Posts Tagged ‘Northwest League’

Wolf football is a rock-solid 3-1 on the season. (Michelle Glass photo)

It was quite the week.

The Coupeville High School varsity volleyball squad pulled off one of the great comebacks in program history to topple Orcas Island in five nail-biting sets.

Meanwhile, Wolf girls soccer, football, and boys soccer all won as well, with the male booters stunning state title contender Friday Harbor and their female counterparts netting their first victory of the season.

The week ahead is fairly light, schedule-wise, but builds to a big finale with Homecoming.

That game is set for Friday, Sept. 30 and pits Coupeville and Friday Harbor in a battle for sole possession of first place in the Northwest 2B/1B League.

Cross country (Wednesday at Orcas), volleyball (Thursday at La Conner), and boys soccer (Tuesday at home against Orcas) also have just one event apiece, while girls soccer plays twice.

The female booters host Mount Vernon Christian Tuesday, before travelling Thursday to La Conner.

As we head towards the final days of the month, a look at standings through Sept. 24:


Northwest League boys soccer:

School League Overall
Coupeville 0-0-0 2-2-0
CPC-Lynnwood 0-0-0 0-3-0
Friday Harbor 0-0-0 2-1-0
Grace Academy 0-0-0 4-0-1
La Conner 0-0-0 2-5-0
Lopez Island 0-0-0 1-2-0
MV Christian 0-0-0 3-1-1
Orcas Island 0-0-0 3-1-0
PC Christian 0-0-0 2-1-1


Northwest League football:

School League Overall
Coupeville 1-0 3-1
Darrington 1-0 4-0
Friday Harbor 1-0 2-2
Concrete 0-1 0-3
La Conner 0-2 0-2


Northwest League girls soccer:

School League Overall
MV Christian 1-0-0 1-3-0
Friday Harbor 2-1-0 5-3-1
Coupeville 0-1-0 1-4-0
La Conner 0-1-0 0-6-0


Northwest League volleyball:

School League Overall
Coupeville 3-0 4-2
MV Christian 2-0 4-0
La Conner 1-0 3-1
Orcas Island 2-1 3-4
Darrington 1-2 4-2
Concrete 0-3 2-6
Friday Harbor 0-3 1-3

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Freshman Aiden O’Neill scored his first high school touchdown Friday as Coupeville whacked La Conner. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

La Conner football ain’t what it used to be.

The Braves, a longtime gridiron power in the region, have been in a rebuilding phase the past couple of seasons.

A program which has been to the state playoffs 14 times, most recently in 2016, has won just eight regular-season games since that last postseason trip.

But it gets worse. Much worse.

La Conner closed the 2020 season with a win over Darrington and has failed to score a single point across seven games since then.

The Braves were outscored 231-0 during an 0-5 season last fall, and 98-0 in the first two games this year.

The most recent chunk of points came courtesy Coupeville, which travelled to La Conner Friday and came away with a resounding 46-0 win.

The victory sets up a showdown for sole possession of first place in the Northwest 2B/1B League.

That’ll go down in Coupeville next Friday, Sept. 30, as the Wolves (1-0 in league, 3-1 overall) welcome Friday Harbor (1-0, 2-2) to town.

It’s Coupeville’s Homecoming game, with kickoff set for 6 PM at Mickey Clark Field.

The clash at La Conner was essentially over after one play, as Scott Hilborn yanked the ball from the sky and exploded down the right sideline.

Taking the kickoff all the way back, he staked the Wolves to a super-quick lead, then a few plays later tacked on a second score on a rushing play.

Coupeville’s defense, anchored by big hits from Josh Upchurch and Peyton Caveness, among others, shredded La Conner all night, and the Wolf offense was unstoppable with the ball in its own hands.

Dominic Coffman is coming to destroy you. All of you. (Brenn Sugatan photo)

Dominic Coffman rumbled in for the first of back-to-back touchdown runs to make it 20-0 at the end of the first quarter, and the only bright spot La Conner had was seeing one of Coupeville’s PAT attempts come up short.

It didn’t matter, though, as the Wolves slapped four more touchdowns (and two PAT’s) up on the scoreboard in the second quarter, forcing a running clock before the break.

Coffman punched in his second TD, before Wolf quarterback Logan Downes connected with freshman Aiden O’Neill on a long scoring play.

Hilborn found the end zone for a third time on a short plunge to paydirt, before freshman Chase Anderson, on in relief of Downes, tossed his first prep touchdown pass.

Anderson, who was a varsity starter and letter winner for CHS baseball as an 8th grader, connected with senior Tim Ursu, who dipped and dodged and made all the Braves miss.

Chase Anderson limbers up his touchdown-chucking arm. (Brenn Sugatan photo)

Friday’s three scores give Hilborn a team-leading seven touchdowns through four games, while Ursu (5) and Coffman (4) are hot on his heels.

In addition to getting extensive playing time behind center, Anderson also booted four PAT’s while filling the kicker role as Daylon Houston was in street clothes recovering from an injury.

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Madison McMillan (14) gave Coupeville a huge emotional boost off the bench against Orcas Island. (Delanie Lewis photo)

Do you believe in miracles? Because that was a freakin’ miracle.

Trailing two sets to one and down 16-3 in the fourth set Thursday, the Coupeville High School varsity volleyball squad looked dead in the water.

The Wolves were about to lose on their home floor to Orcas Island, and it would have been the first time the CHS spikers fell to a Northwest 2B/1B League school that wasn’t three-time defending state champ La Conner.

It was signed, sealed, and all but delivered.

You could see it in the faces of many of the players, who had fought valiantly but also suffered through some crushingly bad stretches at times.

You could hear it in the mutters of the fans, as even the Wolf grandma endlessly hollering “I BELIEVE IN YOU!!!” had a notable strain in her voice.

But people believe in miracles because they do happen in sports, and often at the most unlikely of times.

Spurred on by sophomores Madison McMillan and Katie Marti, who roared off the bench and sent a jolt of electricity through a tired-looking Wolf team, Coupeville did the seemingly impossible.

It came back, all the way back, pulling out a 25-27, 25-19, 20-25, 25-23, 15-13 stunner to cap a night which was alternately brutal and beautiful.

The victory lifts the Wolves to 3-0 in league play, 3-2 overall, and leaves them alone atop the NWL standings.

It left CHS coach Cory Whitmore — in need of a nap and knowing a long bus ride to Forks arrives Saturday — looking bemused.

Happy to get the W, but well aware the Wolves largely put themselves in the hole they had to dig back out of against Orcas.

“They showed a lot of resiliency,” he said. “We found a way late to return to our identity, and were more efficient, with less service errors, and that was super important.”

The positive jolt offered by his super subs can’t be overstated.

“I am so impressed with how Katie and Madison stepped on to the court like they had being doing it for years,” Whitmore said.

“Also, Taygin (Jump) was strong with her jump serve and was tough when she needed to hit certain spots.

“She helped give us a lot of energy, which we needed.”

The match turned, though hardly anyone knew it in the moment, with a small flip of the ball, as Alita Blouin proved Coupeville still had some daggers with which to inflict pain.

Orcas had rung up 11 straight points to stake itself to that 16-3 lead in the fourth set, but Blouin finally stopped the bleeding, sliding the ball between two defenders to earn a side out.

From there, the comeback began, step by step.

Jump, McMillan, and Marti went on runs at the service stripe, with Grey Peabody, Ryanne Knoblich, and Jill Prince rising up at the net to smash winners.

Ryanne Knoblich made her mom proud with some thunderous spikes. (Delanie Lewis photo)

Coupeville ran off its own 15-2 surge to knot things at 18-18, but Orcas, a tough, scrappy team, didn’t break.

The Vikings, though pushed back on their heels, responded, reclaiming the lead and pushing it out to 23-21.

Two points away from losing the match, the Wolves had to find their inner mojo, and they did.

Knoblich and McMillan whacked back-to-back spikes, the balls skidding away from their Orcas rivals, before Coupeville’s defense closed out the set with a strong stand.

Given new life, and with a new buzz in their between-sets huddle, the Wolves claimed control early in the fifth, and final, set.

Jumping out to a 4-1 lead, CHS wasn’t out of the woods, however, as Orcas fought back to go up 7-6 as the two teams raced to see who could net 15 points first.

A revived Peabody was the difference down the stretch, coming up big at the net with three winners, while McMillan was dominant at the service stripe.

Clinging to a 14-13 lead and with Orcas serving, Coupeville held fast on the last rally of the night.

In a fitting finale, the two squads went back-and-forth, the ball skipping from hand to hand, before the Wolves forced the Vikings into a final, fatal error.

That set off a celebration which was equal parts joy and relief, capping a match which was the most-intense of the still-young season.

Things started hot in the first set, with big swings, both in intensity and the score.

Orcas went up by six points, Coupeville stormed back to build its own five-point advantage, and then things got dicey at the end.

The Wolves benefitted from some nasty slicers delivered by Lyla Stuurmans and a fantastic play in which Blouin scraped a thunderous spike off the floor, flicking it skyward to set teammate Mia Farris up to deliver a winner.

But it was Orcas, holding off two set points, which pulled away at the end, closing the set with a service ace which looked like it was long gone, only to suddenly drop and tear off the back line.

Coupeville scrambled back into contention in the second set but had to put out a lot of effort along the way.

The Wolves trailed for much of the frame, only going in front for good after Maddie Georges turned an 18-18 tie into a 23-18 lead with some artful slicing ‘n dicing from the service line.

Stuurmans, bounding to the ceiling, froze the defense with an artful tip winner for a punctuation mark at 25-19, knotting things at a set apiece.

CHS couldn’t hold on to a lead in the third set, contributing to that hole it eventually had to dig back out of, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort.

Marti and Jump made eye-popping saves on balls which should have been Orcas winners, with the former smashing into the floor and the latter running up into the stands.

Both of those track-down jobs were promptly converted into Wolf winners as Coupeville caught the Vikings in premature celebrations.


Thursday stats:

Alita Blouin — 1 kill, 15 digs, 1 ace
Mia Farris — 2 kills
Maddie Georges — 2 kills, 7 digs, 34 assists, 3 aces
Taygin Jump — 7 digs, 1 assist, 1 ace
Ryanne Knoblich — 14 kills, 7 digs, 1 solo block
Katie Marti — 1 kill, 3 digs, 2 aces
Madison McMillan — 2 kills, 6 digs
Grey Peabody — 9 kills, 2 digs, 1 solo block
Jill Prince — 8 kills, 1 dig
Lyla Stuurmans — 5 kills, 8 digs

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Grant Steller and associates vie on the soccer pitch. (Morgan White photo)

Soccer, forever trying to confuse me.

If it’s not the mind-melting offside rule or the love of an 80-minute game ending in a scoreless tie, it’s the scheduling.

As in, while all of the games played by the Coupeville High School boy soccer squad this season are against fellow Northwest 2B/1B League schools, not all of them will count in the standings that way.

The Wolves have scrapped with Mount Vernon Christian, Cedar Park Christian-Lynnwood, and La Conner, winning the middle of those tilts.

And coming up next are home bouts with the top two NWL squads, Friday Harbor and defending state champion Orcas Island.

But, when that’s all said and done, while CHS will have five games in the win-loss column, none of them will have counted as league contests.

Instead, the final eight games of the regular season between Oct. 4-27, with one clash against each of the other eight schools to play boys soccer in the NWL, will be the “official” league games.

That stretch, and only that stretch, determines playoff seeding.

The quirk is a product of the fact the NWL picks up four outside schools — Lopez Island, Grace Academy, CPC, and Providence Classical Christian — for boys soccer, and boys soccer alone.

Those schools join Coupeville, MVC, Friday Harbor, Orcas Island, and La Conner, while NWL charter members Concrete and Darrington don’t field teams.

Having eight league rivals makes it nearly impossible to play each school twice.

NWL girls soccer, by contrast, has just four schools active in the sport — Coupeville, La Conner, MVC, and Friday Harbor, so six home-and-away league clashes are easy-peasy to schedule.

Orcas, Darrington, and Concrete don’t have female booters, and the league doesn’t import any outside girls squads to pad its numbers.

Technically, Lopez Island considers its soccer team co-ed, so Coupeville’s boys have faced an occasional girl during previous games.

In the end, Coupeville’s boys have a 13-game schedule, play the same team twice five times, but count only the last eight as league contests.

It also means when Friday Harbor KO’d Orcas earlier this week, handing the Viking boys their first home loss in five years, it didn’t have any impact on postseason seeding.

Their Oct. 11 rematch, however, could go a long way to deciding a league title.

In the end, Coupeville pitch guru Robert Wood looks at the whole affair with a bemused smile and a chuckle.

“Not sure why … don’t care either … that’s an administrative thing and I HATE admin work.”

And then he went back to describing the beauty of a scoreless tie.

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Jada Heaton cranks up the ace machine. (Delanie Lewis photo)

The bus ride didn’t bother them.

Firing on all cylinders, the Coupeville High School JV volleyball squad shrugged off the 90-mile jaunt to Darrington Tuesday, crushing the Loggers in straight sets.

Winning 25-7, 25-11, 25-15, the young Wolves improve to 2-0 in Northwest 2B/1B League play, 3-1 overall, with a home match against Orcas Island Thursday next up on the schedule.

For third-year head coach Ashley Menges, the night was a long one, but also a very rewarding one.

“It was a very cohesive night, with everyone doing their job and just playing clean, which is usually our goal each game,” she said.

Aby Wood peppered Darrington’s defense, racking up four kills. (Delanie Lewis photo)

With star hitter Madison McMillan sitting out the third set so she’d be eligible to play up to three frames in the varsity contest, Menges shuffled her lineup in the finale and got the same great results.

“We switched some things around and even then, everyone just did their job and helped each other through the confusion,” Menges said.

“All in all, it was a solid game and a solid three sets, and I’m very happy to see that so early into the season.”


Tuesday stats:

Taylor Brotemarkle — 1 kill, 3 digs, 1 assist, 5 aces
Carly Burt — 1 dig
Teagan Calkins — 6 kills, 3 digs, 1 ace
Jada Heaton — 5 kills, 1 dig
Katie Marti — 3 kills, 1 dig, 19 assists, 9 aces
Madison McMillan — 3 kills, 3 digs, 9 aces
Grier Mooney — 2 aces
Aby Wood — 4 kills, 2 digs, 1 ace

Katie Marti knows her stat line looks sweet. (Jackie Saia photo)

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