletic Directors.

They brought us in and re-worked an entire league in order to make it happen for Coupeville at a time when we desperately needed a change.

It helped our programs get healthy again, kids turning out, and we have had a lot of successes in the Olympic League.

But, and very importantly, it comes down to what is best for our schools and our kids.

The amount of time and school our kids miss coupled with the reality of the costs has really made us (coaches, administration) look at where we were at and a change was something that needed to occur.

Prior to bringing in four 1A schools in 2014 — Coupeville, Klahowya, Port Townsend and Chimacum — the Olympic League was a 2A conference.

In the three-plus seasons of the 1A division, Coupeville has won 11 league titles and claimed 153 varsity wins against its three 1A foes.

Girls basketball and tennis, which have yet to lose a league contest, each own three titles. Volleyball (2), boys tennis (2) and baseball (1) also have added to the school’s Wall of Honor.

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Wolf senior Joey Lippo is locked and loaded. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

   Defensive dynamos Kalia Littlejohn (back) and Ema Smith may goof around during photo shoots, but are deadly-serious on the court.

It’s never too early to look at the numbers.

We’re only a week into the new basketball season, and the number of games played widely varies team to team.

So, take everything in the proper context and … and … Hunter Smith is coming for all your records!!

OK, deep breath.

The reality is the Coupeville boys have only played two games, or exactly 10% of their regular-season schedule. There’s a long way to go.

But, through those first two games, Smith is averaging 22 points a night, having hit 24 on the road at Blaine and 20 at home against Mount Vernon Christian.

Stay healthy and keep the same shooting touch and the Wolf senior could make a run at cracking Coupeville’s Top 10 for single-season and career scoring.

Having entered the season with 465 points, he’s now at 509 and has leap-frogged four former CHS stars to sit, for the moment, as the 41st best scorer in the 101-year history of Wolf boys hoops.

On the other side of the ball, fellow senior Mikayla Elfrank leads the way, averaging a whisper under 13 a game.

And what do the standings tell us?

Well, no one has played a league game yet, but Coupeville is the only school to get a win from both its girls and boys teams.

So, on we plunge, with the Wolves returning to the court this coming Friday and Saturday (Dec. 8-9).

CHS hosts Sequim, then travels down to South Whidbey, with both doubleheaders non-conference affairs.

A look at the varsity stats ‘n standings, through Dec. 2:


Girls (4 games):

Mikayla Elfrank 51
Lindsey Roberts 25
Kalia Littlejohn 24
Kyla Briscoe 11
Ema Smith 11
Sarah Wright
Scout Smith

Boys (2 games):

Hunter Smith 44
Ethan Spark 29
Joey Lippo 8
Hunter Downes 5
Dane Lucero 2
Jacobi Pacquette-Pilgrim 1
Cameron Toomey-Stout 1


Olympic League girls basketball:

School League Overall
Chimacum 0-0 1-0
Klahowya 0-0 0-2
Port Townsend 0-0 0-2

Olympic League boys basketball:

School League Overall
Port Townsend 0-0 1-1
Chimacum 0-0 0-1
Klahowya 0-0 0-2

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   Lucy Sandahl played sensationally in all aspects of the game Wednesday, sparking the Wolf JV spikers to yet another win. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Savannah Smith is having none of your shenanigans.

There was a moment Wednesday during the JV volleyball match between Coupeville and Klahowya when the visiting Eagles seemed to still have a shot.

Enter Smith, and exit all hope from the hearts of her rivals.

Rising skyward with a mighty spring, the fab frosh rejected a Klahowya shot, using the very tippy-top of her fingers to forcibly send the ball skidding downward for a winner.

Then, after pausing to roll her eyes at the mere thought that someone would try and slip a volleyball past her impeccable defense, Smith softly smiled.

But just a bit, and quickly, and then the mask o’ death dropped again across her face as she stared holes through the players on the other side of the net.

It was a look shared by her teammates as well, as the Wolf young guns continue to thrash virtually everyone who wander into their path.

A mixture of freshmen and sophomores with their eye on making the jump to varsity next year when the departure of seven seniors will open a huge hole in the roster, they are now 11-1 overall, 8-0 in Olympic League play.

Their only defeat came to ginormous 2A Port Angeles, while the JV beat the only two teams the Wolf varsity has lost to — 2A Sequim and 1A powerhouse Bellevue Christian.

The latest JV win was a 25-12, 25-22, 25-21 dismantling of Klahowya which, frankly, wasn’t as close as some of those set scores might sound.

The Eagles were scrappy and put up a fight, but when it came time to ending points with a bang, that was reserved almost solely for the Wolves.

Whether Zoe Trujillo was slicing winners at the net, Raven Vick was pounding the crud out of the ball on spikes or Emma Mathusek was setting up her teammates for success, every Wolf on the floor was clicking.

Coupeville roared out to an early lead behind pinpoint serving from Lucy Sandahl, then coasted home for the first set win behind a sparkling tip from Maddie Vondrak and Maya Toomey-Stout unleashing heck on Earth.

“The Gazelle,” who is fond of climbing in the air, then breaking the laws of gravity by hanging for an eternity, before delivering crippling kills, was in fine form.

Toomey-Stout smoked the Eagles several times, but one kill in the first set, when she bounced a winner off of not one, not two, but three different players, was a thing of particular beauty.

For a moment, she was like a pool player ricocheting the ball around, leaving a little sting on the skin of every player whose body parts conflicted with the route of her shot.

While Coupeville dominated at the net — Chelsea Prescott joined her companions in regularly tattooing winners — the best play of the night came not on an outright winner, but on a sheer hustle play.

With the score knotted up midway through the second set, Klahowya appeared to have a winner, but Kylie Chernikoff had other ideas.

The Wolf frosh was down on the floor, but threw up her hand above her head while prone, somehow redirecting the ball back into play a millisecond before it skidded away into the crowd.

That gave Chernikoff’s teammates a chance to rally on a play which should have been dead, and, when the Wolves turned it into a point several hits later, all the momentum was on their side.

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   Payton Aparicio and Coupeville volleyball are flying high. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The final play of the match Wednesday told you everything you needed to know.

A Klahowya server launched the ball skyward, smacked the orb, then watched as it nestled into the net and flopped back on her side of the court.

Game, set, match and the air has completely gone out of the Eagles.

If you were naive enough to doubt the 1A Olympic League firmly belongs to the Coupeville High School volleyball program, then, I have a bridge to sell you, kid.

The Wolves have rolled through conference play, notching a second-straight league crown, and they have done it without dropping a set.

Flying high after a 25-15, 25-15, 25-19 dismantling of Klahowya, Coupeville is 8-0 in league (24-0 in sets played), 11-2 overall.

With one regular season match left, a trip to Port Townsend (2-5, 4-10) Saturday, the Wolves are chasing nothing short of perfection.

Though don’t tell them that, as, having tied last year’s team for wins, they have their eyes on bigger targets.

Districts are Nov. 4 in Tacoma, and CHS will need one win in two matches to earn the program’s first trip to state since 2004.

That team, coached by spiker guru Toni Crebbin, holds the program record with 13 wins in a season.

This year’s Wolf squad went out and methodically drilled Klahowya, then took time to honor its splendid seniors, seven players who form the core of a reborn program.

Katrina McGranahan, Hope Lodell, Kyla Briscoe, Allison Wenzel, Lauren Rose, Mikayla Elfrank and Payton Aparicio have played two seasons for coach Cory Whitmore and they have been two of the best seasons the Wolf spikers have ever enjoyed.

Coupeville is 16-1 in league play during his tenure, with the only slight mar a loss to Klahowya last season.

This year, it’s been all-Wolves, all-the-time, and nothing changed Wednesday night.

The largest deficit CHS faced at any moment was two points, and that was erased in a heartbeat by a couple of thunderous Wolf spikes which left divots in the floor and shredded the psyche of the Eagles.

After exchanging points to open the match, Coupeville surged when Lodell made her first trip to the service stripe.

“The Surgeon” sliced a few arms and legs off with a pair of back-to-back aces, then Aparicio and Elfrank painted the back line with wicked winners from the net and the rout was officially on.

While she’s only a superb sophomore, Scout Smith was more than willing to crash the party on Senior Night, and she drove the Eagles batty with her picture-perfect tips.

At one point in the first set, she rattled off three winners in a five-point run, gliding through the air, waiting for the defense to come to her, then angling the ball away from them with the tips of her deadly fingers.

If Klahowya had any thoughts of crowding the net, that quickly vanished as Briscoe pounded a nuclear strike off of an Eagle leg on a play set up by a spectacular last-second poke from Elfrank.

The Wolves were in total control, taking what was given them and exploiting every opportunity.

Elfrank, McGranahan and junior Emma Smith shut down any activity at the net, rising above it to quickly muffle any attacks from the Eagles.

Take a look at my notebook and you see a string of words like “massive hit” (Elfrank), “nasty ace” (Briscoe), “sliced off her kneecaps” (Aparicio) or, simply, “Hulk smash” (Emma Smith) and the picture paints itself.

When Klahowya could rally, the Wolves fought until they found an opening for a winner. But, many, many more times, Coupeville simply put the hammer down.

Which is exactly what Whitmore wants to see as his team heads towards its postseason run.

That the production is team-wide? Even better.

“I like the balance,” he said. “It was a good all-around effort. I get excited seeing our defense transition into offense, from a dig to a set to a put-away.

“I’m really happy with how we are playing.”

CHS spread out its stat sheet excellence, with Briscoe and Aparicio leading the attack with six kills apiece. Elfrank (5), Emma Smith (5) and Scout Smith (4) followed closely on their heels.

Aparicio added 10 digs and five aces, while Lodell (eight digs), Wenzel (7) and Briscoe (7) shared the load when it came time to go low and scrape the ball off the floor.

McGranahan and Ashley Menges tossed in three aces apiece, while Coupeville scored 39 points off of its serves.

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   Coupeville booter Lauren Bayne celebrated Senior Night Monday alongside long-time running mate Sage Renninger. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Monday night was not really about the scoreboard.

Yes, they kept track of the scoring, and yes, Klahowya, a juggernaut in hot pursuit of a third girls soccer state title, dominated Coupeville in a 6-0 win.

Nothing unusual there, as the Eagles are 14-1 on the season, with just a loss to a top 2A school, and have outscored their foes 78-7.

The Wolves are a scrappy team, one which sits at 7-8 overall, 5-3 in Olympic League play, with a chance to tie the program record for wins in Wednesday’s regular-season finale at cellar dweller Chimacum.

After that, thanks to a fourth consecutive second-place finish in league play, Coupeville hosts a playoff game at 1 PM Saturday at Oak Harbor Stadium.

The opponent in the loser-out game will be the #3 seed from the Nisqually League (most likely Vashon Island).

And, while the Wolves are still a long way from upending the highly-polished Eagles, they will have a fighting chance as they chase the first playoff win in program history.

Case in point — Coupeville already beat the #1 school from the Nisqually League earlier this season, Bellevue Christian, when they upended the Vikings 3-2 after rallying from two goals down.

Also, while the final score against Klahowya might seem a bit skewed, the Wolves, who have played the second half of the season without injured top defender Lindsey Roberts, made the Eagles work for every score.

“There were a lot of positives. Our defense grows every game,” Coupeville coach Kyle Nelson said. “Team defense is the name of the game.”

After Klahowya slipped in a fluky goal just 28 seconds into play, the Wolves clamped down and held their foes to just one goal over the next 35 minutes.

A pair of scores right before the half, one on a ball which hit an elbow and took a weird bounce, stretched the lead to 4-0 at the break.

CHS goaltender Sarah Wright, in her first year after making the jump from the volleyball court, played an outstanding game in net, repeatedly making saves, and, at one point, charging out of the goal to wipe out an incoming Eagle.

Dropping the wayward Klahowya player with a well-timed collision, while making it look innocent to the ref, Wright sent a message — do not encroach on my space, fool.

The Wolf junior was active all game, diving to spear incoming balls on several plays, then elevating to punch a point-blank shot up and over the net on another.

Her little sis, fab frosh Genna Wright, had a couple of nice looks at the goal on the other end of the field, but Klahowya goalie Emma Hough made superb saves on both shots.

The Eagles swarming defense was in lock-down mode most of the game after that, though Kalia Littlejohn scraped together two shots on goal of her own.

The first went just wide on the left side, while the second was redirected at the last second by Hough’s fist.

While Coupeville couldn’t pull off the “Miracle on Grass” this time around, Monday’s match, as we mentioned way back in the first paragraph, wasn’t just about the scoreboard.

It was the final true home game of the season, and the Wolves paid tribute to senior captains Sage Renninger and Lauren Bayne before kickoff.

In between the hugs and the tears and the gift baskets and the photo ops, the duo’s own words were read by Wolf mom Tammy Smith.

Renninger spoke about her sister and teammate, sophomore Avalon, saying:

“Even though we do fight on and off the field, I want to thank Avalon for being one of the kindest, funniest people I know and an amazing sister. I know you’ll miss me next year.”

She also looked back at the full four-year run she’s had on the CHS pitch, remembering the moment which baptized her in the sisterhood of the soccer ball.

“One of my favorite memories of high school soccer is scoring my first goal at home on our field,” Renninger wrote. “I was a freshman on a team with nine seniors, and I will never forget the moment when everyone crowded around me in celebration.

“I am so grateful for everything soccer has taught me and I am excited to see what the future holds.”

Bayne, who played all four of those seasons alongside her running mate, has sacrificed personal stats while anchoring the defense. It’s a trade-off she’s happy with.

“Our little soccer family is the best and I’m so glad to have become friends with everyone and to get to play with you,” she wrote. “Most of all, my defenders, we have worked our butts off and the new defensive line this year has been killer.

“So kisses to my back line.”

After telling Renninger “I couldn’t think of a better person to stand side by side with all these years,” Bayne offered words of wisdom to her younger teammates.

“My freshman year I probably played a maximum of 30 minutes all together and now look at me, I can’t even get a water break the entire game.

“So, to all the underclassmen, keep working hard and having fun,” Bayne added. “You will improve and it will show.

“Don’t worry too much. I know I never did. Just enjoy where you are and have fun.”

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