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Posts Tagged ‘Meridian’

James Wood and Coupeville High School soccer are wading through a tough non-conference schedule. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

You take your bumps and bruises, and, hopefully use them as learning lessons.

The Coupeville High School boys soccer squad, still a work in progress, dropped its second-straight non-league game Thursday, falling 4-0 at Meridian.

Both losses for the Wolves, now 1-2 on the season, have come against tough 1A/2A/3A Northwest Conference foes.

And the run through that league isn’t quite done yet, as Coupeville travels Saturday to Nooksack Valley

But having a non-league schedule full of big-timers can be a help, as the Wolves want to be sharp when they begin North Sound Conference play.

“We’re still putting the pieces together early in the season,” CHS coach Kyle Nelson said. “We are showing some improvement; trying to get ready for league play next week.”

After the Nooksack game, Coupeville plays eight of its next nine games against league foes.

First up is King’s Mar. 19, then Sultan Mar. 22, with both games on Coupeville’s field.

While the Wolves were shut-out for the first time this season, after racking up 10 goals across their first two contests, Nelson was pleased with how his team responded under duress.

Meridian jumped out to a 3-0 lead at the half, but the Coupeville defense stiffened after the break and the team as a whole gave “a better effort in the second half.”

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Coupeville sophomore Chelsea Prescott collected seven points, five rebounds and three assists on opening night. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

“They played like it was a track meet, when we wanted it to be more like a tractor pull.”

When Coupeville could slow down the game the way coach David King wanted Tuesday night, the Wolf varsity girls basketball squad held its own with visiting Meridian.

But the Trojans, a tall, quick, highly-efficient squad coming off a 20-win season and a trip to the 1A state tourney, ultimately dictated the pace in both team’s season opener, pulling away for a 60-32 non-conference win.

While the score looks a little lopsided, the Wolves, who were missing a key starter and fielding a roster in transition, hung tough through much of the first half.

Senior captain Ema Smith, who didn’t have enough practices in the books to be eligible on opening night, spent the game keeping stats instead of throwing down on the court.

When she returns to action Saturday, she’ll join a young, fairly raw Wolf team.

Freshman Izzy Wells, sophomore Mollie Bailey and junior Tia Wurzrainer played in a varsity hoops game for the first time Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Chelsea Prescott, Avalon Renninger, Nicole Laxton and Hannah Davidson all moved into much-bigger roles than they had previously played.

With Ema Smith out, that left fellow captains Lindsey Roberts and Scout Smith as the only Wolves on the floor with extensive varsity experience.

And while the veteran duo were front and center all night, Coupeville got immediate contributions from everyone on the roster, something that pleased their coach.

“They didn’t show nerves or jitters, which is nice,” King said. “I’m so pleased with our effort; they don’t back down and give our team and their teammates 100% effort.”

Showing no fear, the Wolves charged right at the heart of the Trojan defense, repeatedly pushing the ball inside as they were hacked by 1,001 hands.

“They took the ball hard to the hole and they didn’t shy away from contact,” King said, with a note of pride in his voice.

Coupeville ultimately shot 28 free throws, making 16 of them, and had more points on charity shots than on field goals until a game-closing put-back on an offensive rebound by Roberts evened the Wolves’ scoring totals.

The first quarter belonged to free throws, and to Prescott, “who kept us in the game in the first half.”

Prescott scored Coupeville’s first five points of the season, capping things with a three-point play the hard way to pull the Wolves within 6-5 with two minutes left in the first quarter.

While CHS never led during the game, it stayed within a bucket of Meridian in the first quarter, with two free throws from Scout Smith cutting the margin to 11-9 headed into the first break.

Moments before those shots, Davidson dropped a beauty of a shot, taking a quick pass from Prescott, then hopping to the side and banking home the ball high off the glass.

Meridian began to pull away in the second quarter, using two runs in which it forced Coupeville to play at a faster speed than it wanted.

That led to some bobbled balls, a few errant passes, and a turnover or three which the Trojans converted into quick buckets.

The first time Meridian started to pull away, the Wolves responded, using a 5-0 surge to cut the margin back down to 21-17 midway through the second quarter.

What would turn out to be Coupeville’s final sustained offensive stand consisted of a Prescott free throw, Laxton ripping a rebound loose and smashing home a bucket and Scout Smith getting artful.

The junior point guard snatched up a ball in the back court, led a merry chase the length of the court, then switched hands at the last second before slapping home a running layup with two Meridian players draped over her back.

And yet, that was one of the few times in which the hack-happy Trojans were NOT whistled for a foul.

While the layup from “Scoutosaurus Rex” brought Wolf fans to the edge of their seats and seemed to signal the night would be a knock-down, drag-out brawl, Meridian had other ideas.

Pushing the gas pedal through the floor, the Trojans used their speed advantage to reel off a 10-0 run over the next 90 seconds or so, shoving the lead into double-digit territory for the first time.

A couple more free throws (what else?) from Roberts and Prescott pulled CHS back within 31-20 at the half, but Meridian used 11-0 and 8-0 surges in the second-half to derail the Wolves.

Prescott, who had a stellar all-around game, zipped a dandy pass to Laxton for a third-quarter bucket, while Roberts banged away inside for six of her team-high eight points in the fourth, but Meridian never flinched.

Which is exactly what you expect from a team crammed full of battle-hardened seniors, most of whom have state tourney experience.

Roberts, who added five rebounds, two steals and a block, passed the first of what should be a seasons-worth of milestones.

Her second point of the night, which came when she drained a first-quarter free throw, made her just the 35th Wolf girls hoops star to reach 300 career points.

Now sitting at 306, she passed Amanda Fabrizi (299) on the all-time scoring list Tuesday, and is coming up fast on Mia Littlejohn (317) and Marie Grasser (321).

Prescott tallied seven points, five rebounds, three assists and a block in support of Roberts, while Scout Smith (5), Laxton (4), Davidson (4) and Renninger (4) also scored.

Coupeville fought hard on the boards, with its eternal Energizer Bunny, Renninger, hauling down a team-high six caroms.

Davidson snagged five rebounds, Laxton collared four and Wurzrainer, transporting her hard-nosed defensive style from the soccer pitch to the hardwood, pilfered two steals.

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Freshman Izzy Wells scored a team-high six points Tuesday as the Coupeville JV girls hoops team kicked off its season against Meridian. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Teams coached by Amy King don’t give up.

Regardless of the sport, whether it be volleyball, basketball or softball, that has been a trademark during her run on the sideline at Coupeville schools.

So it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the Wolf JV girls hoops squad played its strongest ball Tuesday at a moment when many teams would have simply quit.

Closing on a 10-2 run, including scoring the game’s final four baskets, Coupeville couldn’t catch Meridian on opening night, but it did give the visitors something to think about as they exited.

And while the Wolves fell 49-22, the grit showed at the end, with all the points rattled home by freshmen, speaks well for the future.

The late run came largely courtesy three players — Izzy Wells, Ja’Kenya Hoskins and Kylie Van Velkinburgh — who have grown up playing together on SWISH teams.

Wells knocked down three buckets during the final surge, one coming off a put-back on an offensive rebound, while Van Velkinburgh showed off a varied skill set.

On back-to-back plays, she first hauled down a rebound and fed Hoskins for a basket, then swished a long shot from the top that was a millimeter away from being a three-ball.

The strong finish made up some for a hot-and-cold opening act for the Wolves.

Coupeville fell behind 10-3 at the first break, unable to hit a field goal in the first eight minutes.

It got worse, as CHS didn’t hit a shot from the field until the 2:25 mark of the second quarter, when Anya Leavell coaxed a soft runner to drop.

At that point, the Wolves had scraped out seven points, all on free throws, with Hoskins, Mollie Bailey, Kiara Contreras and Kylie Chernikoff all hitting from the charity stripe.

The star of the second quarter was a young woman with a Coupeville connection, who, unfortunately for the Wolves, was wearing a Meridian uniform.

Freshman Malaysia Smith, daughter of former CHS boys basketball coach Anthony Smith, made her high school debut a strong one, carving up the Wolf defense for nine of her game-high 15 points in the second frame.

Leavell netted a long jumper in the third quarter and was the only Wolf to hit from the field until Coupeville’s fourth-quarter run.

Wells paced CHS with six points, Hoskins banked in five and Leavell popped for four, while Contreras (2), Van Velkinburgh (2), Bailey (2) and Chernikoff (1) rounded out the scoring attack.

While they didn’t score on opening night, Lily Leedy, Morgan Stevens, Ivy Leedy and Alana Mihill also saw floor time for the Wolves.

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Senior goalie Sarah Wright and the CHS girls soccer team kicked off a new season Tuesday in Bellingham. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Right into the fire.

The Coupeville High School girls soccer team has no pushovers on its early-season schedule, and a Wolf team in transition will get a chance to learn quickly against tough competition.

First up was Meridian, which came within a game of making it to the state tourney last season.

The Trojans are already gelling this time around, as they rolled to a season-opening 4-0 win over Coupeville Tuesday in Bellingham.

After absorbing the shutout loss, the Wolves head back to Whidbey, where they’ll play three straight.

The home stand starts Thursday, with Friday Harbor, a 2B state quarter-finalist last year, arriving in Cow Town for a 4:30 match-up.

Then comes defending 1A state champs King’s Sept. 11 and always-tough Sultan Sept. 13, as CHS plays its first-ever games in the new North Sound Conference.

Second-year Coupeville girls coach Kyle Nelson, who led his team to a program-record eight wins last year, came away from the opening day loss with eyes set firmly on the long view.

“We lost, but it gave us a look against a good team and areas we will be looking to improve,” he said. “With many new players, and players in new positions, it was a first chance to start figuring out our system and changes that will need to be made.”

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   Freshman Mollie Bailey knocked in three runs Friday, helping Coupeville rout Meridian 18-0. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

“We know the scoreboard works, cause the girls lit it up!”

The buzz among local fans was at a fever pitch Friday, as the rain clouds of recent days departed and were replaced with a hail of Coupeville hits on a sunny prairie afternoon.

Putting the game away quickly, efficiently and forcefully, the Wolf softball sluggers routed visiting Meridian 18-0 in a game called after five innings thanks to the mercy rule.

With the victory, its fourth straight, Coupeville improves to 6-1 heading into a Saturday home doubleheader with Forks.

The Spartans, at 5-2, will likely be a tough foe, if the weather allows the twin-bill to be played. Game times are set for 1 and 3 PM, but high winds and possibly more moisture are expected.

Friday was like a summer day by the time CHS hurler Katrina McGranahan stepped into the pitcher’s circle and fired her first knee-buckling strike past Meridian’s lead-off hitter.

The senior fireballer had few issues, whiffing seven Trojans in four innings of work.

McGranahan overpowered most of her rivals, and when a few did get bat on ball, the Wolf defense gobbled up almost everything.

Scout Smith made a gorgeous one-hop snag at second, never breaking stride as she pulled the ball upwards and fired it on a bead to a waiting Veronica Crownover at first.

Her mate in the middle of the field, senior shortstop Lauren Rose, was unbreakable on the two opportunities she had, launching rockets from the hole to Crownover’s mitt, while freshman third-baseman Chelsea Prescott knocked down the one legitimate liner McGranahan gave up.

The story of the game, however, wasn’t really defense or pitching, but pure, raw, hitting magnificence.

Coupeville whacked Meridian’s pitcher every which way possible, piling up 14 hits in just four innings.

The Wolves sent 11 batters to the plate in each of the first two innings (with eight straight hitters reaching base to open the second), scoring 13 of those 22.

Things got off to a bang when Rose launched a lead-off triple, mashing the ball over the left fielder’s head by several feet.

Smith followed by grooving the next pitch into right field for an RBI single, essentially providing McGranahan with the only run she would need.

Not that the Wolves were going to stop their hit-fest any time soon.

CHS picked up three more base-knocks in the inning, thanks to Sarah Wright, Prescott and Mollie Bailey, who capped things with a majestic two-run single down the right field line.

In between the hits, the Wolves scored twice on wild pitches and once on a double steal, exiting the first inning with an already-substantial 6-0 lead.

Wanting more, Coupeville went bonkers in the second inning, kicking things off with a painful start.

McGranahan and Prescott were both plunked by wayward pitches, with the second one exploding off of Prescott’s ankle with a nasty crack that echoed across the field.

It sent the fab frosh hobbling to first, but after some bouncing, a little running, and a lot of screamin’ and hollerin’ from her teammates on the bench, she was thumbs up and ready to jump back into action.

Said action came fast, with the Wolves peppering the ball.

Crownover lashed a two-run single to right, Coral Caveness whacked an RBI single to center, Bailey walked with the bases juiced to force in another score, then Rose smoked a two-run single up the gut.

Before the bleeding stopped, Meridian gave up one more run, this one on an RBI ground-out off of McGranahan’s bat, and the scoreboard was poppin’ at 13-0.

The third was relatively quiet, with “just” a double from Prescott and a run-scoring single from Crownover, but Coupeville was saving a final burst of beat-down fever for the fourth.

It started with Smith crunching the ball to the right side, then her entire family willing the ball to stay fair.

And the prayers worked, as the ball curled just inside the foul line, bit a chunk of sod, then skipped wildly to the left of the oncoming fielder, finally coming to a stop in some nearby shrubbery.

With Smith perched on second, McGranahan got pegged for a second time, which perfectly set up Wright, who was looking to write yet another chapter in the best seller that is her life.

Playing a day after her birthday, the Wolf catcher unloaded for her second home-run of the season, though this time she put an extra bit of flair on things.

In Blaine, Wright just bopped the ball over the fence in dead-center and trotted around the bags.

This time, in front of friends and family, she crushed a long, low screamer to right-center, than kept on running and running and running some more, no matter what the odds might be.

Flying around third, she caught Meridian’s defense off guard, at least for half a second.

The Trojans had the look of a team which fully, 275%, expected Wright to settle for a well-earned triple.

Realizing at the last second the Wolf junior wanted to make dang sure her uniform was completely covered in dust by game’s end, a Meridian fielder double-clutched, then whipped the ball to home.

The throw came screaming in, Wright started to spin to a stop halfway between third and home, then she juked the rival catcher out of her shoes and jammed the gas pedal through the floorboards, gunning it for the plate.

Slamming into her Trojan counterpart, she caused the incoming ball to squirt up out of the mitt and bounce away, capping a somewhat improbable, and very entertaining, inside-the-park tater.

With the ante raised, Crownover — who like Wright is a thumper at the plate, but maybe not the first person you’d bet on in a stolen bases competition — took things to a higher level.

First, she beat out a chopper deep in the hole for a single, stretching to beat the throw by the margin of her big toe.

Then, just to prove she has jets when she wants to show them off, Crownover took second on a wild pitch, stole third(!) and beat the relay throw home when Meridian had to throw to first after a third strike was dropped on the next batter.

In a game where everything went right for CHS, Smith pulled off her best impersonation of Mariano Rivera in the top of the fifth, taking over for McGranahan in the circle, and doing so with panache.

She gunned down the first two Trojans she saw, her first strikeouts in 10 innings of work this season, then recorded the final out on a soft come-backer.

As his team marinated (briefly) in the joy of the win, Coupeville coach Kevin McGranahan was all smiles, while already looking to the next test.

“Everyone hit, everyone played well; great team effort.”

Wright and Crownover led the Wolf attack with three hits apiece, while Rose (2), Smith (2), Prescott (2), Caveness (1) and Bailey (1) added to the tally.

The only Wolf starters not to have a hit, Katrina McGranahan and Hope Lodell, saw few quality pitches in their turns at the plate, combining to walk four times.

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