Posts Tagged ‘Orcas Island’

Cole White leads the charge. (Morgan White photos)

There’s a reason Orcas Island is the defending 2B/1B state boys soccer champs.

The Vikings are good.

Orcas proved as much Tuesday, using a very-precise style of play to hold off a scrappy Coupeville squad.

Toppling the Wolves 5-2 at Mickey Clark Field, the Vikings improve to 4-1 on the season, while CHS falls to 2-3.

But while the game involved two Northwest 2B/1B League rivals, it won’t go into the books as a conference tilt.

Only the final eight games of the season, which starts with Coupeville travelling to play Cedar Park Christian-Lynnwood Oct. 4, count as “league games” and decide playoff seeding.

The first five games for the Wolves, while all against NWL schools, are viewed as non-conference bouts for accounting purposes.

Which didn’t mean Coupeville didn’t want to upend the reigning champs, because they did.

Coming off an epic upset of Friday Harbor — the only team to topple Orcas this season — the Wolves were hoping to make it a two-fer.

It wasn’t to be, however, as the Vikings put on a clinic in the first half, controlling both sides of the field with a precise short passing attack, the ball skipping from player to player.

Coupeville’s defense, which was missing two key players in Andrew Williams and Alex Smith, held up well, but the Vikings took advantage of any small cracks, striking like cobras.

Orcas scored first off of a gorgeous header, set up by a (wait for it) precise pass which slipped between defenders and found a waiting noggin.

The Vikings notched two goals in the first seven minutes, before the teams played a half hour of scoreless ball marked by big defensive plays from both backlines.

The game looked like it would remain close heading to the break, but Orcas stung the Wolves with two more scores in the final three minutes of the half to stretch things out.

Wolf goalie Nick Guay surveys the field after making a save.

Even down four goals, Coupeville fought back valiantly.

Cole White brought Wolf fans to their feet with a great run 12 minutes into the second half.

Corralling a pass from Aidan Wilson, who flipped the ball out in front of the defense, White chased the bouncing orb down, juked a defender out of his shoes, then slapped home his first goal of the season.

Five minutes later, it was Wilson’s turn to net a score, banging home his team-leading fifth goal off of an assist from Preston Epp.

Drawing the goalie out of the net, Wilson rumbled past the out-of-place netminder and buried the ball into the corner of the net with a flick of his lethal foot.

Coupeville had all the momentum at that point, and 22 minutes to pull off a miracle, but Orcas closed the game like a team built to handle pressure.

The Vikings kept the ball away from the Wolves, ran time down, then added an insurance goal in stoppage time as the exclamation point on the night.

While his team lost, Coupeville coach Robert Wood liked the effort put together by his short-handed team against a very-strong program.

“Orcas knows how to shoot, how to move, and how to be aggressive when it counts,” he said.

“They put on a clinic of possession and quick ball movement,” Wood added. “Really fun game. Very impressive response by our team to their skills.”

Rumble, young men, rumble.

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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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Grier Mooney and Coupeville’s JV spikers rolled to a quick win against Orcas Island. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

They were ruthless.

Knowing Orcas Island needed to get out of town by a reasonable time to catch the ferry home, the Coupeville High School JV volleyball squad rolled to a victory in record time Thursday night.

Playing second, after the varsity match went a full five sets, the young Wolves crushed the Vikings 25-8, 25-11.

The victory lifts Coupeville to 3-0 in Northwest 2B/1B League play, 4-1 overall.

The Wolves get their own long trip Saturday, when they trek off to the wilds of Forks for a non-conference tilt.

Thursday’s match was all about power, as Coupeville blistered the ball and Orcas had few answers.

The Wolves rained down 18 aces, while ending most rallies with a mere hit or two.

Katie Marti, who opened the match by peppering Orcas with her nasty serve, had the put-away of the match midway through the first set.

Bounding airborne, the CHS sophomore reached back way over her head to corral a ball trying to evade her arm, then lashed a spike which bit the court with a vengeance, tearing up little chunks of wood in the process.

Or at least it felt that way.

While the CHS gym floor remained largely intact, the Wolves also got big hits from Madison McMillan and Issabel Johnson, plus a beautiful drop shot off the fingers of Taylor Brotemarkle.

Look away for a hot second to answer a question from someone else in the stands, and when you looked back, Coupeville had strung together another 4-5 points in the blink of an eye.

That brought a smile to the face of coach Ashley Menges and sent everyone ankling to the exits in record time.

On to bat country for the red-hot JV spikers!


Thursday stats:

Taylor Brotemarkle — 1 kill, 1 assist
Teagan Calkins — 6 aces
Jada Heaton — 1 assist
Issabel Johnson — 2 kills, 3 assists
Katie Marti — 4 kills, 1 digs, 6 assists, 10 aces
Madison McMillan — 4 kills, 2 aces

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Coupeville High School cross country runners were denied a chance to compete Wednesday. (Jackie Saia photos)

No luck for middle school harriers, either.

No one runs today.

Two cross country races scheduled for Wednesday were cancelled, for different reasons, sidelining teams from both Coupeville High School and Middle School.

The struggling Washington State ferry system upended CHS, derailing a four-team meet on Orcas Island.

Coupeville’s harriers had already made the bus trip from Central Whidbey to Anacortes but were unable to continue on to the San Juan Islands with no ferries leaving the dock.

Similar news awaited Mount Vernon Christian and Concrete, as the Samish was grounded due to “a lack of qualified crew.”

The meet has been tentatively rescheduled for next Wednesday, Sept. 28, depending on boat availability, said Coupeville Athletic Director Willie Smith.

Meanwhile, the middle school crew was headed to the Clinton ferry, which is operating today, only to have their meet in Sultan called off due to poor air quality.

“Those darn fires still causing havoc,” said CMS running guru Elizabeth Bitting.

“We had loaded the bus and were ready to get athletes on,” she added. “But good thing, because our bus then had to go pick up the high school team at the (other) ferry terminal.”

Both Wolf teams hope to get back into action Saturday, when they travel to Shoreline for the King’s Roller Coaster Trail Run.

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Hawthorne Wolfe and fellow Coupeville seniors won their final home game. (Morgan White photo)

“A great send off for our seniors!”

Coupeville High School varsity baseball coach Will Thayer was in a good mood Friday as afternoon faded into evening.

And why not?

His squad had bounced back from a non-conference loss a day before, pounding visiting Orcas Island 12-5 Friday on Senior Night.

The victory lifts the Wolves to 10-1 in Northwest 2B/1B League play, 12-6 overall, with a road game at Darrington next Tuesday, May 3 the regular-season finale.

Coupeville remains a half-game up on Friday Harbor (9-1, 12-2) in the chase for the league crown.

While the Wolves finish at Darrington, the defending NWL champs host La Conner May 3, then travel to Orcas May 5.

If Coupeville and Friday Harbor — which split their two-game season series — finish in a tie, they will play May 12 on a neutral field in La Conner.

That game would be a winner-to-state, loser-out game.

But that’s down the road, and Friday was all about staying in the here and now and taking care of business.

Consider it mission accomplished for Coupeville.

On a day when CHS honored seniors Sage Sharp, Cody Roberts, Xavier Murdy, Cole Hutchinson, and Hawthorne Wolfe, the sun was out, the wind was sharp, and the Wolves were sharper.

Roberts was dealing on the mound, finishing with eight strikeouts while scattering just four hits.

Cody Roberts is in the mood to generate strikeouts. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Meanwhile, with Roberts reaching base four times, he and his teammates scorched Orcas pitching for 12 base-knocks and six walks, building an 11-0 lead, then coasting home for the win.

Coupeville broke through early, plating three runners in the bottom of the sixth, thanks to a string of walks and a couple of key hits.

Peyton Caveness and Wolfe laced singles to knock the visiting Vikings back on their heels, and the rout was underway.

The third inning was Coupeville’s finest moment, as Jonathan Valenzuela crunched a triple as part of a game-busting five-hit, six-run explosion.

Up 9-0, the Wolves tacked on two more tallies in the fourth and a final run in the sixth, while Orcas scraped out four runs in the top of the fifth to keep from being mercy-ruled.


Friday stats:

Chase Anderson — 1 single
Peyton Caveness — 2 singles, 1 walk
Scott Hilborn — 1 single
Cole Hutchinson — 1 single, 1 walk
Xavier Murdy — 1 single, 1 walk
Cody Roberts — 2 singles, 2 walks
Sage Sharp — 1 walk
Jonathan Valenzuela — 1 single, 1 triple
Hawthorne Wolfe — 2 singles

Xavier Murdy and Co. are in first place in the Northwest 2B/1B League. (Morgan White photo)

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