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Avalon Renninger is one of four CHS seniors who played their final basketball game Tuesday night. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Scott Fox (left) led the Wolf girls to a 12-7 record in his first year at the helm.

Maddie Georges, who was the #3 scorer for Coupeville as a freshman, is one of 10 varsity players who can return next season.

The rain (of three-balls) was a pain.

A scrappy Coupeville High School girls basketball squad played visiting Meridian even in the second and fourth quarters Tuesday night.

But it was the first and third quarters, when the Trojans bombed away for six of their nine successful three-point shots, that stung, and stung badly.

Dropping death from the skies, the very-young, very-quick, very-physical, very-good team from Bellingham was ultimately too much for the Wolves, handing them a 52-24 loss.

The defeat, Coupeville’s second in as many days to a Northwest Conference school, eliminates them from the district playoffs.

The Wolves finish 12-7.

Coupeville and next-door neighbor South Whidbey were eliminated on the same night, as the Falcon girls fell 53-17 at Mount Baker.

With the CHS boys having been KO’d Saturday, and neither Oak Harbor hoops team making the playoffs, the South Whidbey boys are the last team from The Rock still playing.

While Tuesday’s final score sounds lopsided, it was a huge improvement from Coupeville’s loss Monday at Nooksack Valley.

The Wolves, led by four seniors playing in their final game in a CHS uniform, were within 11 points early in the third quarter, and never backed down against a really-strong Meridian squad.

In the early going, Coupeville struggled to convert from the field, largely thanks to in-your-face and then some defense from the ultra-aggressive Trojans.

The Wolves only first quarter points came at the free throw line, while Meridian dropped in a trio of three-balls en route to opening up a 17-5 lead by the first break.

Things didn’t get much better as the second quarter dawned, with the Trojans swishing their fourth and fifth treys to shove the margin out to 23-5, but then Coupeville found its groove.

Scout Smith netted her team’s first field goal, some 10 minutes-plus into the game, when she ripped a ball loose, then beat a pack of rivals down the court.

It was the start of a 10-4 run for Coupeville, with Smith, Anya Leavell, Carolyn Lhamon, and Maddie Georges all scoring.

The prettiest play came thanks to Smith and Leavell, as the wily senior led a fast-break, then slid a pass between defenders to her sophomore teammate for a breakaway layup.

The grittiest play was right before the break, as Georges, a freshman who is primed to inherit the point guard position from the departing Smith, went the length of the court for a bucket while being hammered around the head and shoulders.

Hannah Davidson opened the third quarter, sliding a free throw through the twines to pull the Wolves within 27-16, but then things fell apart for a good stretch.

It wasn’t that Coupeville played badly in the third.

You have to give credit to Meridian, which did what top-level teams do. They stepped up and dropped a haymaker.

Or a couple.

Closing the quarter with a 17-0 game-busting surge, fueled by three more three-balls, the Trojans put a stamp on the game, simply overpowering their opponents.

The Wolves fought to the end, however, playing Meridian to an 8-8 tie across the fourth quarter, with four different players notching a point.

The biggest cheer of the night came very late in the game, when senior Tia Wurzrainer, celebrating her birthday, pulled up on the move and hit nothing but net on the final jump shot of her stellar prep hoops career.

While the loss ended Coupeville’s season, first-year head coach Scott Fox had nothing but positives to carry away as he and his players exited.

“We fought really hard, and played so much better than last night,” he said.

“Our seniors played their hearts out. They were our backbone and our leaders,” Fox added. “I couldn’t be more proud of those girls.”

Smith, Wurzrainer, Davidson, and Avalon Renninger played together from middle school through their senior seasons, with Davidson making a brief detour to California before returning to Cow Town.

A tight-knit bunch, they will be remembered most for their hearts and hustle, which were second to none.

Playing in her final basketball game, Smith led the Wolves with seven points, and notched one final personal highlight.

With her performance Tuesday, Scooter finishes with 290 varsity points, sliding past Bessie Walstad (288) to claim 37th on the Wolf girls basketball career scoring chart, which dates back to 1974.

Davidson banged home five points in support, with Georges (4), Leavell (2), Chelsea Prescott (2), Wurzrainer (2), Lhamon (1), and Audrianna Shaw (1) also scoring.

Prescott finishes her junior season with 249 career points, tying her with Danette Beckley at #44 on the all-time list.

Renninger, Mollie Bailey, Kylie Van Velkinburgh, and Izzy Wells also saw floor time, while Nezi Keiper, recovering from an injury, and team managers McKenna Somes and Ja’Kenya Hoskins round out the 2019-2020 Wolf varsity.

 

Final (unofficial) season scoring stats:

Scout Smith – 148
Chelsea Prescott – 110
Maddie Georges – 86
Hannah Davidson – 74
Avalon Renninger – 64
Izzy Wells – 46
Tia Wurzrainer – 25
Carolyn Lhamon – 24
Anya Leavell – 18
Audrianna Shaw – 11
Kylie Van Velkinburgh – 10
Mollie Bailey – 6
Nezi Keiper – 2

 

To see more photos from Monday’s playoff game in Nooksack Valley, pop over to:

https://www.johnsphotos.net/Sports/Coupeville-Basketball-2019-2020/GBB-2020-02-10-at-Nooksack/

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Coupeville’s Avalon Renninger launched a gorgeous goal Saturday, the first time the Wolves have scored on powerhouse Meridian in five meetings over the last decade. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

The 2019 squad, ready to go on the attack.

One loss hurts more than the other.

The Coupeville High School girls soccer team opened a new season Saturday by hanging tough on its home field with powerhouse Meridian, before falling 3-1 in a game which remained a one-goal contest until the waning moments.

It was a strong performance from the Wolves, and a big step forward, as they scored on the Trojans for the first time in five meetings over the last decade.

But the afterglow was tempered by the loss of junior Genna Wright, the #3 scorer in program history, who went down hard in the first half and exited to the hospital.

Flying in pursuit of a ball, Wright was careening towards the sideline in front of the stands when she was chucked hard from behind by a rival player.

As she sprawled forward, nearly slamming her face into the track oval, her body lurched badly to the side and she didn’t get back up.

Running mate Avalon Renninger was at her side in two seconds, but Wright, clutching her knee, declined any assistance in trying to rise.

Instead, she stayed prone, not hobbling off the field with the help of her dad and coaches until after being thoroughly checked-out.

After a visit to the ER, the early word is a badly-sprained knee, which may keep her out for 1-3 weeks.

While no one wants to see the effervescent, hard-charging Wright sidelined, that would be a better prognosis than first feared.

As they wait to see how long they will be without their primary offensive weapon, the Wolves can look at their season-opening performance and be proud of what they accomplished.

The game was knotted at 1-1 when Wright went down, and, even without her flying down the side, ball on her foot, Coupeville held its own with a program which annually makes deep playoff runs.

Last year, Meridian beat the Wolves 4-0. Before that, the Trojans knocked CHS out of the playoffs by identical 2-0 scores three years running between 2009-2011.

This time around, things were markedly different, as Coupeville struck first.

Working the ball down the left sideline in the game’s 13th minute, Wright dropped a perfect set-up for Renninger, who promptly went and got medieval on the orb.

Cranking a wicked shot off her left foot, the Wolf senior captain lofted the ball into the air, and it curved upwards, steadily rising until the moment it cleared the Meridian goaltender’s shoulder and buried itself in the far right corner of the net.

A psychological boost for the Wolves, it was also just a darn pretty goal, one of the better ones to be seen at Mickey Clark Field in recent years.

For Renninger, it was the seventh score of her prep career, and means she will have tallied at least one goal in all four of her seasons on the CHS pitch.

She’s now tied with Micky LeVine, Alexia Hemphill, and Marisa Etzell on the career scoring chart, one goal off of big sister Sage Renninger for fifth-best among all Wolf girls soccer players.

Riding high on Avalon Renninger’s masterpiece, the Wolves took back-to-back hits five minutes later.

First, Meridian slipped the tying goal in, the ball finding a teeny-tiny opening as Coupeville goaltender Mollie Bailey made a diving attempt at stopping it.

Then came Wright’s injury.

Once action started back up, the Wolf defense, anchored by seniors Mallory Kortuem and Tia Wurzrainer and freshman Nezi Keiper, stood tall.

As did Bailey, a junior who inherited the starting goalie gig after backing up the since-graduated Sarah Wright the past two seasons.

The heir to a prairie legacy, she was strong in the net, making several very-strong saves and blunting frequent charges from an opportunistic Meridian squad.

The Trojans did get the tie-breaker in the game’s 28th minute, on a play in which Bailey’s line of sight was blocked off by an attacker crossing in front of her.

After that, the Wolf goalie was virtually lights-out, though Meridian got an insurance goal late in the second half on another shot which found the smallest of holes.

Without Wright on the field, Coupeville’s offensive chances took a sizable hit, though Renninger continued to crank away, narrowly missing on another long missile which pulled a hair wide right at the last millisecond.

While he always goes in looking for a win, Wolf coach Kyle Nelson emerged from Saturday’s opener with a slight smile gracing his face.

The play of his roster, which also included nice scrappiness from support crew such as Natalie Hollrigel and Carolyn Lhamon, was exactly what he was seeking.

“It’s a good place to start,” Nelson said. “We played a competitive game, and it’s a huge step forward for us, playing against a really good team and coming pretty close to playing them on an even level.”

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Coupeville frosh Izzy Wells brings the heat Thursday at the district softball tourney in Sedro-Woolley. (Karen Carlson photos)

Scout Smith comes chugging home with one of three fences-clearing home-runs the Wolves smashed as they swept two games and clinched a trip to state.

Third time’s the charm.

After falling a single win shy of advancing to the state tournament two years running, the Coupeville High School softball team flipped the script this time around.

Mashing the ball with a cold, relentless fury Thursday, launching three home runs amid a hail of extra-base hits, the Wolf sluggers swept two games at the district tourney in Sedro-Woolley, clinching their ticket to the big dance.

It’s the third trip to state for Coupeville softball, as the 2019 Wolves join the 2002 and 2014 teams in earning a bid.

After bouncing Meridian 15-0, then holding off a late rally by conference arch-rival Granite Falls in an 11-10 thriller, Coupeville first advances to Saturday’s district championship game.

The Wolves, now 14-7 and carrying a six-game winning streak, play Lynden Christian (11-11) at 2 PM back at Janicki Fields.

That’s a rematch of an early-season non-conference game in which the Lyncs slipped away with a 9-6 win on their home field.

Lynden Christian, the #3 seed from the Northwest Conference, was a bit of a surprise Thursday, drilling Cedar Park Christian 15-3 before toppling NWC #1 Mount Baker 19-17 in the semifinals.

Win or lose Saturday, both Coupeville and Lynden Christian are state-bound May 24-25, heading to Richland to be part of the 16-team 1A field.

The draw for the state tourney is announced this Sunday.

Districts started with nine teams vying for three spots to state, and South Whidbey and Meridian went 0-2 Thursday and crashed out, joining Sultan, which lost a play-in game.

The four teams which finished 1-1 will vie Saturday for the third, and final, state berth from District 1.

Granite Falls faces Cedar Park, and Mount Baker plays Nooksack Valley in loser-out games at noon.

The survivors clash at 2 PM for third-place, while Coupeville and Lynden Christian play for the big trophy on field one, the diamond which the Wolves ruled Thursday afternoon and evening.

How things played out:

 

Game 1:

The first time Coupeville played Meridian, it was a balmy Saturday afternoon on Whidbey Island, and the Wolves romped to an 11-1 mid-season non-league win.

Come playoff time, CHS kicked it into another gear, scoring 11 runs in one inning — with 10 of those coming with two outs — as all nine starters reached base in a game called in the fourth thanks to the mercy rule.

For a game which finished 15-0, it was surprisingly close for a solid 15 minutes.

Neither team scored until the bottom of the second, and Coupeville actually went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the first.

To give credit where it’s due, Wolf hitters Scout Smith, Emma Mathusek, and Chelsea Prescott all ripped wicked line drives first time around, only to have Meridian show off some quality glove work.

The first hot shot was snagged in mid-flight by the Trojan shortstop, the next two by a very-startled first baseman.

But with Smith flinging liquid heat from the pitcher’s circle, Meridian could do diddly squat on offense, and Coupeville wouldn’t be held down for long.

The Wolves picked up one run after Sarah Wright bashed a ball off the shortstop’s glove, before moving to third on a ground-out, then strolling home when Veronica Crownover tattooed the ball off the top of the left field wall for an RBI double.

Field #1 had higher fences than the other three diamonds at the play-fields, and the two-bagger would have been a home run on every other field.

Crownover, camped at second, briefly eyeballed the fence, then stashed that info away for later use.

Spoiler alert: the Wolf first-baseman, who leads her squad in taters, hits two home runs later in this story, proving her ability to adjust in-game.

And back to our story as it develops, with walks to Mackenzie Davis and Nicole Laxton setting the table for Smith, who promptly cranked a two-run double to left to give herself, and her pitching arm, a little cushion.

While Smith’s bat made the Meridian coach weep internally, the end of the play, when Laxton pulled off a Pete Rose-worthy head-first slide into third to beat the incoming throw, might have been the prettiest play of the whole dang afternoon.

Back in the pitcher’s circle, Smith gunned down the Trojans 1-2-3 for the second straight inning, part of a run where she retired eight of nine hitters, then erased her one minor mistake (a walk) by inducing a double-play.

Coupeville could have slid by with a run here, a run there, which is what it looked like might happen after Mollie Bailey plated Wright with a sac fly in the bottom of the third.

Up 4-0, with two outs and not a soul aboard, the Wolves were in a decent place.

Then they moved to a really great place.

After Bailey — whose older sister McKayla was the pitching ace for the last Wolf softball team to go to state — bopped back to the bench, a drummer always moving to her own beat, CHS ignited a rally for the ages.

The next 10 Wolf batters reached base safely, starting with a Crownover single, then ending when she came back around to paste the snot out of the ball for a two-run home-run to right-center.

Her fourth ball to clear the fence and fly away to open spaces this season (spoiler: #5 is coming before this story is done), Crownover’s blast followed on the heels of RBI singles from Coral Caveness and Bailey, several Meridian errors, and Prescott gettin’ medieval.

The sophomore shortstop cranked a three-run double that would have been a triple, if she hadn’t hit a hidden hole in the infield as she barreled towards second base.

Prescott, running with a full head of steam, suddenly went down like a sniper in the stands shot out her leg, sending a momentary tremor through Wolf Nation.

But, after five seconds, which felt like an hour, she popped up, bounced around, then perched atop the bag, smiling, and all the pent-up air rushed back out of Coupeville fans in a happy sigh.

Up 14-0 by the time the third inning finally ended, the Wolves needed just a single run in the bottom of the fourth to take advantage of a postseason mercy rule which ends games when one team goes up by 15 any time after the third inning.

Fittingly, it was Smith, who parked a liner to left, sending Laxton home with the final run and earning herself the (sort of) complete-game shutout.

Coupeville rapped out nine hits in the opener, and would get another 12 base-knocks in the night-cap.

Crownover, with two home runs among her four hits, led the way, while Smith, Prescott, Wright, and Caveness piled up three base-knocks apiece across the two games.

Mathusek (2), Bailey (2), and Laxton (1) rounded out the hit parade.

 

Game 2:

While Coupeville had plenty of time to sit around, have a bite to eat, and relax, Granite played all seven innings in its opener, stranding the tying and winning runs on base in a 7-6 thriller against Nooksack Valley.

The Tigers, who beat the Wolves twice this season, only to see CHS bounce back for a win in their third meeting, which was crucial to Coupeville clinching the #1 seed from the North Sound Conference, looked tired when they trekked over to Field #1.

This time it was Wells, the fab frosh, in the pitcher’s circle and she came out poppin’ in a 1-2-3 top of the first.

Granite, with its main hurler having thrown a ton of pitches in the opening game, answered with a backup chucker, causing the Wolves to lick their chops.

Dropping hay-makers from the get-go, Coupeville got a lead-off homer to left from Smith, her second big blast of the season, then an RBI single from Bailey.

Enter Crownover, twirling her bat and giving the stink eye to the Tiger hurler, and exit the ball, with a three-run blast grabbing a one-way ticket over the fence in left-center, staking CHS to a 5-0 lead.

Turns out the Wolves would need every one of those runs, as Granite picked away for two runs in the second, then one more in both the third and fourth.

While the lead shrank to 5-4, things didn’t get truly tragic.

Smart defensive plays, whether it was Mathusek with a diving catch in center, Bailey nonchalantly yanking a red-hot liner out of the air a millisecond before it screamed past her head, or a Laxton-to-Prescott-to-Wright relay to nail a runner at the plate, were huge.

Granite, known for its ability to generate huge offensive outbursts, kept on being muted by Wells and her teammates, and Coupeville never lost the lead.

Ever.

Looking for some breathing room, the Wolves erupted for another five runs in the bottom of the fourth, stretching the margin back out to a more comfortable 10-4.

It started with Caveness, who has been on a hitting tear during the second-half of the season, poking a single into a microscopic gap in left, then really got rolling with base-knocks from Mathusek, Prescott, and Wright.

Prescott’s single was a supremely weird chopper which spun the wrong way, evading the Granite pitcher like they were playing tag at recess.

Wright’s was a wicked pool shot hammered by a back alley hustler taking all your money while making you think you somehow still had a chance to get the cash back.

You don’t, so don’t ask.

From there, the two teams each nabbed a single run, with Prescott delivering an RBI triple while, this time, avoiding the hidden hole at second.

Coupeville couldn’t quite pull away to ten-run Granite, but the Tigers couldn’t get to Wells, or Smith, who came on in relief in the fifth, and it was 11-5 with the Wolves three outs from nirvana.

And then things got sticky.

Maybe nerves finally got to the Wolves a bit, maybe it was the lil’ rain drops which sputtered off and on over the day, maybe it was just a way to make sure the audience didn’t desert Field #1 for any of the other games.

Two crucial Granite hits, and a couple of Coupeville brain fart errors, gave the Tigers a last bit of hope.

In the flicker of an eye, it went from 11-5 to 11-10, and the Wolves were scraping, desperately, to get those final, precious outs.

Caveness, who was superb in the field all day, picked up an out with a sweet snag and flip to Prescott, while Smith erased another hitter on a come-backer.

But Granite had its second-best hitter at the plate, representing the tying run, and its best hitter on-deck, and, for a flicker of a moment, it might have been easy for bad memories to return.

Three years ago, when current seniors Crownover, Laxton, and Wright were freshmen, the Wolves went one and out at districts.

Two years ago, after four playoff games in 22 hours, an exhausted Coupeville team stood a single strike away from eliminating Bellevue Christian and advancing to state … but couldn’t get there.

Last year, the Wolves needed to beat Klahowya, a team they had won six straight against, to punch their ticket.

But it didn’t happen.

Thursday night, at a few minutes past 8 PM Pacific Standard Time, all those memories went away, however.

Smith fired a final pitch and got the ground-out she needed, wanted, and deserved.

Prescott went low, snapped up the ball effortlessly, popped up, took a moment to plant herself, then the orb was headed towards Crownover’s glove, flicked with precision and great velocity.

Time froze, a last raindrop splashed down on the bill of a fan’s ball cap, then Crownover squeezed the ball gently and the universe righted itself.

Sometimes you get the reward for all the hard work, the bruises and scrapes, the late nights on ferries and buses, for never giving up, no matter how many twists and turns come your way in your athletic life.

For Coupeville softball, its steady seniors, its ball-joltin’ juniors, its superb sophomores, its bright-eyed freshmen, and its coaching staff full of diamond lifers, Thursday was one of the biggies.

There’s still much ahead — the district title game, a run at state, and then, down the road, the awards banquet.

But Thursday?

That’s the one they talk about at their 10-year reunion, the one they tell their own daughters about when they hand them a glove for the first time in the backyards of the future.

Thursday will live forever.

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Catcher Gavin Knoblich is one of five starters who can return for a Coupeville baseball team which finished its season strongly. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The Wolves are done, while the Falcons still have a shot.

The Coupeville High School baseball squad, which beat the odds by making the playoffs after an 0-12 start to the season, dropped a pair of close games Saturday at the bi-district tourney in Bellingham, bringing its season to an end.

Meanwhile, South Whidbey split two contests, and gets to return to Sehome High School next Saturday to play a winner-to-state, loser-out game.

The Falcons, the #2 seed from the North Sound Conference, opened the day by beating Mount Baker 5-0, before falling 5-1 to NWC kingpin Cedar Park Christian in the semifinals.

Coupeville fell 6-1 to Northwest Conference champ Meridian, then exited after a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Emerald City League champ Overlake.

Cedar Park (19-3) and Meridian (11-10) won two games apiece, clinched tickets to state, and face off May 11 for the district title.

That same day, South Whidbey (18-4) plays Overlake (15-5), while King’s (12-10) faces University Prep (10-7).

The winners of those games are state-bound, as well, and return to the field in the afternoon to decide the district’s #3 and #4 seeds to the big dance.

Mount Baker (9-13) and Coupeville (7-14) are done, joining Lynden Christian (11-14), which was eliminated in an earlier play-in game.

How Saturday developed for the Wolves:

 

Game 1:

Coupeville struck first, but it would turn out to be the only run they got off of Meridian ace Dylan Hickok.

Freshman Hawthorne Wolfe whacked a one-out single off of a fielder’s glove, stole second, then came around to score on an RBI single by Dane Lucero in the bottom of the first, promising big things.

But, while the Wolves put runners aboard in four of the next six innings, they couldn’t push them across the plate, something at which the Trojans fared slightly better.

Meridian picked up a run of its own in the bottom of the first, and the game stayed knotted at 1-1 until the bottom of the third, as Lucero and Hickock dueled in the sun.

The Trojans finally broke through thanks to a lead-off double from Brayden Zender, a shot which hit Earth (barely) in fair territory, before shooting away from the fielder into foul territory.

Big fans of playing small ball, and very adept at it, the Northwest Conference’s best 1A team plated the eventual winning run on a suicide squeeze, then added two more in the inning thanks to a bloop single which dropped in between a pair of Wolf fielders.

Up 4-1, Hickok was in charge, but also probably saying a silent prayer of thanks after his squad put up another run in both the fourth and sixth innings.

Coupeville, after going down 1-2-3 in the second, had runners in scoring position in the third, fourth, and sixth innings, but came up a hit shy each time.

In the third frame, Shane Losey lofted a little flare to left for a single, but he eventually died a slow death at third base.

An inning later, Lucero drilled a lead-off single and Gavin Knoblich bunted him over to second, but that was where he remained as the Wolf rally sputtered out.

Coupeville’s final best chance came in the top of the sixth, with Lucero getting plunked and Ulrik Wells lashing a single.

But with two on and two out, Hickok dodged one final time, inducing an inning-ending ground-out before retiring CHS in order in the seventh.

The Wolves rung up six hits in the opener, with Lucero punching a pair of singles in support of his own pitching.

Matt Hilborn, Wolfe, Wells, and Losey also collected base-knocks.

 

Game 2:

With their backs to the wall, the Wolves found themselves facing a familiar foe, but this time it almost turned out radically different.

In the second game of the season, Coupeville suffered one of its few blow-out losses this season, falling 13-1 to Overlake.

Jump forward to Saturday afternoon and CHS pushed the Owls hard, carrying a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the fifth.

With Hilborn keeping Overlake at bay — he gave up a pair of doubles in the early going, but stranded both runners — Coupeville had a prime opportunity to jump out to a lead.

It didn’t come for quite awhile, though, as the Wolves stranded Knoblich at third base in the second and frittered away a lead-off double from Lucero in the fourth.

Coupeville finally cracked the scoreless tie thanks to some smartly-done small ball of its own.

Losey scampered to first when a third strike got away from the Overlake catcher, stole second, went to third on a sacrifice bunt by Hilborn, then scored on a Wolfe RBI single.

Overlake responded quickly, however, putting together three hits and a walk in the bottom half of the fifth and turning it into three runs.

A Knoblich single went for naught in the sixth, but Coupeville rallied in the seventh, plating one and putting the tying run at third.

Back-to-back walks to Losey and Hilborn got the inning off with a bang, but Overlake picked up two outs on grounders to even things out a bit.

The second of those rollers, coming from third-baseman Jake Pease, brought in a run, cutting the lead to a single score.

But that game-tying run, represented by Wolfe bouncing on the bag at third, never got to come down the line, as the game ended on a come-backer to the Owls hurler.

Wolfe and Knoblich each had a pair of singles in the season-ending loss, while Lucero’s final prep hit was a two-bagger.

The defeat brings an end to the high school careers of seniors Hilborn, Losey, Pease, Lucero, and Bryce Payne, but CHS coach Chris Smith can return starters Wolfe, Knoblich, Wells, Daniel Olson, and Mason Grove, as well as several key reserves.

While Coupeville lost its first 12 games, it was highly competitive during that streak.

The season turned around with a 4-3 home win over South Whidbey, a loss which eventually cost the Falcons a share of the league title.

After that, the Wolves got their bats cookin’ and swept three-game series from Sultan and Granite Falls to nab the league’s final playoff berth.

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Backup goalie Simon Socha held Meridian scoreless for all 40 minutes he played Saturday, but it wasn’t enough to save an injury-ravaged Coupeville soccer team in a loser-out playoff game. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Those who were still left standing gave everything they had.

An injury-ravaged Coupeville High School boys soccer team finished its loser-out district playoff game Saturday night missing players who accounted for 31 of the 34 goals scored this season.

And yet, even playing with a shattered lineup, the Wolf booters stayed close with Meridian, the #1 seed from the Northwest Conference, before falling 3-1.

The loss, coming on the field at Whatcom Community College, drops Coupeville to 6-10 and ends its season.

In other playoff games Saturday, King’s shocked South Whidbey 3-2 in the district championship game, avenging two regular-season losses, while Mount Baker nipped Lynden Christian 2-1.

Those four teams, along with Meridian, advance to bi-districts, and King’s is already assured of a trip to state.

South Whidbey, which entered the night 13-1, with its only loss to 2A Burlington-Edison, now has to win back-to-back loser-out games or it will miss the big dance.

Thanks mainly to injuries, Coupeville entered play Saturday missing several starters and key reserves, including leading scorer Derek Leyva.

The team’s #2 scorer, Aram Leyva, and starting goaltender Dewitt Cole made it through the first half against Meridian, and then they too went to the bench for good.

Still, the Wolves battled back, with freshman Xavier Murdy banging home his first high school goal in the second half.

Backup goalie Simon Socha and his defense stood tall after the half, holding Meridian scoreless through the game’s final 40 minutes.

“We came back in the second half and had a real good half, beating them for the half,” said CHS coach Kyle Nelson. “Almost a good way to finish out the season.

“Better would have been a win, but a solid half against a very good team is great.”

The playoff loss marked the end of the road for Coupeville’s seniors, as Cole and defenders Teo Keilwitz and Uriah Kastner depart.

The Wolves can return all of their goal scorers from this season, though, as every score was knocked in by an underclassman.

 

Final scoring totals:

Derek Leyva – 14
Aram Leyva – 10
Sage Downes – 4
Chris Cernick – 2
James Wood – 2
Tony Garcia – 1
Xavier Murdy – 1

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