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Owen Barenburg played strong defense Thursday, but Coupeville fell 3-1 to Providence Classical Christian. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Wolf goalie Logan Martin had several strong saves in net. (Morgan White photo)

It was a gentleman’s brawl.

In the end, the more-physical team won Thursday, and, unfortunately that squad was not the one wearing the red and black of Coupeville High School.

Pushed around a bit by visiting Providence Classical Christian, the plucky Wolves put up a good fight, but ultimately fell 3-1 in Northwest 2B/1B League action.

The loss drops Coupeville to 1-2 on the pandemic-shortened season, with two games left on the schedule.

First up is Senior Night Monday, May 3, with Orcas Island coming to Whidbey, before the Wolves cap their campaign with a trip to La Conner May 5.

Still, even after a loss, there was much to be happy about.

Starting with the fact Coupeville was out there on the field playing after being hit by the double whammy of a pandemic and the program being shut down for a week-plus when it seemed there wouldn’t be enough players to field a team.

While Providence controlled the pace of the game, and sent more than a few Wolves crashing down to kiss the grass, Coupeville didn’t go gently into that good night.

Seniors Sam Wynn and Owen Barenburg brought considerable heat to bear on the visiting Highlanders in the backfield, with both Wolf defenders crashing hard to blunt multiple scoring opportunities.

“We NEVER stopped fighting and playing, which is most commendable,” said CHS coach Robert Wood. “Good defense stopped a lot of attacks.

“Very happy with the seniors for controlling the back players and all the attacks.”

PCC, a small 1B school which hails from Bothell, is one of three schools, with Grace Academy and Cedar Park Christian-Lynnwood, which join the NWL for boys soccer.

The Highlanders have the look of year-round pitch warriors, and, give them credit, they took advantage of their opportunities.

After poking a goal into the net in the 7th minute of the game, PCC added two more in the first half to take a 3-0 lead in at the break.

Staying on the attack for much of the first 40 minutes, the Highlanders laced multiple shots in the direction of first-year goaltender Logan Martin, and he made several nice saves, including one in which he sprawled out to snag a madly-curving ball.

Coupeville got a long run from Aidan Wilson, only to have his shot snuffed at the last second by the PCC goalie, but it was the Wolf defenders who had the biggest first-half plays.

On one play, Wynn, going one-on-one with his man in the deep left corner, spun his rival around, pickpocketed the ball, and was gone before the PCC player stopped spinning and fell down with a gentle plop.

The Wolves finally got on the board in the game’s 53rd minute, when Wilson converted on a penalty kick, pasting a booming shot into the top right corner of the net.

The speed-demon sophomore, who leads CHS with three goals this season, had a second PK, but the PCC goalie got an arm on the ball, and knocked it wide of the net.

While the Wolves received two penalty kicks, a person could be forgiven for thinking maybe they deserved more, as there was a fair amount of elbows and knees flying, with players sent sprawling.

The answer, likely, is to toughen up their own style of play.

“Totally bums me out when they let another team bully them,” Wood said. “Obviously we need to work on being strong against bigger players … especially on “free” balls in our own 18-yard box.

“We could play them all year long and beat them every time if we could JUST MOVE TO THE BALL!!!!,” he added. “But when you leave holes in the middle because someone is not doing their job … well … you get punished.”

With a young, resilient Wolf team at his beck and call, Wood and his crew will look to bounce back quickly, however.

“Tomorrow’s a new day … a day of rest before we focus on Orcas.”

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