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Coupeville freshman Nezi Keiper anchored a strong defense Thursday, but the Wolf booters were nipped 1-0 by host Sultan. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The net showed no mercy.

Despite several strong scoring opportunities, including a handful in the game’s final moments, the Coupeville High School girls soccer team came up scoreless Thursday at Sultan.

Playing on their home turf, the Turks popped in an early goal, then senior goaltender Amanda McKay made it stand up in a narrow 1-0 league win.

The loss, coming in Coupeville’s third-straight road game, drops the Wolves to 0-2 in North Sound Conference play, 0-4 overall.

That puts them two games off league leaders King’s (2-0, 3-1) and South Whidbey (2-0, 4-0), and a game back of Granite Falls (1-1, 2-3) and Sultan (1-1, 1-3).

Coupeville is currently tied with Cedar Park Christian (0-2, 2-2), a team it hosts next week.

Having played 3.75 of its four games without its main offensive weapon, Genna Wright, who was injured early in the season opener, CHS has been held scoreless twice and has just three goals on the season.

The Wolves crashed the net hard, however, keeping the ball on Sultan’s side of the field for huge chunks of time.

Avalon Renninger had several nice runs up the left side of the field, and had one shot late in the second half which took off like a rocket, only to be speared by McKay, who read the incoming ball perfectly.

Coupeville’s defense, anchored by veterans Mallory Kortuem and Tia Wurzrainer and freshmen Nezi Keiper and Carolyn Lhamon, held up well, turning the Turks away consistently.

The few shots Sultan managed to get off after its goal were promptly snuffed out by rookie goaltender Katelin McCormick, who was playing in place of injured starter Mollie Bailey.

With the game in stoppage time, Coupeville launched several final strikes on the Turks, only to have the ball take a bad bounce here, a slight curve there, denying what could have been an overtime-forcing score.

As he reflected back on the game, CHS coach Kyle Nelson saw two evenly-matched teams, with one just getting a break the other didn’t.

“Last night’s game was just one of those games,” he said. “We were the better team on the field, but they scored on the first of two or three shots the whole night and we just could not get it to happen even though we probably had double-digit shots.

“We controlled the ball in their half for the majority of time,” Nelson added. “But give credit to Sultan for playing some good defense.”

The Wolves play at home Saturday, their first appearance at Mickey Clark Field in two weeks, when they host 2A Kingston (0-3) in a non-conference tilt.

Varsity kicks off at 1 PM, with JV scheduled to follow.

It’s the first of four straight home games for Coupeville, which plays seven of its final 11 on its own field.

 

JV benched:

What was supposed to be a two-game evening Thursday turned into a one-game affair, as Sultan didn’t have enough players to field a JV team.

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CHS football manager Brenna Silveira is on her way to save the day. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Fab frosh Lucy Tenore and Coupeville volleyball are a shiny 1-0 on the season.

Now we’re rolling.

With the first full week of fall sports activity in the books, every Coupeville High School team has been in action.

The Wolf boys tennis squad was the first to face off with a league opponent, while CHS volleyball sits as the school’s only remaining undefeated team.

The week ahead is full of more action, most of it on the road.

Tennis and soccer are the busiest teams (with the net crew keeping an eye on the rain clouds), with three games apiece.

The booters have back-to-back league games on the road Tuesday at King’s and Thursday at Sultan, then host non-conference foe Kingston Saturday afternoon.

Meanwhile tennis travels to University Prep Monday and The Bush School Wednesday, then stays home Friday to face Overlake.

All three matches are Emerald City League clashes.

Wolf volleyball has a pair of non-league matches, heading to Anacortes Tuesday before hosting Chimacum Saturday, while CHS football travels Friday to play non-league rival Friday Harbor.

As we prepare for the week ahead, a look at where we are so far:

 

North Sound Conference volleyball:

School League Overall
Coupeville 0-0 1-0
CPC-Bothell 0-0 4-0
Granite Falls 0-0 1-1
King’s 0-0 2-0
South Whidbey 0-0 0-1
Sultan 0-0 0-1

 

North Sound Conference football:

School League Overall
Coupeville 0-0 1-1
CPC-Bothell 0-0 1-1
Granite Falls 0-0 0-2
King’s 0-0 0-2
South Whidbey 0-0 2-0
Sultan 0-0 1-1

 

North Sound Conference girls soccer:

School League Overall
King’s 1-0 2-1
Coupeville 0-0 0-2
Granite Falls 0-0 1-2
South Whidbey 0-0 2-0
Sultan 0-0 0-2
CPC-Bothell 0-1 2-1


Emerald City League boys tennis:

School League Overall
Eastside Prep 2-0 2-0
University Prep 2-0 2-0
Overlake 2-1 2-1
South Whidbey 2-1 2-1
Seattle Academy 1-1 1-1
Bear Creek 0-2 0-2
Bush 0-2 0-2
Coupeville 0-2 0-2

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“He’s printing league standings after two days of competition. No, seriously, that guy right over there…” (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

We might be jumping the gun a bit here.

The new high school fall sports season has been active for all of two days, and here we are, running our first look at league standings.

Only one of the five sports Coupeville competes in — football — had a full slate of games Friday, while soccer saw two of the six North Sound Conference teams kick off things Saturday afternoon.

But what the heck.

This is the internet and space is infinite, so it’s not like running a standings article is keeping something else from seeing the light of day.

So, as we prepare for the first full week of activity, here’s a look at how the first couple of games went.

Just in case you’re wondering, Coupeville soccer fell 3-1 to powerhouse Meridian, while the King’s booters were blanked 2-0 by Lakeside in a battle of programs which both advanced to the state tourney last season.

In gridiron action, it went down like this:

Port Townsend 49
Coupeville 16

South Whidbey 7
Friday Harbor 3

Lakewood 42
King’s 14

Sultan 35
Vashon Island 6

Shorewood 42
Granite Falls 14

Cedar Park Christian 62
Concrete 22

 

And our first look at numbers on a board:

 

North Sound Conference volleyball:

School League Overall
Coupeville 0-0 0-0
CPC-Bothell 0-0 0-0
Granite Falls 0-0 0-0
King’s 0-0 0-0
South Whidbey 0-0 0-0
Sultan 0-0 0-0

 

North Sound Conference football:

School League Overall
Coupeville 0-0 0-1
CPC-Bothell 0-0 1-0
Granite Falls 0-0 0-1
King’s 0-0 0-1
South Whidbey 0-0 1-0
Sultan 0-0 1-0

 

North Sound Conference girls soccer:

School League Overall
Coupeville 0-0 0-1
CPC-Bothell 0-0 0-0
Granite Falls 0-0 0-0
King’s 0-0 0-1
South Whidbey 0-0 0-0
Sultan 0-0 0-0


Emerald City League boys tennis:

School League Overall
Bear Creek 0-0 0-0
Bush 0-0 0-0
Coupeville 0-0 0-0
Eastside Prep 0-0 0-0
Overlake 0-0 0-0
Seattle Academy 0-0 0-0
South Whidbey 0-0 0-0
University Prep 0-0 0-0

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Sam Wynn is the top returning male runner for Coupeville High School cross country. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Alana Mihill (center) and Catherine Lhamon are back to pace an expanding girls team.

Step by step, the program is coming back.

Coupeville High School jumped back into cross country last season, after a two-decade absence, and found some immediate success.

Now, with a new coach on hand, the Wolves want to keep building numbers, while preparing their harriers to run far into the postseason.

Luke Samford, who spent the previous seven years coaching cross country and track at the college level, replaces Natasha Bamberger, who stepped down to focus on her real-world job.

The new Wolf head man immediately jumped into things, and has a good mix of returning runners and newcomers.

Juniors Sam Wynn and Catherine Lhamon and sophomore Alana Mihill top the letter winners, while three freshmen have already made their presence felt.

“Right now, on the men’s side, Mitchell Hall has been looking really good at the first few practices,” Samford said. “It is evident he put in some miles over the summer, and it shows.

“On the women’s side, our two freshmen girls, Claire (Mayne) and Helen (Strelow), have both been finding their strengths!,” he added. “I’m really pleased with their attitudes and work ethic. They are going to be good running partners for the future, too.”

The biggest challenge for the Wolves will be to grow, both as individual runners and as a unit.

“We are a young team!,” Samford said. “There’s not a lot of racing experience in the upperclassmen either, since the program is so new.”

Putting in the miles should pay off down the road, however.

“Cross country is a sport where the big competitions happen in October and November, but the season is won during July and August!,” Samford said. “It takes time to get ready for high-level racing.

“I think we missed some miles over the summer, but our raw talent, work ethic, and systematic approach to training will shore up these weakness,” he added. “What we need most, is to put our noses to the grindstone, and get the work done.

“Focusing on having consistent days of quality training turn into weeks, into months, and into seasons, is the key to success in this sport.”

With Coupeville also restarting its cross country program at the middle school level in 2018, one of the key building blocks was set in place.

Runners shaped by CMS coach Elizabeth Bitting are already making the jump up to high school, while the next waves will be where the real pay-offs happen.

“On the boys and girls sides we have a lot of freshman with a tremendous amount of potential,” Samford said. “Our returners also had a year of great coaching last year, so they know what it’s going to take to get to the next competitive level.

“Our middle school program is AWESOME and will be a great source of getting talented athletes in Coupeville into the sport.”

While numbers are up for both girls and boys, the girls are still a hair away from having a full roster.

Mihill and Lhamon ran last year, and the addition of Strelow and Mayne bumps the girls team to four harriers, but they need a fifth runner to be a full-scoring team in competition.

“We need a few more girls to join us!!!!!,” Samford pleaded. “To any parents, grandparents, or to the kids themselves — cross country is a sport about camaraderie, inclusion, and self-improvement.

“Yes, it’s difficult. It’s worth it, though!”

Coupeville, which has seven regular-season meets on the books, kicks off its season Sept. 12 at Granite Falls.

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Genna Wright enters her junior season on the soccer pitch tied for #3 all-time among Coupeville girls goal scorers. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Mallory Kortuem (right) is part of a rock-solid group of seniors intent on leading the Wolves back to the playoffs.

They would love to still be playing in November.

A rough late-season loss on the turf at Sultan last year denied the Coupeville High School girls soccer squad a trip to the playoffs, snapping a four-year run of postseason activity for the Wolf booters.

But now, as it heads into year two in the North Sound Conference, Coupeville wants to get back to playing extra games.

The regular season is set to end Oct. 23, but the Wolves are aiming to stay in uniform after that.

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

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

King’s, which went 18-3 and fell in the quarterfinals of the state tourney a season ago, is the overwhelming league favorite.

“Always an excellent team,” Nelson said.

After that, it should be a brawl, with South Whidbey, Cedar Park Christian, Granite Falls, Sultan, and Coupeville vying for the other four postseason berths.

While the Wolves lost several key players to graduation, including four-year star Lindsey Roberts, the roster is still jam-packed with quality players.

Leading the way is junior forward Genna Wright, who has tallied 17 goals through her first two seasons on the CHS pitch.

That puts her in a tie with Roberts for #3 all-time among Wolf girls, chasing Mia Littlejohn (35) and Kalia Littlejohn (33) on the career scoring list.

Wright’s support crew includes four seniors who have combined to pepper the back of the net for a combined 17 goals during their prep days.

Midfielder Avalon Renninger leads that group, with six career goals, while midfielder Mallory Kortuem (4), defender Tia Wurzrainer (4) and forward Anna Dion (3) have also shown a nice touch around the net.

There’s plenty of other battle-hardened players on the roster, with senior defender Natalie Hollrigel, junior goaltender Mollie Bailey, sophomore defender Mary Milnes, and sophomore midfielder Audrianna Shaw primed for big seasons.

“We are returning quite a few starting varsity players in most positions on the field,” Nelson said. “We are also lucky enough to be bringing in a few experienced players to fill in some of our holes.

“We will be looking to incorporate some new players who look to be important to our team,” he added. “But it can take a while for both the defense and the new players to fully integrate.”

Sophomores Eryn Wood (defender) and Sophia Martin (midfielder/forward) are also expected to contribute, while freshmen Carolyn Lhamon (midfielder) and Nezi Keiper (defender) were both standout youth league players.

Coupeville kicks off its season this week, with a four-team jamboree Thursday in Oak Harbor (5 PM), followed by a home non-conference clash Saturday with Meridian (1 PM).

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