Posts Tagged ‘Nezi Keiper’

Nezi Keiper has been a star for several Coupeville High School teams. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

On to the next challenge.

Coupeville High School senior Nezi Keiper has signed to play soccer for Edmonds College.

A First-Team All-Conference player and team captain, the Wolf ace anchored her team’s defense the past four years.

Keiper was a tower of power on the backline for Coupeville, making life easier for her goaltender’s, while showcasing a mix of grit, hustle, and a booming leg.

She also played basketball at CHS and was a star football player back in her middle school days.

A member of the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame, Keiper is slated to graduate this spring.

She will join an Edmonds team which is rebuilding after not competing in 2022.

The Tritons, who play in the Northwest Athletic Conference, have a new coach in place and Keiper is part of a group of recent signees who hail from spots such as Lynnwood, Monroe, and Utah.

Edmonds women’s soccer won NWAC titles in 2000 and 2002.

Making things official. 

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Nezi Keiper, Superstar. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The first time I saw Yetlanezi Keiper play a sport, she was busy making a boy seriously rethink his life choices.

Clad in a Coupeville Middle School football uniform, she had unloaded on a dude who thought he was going to block her, sending her rival sprawling to the grass.

Standing over him, long hair flowing from beneath her helmet, Nezi’s face was a study in calmness.

She wasn’t outwardly mad, but she also wasn’t going to smile at the fellow player she cut in half and left to (metaphorically) bleed out on a muddy patch of grass.

It was one of the most striking moments I have witnessed in three decades of on and off writing about prep sports.

Not because Nezi was a girl, dominating in a sport where girls are rarely made to feel welcome.

But because, in that moment, it was obvious she was a truly special athlete.

She showed no fear.

She asked for no quarter.

She was going to kick your butt on every play.

End of story.

Young Nezi, dominating the gridiron. (Sarah Saunders photo)

Now, over the last six years, as Nezi moved through middle school, then left football behind and played soccer and basketball during her high school days, I’ve seen a different side of her.

In her dealings with others, close friends or casual acquaintances, she remains one of the kindest people you will meet.

And one of the strongest.

Plus, and this is huge, she always answers my messages, sending me tidbits of info after games while bumping along the backroads of America in a school bus.

Whether her team wins big or gets roughed up on the scoreboard, Nezi is solid gold as a sideline reporter.

For someone such as myself, who can be a bit obsessive about wanting to get stories printed the same day a game is played, she has been invaluable.

Being hailed on Senior Night. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

On the field or court, she has never wavered, never made me rethink that first appraisal of her inner fire.

She is relentless as a soccer defender, taking on the best goal scorers in the region time and again, always making sure they will remember the time they unwisely chose to tangle with her.

Nezi is not a dirty player, by any means.

In fact, she goes out of her way not to hurt others and often shows concern for the physical well-being of those she clashes with.

But she is not going to back down. Like ever.

Capable of clearing the back line with a booming kick, Nezi believes every 50/50 ball belongs to her, and legs churning, she will not surrender her patch of turf, no matter how quick or large the foe may be.

If a collision is required, she never shies from contact.

But, at the same time, she’s just as likely, if not more so, to strip the ball and send it flying far away from her net before the shooter realizes they’ve lost control of the play.

“Get outta here!” (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

When she’s on the hardwood, Nezi brings the same style of play to basketball as she does to soccer.

A ferocious rebounder, when she plants herself under the hoop, good luck on moving her from her appointed position.

One of my favorite photos from Coupeville Sports is one of Nezi going toe-to-toe with a much-taller South Whidbey hoops player during her 8th grade season.

She will not be moved. You can try, but it ain’t happening, skippy.

The Wolves went undefeated that year, and Nezi was a major contributor on both ends of the floor.

Other players may have been set up to be scorers, but she showed a deft touch with the ball in her hands and could sting rival defenses.

But, as on the soccer pitch, Nezi was an absolute rock on defense and that was where she rightfully earned her fame.

Locked in from the line. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

So, here we are in early December, and she doesn’t graduate until June, and yet I’m skipping ahead of the normal schedule a bit. As you’ll see in a few moments.

Nezi chose not to play basketball this season, focusing on school, work, and life, and while her absence saddens me, it’s not about me.

If she’s happy and fulfilled, good on her. That’s what matters.

There are rumors in the air Nezi might pick up a tennis racket this spring and cap her high school days on the court or migrate to track for one go-round.

I hope it’s true, either way.

But if it’s not, Nezi deserves the peace of being allowed to make her own decision, so I’ll go be quiet in the corner after this.

As I do, however, I want to take a moment to put an official stamp on things.

Whether she still has high school sports highlights to craft or not, Nezi long ago punched her ticket to the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

She is a special athlete, and an even better human being, and putting her in our digital shrine makes the joint a lot classier.

So, let’s do this now, and not wait until summer.

After this, when you slide past the Legends tab at the top of the blog, that’s where you’ll find Nezi hanging out.

Was there ever a doubt?

No, no there was not.

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Nezi Keiper caps her prep soccer career with another honor. (Jackie Saia photo)

Four is the magic number.

Matching the Wolf boys, the Coupeville High School girls’ soccer squad saw a quartet of players honored when Northwest 2B/1B All-Conference teams were announced Monday night.

Senior defender Nezi Keiper and senior midfielder Carolyn Lhamon were named First-Team picks, while sophomore forward Ayden Wyman and senior goaltender Anna Myles received Honorable Mention status.

There is no Second-Team roster for NWL girls’ soccer, with just four teams playing versus the nine who line up on the boys’ side of things.

Mount Vernon Christian senior forward Abby Russell was tabbed as league MVP, while her mentor, Mike Russell, won Coach of the Year.

Friday Harbor was handed the Team Sportsmanship Award.

Wolf goalie Anna Myles (in neon) was honored by Northwest 2B/1B League coaches. (Morgan White photo)


First-Team All-Conference:

Alexa Brown – Freshman – Midfielder – Mount Vernon Christian
Stella Carli – Freshman – Forward – Friday Harbor
Meg Carrier – Senior – Midfielder – Friday Harbor
McKenna Clark – Junior – Forward/Midfielder – Friday Harbor
Nezi Keiper – Defender – Coupeville
Carolyn Lhamon – Senior – Midfielder – Coupeville
Bella Ross – Junior – Defender – Friday Harbor
Emily Russell – Junior – Forward – Mount Vernon Christian
Elly VandenBosch – Junior – Defender – Mount Vernon Christian
Kayla Van Hofwegen – Sophomore – Defender/Mid – Mount Vernon Christian


Honorable Mention:

Raegen Lee – Senior – Defender – La Conner
Anna Myles – Senior – Goaltender – Coupeville
Nylah Pieples – Sophomore – Defender – Friday Harbor
Grace Van Pelt – Sophomore – Goaltender – Mount Vernon Christian
Ayden Wyman – Sophomore – Forward – Coupeville

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Freshman Brynn Parker was Coupeville’s Rookie of the Year on the soccer pitch. (Bailey Thule photo)

Seniors (l to r) Nezi Keiper, Carolyn Lhamon, Anna Myles, Gwen Crowder, and Wynter Arndt exit as winners. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

They shot, and scored, on awards night.

Wrapping their season, the Coupeville High School girls’ soccer squad closed Kyle Nelson’s final go-round as coach with a shindig Thursday night.

Wolf goaltender Anna Myles was honored as team MVP, while she and fellow seniors Carolyn Lhamon and Nezi Keiper received four-year awards.

Freshman Brynn Parker was tabbed as Rookie of the Year, Edie Bittner earned Most Improved, and Keiper was hailed as Most Inspirational.

Lhamon and Keiper were also acknowledged for their work as team captains.


Varsity letter winners:

Wynter Arndt
Edie Bittner
Sophia Broderick
Jackie Contreras
Gwen Crowder
Bryley Gilbert
Nezi Keiper
Carolyn Lhamon
Ava Mitten
Anna Myles
Brynn Parker
Frankie Tenore
Ayden Wyman


Participation certificates:

Isabella Gaspio
Elizabeth Lo
Monroe Myles
Skylar Parker

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Defensive dynamo Nezi Keiper netted her first goal Tuesday in a season-ending victory. (Jackie Saia photo)

The wind never bothered them anyway.

Playing their season finale on a gusty afternoon, the Coupeville High School girls soccer players defended their home pitch in style Tuesday, knocking off visiting La Conner 4-0.

The victory gives the Wolves a season sweep of the Braves and lifts them to a final mark of 2-4 in Northwest 2B/1B League play, 3-8 overall.

“A nice way to finish the season and for Senior Night,” said CHS coach Kyle Nelson.

Sophomore Ayden Wyman continued the torrid start to her high school career, knocking in a pair of goals to pace the Wolf attack.

After rattling home four goals as a fab frosh, she notched nine scores in her second season.

That’s the best showing for a Coupeville girl since Kalia Littlejohn (15) and Genna Wright (10) hit double-digits back in 2017.

With 13 career goals, Wyman slides ahead of Avalon Renninger (12) and sits at #5 all-time on the CHS girls scoring chart at the midpoint of her run.

Her targets in the years to come?

That would be Mia Littlejohn (35), Kalia Littlejohn (33), Wright (20), and Lindsey Roberts (17).

Coupeville’s other two goals Tuesday came from seniors Carolyn Lhamon and Nezi Keiper, while Ava Mitten and Lhamon tallied assists.

Keiper, the heart and soul of the Wolf defense for four years, notched her first high school goal, while Lhamon tallied her fourth of the season, and seventh of her career.

The duo was joined by fellow 12th graders Anna Myles, Gwen Crowder, and Wynter Arndt in being honored for their many contributions to the Wolf pitch program.


Final season scoring stats:

Ayden Wyman – 9
Carolyn Lhamon – 4
Wynter Arndt – 1
Nezi Keiper – 1

Coupeville seniors Gwen Crowder (left) and Anna Myles (right) bowed out with a win. (Bailey Thule photo)

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