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Coupeville goalie Nick Guay (in green) is mobbed after the Wolves won a three-team tiebreaker Saturday, advancing to bi-districts. (Morgan White photos)

The Wolf booters live to play another day.

Beating the odds, and two rival teams, the Coupeville High School boys’ soccer team survived a three-team tiebreaker Saturday in Oak Harbor, emerging with a bi-district playoff berth to claim as its own.

Playing 40-minute “half games,” the Wolves knocked off Lopez Island 1-0, then nipped Providence Classical Christian 3-2 in a penalty kick shootout after finishing regulation in a scoreless tie.

That gives Coupeville the fifth, and final, playoff berth from District 1.

The Wolves, 5-8 on the season, now host Seattle-based Summit Atlas (3-1-1), the #4 team from District 2, in a loser-out playoff game.

That game will either be played Monday, Oct. 31 or Tuesday, Nov. 1 at a still-to-be-determined location.

Coupeville is the host team but is not allowed to play on its own home pitch as Mickey Clark Field does not have covered bleachers on both sides of the field.

The winner advances to play at Mount Vernon Christian (9-4-1), District 1’s #3 seed, in a loser-out, winner-to-state game which will most likely go down Nov. 2.

The eight-team 2B/1B state tourney runs between Nov. 11-19.

Coupeville’s boys’ soccer program, which launched in 2004, has made two prior trips to state, qualifying in 2009 and 2010 while being coached by former Seattle Sounders star Paul Mendes.

In modern times, CHS coach Robert Wood is the man calling the shots, though he was out of town on a business trip Saturday, with Wolf girls soccer guru Kyle Nelson filling his shoes.

Preston Epp wins the race to the ball.

The tiebreaker was forced when Coupeville, Lopez, and Providence all finished 3-5 in Northwest 2B/1B League play, trailing defending state champ Orcas Island (8-0), Friday Harbor (7-1), MVC (6-2) and Grace Academy (4-4).

Saturday’s event was to feature each of the three schools playing twice, but the Wolves made game three a moot point when they won games one and two.

Coupeville opened play at Oak Harbor’s Wildcat Memorial Stadium looking for some revenge against a Lopez squad which it lost to in the regular season.

Vying on a fast turf field after largely playing on natural grass, the two teams warily circled one another, looking in vain for a break in the defense.

Wolf goalie Nick Guay was on point all day, and he made several strong saves to preserve a scoreless tie heading into a short halftime break.

CHS had its scoring chances during the game’s first 20 minutes, but narrowly missed on several shots, with Reiley Araceley, Preston Epp, and Cole White each pushing the ball just wide of the net.

Coupeville’s big break came with a hair over nine minutes left in regulation, with senior team leader Aidan Wilson using his noggin to redirect a corner kick into the back of the net.

The Lopez goalie almost made the save but couldn’t control the madly spinning ball and it splashed home to the delight of a large pack of Wolf fans.

It was Wilson’s 10th goal of the 2022 campaign, and his 13th overall during his CHS days.

Aidan Wilson bangs home the game-winner against Lopez Island.

Trying desperately to find the tying goal, Lopez came hard after Guay, but he was unflappable, shutting the Lobos down with the aid of stout defenders like Hank Milnes, Andrew Williams, and Cameron Epp.

With the game one win in hand, the Wolves celebrated for about 1.3 seconds, then snapped their game faces right back on as PCC arrived on the pitch.

The Highlanders generated little heat on Guay, other than one long shot the Wolf netminder snagged on the fly, but Coupeville’s offense also sputtered a bit.

White had one primo opportunity in stoppage time in the second half, but the ball caught a gust of wind and sailed just over the bar, earning a sigh of relief from PCC supporters.

With 40 minutes run off the clock, and no goals to speak of, the teams jumped past the normal overtime period, instead settling things with a tense shootout.

Both Coupeville and PCC failed to convert on their first tries, but nailed opportunities #2 and #3.

Preston Epp and Guay, stepping out of goal for a moment, both popped balls into the left corner of the net, and things were knotted at 2-2.

The fourth shooters failed to crack the tie, with one blast blocked and the other banging off the bar on the right side of the net.

That set up things for a dramatic finish, and Wilson responded, launching a missile into the right corner to push CHS ahead 3-2.

Down to their final shooter, PCC needed a miracle, and its prayers went unanswered under cloudy skies.

Guay did some shake, a little bake, faked to the left, to the right, then celebrated as the Highlander booter slapped a shot to the left of the net, his team’s season vanishing as the ball drifted too far outside.

“On to the playoffs!”

Cue the celebration, followed by his teammates carrying Guay off the field, while Nelson smiled from the sideline.

A veteran of numerous big games, including those state playoff rumbles, the fill-in coach was happy to help keep the season going, while looking to hand the keys back to Wood.

“I just told them playoff games are always intense and tight,” Nelson said. “It was an exciting day and they stepped up. Will be fun to see them keep playing.”

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Cael Wilson and Coupeville play two half-games Saturday in a bid to claim a district playoff berth. (Morgan White photo)

Three teams enter, one goes home happy.

Having forged a three-way tie for the fifth, and final, boys soccer playoff berth from the Northwest 2B/1B League, Coupeville, Lopez Island, and Providence Classical Christian will decide matters on the pitch.

The three teams meet Saturday at Oak Harbor’s Wildcat Memorial Stadium, with action beginning at noon.

Admission is free.

Having ignored my idea of having the teams chug eggnog on a moving ferry, with the last man standing “the winner,” the format for Saturday is:

**There will be a pregame coin flip to determine which teams are A, B, and C.

**If all heads or all tails, team reps flip coins again until an odd one out.

**Odd one out is team A.

**Order of games: A vs. B, B vs. C, A vs. C.

**Games consist of two 20-minute halves with a five-minute halftime.

**No sudden death overtime — straight to penalty kicks if game tied.

**If one team finishes 2-0, they claim the playoff berth. If all three teams finish 1-1, there will be a redraw to decide teams A, B, and C, followed by penalty kick shootouts.

Saturday’s winner, as the #5 playoff seed from District 1, advances to host Summit Atlas, the #4 seed from District 2 in a loser-out playoff game Monday, Oct. 31.

If it’s Coupeville, the Halloween night rumble would most likely be back at Oak Harbor’s stadium.

Monday’s winner hits the road after that, advancing to play Mount Vernon Christian, District 1’s #3 seed, in a loser-out, winner-to-state game either Nov. 1 or 2.

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Aidan Wilson notched two goals Tuesday, sparking Coupeville to a big win. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

He’s fast, and he’s deadly.

Speedy senior Aidan Wilson slammed home two unassisted goals Tuesday, propelling the Coupeville High School boys soccer squad to a key victory on its home pitch.

Nipping visiting Providence Classical Christian 2-1 at Mickey Clark Field, the Wolves made a strong statement as they battle for a playoff berth.

Now 2-3 in Northwest 2B/1B League play, 4-6 overall, Coupeville has three regular season games left on the schedule.

The Wolves host Lopez Island Oct. 22 and La Conner Oct. 22, before island-hopping Oct. 27 for a showdown with defending 2B/1B state champ Orcas Island.

CHS entered play Tuesday vying with PCC for the fifth, and final, playoff berth from the NWL, and made sure to claim the advantage.

“Really well-played game by both teams,” said Coupeville coach Robert Wood. “Aggressive but fair; quality movement and ideas; good build up and strong attacks.

“Wolves finally realize that if you play the game like you practice the game then good things happen.”

Wilson notched both of his goals by using his track and field speed to outrun the PCC defenders.

“Both goals for Aidan, unassisted, because he thinks it’s OK to run with the ball 60 yards and not include anyone else in the fun,” Wood said with a smile.

The scores give Wilson a team-best eight tallies on the season and push the Wolf senior’s prep career total to 11 goals.

That ties him with Zane Bundy for #6 all-time in program history, trailing just Abraham Leyva (45), Derek Leyva (38), Arama Leyva (29), William Nelson (20), and Ethan Spark (17).

Saturday’s home rumble with Lopez kicks off at 1:30 PM and is free to the public.

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Coupeville’s Alex Murdy is pursued by a pair of Orcas Island players during an early-season game. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Our league is #1.

Coupeville’s second season of playing boys soccer in the Northwest 2B/1B League ended with a conference rival winning the state title.

Orcas Island topped Providence Classical Christian 2-1 Saturday night in Sumner, with the game decided in a 4-3 shootout.

The victory, coming in an all-NWL final, gives the Viking booters the first team state title in program history, and the second in school history.

Orcas previously won a girls soccer state title in 2009.

This version of Vikings soccer finished 18-2, beating PCC three times in four meetings.

The two teams split games during the regular season, before Orcas came out on top 1-0 in the district tourney title game.

Saturday’s finale was knotted 1-1 at the end of regulation, then went through scoreless overtime to end in that most-beloved, or most-loathed, of events — “kicks from the mark.”

Orcas goalie Paxton White came up huge, deflecting a PCC ball away from his net on the first shot, before watching a second try go wide left.

The Vikings nailed their first three kicks, with Tommy Anderson-Cleveland, William Ibarra, and Diego Lago finding the back of the net, and seemed to be running away with things, up 3-1.

But there was some drama left, as PCC rallied to net back-to-back kicks, while blocking an Orcas try, pushing things to 3-3 headed into the 10th, and potentially final, attempt.

The ball was on Pedro Guerra’s foot, and the Orcas junior was golden, flicking the title-winning shot past a flailing PCC netminder.

That capped the fifth trip to state for the Vikings booters, whose best previous finish was 2nd place in 2018.

The NWL, which has nine teams for boys soccer — picking up outsiders PCC, Grace Academy, Cedar Park Christian-Lynnwood, and Lopez Island — claimed three of four team awards at the 2B/1B state tourney.

Friday Harbor earned 4th place, falling 2-0 to Crosspoint Academy Saturday afternoon.

Overall, NWL schools brought home two team state titles this fall, with La Conner volleyball also winning a third-straight 2B crown.

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Coupeville’s Miguel Puente battles for control of the ball with a Providence Classical Christian player. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

So, you’re saying we have a chance?

Coupeville’s conference, the Northwest 2B/1B League, has a pretty good shot at collecting a second team state title this fall.

The 2B volleyball crown is already in the bag, thanks to La Conner claiming a third-straight championship after going 22-0 this season.

That run included three wins over Coupeville, which finished second in the seven-team NWL.

Now, three of the final four teams standing in the race for the 1B/2B boys soccer title are Wolf league rivals.

Orcas Island, Friday Harbor, and Providence Classical Christian, which joins the NWL for pitch action, are in the state semifinals after wins this weekend.

The only non-NWL team with a shot at the title is Crosspoint, which nipped Mount Vernon Christian 1-0 Saturday in a quarterfinal battle.

Orcas thumped Puget Sound Adventist 5-0, Friday Harbor squeaked by Prescott 3-2, and PCC drilled Upper Columbia Academy 3-0 to get to where they are.

The semifinals, which go down in Sumner next Friday, Nov. 19, pits PCC against Crosspoint, while NWL rivals Orcas and Friday Harbor face off.

The title game and 3rd/4th clash are both the next day.

The Orcas vs Friday Harbor semifinal will be the rubber match in that series, as the teams split during the regular season, with both games decided by a single goal.

The Vikings won the season opener 1-0, before Friday Harbor rebounded for a 2-1 victory midway through the campaign.

If PCC makes it to the championship game, the Highlanders will either face a team they swept (1-0 and 3-0 wins against Friday Harbor) or the only program to hand them a loss this season.

Orcas beat PCC 2-0 early in the season, fell 4-1 to the same team in mid-October, then rebounded to win 1-0 in the district championship game.

Coupeville, which finished sixth among the nine NWL schools to play boys soccer, went a combined 0-6 against the semifinal-bound squads, but came very close to upending Friday Harbor twice.

 

Girls soccer teams done:

It didn’t go quite as well for NWL girls pitch squads, as both Friday Harbor and Mount Vernon Christian were eliminated by the same school.

Toledo nipped the Wolverines 1-0 in the opening round of the 1B/2B state tourney, then pulled together a stunning comeback to eliminate the Hurricanes 3-2 in the quarterfinals.

The Riverhawks trailed 2-0 late in the second half, before rallying to net the game-tying score in stoppage time — that Twilight Zone period where the stadium clock clicks off reading 2:00, and only the ref has a clue of how much time is left.

The eventual game-winner came in the second overtime, eliminating any chance a NWL team would win a girls soccer state title this go-round.

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