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CHS soccer snipers (l to r) Mallory Kortuem, Lindsey Roberts and Avalon Renninger scored two goals apiece Thursday night. (Photo by CoupevillePaparazzi.com)

The first one was nice, the second one even sweeter.

Doubling their pleasure, Wolf gunners Mallory Kortuem, Avalon Renninger and Lindsey Roberts scored two goals apiece Thursday as the Coupeville High School girls soccer squad thrashed visiting Sultan 6-0.

The runaway win, coming on a night when the CHS defense never allowed the Turks to take a single meaningful shot on goal, lifts the Wolves to 1-1 in North Sound Conference play.

They sit in a tie for third place in the six-team league, just a game out of first place, with eight more conference games left on the schedule.

Coupeville is 1-2-1 heading into a non-league game Saturday at Chimacum.

That meeting with their former Olympic League rival kicks off a stretch of four straight road bouts, as the Wolves don’t play at home again until Sept. 27.

Perhaps anticipating the two-week separation from many of its fans, Coupeville put on a fireworks display before leaving town.

The Wolves controlled the flow of the game — absolutely, positively and without any doubts — firing bursts of shots at the Sultan goalkeeper.

To her credit, she knocked down several, including punching away one wicked Genna Wright sizzler from in close, but the Turks had too many holes in their defense to keep the Wolves fully at bay.

Renninger broke the seal on the goal a little over 10 minutes into the contest, turning on a dime and bashing a frozen rope while sliding between two defenders.

After that, Roberts, a senior captain making one final run on the CHS pitch, took over.

First, she notched her debut goal of the young season, lighting up the scoreboard with a eye-popping run right through the heart of the defense.

Dodging at least four rivals on her charge, she juked the Turk defenders out of their spikes.

Deftly tapping the ball between her feet as she slid through the maze like the star of the ’80s arcade game Centipede hurtling downward to rob a player of yet another quarter, Roberts finished things off by drawing the goalie out of the box, then bashing the ball under her leg.

Showing off a different side of her game, Roberts set Kortuem up on the next goal, sliding the ball between defenders, then stepping back and nodding in approval as her teammate slapped a shot into the corner of the net.

Putting a final punctuation mark on a first half to remember, Roberts pounded her second goal of the night, and 15th of her career, with a little over six minutes to go before the break.

Taking a ball from Ema Smith, Roberts faked with one foot, then dropped the hammer with the other, proving she can kill with every part of the body.

While the second half featured a little less offense, as the Wolves pulled back the reins a bit and gave younger players valuable field time, both Renninger and Kortuem found time to pop in second goals of their own.

Renninger’s came on another laser shot from the top less than two minutes into the half, while Kortuem closed out the scoring after emerging with the ball from a scrum of players in front of the net with a little under six minutes to play.

While Coupeville scored seemingly at will, the Turks were firmly held in check by the Wolf D.

CHS goalie Sarah Wright spent more time admiring the sunset than having to deflect shots, with the few times she touched the ball coming mainly when she chased down wayward shots which rolled out of bounds.

That was largely due to the efforts of her defenders, as Tia Wurzrainer, Natalie Hollrigel, Mary Milnes, Maddy Hilkey and Co. constantly frustrated Sultan’s would-be shooters, roughing them up, stripping the ball, and otherwise being very unaccommodating.

The stellar play on both sides of the field brought a smile to coach Kyle Nelson’s face.

After the game, he spent a few moments talking with former soccer manager Sebastian Wurzrainer, who was gazing a bit wistfully at the shiny new press box after years of battling rabid bees while working the mic in the old, ramshackle hut that stood atop what is now the road stands.

Once he was caught up on Wurzrainer’s college life, the Wolf pitch guru returned to marinating in the victory.

“I told the ladies, we’re new to this league, and this was a statement win,” Nelson said. “It gives us an idea of where we belong.

“It’s still early and there is always room for growth and things to work on, but we are showing great improvement.”

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Genna Wright, who scored 10 goals as a freshman, is Coupeville soccer’s top returning scorer this fall. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Welcome to a whole new world.

As Kyle Nelson returns for his second year at the helm of the Coupeville High School girls soccer squad, he’ll guide a team in transition into a new conference.

Gone are Klahowya, the Olympic League, and leading Wolf scorer Kalia Littlejohn, who chose to skip her senior season, while the jump to the new North Sound Conference tosses defending state champs King’s into the mix.

But, with 13 returning players on his roster, including Genna Wright, who bashed home 10 goals as a freshman, Nelson enters the new day head high and chin set.

“My goal is to form a well-organized, disciplined, exciting to watch squad,” he said. “And with anyone who watches us play this year, seeing improvement through the course of the season.”

The new league pits CHS against South Whidbey, Cedar Park Christian, Granite Falls and Sultan.

And, of course, the private school Knights, who toppled Elma, Klahowya, Seattle Academy and Cascade en route to earning King’s its first state title in girls soccer.

While Nelson acknowledges his Wolves will be swinging at a big target, he expects them to do just that – come out swinging.

“Looking forward to the new conference,” he said. “It should be a little tougher competition overall, but I believe we will be right in there competing well with them.

“I would like to finish with a berth to the postseason,” Nelson added. “So, the season will be a success if we make postseason play.”

While the unexpected loss of Littlejohn, who scored 33 goals in three seasons, hurts, plenty of talent remains on the Wolf roster.

“We are returning quite a few starting varsity players in most positions on the field,” Nelson said. “We also have a number of players who played with a select team in the off-season.

“So, we have experience on our side this year.”

One area where the Wolves may need to shore things up is on the defensive side of the ball, an area Nelson is focusing on in the early days of practice.

“On the defensive side, while they are bringing some experience, this is where we have the least amount,” he said. “We will also be looking to incorporate some new players who look to be important to our team, but it can take a while for both the defense and the new players to fully integrate.”

Coupeville returns 13 players from a season ago, when it won eight games, the best single-season result in program history.

Senior midfielder Lindsey Roberts and senior goalie Sarah Wright, who share captain honors, top the roster, while defender Maddy Hilkey and midfielder Ema Smith also rep the Class of 2019.

Returning juniors include Tia Wurzrainer (defender), Natalie Hollrigel (defender), Avalon Renninger (midfielder), Mallory Korteum (midfielder), and Anna Dion (forward).

Sophomores Mollie Bailey (goalkeeper), Genna Wright (forward), Knight Arndt (midfielder), and Aurora Cernick (defender) round out the returning players.

Coupeville is also adding to its roster, with five freshmen and two newcomers jumping onto the pitch. That raises hopes the Wolves may be able to play some JV matches this year.

New to the CHS squad are sophomore defender Megan Behan, junior midfielder Casey Rogers and frosh Kiara Contreras (defender), Lily Leedy (midfielder), Katelin McCormick (defender), Mary Milnes (defender) and Sam Streitler (defender).

The Wolf booters open their season Thursday with an appearance at the Oak Harbor Jamboree (5:30 PM at Memorial Stadium), before traveling to Meridian Sept. 4 for the regular-season kickoff.

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Lindsey Roberts, doin’ work. (Photos by JohnPhotos.net)

No pressure, Lindsey Roberts, but this is your year.

In much the same way last year was about Hunter Smith making a run at claiming all the records, the 2018-2019 school year is set up to be the Year of Lou.

Even after dealing with an injury which cost him half his senior season, Smith graduated owning seven CHS football records.

He followed that up by burning up the nets, finishing his basketball career as the 11th highest scorer in Wolf boys basketball history.

While baseball stats are a trickier thing to track in the world of Cow Town sports, Smith put a cap on things by being named Olympic League MVP and helping lead the Wolves to their second conference crown in three years.

He was one of the best we’ve ever seen in a Coupeville uniform, and Roberts, a senior this year, is much the same.

Her parents, Jon and Sherry, are both former CHS Athlete of the Year winners.

Uncle Jay? Still on the school’s track record board 30+ years after graduation, a board where his niece appears three times already.

Lindsey’s cousins Madeline and Ally were stars, her grandfather Sandy a living legend, but Lou is primed to pass them all.

More than any other active athlete at CHS, she is within striking distance of breaking, tying or making a run at records – and in every one of her three sports.

So, here’s what to keep an eye on as the new school year unfolds:

 

Soccer:

Admittedly, this is the one which would be most difficult for her to accomplish.

Mia Littlejohn holds the CHS girls soccer career scoring record with 35 goals, and Kalia Littlejohn was hot on her heels with 33 through her first three seasons.

With Kalia opting not to play as a senior, Mia’s record gets a reprieve, and Roberts inherits the mantle as the leading active scorer for the Wolves.

She has 13 goals, notching six apiece the past two seasons after tallying a lone goal as a freshman.

Making that more impressive, she’s done so while playing almost exclusively as a defender, albeit one blessed with a cannon for a leg.

It’s more likely Genna Wright, who torched the nets for 10 goals as a freshman last year, will be the one ultimately coming for the record.

Still, you can’t discount the offensive fireworks Roberts can launch, even if she’s doing it from half a field away.

 

Basketball:

With a season to play, Roberts sits 36th all-time on the Wolf girls scoring chart with 298 points, and has increased her point totals each year.

She tossed in 54 as a frosh (good for #6 on the squad), raised that to 83 as a sophomore (#4), then soared to 161 as a junior, which topped the team.

While it’s unlikely she’ll catch Brianne King (1549), Zenovia Barron (1270) or Makana Stone (1158) atop the charts, Roberts still stands a very good chance of making a run at the top 20.

She stands 102 points away from becoming the 23rd Wolf girl to crack 400 career points, and a repeat of her 161-point junior year performance would carry her to #18 on the all-time list.

 

Track:

Roberts final prep season could be her greatest moment.

She enters her senior season having already claimed five state meet medals – a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th – and is one of only 10 Wolves, and one of only four girls, across 118 years, to pile up that kind of hardware.

Within her reach? Exiting as the most-decorated CHS female track athlete in school history.

If Roberts wins at least one medal next spring, and she has done so in each of her three previous seasons, she breaks a tie with Yashmeen Knox and rises to tie Natasha Bamberger.

Two medals, she joins Makana Stone with seven, or match her freshman total of three, and she finishes with eight, trailing only Tyler King (11) and Kyle King (10).

Roberts came dangerously close to winning a state title in the hurdles as a junior, nipped at the end by Lillian Kirry, a sophomore from Chewelah.

If she can return the favor next spring, Roberts would be the first Wolf to win a state title in any sport since Tyler King wore the 1A boys cross country crown in 2010.

So, buckle in, keep an eye on the stats and prepare for eight months of excitement — the Year of Lou begins.

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Wolf goalie Sarah Wright gets a kick out of life. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Jacob Burke mashes a pesky tennis ball.

Gridiron speed demon Sean Toomey-Stout, momentarily at rest.

Chelsea Prescott sends the ball skyward.

It’s early, but tennis guru Ken Stange already has his goatee in mid-season form.

Lindsey Roberts keeps her life in perfect balance.

Football bruiser Chris Battaglia checks to make sure his feet are still there.

Freshman Eryn Wood makes a strong first impression.

Photos, photos and more photos.

Wanderin’ camera clicker John Fisken has hit practices for four of five CHS fall sports teams in the early days, so here’s a few more snappy pics.

The glossy photos cover soccer, tennis, volleyball and football, and they come with this reminder – just nine days until the first official game of the new school year.

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Star player turned assistant coach Luke Pelant “brought a quiet calm to the back line” during his days on the soccer pitch. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

William Nelson was a four-time First-Team All-Conference player.

Kyle Nelson has seen some stuff on the soccer pitch.

He began his run at Coupeville High School as an assistant coach, helping guide several teams to the state tourney.

Then, after Paul Mendes retired, Nelson stepped up to take over the Wolf boys program, before also adding the CHS girls coaching gig last season.

Calm, cool, composed, understated, and a natty dresser to boot, he likes to let his player’s actions speak largely for themselves.

But today, as we publish Part 4 in our five-part series on Coupeville coaches discussing the best players they’ve worked with, Nelson lets loose like never before.

So, let me get out of the way and give the man the mic.

Best female athlete – With only a year as the girl’s soccer coach this is a little harder, but the best athlete would be Lindsey RobertsShe brings speed and agility like no other to the field.

Looking a little further and including those soccer skills, Kalia Littlejohn brings a ton of ball skills and field smarts to the team.

Best male athlete – For pure athleticism, a couple stand out.

Nathan Lamb had that quick burst and lateral movement none could keep up with, and William Nelson (and yes, maybe a little father bias) brought agility and silky smoothness bigger guys don’t usually posses.

Will also brought ball skill and soccer talent that few others in our program have had.

Which brings me to some of those other talented players — all of the Leyva boys.

Abraham Leyva, Aram Leyva and Derek Leyva have brought huge amounts of soccer skill to our field; each, in their own unique way, have been hugely instrumental to our program’s success.

CHS athlete I wish I coached – For the girls that is easy – Makana Stone.

She played for a couple of years, but then focused on her other sports.

She brought speed and athleticism to the field. Having that kind of talent to work with would be very fun.

Though I know he would have never played soccer, having the multi-talented Hunter Smith on the soccer field would have been fun to see what could have happened.

Underrated athletes – for the girls, Sage Renninger.

She really was the heart and soul of the team last year, bringing a leadership and talent that was vital to the team.

For the boys, Luke Pelant.

Was one of the best defenders here at Coupeville; he brought a quiet calm to the back line that made that group responsible for the best defensive team we have had.

Best role model – William Nelson has brought the whole package to the soccer field.

Talented player that became that way through years of hard work, through his playing off-season on various select teams, just going to the field to play, or going to the gym to workout.

One of the few players selected two years team captain; really developed into the team leader both at practice and on the field at game time.

At practice he was always one of the hardest workers, always pushing himself and leading by example. He also always kept his cool on the field, helping calm players down when needed.

Really represented CHS with great sportsmanship and class.

And lastly, but most importantly he excelled as a student athlete, balancing sport and academics very successfully.

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