Posts Tagged ‘Nooksack Valley’

Coupeville freshman Miles Davidson made his debut in goal Saturday, teaming with Dewitt Cole and Michael Langille to stifle Nooksack Valley in a 9-1 win. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Derek Leyva (left), celebrating with Alex Jimenez, knocked in four goals, giving him 30 for his prep career.

For a moment, it seemed like it would be a nail-biter.

But it was a very short moment.

Breaking an early tie at Nooksack Valley Saturday, the Coupeville High School boys soccer squad rained down eight straight goals and romped to a 9-1 win.

The non-conference victory evens the early-season record at 2-2, as the Wolves prepare to head into league play.

CHS plays its next four games against North Sound Conference foes, with the first two bouts on its home turf.

The Wolves host King’s (1-1-1) Tuesday, Mar. 19, before Sultan (0-2) arrives on Whidbey Friday, Mar. 22.

Saturday’s game was Coupeville’s second-straight road game against a team from the 1A/2A/3A Northwest Conference, and this one went a lot better.

After falling 4-0 to Meridian two days before, the Wolves peppered Nooksack’s goalie from all angles, filling up the back of the net.

Up 5-1 at the half, with the only Pioneer goal coming off of a “power shot to the opposite corner from the attack line,” Coupeville’s back line was playing large and in charge.

“Defense had a great first half,” said CHS assistant coach Robert Wood. “(Wolf goaltender) Dewitt (Cole) made a superb effort diving and got a finger on it, but it was just one of those shots.”

The Wolves stayed on the attack after the break, smacking home another four goals and sending Coupeville head coach Kyle Nelson to the bus with a big smile on his face.

“The one goal we conceded was early in the game,” he said. “No looking back from there.”

Coupeville’s cousin connection sparked the offensive explosion, with Derek Leyva rattling the net for a season-best four goals, while Aram Leyva popped in a pair of scores.

The duo have combined for 11 goals through four games, with Derek back in front 6-5 in the scoring chase.

His final score of the afternoon was the 30th of his short career, after he scored a school single-season record 24 in his debut as a sophomore last year.

Saturday’s explosion pulls him within 15 of his other cousin, Abraham Leyva, who holds the CHS career mark of 45 goals.

Sage Downes added his third goal of the season, while also collecting three assists, and Chris Cernick and James Wood rounded out the scoring with a goal apiece.

Derek Leyva racked up two assists, while Sam Wynn added another sweet set-up which resulted in a teammate scoring.

The Wolf coaching staff was appropriately pumped after the big road win.

“Finally playing as a team the way game demands,” Robert Wood said. “Really good showing by everyone.”

After working with the team’s goaltenders, the assistant coach was especially pleased to see the team’s backups, Miles Davidson and Micheal Langille, get quality time in net, giving Cole a chance to rest on the sideline.

The young duo swapped 10-minute sessions in the net, both holding Nooksack scoreless.

Davidson took a kick to the face, but the scrappy Wolf lived to tell about it.

“They both put practice sessions directly into game experience,” Robert Wood said. “Superb effort and focus and application from both.”

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Freshman Kiara Contreras, an Energizer Rabbit in a Wolf uniform, had a sensational blocked shot Saturday for the Coupeville JV hoops squad. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It wasn’t the prettiest of games, but we’re not going to focus on that for very long.

Instead, if you keep reading, we have the world debut of a poem by a hoops coach, written while camped in a bouncing bus on the back-roads of America.

Yeah, you’re not getting that in the Seattle Times, now, are you?

But first, a few quick notes.

Yes, Nooksack Valley, using a full lineup of varsity swing players, beat the Coupeville High School JV girls basketball squad 54-24 Saturday.

With the non-conference loss, the Wolf young guns head into a 12-day break between games sporting a solid 4-4 record.

If you’re looking for statistical highlights, we have Kylie Van Velkinburgh, dropping a team-high seven points and snatching three rebounds, and Izzy Wells, going for six and nine.

Anya Leavell (5), Audrianna Shaw (2), Kiara Contreras (2), Abby Mulholland (1), and Morgan Stevens (1) also scored, while Ja’Kenya Hoskins tore down six boards.

Shaw and Mollie Bailey each dealt out two assists, while Contreras, the Energizer Bunny in a Wolf uniform, delivered the night’s loudest play.

Chasing down a Nooksack player from behind, the CHS guard sprinted from half court, went airborne, then rejected the Pioneer shot from behind at the very last second, LeBron James-style.

“She (Kiara) brought the most energy as always,” said Coupeville coach Amy King. “Everyone else took the court and did what they could do. Move the ball, help their teammates, play the best defense they could.”

And now on to the world-exclusive, as King, the Bard of the Hardwood, delivers a poem to send us into winter break.

Amy started writing her poem when we got on the bus and before we made our stop for food,” said CHS varsity coach (and proud husband) David King. “Less than 30 minutes. What a talent she has.”


A long trip up North,
No, not to North Pole
The Grinch is named Nooksack
We got in a hole

The game was a tough one
We did what we could
We were getting down on ourselves
But still did some good

They had one defender
Always harassing the guard
We found ways around it
But made it too hard

They stole like the Grinch would
They laughed as they shot
Their coach strayed out of his box
And finally got caught.

We weren’t watching the score
Though their book got it wrong
Thanks to Heidi and Nicole
For keeping it strong

The game was the normal
Back and forth fight
And every girl on our team
Did all they could for the night

Audri, Mollie, Kiara and
Anya led us up top
Ja’Kenya, Abby, Morgan
Izzy, Kylie pulled out all the stops

Kiara had a shot block
Surely heard from outside,
And Izzy, a spin move,
Her defender along for the ride.

Towards the end it was noticed
Their #12 needed to score
We would not let that happen
So we defended her more

So the Grinch got the win
But we put up a fight
We get to go eat now
And to all a good night

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Mollie Bailey netted her first varsity three-pointer Saturday as Coupeville played at Nooksack Valley. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Sometimes final scores are deceptive.

After fighting tooth and nail with a very-good Nooksack Valley squad Saturday, the Coupeville High School varsity girls basketball team hit the skids late, watching a close game turn into what might seem like a rout based on just a quick glance at the score-book.

While the Wolves fell 64-41, snapping a three-game win streak, the non-conference bout was indeed that, a bout, for much of the way.

Coupeville, which has found another level to its offensive attack after a 0-3 start to the season, enters winter break at 4-5.

The Wolves, who are 2-0 in league play, don’t return to the court for a game until Jan. 4, when they travel to Shoreline to face King’s for sole possession of first-place in the North Sound Conference.

The 12-day break offers Coupeville’s players a chance to rest up from any dings and prepare for what’s ahead — eight-straight league games to wrap the regular season.

“One thing that holds true with this team, we never quit and keep fighting until the end,” said CHS coach David King. “We have time to work on some things during this break.

“Coming out of the break we need to look to play a complete game by taking care of the ball and getting back to owning the boards.”

Facing a battle-hardened Nooksack squad which “does a good job of ball rotation and getting the ball inside,” Coupeville struggled out of the gate.

Despite five first-quarter points from senior Ema Smith, the Wolves, repeatedly beaten on the boards, trailed 17-8 at the first break.

Things settled down quite a bit after that, however.

“In the second quarter, we started to tighten things up on the defensive end,” King said. “We held our own and kept the game within striking distance.”

While the Wolves weren’t quite able to chip away at the lead, they did keep the score close in the second (10-7) and third (12-11) quarters, and held an 8-4 advantage midway through the fourth.

Back within 44-34 and on a mini-surge, Coupeville was making a run.

And then it wasn’t.

Back-to-back Wolf turnovers turned into successful three-balls from Pioneer shooters, and once Nooksack hit a couple of treys, it couldn’t stop.

Raining down six shots from behind the arc, the host team closed the game on a 21-7 tear to make the final score look more lopsided than it should have.

Still, even in a loss to a top-notch team, Coupeville continues to play at a higher level than it did in the opening weeks of the season.

“We played well in spurts; we had good ball movement and looked to make the extra pass,” King said. “We also got to play some zone (defense), so that was good to get some reps in.”

Ema Smith paced the Wolves with a team-high 13 points, while Chelsea Prescott added nine points and a team-high seven rebounds.

Lindsey Roberts (eight points, five rebounds, three assists), Scout Smith (four points, two steals), Avalon Renninger (three points, three assists), Mollie Bailey (three points), Hannah Davidson (a free throw and three rebounds), and Nicole Laxton (three rebounds, two blocks) also filled up the stat sheet.

Fab frosh Izzy Wells, Anya Leavell and Ja’Kenya Hoskins all saw floor time, while three of their older teammates hit personal milestones in the game.

With her eight points, Roberts surges to 390 for her career, moving past Shawna West (388) into #24 on the Wolf girls all-time scoring list.

Scout Smith is just the 97th player in the history of the girls program (1975-2018) to top 100 career points, now sitting with 103.

And topping things off, Bailey connected on her first three-ball as a varsity player.

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Gavin Knoblich netted six points Saturday as Coupeville clashed with Nooksack Valley. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

JV players (l to r) Cody Roberts, Miles Davidson, Chris Ruck and Tucker Hall watch the action in an earlier game.

And now they rest.

A long week came to an end Saturday for the Coupeville High School boys basketball players, a week full of wind and rain and no power and cancelled games and, finally, a trip to Nooksack Valley.

While none of the three Wolf squads came away with a win against the host Pioneers, there were bright spots for all.

Plus, there’s now a two-week rest period between games, time for any dings and bruises to heal, and, hopefully, for the power to come back on and stay on.

Coupeville doesn’t play again until Jan. 4, when it travels to Shoreline to face King’s and kick off the heart of the North Sound Conference season.

Here’s how Saturday’s action broke down:



It was a nail-biter for eight minutes, then a barrage of Nooksack shots went and ruined things.

Trailing by just two at the first break, CHS was outscored 28-9 in the second quarter, eventually falling 73-42.

The non-conference loss sends the Wolves into the break sitting at 1-7.

Coupeville came out strongly, with freshman Hawthorne Wolfe dropping five in the first quarter as Nooksack clung to a 12-10 lead.

Then, the Pioneers found their groove, and never missed a shot again. Like never, ever, ever again.

The second quarter was brutal, though the Wolves hung tough in the third and fourth quarters, but couldn’t chip away at the deficit.

Mason Grove paced Coupeville with a team-high 14 points, hitting a single three-ball in all four quarters.

Wolfe was hot on his heels with 12, included two treys, while Gavin Knoblich popped for six.

Rounding out the CHS attack were Jered Brown (4), Ulrik Wells (4) and Sean Toomey-Stout (2), while Jacobi Pilgrim, Jean Lund-Olsen, Dane Lucero and Koa Davison also saw floor time.

Nooksack sank eight three-balls, and dominated Coupeville at the free throw line, hitting 13-18 compared to 4-9 by the Wolves.



While the varsity was close for a quarter, Coupeville’s second unit stayed with Nooksack for an entire half.

Trailing by just a point at the break, the Wolves went cold in the third quarter, however, and fell 58-37.

The CHS young guns are 4-4 heading into winter break.

Nooksack surged to an early 14-9 lead, but the Wolves responded with their own 14-10 second-quarter run behind the play of a rampaging Xavier Murdy.

Making his high school debut, the fab frosh banged home eight of his team-high 17 points in the second frame.

The difference in the game came after the break, however, as Nooksack used a 17-4 explosion in the third to flip the game on its head.

Then, tacking on a 17-10 surge in the fourth, the Pioneers coasted in for the victory.

Grady Rickner tossed in seven points for Coupeville to back up Murdy’s 17, with Daniel Olson (4), Logan Martin (4), Sage Downes (3) and TJ Rickner (2) also scoring.

Cody Roberts, Tucker Hall, Chris Ruck and Miles Davidson rounded out the active Wolf roster.



With just six players in uniform, the Wolves couldn’t match Nooksack’s depth, or its high-powered scoring, falling 44-12.

Coupeville’s best output came in the third quarter, when it netted half its points, proving the resilience of Scott Fox’s young squad.

Chris Cernick led the offensive charge, dropping in five points, while Jaylen Nitta (3), Jonathan Partida (2) and Andrew Aparicio (2) also scored.

Ben Smith and Tony Garcia also saw floor time for CHS.

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Team, from first serve to last point. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The volleyball hung in the air for a brief, tantalizing moment.

One more chance, one more play, one more rally, one more opportunity to write a happy ending to this tale.

Then it was gone, the ball splashing down inches away from the net, squirting away between outstretched hands. A perfectly-placed tip for one team, and perfect agony for the other.

And with that, a season of joy came to a sudden close Tuesday for the Coupeville High School spikers, with the wrong team celebrating in the cramped Lynden Christian Middle School gym after a tense, thrilling, five-set, two-hour-plus loser-out playoff match.

In a brawl of fire and fury, of sensational saves and remarkable poise under pressure, Nooksack Valley, a battle-hardened 1A team which survived playing in a league chock-full of 2A and 3A schools, nipped the Wolves 25-19, 20-25, 23-25, 25-19, 15-13.

With that win, and a four-set romp over South Whidbey immediately afterwards, the Pioneers claimed the #3 seed from District 1, and advance to bi-districts Saturday, two wins away from a trip to state.

For the Wolves, for senior leaders Emma Smith and Ashley Menges, who gave everything they had to the program over the course of four seasons, and for the talented underclassmen who signal a bright future, the seasons ends.

Coupeville exits at 11-5, the third-straight season the Wolves have finished with double-digit wins under coach Cory Whitmore.

After dominating the Olympic League the past two seasons, CHS helped inaugurate the new North Sound Conference this year.

With three of six league teams having made the state tourney in 2017, including the champs, King’s, the level of play in their new home was greatly elevated, but the Wolves responded.

They swept a pair of matches from their Island rivals, were one of just three teams to take a set from King’s in the regular season, and claimed second-place in the standings.

Having split their first two matches at the district tourney Saturday (narrowly falling to Meridian before eliminating Cedar Park Christian), the Wolves headed back to Lynden Tuesday needing just one win to advance.

What they got with Nooksack was a full-on royal rumble, a brawl between two extraordinarily-even teams.

Time and again, players on both squads made truly startling saves, keeping rallies alive long after the odds said they should have ended.

If the same two squads meet tomorrow, it’s very likely Coupeville comes out on top.

Keep playing, World Series-style, in a best four-of-seven affair, and it’s anyone’s guess which team prevails.

The opening set was a perfect example, as the Wolves and Pioneers staged 10 ties, from 1-1 up to 14-14.

Maya Toomey-Stout got things poppin’ when she lofted a shot up and over the heads of the entire Nooksack defense, the ball seemingly headed out of bounds.

Instead, it suddenly tailed off — just as “The Gazelle” planned — miraculously dropping and catching the final flake of paint on the end line, causing the line judge to jump out of his shoes as the large Nooksack crowd wailed in unison.

From there, the opening set was a battle of attrition.

Scout Smith jumped high, then banked home a lil’ sky hook for a winner, Chelsea Prescott came roaring in from the left side to absolutely paste the air out of the ball on a spike, and Emma Smith used her long reach to flick the ball where the defense wasn’t.

Unfortunately, Nooksack was also adept at dropping little pokes and tips into the gaps, and the Pioneers swung things their way with an 11-5 run to break the 14-all tie.

While they weren’t happy about dropping the opening frame, the Wolves didn’t let it slow their roll.

Bouncing right back, with Emma Smith patrolling the skies ruthlessly, using the very top of her fingertips to snuff out would-be kills, CHS hung tough, then made its move.

Trailing 14-11, the Wolves went on a 5-0 run to reclaim the lead, then never gave it back.

Strong service runs from both of the Smith “sisters,” Scout and Emma, kick-started things, a couple of lasers from Toomey-Stout scattered the defense, then Coupeville got dynamic to seal the deal.

Two sensational saves on what should have been kills for Nooksack — one from Emma Mathusek, the other from the tag-team of Prescott and Scout Smith, who both punched the ball with outstretched fists — set up the Wolf big hitters.

Closing on a 14-6 run, the Wolves had the momentum, and they hammered the pedal through the metal in the third set.

Once they had the lead, and it came early at 2-1 when an Emma Smith block keyed a booming kill from Toomey-Stout, who leaped almost high enough to clear the net, they never gave it back.

Hannah Davidson, who was an artful tipper all night, sent one pretty winner skidding past the defense, but saved her best bit of ninja work for crunch time.

With Nooksack charging back from down 19-14 to knot things at 23-23, the collars on the shirts of Wolf coaches Whitmore and Chris Smith were tightening big time.

Enter Davidson, who stuffed a Nooksack shot to put CHS back in the lead, before pulling off a ballet move which ended with another tip winner, to seal the third set and set off a team-wide celebration.

Wolf bench players Raven Vick, Lucy Sandahl, Zoe Trujillo, Willow Vick and Maddie Vondrak, who were vocal all night, rushed to meet the incoming players and the party was on.

And then the party was off, as Nooksack came out to open the fourth set and played its best ball of the night.

Through three sets, Coupeville had won 69 points to 68 from the Pioneers, but things took a sickening turn as Nooksack surged out to a 15-6 lead.

Other than one spike on which Emma Smith cranked it up and opened a can of whup-ass on the ball, it was shaping up as a set to forget, or, maybe, one in which you take the film, burn it, and bury it in a landfill.

But, as they proved all season, these Wolves are resilient.

After a Nooksack serve sailed so long it almost left the gym, Coupeville handed the ball to Scout Smith, and the splendid setter promptly went off on the longest run on serve of any player, on either team, all night.

With some help from Prescott, who won a mid-air tip battle, forcing the ball up and over her rival’s hand, a little scrambling defense from a charged-up Menges and a lot of mashin’ by Emma Smith, the Wolves ran off seven straight points.

Scout Smith did most of her damage by making sure she kept her serves in play, then relying on her team’s attack, but “Scooter” also zipped one ace which ripped skin off of a Nooksack player’s unlucky hand.

The comeback, as unexpected and inspired as it was, never fully got over the hump, however.

Coupeville, which was being waxed, got back within a single point three times, with the final time coming at 17-16, but couldn’t regain the lead.

To give credit where it’s due, it wasn’t Wolf errors which denied them down the stretch in the fourth frame, but Nooksack winners.

The Pioneers came with everything they had, and it was just a little more than CHS wanted to give up.

And that was how the fifth, and final, set went down as well.

Toomey-Stout lashed a looping, curling streak of lightning that bit off the back end of the line for a winner, Davidson had yet another tip winner and Coupeville’s senior duo went out battling with everything they had.

Down 12-9 in a race to 15 points, the Wolves forced a 13-13 tie with Emma Smith and Menges firing serves which resulted in the final Wolf points of the season, and their stellar careers.

The stage was set for an emotional finale, and the teams delivered.

Two final plays, rallies which went back-and-forth and sucked the oxygen out of lungs on both sides of the net, and then it was over.

One team cried with joy, one group of fans screamed with glee.

If we knew the Nooksack girls personally, knew their stories, their hopes and dreams and plans for the future, and if their joy didn’t come at the expense of our town’s young women, it would probably be easy to be happy for them.

The Pioneers played their hearts out. They earned their win.

But this isn’t Nooksack Sports.

The team I watched play all season hails from Coupeville, and while I wanted a win for them, I also know this loss isn’t the end.

The 12 young women on this Wolf volleyball team are too talented, too bright, outgoing and intelligent, too full of potential, to have the rest of their lives defined by one volleyball match.

When they look back, in a few days, in a few months, in a few years, after they have conquered other worlds, and are achieving great things, I hope they remember several things.

What it felt like to be part of a team playing as one, each young woman pushing themselves to their limits, and sometimes beyond.

Playing through taped-up hands, hurting knees, aching backs, refusing to bend no matter the name on the front of the other team’s jersey.

The times and moments that were yours and only yours, that didn’t belong to the fans, or the parents, or your classmates.

The time spent on buses, on ferries, late-night trips when it was just you and your coaches and the bus driver, slashing through the night.

Tuesday night, as the team headed home, the bus stopped at a mall and the Wolves took over the food court, bouncing between Panda Express, Two Guys Burgers and Subway.

There were tears, there were giggles, there was sadness in a season ending, in the high school volleyball careers of Menges and Emma Smith coming to a close.

But there was also pride, in individual accomplishment and team achievement, and there was a closeness you don’t see with every team.

As they strolled back to their bus, dodging rain drops, but clumped together, forever a team, and not just a random group of individuals, one thing was obvious.

I was watching winners walk away, and no scoreboard will ever change that.

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