Posts Tagged ‘Soccer’

Sage Renninger, the newest addition to the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Underrated in the extreme.

Over the past four years, Sage Renninger has been, without a doubt, one of the best athletes to wear a Coupeville uniform.

Graceful, hard-nosed, a quiet warrior who let her play do the talking for her, she carved out her own path, and it was a very successful one.

Having given up basketball after middle school, Renninger showcased her athletic skills a bit off the beaten track, starring in soccer and tennis.

The first of those is a sport in which my base of knowledge is, admittedly, limited.

I don’t understand a lot of the intricacies of the “beautiful game,” and often times revert back to frustration over the sport being satisfied with ties, and the number of times a play is just starting to get interesting, only to have the ball nick a random knee and shoot out of bounds.

I am not the person who is going to sit here and rhapsodize about the mystical joy of fútbol.

That being said, I can, and do, appreciate the level of commitment it takes to even play the sport, much less be a star.

And Renninger was a true star on the pitch.

Through four years in a Wolf uniform, which culminated with being a captain her senior year, she was as steady as they come.

Renninger could net you goals (the one part of soccer idiots like myself understand), but she was also a rock for Coupeville, controlling the pace and flow of the game.

She didn’t scream and holler, at least not on the pitch, but her teammates leaned in to hear her words, and they responded.

It takes a deft hand to be a true leader on a sports team, to command respect with your play, your attitude and an unshakable belief that you and your teammates will find a way to success, no matter the odds.

Few leaders have been as effective, or as well-liked by their teammates, as Renninger.

So, while I freely admit I don’t always understand soccer on a deeper level, I do recognize greatness, and there is no doubt in my mind Sage is one of the best the CHS girls program has been blessed to claim as one of its own.

Her other sport, tennis, is exactly the opposite, and exactly the same.

It’s the opposite, in, that having played the sport myself during my Tumwater High School days, I see the strategy behind the shots and have a far greater base of knowledge and appreciation for what is playing out.

And it’s the same, because Renninger, just as she did on the soccer pitch, was a serene, high-achieving wonder on the hard court.

She and partner Payton Aparicio were the #1 doubles team from the moment they first stepped on the court as freshmen, and they never let the crown slip from atop their heads.

Over the course of four years, they were, quite simply, the gold standard, the best Wolf duo since Mindy Horr and Taniel Lamb came within a handful of points of winning the 2005 state championship.

Renninger, who brought a potent mix of power and pace to the court, possesses a rare intangible which is often found in top tennis players.

In short, she abided.

By that, I mean, she never got too high when success came her way, and never got too low when defeat made a rare appearance.

Watching Renninger exit the court after a match, whether during her freshman season or her senior campaign, it always looked the same.

Perhaps a small smile, sometimes a more-enthusiastic racket bump with Aparicio, but always under control, always giving little away to her opponents.

She circled her foes like a shark, and watch a shark as it moves – there is often a calmness to its movements right before an attack.

When the death ‘n destruction came, her racket snapping off winners, Renninger was brutally efficient, and it was beautiful to see.

She and Aparicio closed their prep careers this past spring with a phenomenal postseason run, eventually winning three of four matches at the state tourney and claiming 4th place.

The duo’s only loss was an epic three-set defeat, in which things were decided by just a handful of points, and came to the private school girls who would end the tourney with their second-straight state title.

Afterwards, Renninger shared the moment with Aparicio, with their families, and with CHS coach Ken Stange.

Having played two days in blazing heat, she looks tired but satisfied in photos from that day. She also looks, as she always did, like a winner.

Renninger didn’t always get the headlines others in her graduating class did, but she won as much respect from us as any Wolf of her generation.

So today, we open the doors to the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame, and welcome her into an elite fraternity.

In the days and months and years after this, you’ll find Renninger hanging out at the top of the blog, under the Legends tab.

Because that’s exactly what she was, in her own self-contained way – a legend.

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Cam Dahl (18) scraps during Coupeville football’s season finale. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Wolf fans jam the bleachers.

It’s edge of your seat time.

With every fall sport having wrapped regular season play, we’re fully into playoff mode.

10 North Sound Conference teams are still alive for a state title, though the only one we truly care about on this blog is the Coupeville volleyball squad.

Having split two matches at the district tourney Saturday, the Wolf spikers sit a win away from advancing to bi-districts.

That match arrives Tuesday, when CHS travels to Lynden to face Nooksack Valley.

King’s (volleyball, football, soccer) and South Whidbey (VB, FB, soccer) account for six of the other nine squads still alive in the playoffs.

Meanwhile, Cedar Park Christian is alive in football and soccer and Granite Falls is still kicking in football, though Tiger soccer, which tied for second-place in the NSC, is the highest seed to have been knocked out of the postseason.

Sultan, with every team eliminated, gets ready for winter sports.


Standings through Oct. 28 (* = league champs):


North Sound Conference volleyball:

School League Overall
King’s * 10-0 15-1
South Whidbey 6-4 10-7
CPC-Bothell 5-5 9-9
Granite Falls 1-9 4-13
Sultan 1-9 4-11

North Sound Conference football:

School League Overall
CPC-Bothell * 5-0 7-1
King’s 4-1 4-5
South Whidbey 3-2 6-3
Granite Falls 2-3 2-7
Sultan 1-4 2-7

North Sound Conference girls soccer:

School League Overall
King’s * 9-1 16-2
Granite Falls 7-3 9-8-1
South Whidbey 7-3 9-7-2
CPC-Bothell 4-6 9-8-1
Sultan 2-8 6-11
COUPEVILLE 1-9 2-12-1

Emerald City League boys tennis:

School League Overall
Seattle Academy * 13-0 13-0
University Prep 11-3 11-4
Overlake 9-3 9-3
Bush 6-8 6-8
South Whidbey 5-8 5-8
Bear Creek 2-12 2-12
Eastside Prep 0-13 0-13

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CHS volleyball coaches Chris Smith (left) and Cory Whitmore are primed for a long playoff run. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Playoffs? We’re definitely talking about the playoffs.

As we slide into the second half of Oct., the end of regular season play for high school fall sports fast approaches, and that means the postseason can’t be too far behind.

While there are still about a thousand different ways this could all play out (give or take one or two dozen), here’s what I think I know as of today.


Boys Tennis:

Coupeville wraps its regular season at home today, Wednesday, Oct. 17, hosting Eastside Prep on Senior Night.

After that, the Wolves send two singles players and two doubles teams to the Emerald City League tourney Oct. 19 at the Amy Yee Tennis Center in Seattle.

This is the only sport in which CHS doesn’t compete as a member of the North Sound Conference, as only two of the league’s six teams (Coupeville and South Whidbey) play boys tennis.

So, instead, the Wolf and Falcon netters jumped out of District 1 and linked up with the ECL, which is comprised of private schools from District 2.

It’s a brutal eight-team league filled to the brim with state title contenders, mainly from juggernauts Seattle Academy, Overlake and University Prep, so the chances any Whidbey players advance to districts Oct. 20 is slim.

But you never know. An injury here, a torrid run on the court there, and miracles can, and do, happen.


Cross country:

The next three Saturdays will tell the tale of who the top harriers in the state are.

Coupeville runs at the North Sound Conference Championships in Lakewood Oct. 20 (minus sophomore Catherine Lhamon, who is the sixth-fastest female in the league, but also rehabbing an injury), then competes at bi-districts at South Whidbey Oct. 27.

The top 36 boys and 42 girls at that second race, which combines District 1 (North Sound Conference and Northwest Conference) with District 2 (Emerald City League), advance to the state meet Nov. 3 in Pasco.

Wolf senior Danny Conlisk is seeking his second-straight trip to the big dance, while Lhamon is expected to be back and ready to go in time for districts.




This is where CHS has the biggest up-hill battle.

The Wolves sit at 0-3 in league play, with two games to go, which leaves them a game off of Granite Falls (1-2) and Sultan (1-2) in the quest for the league’s fourth and final playoff berth.

If Coupeville finishes strongly and edges the Tigers and Turks, it will host a loser-out playoff game Oct. 30 against the #3 seed from the NWC, which is currently Lynden Christian.

Win that rumble and the Wolves travel to the home of the #1 NWC seed (Mount Baker and Meridian are currently tied) to play for a spot in the 16-team state tourney.

If the postseason doesn’t happen, there are two scenarios for a week #10 non-playoff game to wrap the season.

Finish #5 in the league standings, and Coupeville gets a cross-over game on the road with the #4 team from the NWC, currently Nooksack Valley.

Remain as the #6 NSC squad and it’s up to CHS Athletic Director Willie Smith to scramble and find another non-playoff team interested in picking up an extra game.

If that happens, the game could be home or away, depending on what’s worked out.

The football playoff bracket:



Girls Soccer:

Heading into the regular-season finale at Granite Falls Wednesday, the Wolves are tied with Sultan for the #5 playoff seed, but own a tiebreaker thanks to an extra point picked up for going to double-overtime in one of their league losses.

If something hinky happens, and the Turks make up that point, without slipping past Coupeville, the teams would stage a play-in game on the turf in Sultan Oct. 20 to decide who moves on, and who’s done.

More likely, if things hold as they are, the Wolves nab the last slot and open the modified double-elimination district playoffs Oct. 22 on the road with a loser-out game against the NSC #3 seed, most likely South Whidbey.

Upset their Island neighbors (or Granite Falls, if things fall that way) and Coupeville is guaranteed at least two more playoff games Oct. 24 and 27, needing just one win to advance to bi-districts, which run Oct. 30-Nov. 3.

The soccer playoff bracket:




The sport where Coupeville holds the strongest position, having already clinched a playoff berth.

The Wolves, who are sitting in second place at 5-2 with three games to go, still have a (long) shot to upend defending state champ King’s (7-0) and claim the league crown, and can finish no lower than fourth in the regular season standings.

Districts are Oct. 27 and 30, are double-elimination, and will kick four of eight teams on to bi-districts Nov. 3.

The first day of districts plays out at two sites, with the #1 seeds from the NSC (currently King’s) and NWC (Lynden Christian) hosting four-team brackets. The second day of districts is at Lynden Christian.

The volleyball playoff bracket:


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Freshman Audrianna Shaw is part of a Coupeville High School girls soccer team which captured its second win last week. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

You win some, you lose some, you move on.

Coupeville High School fall sports teams pulled a .500 record last week, winning three varsity contests and losing three.

Volleyball and soccer fell to King’s, the defending state champs in both sports, then rebounded to drill non-conference foe Port Townsend headed into Homecoming.

That shindig was painful for the Wolf football squad, which was pounded for the first time this season.

With just three regular-season games left, the lopsided loss to Sultan also puts a big crimp in the pursuit of a playoff berth.

Meanwhile, off in its own world, the CHS tennis squad continued to surprise, toppling Bush, and solidifying its better-than-expected standing in the Emerald City League, AKA The Toughest Tennis Conference in the State.

Things get busy in the week ahead, with all four of the Coupeville teams which keep track of wins and losses (plus cross country, which bops to its own tune) facing a full schedule.

Volleyball and soccer square off with Sultan, which is mired in the North Sound Conference cellar in both sports, then go toe-to-toe with the more-dangerous Cedar Park Christian.

The spikers go right through next weekend, as well, heading off to Wenatchee for a big tourney.

Tennis gets three foes, weather permitting, and both of the league teams they’re scheduled to play — Bush and Bear Creek — are squads they’ve already beaten.

In the middle is a non-league match-up with long-time nemesis Friday Harbor.

But perhaps the single biggest game of the week comes next Friday, Oct. 12, when the CHS football team travels down Island to square off with South Whidbey.

The stakes are huge.

It’s Homecoming for the Falcons. The Bucket, which Coupeville has held for two years, is on the line. And, most importantly, if the Wolves want to have any realistic shot at making the playoffs, they need a win and they need it now.

So lace up your shoes, brace your very soul, and let’s get ready to rumble all next week.


Standings through Oct. 7:


North Sound Conference volleyball:

School League Overall
King’s 4-0 7-1
CPC-Bothell 2-2 6-3
South Whidbey 2-2 5-4
Granite Falls 1-3 3-5
Sultan 0-4 3-5

North Sound Conference football:

School League Overall
CPC-Bothell 2-0 4-1
King’s 2-0 2-4
South Whidbey 1-1 4-2
Sultan 1-1 2-4
Granite Falls 0-2 0-6

North Sound Conference girls soccer:

School League Overall
King’s 6-0 10-1-0
Granite Falls 4-2 4-5-1
South Whidbey 4-2 6-4-1
CPC-Bothell 3-3 6-5-0
COUPEVILLE 1-5 2-8-1
Sultan 0-6 4-8-0

Emerald City League boys tennis:

School League Overall
Seattle Academy 10-0 10-0
Overlake 7-3 7-3
University Prep 7-3 7-4
South Whidbey 3-6 3-6
Bush 3-7 3-7
Bear Creek 2-8 2-8
Eastside Prep 0-6 0-6

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Coupeville soccer defender Tia Wurzrainer launches the ball up-field. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The battle for the top spot rages on.

The week ahead features at least one major showdown, and competition for all five of Coupeville High School’s fall sports teams.

Looming over everything is Tuesday’s volleyball match in Shoreline between the Wolves and King’s, which is a brawl for sole possession of first-place in the North Sound Conference.

Both squads are 3-0 in league play, with CHS having knocked off previously-undefeated South Whidbey last week in an epic five-set thriller.

Win or lose, the spikers will still have six league matches on the schedule after the King’s showdown, offering plenty of time for things to ebb and flow in the standings.

Volleyball has a second match this coming week, a non-conference home tilt against Port Townsend, while soccer, tennis and cross country all play twice as well.

Capping things off, Coupeville football has its Homecoming game Friday, Oct. 5.

Having narrowly lost to King’s in their conference opener, the Wolves will be looking to rebound and stay relevant in the playoff chase.

As we prepare to flip the calendar to Oct., a look at standings through Sept. 30:


North Sound Conference volleyball:

School League Overall
King’s 3-0 5-1
CPC-Bothell 2-1 6-2
South Whidbey 1-2 4-3
Granite Falls 0-3 2-4
Sultan 0-3 3-4

North Sound Conference football:

School League Overall
CPC-Bothell 1-0 3-1
King’s 1-0 1-4
South Whidbey 1-0 4-1
Granite Falls 0-1 0-5
Sultan 0-1 1-4

North Sound Conference girls soccer:

School League Overall
King’s 5-0 7-1-0
Granite Falls 3-1 3-4-1
CPC-Bothell 3-2 6-4-0
South Whidbey 2-2 4-4-1
COUPEVILLE 1-4 1-7-1
Sultan 0-5 4-6-0

Emerald City League boys tennis:

School League Overall
Seattle Academy 9-0 9-0
University Prep 5-2 5-3
Overlake 5-3 5-3
Bush 3-3 3-3
South Whidbey 2-5 2-5
Bear Creek 1-6 1-6
Eastside Prep 0-5 0-5

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