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Capri Anter, seen last season, is off to play high school volleyball next year. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

They played their strongest in the finale.

Toss away the scores, and the Coupeville Middle School spikers peaked perfectly Wednesday in Langley, just the way coaches Cris Matochi and Raven Vick hoped.

“I believe this is by far the best volleyball, but the scores didn’t reflect that today,” Matochi said. “I was pleased that we played good volleyball, not desperate volleyball.”

How the day unfolded:

 

Varsity:

The second clash between next-door neighbors in three days went to the host team, with the Cougars nipping Coupeville 25-23, 26-24, 15-11 in a reversal of Monday’s Wolf win.

The loss drops CMS to 4-4 heading into the awards banquet.

Win or lose, Matochi liked what he saw from the girls on the floor.

“We read the balls, not reacted to the balls, which was great,” he said. “I was excited that the girls who came in, did their roles and played their best.

“This was the first time we ran a full new rotation, learning defense and hitting systems that were not executed before,” Matochi added.

“I think that the biggest opponent that we had today was our own minds, but I’m excited to see how today’s matches will elevate the girls game next year.”

Using a mix of full-time varsity spikers and swing players who got their first taste of the high life in the final week, the Wolves jelled and flourished.

“It was great to see how Willow (Leedy-Bonifas) reset from the JV to play on varsity,” Matochi said.

Haylee (Armstrong’s) serves changed the game. She just chipped and chipped away,” he added. “Rhylin (Price) took a bigger role with serve receive and was a main player in our lineup.

Capri (Anter) being consistent tonight was such a plus. As well as Lexis (Drake) was able to recover quickly and finish on a good note, which is something we love to see.”

Both matches against their archrivals were tense, hard-fought affairs, giving the Wolves a taste of battles to come.

“We walked in the gym knowing it would be a tough match and the girls ended up letting the pressure overcome their skills,” Matochi said. “Though we are both confident that this will make them better next year.

“The coaches would like to thank the players who are moving on to high school next year and we want to celebrate their accomplishments,” he added.

“They built up our team and were a great asset and we are excited to see where they go next year.”

 

JV:

Coupeville’s second squad battled to the end in a 25-23, 25-18, 15-8 loss, leaving its final record at 1-7.

“I’m incredibly impressed with how well we played and had good energy for the most part throughout the whole game,” Raven Vick said.

The former Wolf praised the players who grew as the season progressed.

Olivia (Martin) did well with holding her platform and she was highly successful with that,” Vick said. “This was the best Alyssa (McGee) played this season and she got a few playable balls up.

Izzy (Bowder) worked really hard on passing today, too. Everyone chipped in with serving, but we lacked consistency.”

CMS 6th grader Emma Leavitt opened the match with a six-point run at the service stripe, with her reign of terror only ending when the ref belatedly remembered the five-serve limit in middle school volleyball.

“Tonight, Emma did well with serving and consistently put a run in at the line,” Vick said. “KeeAyra (Brown) did well with passing and had one incredible save where she got it back over the net when no one else thought it was going to happen.

Cheyanne (Atteberry) had a couple of good passes, which helped out the team.”

The serene nature and competitive fire of one Wolf player made a particular impression as the season wrapped.

Willow (Leedy-Bonifas) was a calm fire on the court,” Vick said. “Always encouraging her team while staying her fairly quiet self.

“She has a way of keeping the court humming along without most people in the stands noticing,” she added.

Willow is a quiet leader, and we as coaches are so excited to see how much she stepped up this season.”

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Coupeville grad Joey Lippo (bottom, far left) wrapped his college golf season Sunday. (Photo property UMPI golf)

Time to put the clubs away and start thinking about hefting a bat.

Coupeville High School grad Joey Lippo wrapped his second season of collegiate golf Sunday, competing at the North Atlantic Conference Championships.

Husson University, led by medalist Jack King, claimed the team title at the 11-school event.

Lippo, who reps the University of Maine at Presque Isle, finished 46th in the individual race after carding an 87 Saturday and a 98 Sunday at the Waterville Country Club in Oakland, Maine.

The former Wolf, who was an All-Conference baseball player for the Owls last spring, now turns his attention back to the diamond.

Lippo has two seasons of baseball and golf under his belt at UMPI, an NCAA D-III school.

During his time in Coupeville, he was a three-sport star, playing tennis, basketball, and baseball for CHS.

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Joey Lippo

The bat gets a rest.

After swinging a hot stick all season, Coupeville grad Joey Lippo officially reached the end of his sophomore season playing baseball at the University of Maine at Presque Isle.

The Owls dropped a pair of doubleheaders over the weekend, falling to Thomas College 15-3 and 4-3 Saturday, before succumbing 12-2 and 4-1 Sunday to New England College.

UMPI finishes 6-29, which is a bump in games played and games won from last year’s pandemic-altered 1-17 campaign.

Lippo went out lashing, picking up four hits and three RBI in his final weekend of play.

The former Wolf three-sport star was one of just two Owls to play in all 35 games, and he led UMPI in at-bats (123), runs (31), triples (2), RBI (22), walks (14), and stolen bases (8).

Skyy Lippo’s twin brother was second on his squad in hits (39), batting average (.317), on-base percentage (.386) and home runs (1).

Joey played most of the season in the outfield, gunning down runners with long throws from the shadows, but he also pitched in three games for the Owls, striking out four across five innings of work.

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Sarah Wright

Season three is in the books.

Coupeville grad Sarah Wright played the final softball game of her junior campaign Saturday, as Sewanee: The University of the South was eliminated from postseason play.

The former Wolf smacked one of her team’s two hits, but the Tigers fell 4-0 to Centre College.

That, combined with a 3-2 defeat to Millsaps College Friday sends Sewanee home from the double-elimination Southern Athletic Association tournament.

Wright and Co. finished 7-26 on the season, but the 33 games were more than the Tigers played the last two seasons combined.

The pandemic restricted Sewanee to just 16 and 10 games during Wright’s freshman and sophomore seasons, respectively.

This time around, the former Wolf was one of three Tigers to start all 33 games on the diamond.

Wright finished the season leading the team in at-bats (102), runs (15), and home runs (2).

She was #2 in RBI (17), and #3 in hits (25), total bases (35), and doubles (4) while seeing time at both catcher and third base.

The former Coupeville Valedictorian is majoring in politics at Sewanee and has made both the SAA Academic Honor Roll and All-Sportsmanship team during her time in Tennessee.

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Kierra Thayer rumbled on both ends of the floor as an 8th grader. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

They closed with a vengeance.

Capping a season of huge improvement, the Coupeville Middle School girls basketball teams went basket for basket with their next door neighbors Thursday in Langley.

The Wolf varsity, led by the red-hot long-distance shooting of Haylee Armstrong, pushed the Cougars hard, before being nipped 21-19 in what coaches from both schools termed “their best game so far.”

Haylee hit a couple of big threes, and our defense was nearly flawless, keeping South Whidbey from setting up an offense the majority of the game,” said Coupeville coach Kassie O’Neil.

Haylee Armstrong led all Coupeville Middle School players in scoring this season.

“The girls came out ready to play and kept up the same energy throughout the entire game,” O’Neil said.

“I think both of our teams brought our A-games and it was great to see two similar teams going head-to-head.”

While Armstrong was droppin’ bombs from the parking lot, Kierra Thayer anchored the Wolf defense.

Kierra had a few HUGE stuffs, denying the shooters any time they tried to get a shot up past her,” O’Neil said. “And she was there to rebound on both ends of the court.

“Her hustle during this game was the best I’ve seen from her this season.”

While Coupeville couldn’t quite nab the season-ending victory, O’Neil still came away flushed with pride in her young players.

“It was the best ending for our season. I’m so proud of these girls and the gains they made in such a short amount of time,” she said.

“I think we accomplished our big goals — they gained foundational skills, learned what it means to turn a team into family, and fostered a love for the game.”

A former Coupeville hoops star who was known for knocking down big shots at crunch time, O’Neil was pleased with a lot of what she saw in her first season being in charge.

“If I’m lucky enough to continue coaching Wolves hoops, I’ll be happy to see these girls back on the court for another couple of seasons,” she said. “It’s been a blast to witness their growth and joy, playing the sport I love.”

O’Neil’s fellow coach, Kristina Forbes, had a similar experience in her first go-round with the Wolf JV, which fell 46-11 at Langley.

“We had one main goal and that was to just play better than we did the first we played South Whidbey,” she said. “We accomplished that. These girls played their hearts out and never gave up!”

Willow Leedy-Bonifas is a fireball on the floor.

Forbes gave her whole team props, with a special shout-out for feisty guard Willow Leedy-Bonifas.

“She was not afraid to get in the face of her opponent and try for the steals!” Forbes said with a big smile.

Coupeville’s second squad was almost entirely made up of players who were brand new to competitive basketball, but they held up well against much more experienced teams such as King’s, Sultan, and Langley.

“This season was full of learning to cope with emotions, and to develop skills, bonding with their teammates and learning to trust each other on the court,” Forbes said.

“My girls have come so far from the beginning of the season till the end.

“By last night’s game the nerves seemed to be distant and all that beamed through them was determination.

“Overall, I hope that my girls had a fun season and will plan to come out next year.”

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