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Wolf libero Emma Mathusek got a rare chance to shine at the service stripe Thursday during Coupeville’s three-set rout of Port Townsend. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Every woman on deck.

Bouncing back from its first loss of the season with a vengeance, the Coupeville High School varsity volleyball squad thrashed visiting Port Townsend Thursday in a match in which all 11 players saw major floor time.

Two days after falling on the road to King’s, the defending 1A state champs, the Wolves returned home and sailed to a 25-13, 25-14, 25-14 non-league win, kicking their season record to a sweet 6-1.

They get a few days off now before traveling to Sultan Tuesday, Oct. 9 to face a Turks squad which is mired in last-place in the North Sound Conference at 0-4.

That match will mark the halfway point in league play for Coupeville (3-1), which has sole possession of second-place in the six-team conference.

Thursday’s match offered the Wolves a chance to rekindle a rivalry with one of their former mates in the Olympic League, though CHS was not in a charitable mood.

In control from the first serve of the night until the final play, a dazzling hook shot winner thrown down by a suddenly sky-high Scout Smith, Coupeville had plenty of opportunity to experiment, tweak things, and, most importantly, get back that winning feeling.

Even better, they did it while getting swing players Lucy Sandahl, Zoe Trujillo, Maddie Vondrak and Raven Vick their most extensive varsity playing time of the season, and all four came through with big plays.

“I’m excited to see how we adapted with different lineups,” said CHS coach Cory Whitmore. “Everyone on the team has been working really hard in practice, and it was good to get everyone in, and give them an opportunity to show what they can do in live play.”

Coupeville came out firing on all cylinders, with big hitters Emma Smith and Maya Toomey-Stout torching the RedHawks early with ferocious spikes.

With their foes a bit on their heels, the Wolves took advantage, riding a hot streak at the service line from Ashley Menges, who reeled off seven straight points, to blow the lead out to 15-3.

Whitmore mixed things up almost immediately, having three of his swing players serve in the opening set, with a Vick bomb setting up a weak return which Chelsea Prescott promptly whacked into the far corner for a winner.

The second set was more of the same, with Emma Smith dropping a blistering spike for a winner, in between two plays on which she used her height and leaping ability to soar above the net and flick tips in between defenders.

Scout Smith and Menges ran off six points apiece on serve, while Hannah Davidson came bounding out of nowhere on one play to snare the ball with her fingertips and spin it between a pair of RedHawks who both swung and whiffed.

The final frame offered Trujillo and Emma Mathusek a chance to shine at the service line.

Trujillo ripped off four straight serves on which the RedHawks managed to touch (not return) just one, then Mathusek, the hardest-working libero in the biz, got a bit of sweet reward for all her digs and floor burns.

Given the ball and free reign at the line for the first time this season, Mathusek fired off a truly nasty ace which ripped a hole in the court, then her second serve set up Trujillo for a tip winner which froze the defense.

While few of the Wolves spent their usual amount of time on the floor, Toomey-Stout nailed a match-high 12 kills and collected five digs.

Scout Smith, showing off her rapidly-expanding repertoire of sets (including a fair amount of set-ups created while bounding skyward), collected 16 assists to go with five service aces.

Menges (seven aces), Mathusek (six digs), Prescott (four digs), Emma Smith (three kills) and Trujillo (three aces) all chipped in to crafting an extremely-balanced stat sheet.

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Freshman Izzy Wells reeled off 16 straight points on her serve Thursday as the Wolf JV volleyball squad crushed Port Townsend. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Torched. Burnt to a crisp. Annihilated.

Choose any of the above, because they all apply to the Port Townsend High School JV volleyball team after the whuppin’ applied Thursday by Coupeville.

Using 13 different players, and getting big performances from all of them, the Wolves cruised in with a 25-6, 25-11, 25-5 win in front of their home fans.

The non-league victory snaps a three-game losing skid for the CHS young guns — two of those losses came in three-set nail-biters — and lifts them to 3-4 on the season.

In a match where pretty much everything went right for the Wolves, the spiker with the hottest hand was Izzy Wells.

Making her second trip of the night to the service line, the freshman turned a 2-1 third-set deficit into a 17-2 advantage, running off 16 straight points, with few of her serves even put back into play.

Wells ripped an ace off of a Port Townsend player’s chest, then promptly mixed things up by dropping her next serve right at the feet of the same gobsmacked RedHawk.

That second serve skipped merrily away for another ace, while fellow frosh Kylie Van Velkinburgh buried a winner from mid-court on one of the relatively few times PT got the ball back over the net during the streak.

By the time she was done, Wells had put together Coupeville’s longest run on serve since Lauren Rose rolled off 20 straight points in a varsity win over Chimacum in 2016.

In stark contrast to the note-perfect run of serves, Port Townsend’s defining moment of the night came when a RedHawk picked up a ball after a play, whirled to throw it back to Coupeville’s side of the net and instead buried it right into the stomach of a wide-eyed teammate.

It was that kind of night for the visitors, as the Wolves pounced early, stayed hot and coasted home, while mixing and matching players as fast as coach Chris Smith could sub them in and out.

In the early stages, it was all about Coupeville’s power, as Zoe Trujillo, Maddie Vondrak and the rampaging Vick sisters, Willow and Raven, crushed the ball anytime it was in the air.

Port Townsend failed to score a single point on its serve in the opening set, while Wolves Lucy Sandahl, Jaimee Masters and Co. peppered the RedHawks with superb serves when they were towing the line.

Willow Vick, in a stirring set-up to Wells later exploits, put together a seven-point run on her serve which featured a bit of everything.

She tore apart the defense with one ace that scorched the middle of the court, then artfully slipped another winner barely over the net.

It was a low, dangerous hummer which caught the top of the net and flopped over, hitting Port Townsend’s side of the floor before promptly dying.

Her twin sister chipped in, with Raven hammering a spike which ended a brief rally on one of Willow’s serves.

The response from one frustrated (and now highly-nervous) RedHawk?

A low, strained whimper of “OH … MY … GOD!!!”

Moments later, Trujillo went airborne and lashed a laser shot which cracked off a Port Townsend player’s arm, sending her staggering off in search of somewhere, anywhere to hide.

She never found that safe haven.

The second set was more of the same, just with a handful of Coupeville errors scattered among the big plays.

Vondrak, dancing above the net, used the very end of her fingertips to twice stuff RedHawk shots, while the Wolves dominated on serve yet again.

Masters scorched aces, Raven Vick zinged aces, Trujillo fired aces and Vondrak mashed aces in the middle set. Sense a trend, do you?

While Wells one-woman ballet of death and destruction grabbed the biggest chunk of the spotlight in the final frame, Noelle Daigneault also dropped in a gorgeous ace and Masters closed the night firing BB’s at the line.

Along the way, Abby Meyers, Ivy Leedy, Abby Mulholland and Eryn Wood all saw quality floor time, with Mulholland skying high to slam home an especially impressive spike.

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Anna Dion punched home her first goal of the season Thursday, as Coupeville soccer romped to a 5-0 win. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Lindsey Roberts also found the back of the net against Port Townsend, scoring for the 17th time in her stellar career.

Let the goals flow.

With sophomore sensation Genna Wright banging home a hat trick Thursday night, the Coupeville High School girls soccer squad turned its offense back on in a big way, snapping two dry spells at once.

Romping to a 5-0 non-conference win over visiting Port Townsend, the Wolves ended a six-game losing streak which stretched back three weeks.

It also signaled a major turn for the positive for a pitch squad which has been putting up strong shots, only to watch them narrowly miss time after time.

CHS had tallied just two goals during its losing skid, suffering four shut-outs during that run.

That changed Thursday, as the Wolves lifted their season mark to 2-8-1.

Wright tossed in three goals, giving her a team-high five for the season.

With 15 scores in less than two full seasons of play, the Wolf ace is almost halfway to Mia Littlejohn’s program record of 35 goals.

Thursday, she was joined by junior forward Anna Dion, who scored her first goal of the season, and senior midfielder Lindsey Roberts, who notched her fourth tally of 2018.

Roberts has 17 goals for her career, keeping her slightly ahead of the fast-charging Wright on the Wolf career scoring chart.

Coupeville has a prime opportunity to keep the offense flowing, and possibly start its first winning streak of the season.

After a couple days off, the Wolves head to the wilds of Sultan Tuesday, Oct. 9 to face a Turks team it throttled 6-0 the first time around.

That clash kicks off the final stretch of the regular season for CHS, which then plays Cedar Park Christian and South Whidbey at home, before closing league play on the road at Granite Falls Oct. 17.

Postseason brackets are expected to be revealed in the next day or two, but it seems likely five of the six North Sound Conference teams will advance to the modified double-elimination playoffs.

At 1-5 in league play, Coupeville currently sits in fifth-place, a game up on Sultan (0-6) and two back of Cedar Park Christian (3-3).

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The Salish, seen here in happier days, grounded itself Sunday, throwing a wrench into the Coupeville-Port Townsend ferry run. (Sarah Kirkconnell photo)

Willie Smith looks like even more of a genius.

The Coupeville High School Athletic Director made the call on bouncing from the Olympic League before this school year, ending a four-year run, and sending CHS to the new North Sound Conference.

One of the many benefits of the decision was reducing the number of times Wolf sports teams had to rely on the notoriously unpredictable Coupeville (Keystone)-Port Townsend ferry run.

After the Salish bit it Sunday, running aground and messing up its rudder, memories of earlier mishaps, when the entire run was put on hold for six months, surfaced.

The news got slightly better later in the day, as the Port Townsend Leader reported the Salish was freed from its grounding and a tug boat was on the way to tow the ferry away.

That will allow the Kennewick to slip in and give Washington State ferries at least one boat on a route which normally runs two.

Though there is still intrigue, as the Salish will have to be declared structurally safe to tow. Otherwise it sits in place and the ferry run is DOA for awhile.

But how does this affect Coupeville sports, is what you really want to know.

If the Wolves were still in the Olympic League, with frequent trips to Port Townsend ahead, there would be much gnashing of teeth.

Instead there is some slight angina.

CHS already played a non-league football game against Port Townsend, but the Wolves still have two non-league games against both Chimacum and the RedHawks scheduled this fall.

The first two arrive next Saturday, Sept. 15, when Coupeville is supposed to send boys tennis and girls soccer to play in Chimacum.

The other date in question is Oct. 4, when Port Townsend is scheduled to pop over to Whidbey for volleyball and soccer matches.

Any decision on Saturday’s events, since it’s CHS traveling, falls to Smith.

But, since the games are non-league, he’s not fretting too badly at the moment.

“If they are out of service, we will cancel,” he said. “But they are on a one-boat service now, so I will look at the schedules and see what’s available.

“Good thing we’re not dependent on that ferry now!!”

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Making his first start as a varsity QB Friday, Dawson Houston tossed two TD passes as Coupeville drilled Port Townsend 28-18. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Ryan Labrador relaxes with some sweet, sweet victory cake. (Erin Straub photo)

Sean Toomey-Stout (left), Jake Pease (30) and Shane Losey combined to score four touchdowns. (Pam Pease photo)

It was just one win, maybe, but it felt like more than that.

Much more.

With 16 players in uniform, and every one of them making an impact, the Coupeville High School football squad kicked off a new season, under a new coaching staff, by slaying the beast which has haunted their gridiron dreams in recent years.

Five straight losses to Port Townsend, dating back to 2014, by a combined score of 270-32, was rough to endure.

But a lot of that evaporated in a mighty roar Friday, as the Wolves jumped, danced, and then hustled to the ferry on foot, celebrating a 28-18 win in which they never trailed and thoroughly dominated.

It made a winner of new coach Marcus Carr and his staff, and was the first time the CHS football squad had topped the RedHawks since Sept. 26, 2014.

After that win came blowout loss after blowout loss against Port Townsend, including three consecutive shutouts.

Those days are done, however.

CHS might not have been perfect on opening night — how many teams are? — but the Wolves played inspired ball, refused to bend, and put the hammer down when it mattered most.

Dawson Houston made a huge splash in his first-ever start as a varsity QB, Alex Turner ripped heads off and let the bodies hit the floor, Gavin Straub showed off the softest hands in the stadium, and that was just the start.

Though towering over them all was Sean Toomey-Stout, back after missing the final five games of his sophomore year with a devastating injury.

Showing no rust, no fear and no mercy, “The Torpedo” annihilated his foes.

200+ yards and two touchdowns as a rusher.

An interception in which he leaped out of the stadium to spear the ball.

Kickoff returns in which the only way the RedHawks could stop him from taking it to the house was to grab his shirt tail and hold on for dear life until Toomey-Stout’s jersey ripped nearly in half.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go back to the beginning.

The game started with two strong Coupeville defensive stands in which it forced punts, packaged around one of the few Wolf mistakes, a botched hand-off that led to a fumble and turnover.

Handed the ball back a second time, after a godawful RedHawk pooch punt that Wolf lineman Isaiah Bittner boldly jumped onto, CHS settled down.

Toomey-Stout ripped off runs of 12 and 19 yards, while Andrew Martin lowered his head and bloodied some noses on a bull-run that shoved the PT defense all the way back to the ferry line.

That set up Houston’s first pass of the season, a sweet hook-up with Shane Losey for 27 yards on 4th and 11.

Houston dropped the ball into a tiny crack between defenders, and Losey (who the road announcers kept calling Loosey all night…) did the rest.

Snatching the ball out of mid-air, he juggled it, then pulled it safely into his chest as he bounced off the ground.

Cradling the ball like it was an egg ready to hatch, he landed right in front of a ref who seemed genuinely surprised to see the play completed without the ball squirting loose.

Once could be a fluke, but twice is the start of a beautiful partnership.

Houston then spun a 12-yard TD strike into the right corner of the end zone, where Losey pulled the lob in while in mid-stride.

A botched extra point that went a millimeter low and caught the crossbar before skipping away kept the score at 6-0, but it was first blood in a game in which the Wolves would never trail.

Port Townsend missed on its first chance to tie, when Toomey-Stout, bouncing like a kangaroo jacked up on Red Bull, went airborne and picked off a potential TD pass right outside the end zone.

While the RedHawks finally did break through, netting a 10-yard scoring strike with 46 ticks left in the half, Coupeville’s defense stood strong, stuffing the two-point conversion run.

The game might have been knotted 6-6 at the half, but as the teams exited the field, the difference in energy between the two squads was easy to see.

Cue the second-half KO, as Toomey-Stout came out of the locker room with the swagger of Mike Tyson in his prime.

“The Torpedo” took the opening kick back up the right side, tripped up at the very last second by Port Townsend’s kicker, who laid out to save the touchdown.

For about five seconds.

Very next play, Toomey-Stout bolted up the middle for his first TD run of the season, a 10-yard jaunt that he covered in about three steps as mom Lisa came unglued, perhaps permanently damaging her vocal cords as she out-screamed the entire Port Townsend fan base by herself.

A two-point conversion pass from Houston to Gavin Knoblich was huge, stretching the lead back out to 14-6, and the early score, coming in less than 14 seconds off the third-quarter clock, set the tone for the rest of the game.

Port Townsend rallied to within 14-12 on a miracle run by its freshman quarterback, who slipped through 327 tackles on one play, on fourth down, but the RedHawks could never get the equalizer.

The hosts botched the two-point conversion, had a potential touchdown ripped away later when Toomey-Stout chased down a runner from behind, passing three of his own teammates as he came close to matching twin sister Maya’s gazelle-like speed, and couldn’t stop Coupeville when it mattered.

Houston connected with Jake Pease on a 10-yard TD strike — set up by a 56-yard run from Toomey-Stout — then “The Torpedo” closed out Coupeville’s scoring with a 42-yard TD jaunt.

His final scoring run was made possible by his teammates successfully recovering a short kick by the RedHawks with five minutes to play.

It wasn’t a straight-up onside kick, but close, as Port Townsend tried to bounce the ball off of a CHS player and recover.

Instead, Straub timed the ball perfectly, pulled it in, and went to the ground, never bobbling it even as he was mobbed by the RedHawks.

G-3 not only earned the “good hands” award, he netted a huge high-five from Wolf assistant coach Kwamane Bowens as he exited the field.

In a game in which the Wolf offense broke things open with big plays, the defense had the final statement as Knoblich and Dane Lucero delivered spleen-rupturing sacks.

While Toomey-Stout was pasting anyone who got close, linemen Matt Stevens, Ryan Labrador, MartinTurner, Pease and Co. thoroughly clogged things up, repeatedly gang-tackling the RedHawk runners into submission.

Toss in a fairly spectacular throw by the Wolf cheerleaders at the very end, in which Mica Shipley seemingly exploded out of a cannon, touched the overcast skies, then dropped back into the waiting embrace of her teammates, and the night belonged to Coupeville.

All that was missing was a dance party, and, by the time the Wolves and their fans were back in the CHS parking lot, sure enough, one was starting.

It might be early, but undefeated is undefeated, and slaying the beast is a heck of a way to kick things off.

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