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Scheduling changes will alter when you see Coupeville High School athletes like Raven Vick play this week. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Schedule? Where we’re going, we don’t need a schedule.

OK, actually we do, so everyone needs to pay attention, because the North Sound Conference just threw a wrench into this coming week’s plans.

Specifically, the changes concern Senior Night games for Coupeville High School volleyball, football, band and cheer.

The CHS home volleyball match against Sultan scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 25 has been bumped forward a night and will go down Wednesday, Oct. 24.

JV plays at 5:15, varsity at 7, and Wolf seniors Ashley Menges and Emma Smith will be honored before the varsity match.

Then, the CHS home football game against Granite Falls is leaving behind Friday Night Lights and also jumping forward a day.

The gridiron clash is now Thursday, Oct. 25, with kickoff at 7. Senior football players, cheerleaders and band members will all be honored before the game.

The changes are being made by the league because of the possibility of three football teams finishing in a tie for the fourth, and final, NSC playoff berth.

That would happen if Coupeville beats Granite and Sultan loses to league champ Cedar Park Christian.

It things play out that way, the three football teams would meet Saturday, Oct. 27, with two teams playing a half, then the winner facing off with the third team for the playoff berth.

By bumping the regular season finale from Friday to Thursday, it would give the teams an off day before the potential playoff.

Volleyball was bumped up, so Senior Nights wouldn’t conflict.

The result is the spikers will have an extra rest day before they start the district playoffs Oct. 27.

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Hannah Davidson skies to snare a ball for the high-flying Coupeville High School volleyball squad. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Sporting tie-dyed shirts for breast cancer awareness night, Wolf booters (l to r) Mallory Kortuem, Anna Dion and Avalon Renninger celebrate a goal.

Some things end, while others are just picking up steam.

Two Coupeville High School fall sports squads – girls soccer and boys tennis – brought their season to an end this past week.

Meanwhile, cross country, football and volleyball play on, with a mix of postseason and regular-season action left on the schedule.

The week ahead brings the district meet for the harriers Oct. 27, as they try and earn slots at the state cross country meet.

Meanwhile, football hosts Granite Falls Oct. 26.

The Wolves will celebrate departing players on Senior Night and still have a (faint) hope of punching their playoff ticket.

If they can’t get to the postseason, the Wolf gridiron squad is likely to get a cross-over game against another non-playoff team to wrap up the season during week #10.

Volleyball is flying high, and enters the final week of the regular season in second-place in the six-team North Sound Conference.

The Wolves have home games Oct. 23 against defending state champ King’s, and Oct. 25 against cellar dweller Sultan.

If everything goes perfectly, CHS could soar as high as sharing the league crown with King’s, but are guaranteed a slot in the double-elimination district tourney either way.

 

Standings through Oct. 21 (* = league champs):

 

North Sound Conference volleyball:

School League Overall
King’s 8-0 11-1
COUPEVILLE 6-2 9-2
CPC-Bothell 5-3 9-5
South Whidbey 4-4 7-6
Granite Falls 1-7 3-9
Sultan 0-8 3-9


North Sound Conference football:

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


North Sound Conference girls soccer:

School League Overall
King’s * 9-1 14-2
South Whidbey 7-3 9-5-1
Granite Falls 7-3 8-6-1
CPC-Bothell 4-6 7-8
Sultan 2-8 6-10
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
COUPEVILLE 7-6 8-6
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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Alita Blouin (middle) and Maddie Georges led the Coupeville Middle School 8th grade varsity volleyball squad to a season-ending win Thursday. (Suzan Georges photos)

One last afternoon on the court (until next season).

Hayley Fiedler (left) and Gwen Gustafson, part of the bright future of Wolf female athletics. (Irene Gustafson photo)

Coupeville Middle School volleyball has left the building.

After waging war with visiting Granite Falls for four-plus hours Thursday, it’s time for the CMS spikers to call it a wrap.

The Wolves closed their season in style, getting big plays, considerable fan support and a three-set thriller of a win from the 8th grade varsity squad.

The action as it played out in front of fans camped on the hardest bleachers known to humanity:

 

8th grade varsity:

The first time these teams met, it was in a Granite Falls gym where the temperature cracked 80 degrees.

A lot less sluggish this time around, the Wolves dominated early and late, capturing a 25-12, 19-25, 25-23 win.

In the opening 10 minutes, the match looked as one-sided as is humanly possible.

Coupeville, behind scorching serves from Allie Lucero and Lucy Tenore, tore out to a huge lead.

After Gwen Gustafson dropped a winner during a rally set off by a sizzlin’ Taygin Jump serve, the Wolves were up 17-5 and Granite looked like a team counting down the minutes until its season ended.

The Tigers eventually woke up, and rallied a bit, but all that did was light a fire under Alita Blouin.

“The Assassin,” who is going to be a very special athlete — actually she already is — is the rare Coupeville athlete who approaches every play with the intensity of a bone-cracking hit man (or hit woman).

Off the court, Blouin has smiles for everyone, but on the floor, she seems to want to watch people (metaphorically) bleed out … and it’s beautiful to watch.

Coming hot on the heels of a sweet tip winner from running mate Maddie “Mad Dog” Georges (also a pretty solid hit woman in her own right), Blouin unleashed a service ace that redefined the word nasty.

The serve abused the Granite receiver, leaving scorch marks along both arms and forever scarring her psyche.

Just to drive the point home, Blouin’s next serve skipped off a Tiger’s arm, knocked her glasses askew, then bounded away as the Wolf ace stared down Granite’s team, not a flicker of emotion on her steely game face.

When she wasn’t serving hot death, “The Assassin” was skidding across the floor, filling up the highlight reel.

On one play, Blouin slid five feet on her knees to save a ball, then promptly popped up, hustling back into place to deliver a winner on the third CMS hit on the rally.

Granite was much more effective in the second set, but the Wolves made things difficult for them.

Vivian Farris delivered a nice run on serve, Gustafson got a return to crawl up and over the net, hanging at the top for an eternity before splashing down for a point, and Georges laid out on the floor, punching a winner while sprawled.

With high school players and coaches in attendance during a break from practice next door, Tenore cracked back-to-back slicing winners, Trinity McGee rampaged from one side of the court to the other chasing down runaway balls, and the Wolves pulled off an unexpected bang-bang play.

On that one, Hayley Fiedler smashed her return of a Granite serve, but flipped her body just a hair and sent the ball right into Blouin’s face.

Reacting without thinking, Blouin jabbed her hand and somehow caught the ball a millisecond before it connected with her noggin, spinning the ball back towards Fiedler.

As both teams watched, jaws on the floor, Fiedler completed the stunning play, sending Blouin’s accidental pass back over the net, where it dropped to the floor for the most unexpected of winners.

Even with that stunner to their credit, the Wolves couldn’t ice the match in the second set, but they were more than up to the task in the final frame.

The battlin’ Lucero twins, Maya and Allie, led the charge down the stretch, mixing up booming serves with a graceful tip winner or two, while Ryanne Knoblich crushed a spike which caught the net, flipped straight upwards, then dropped in for a point.

 

8th grade JV:

Despite strong play from Jordyn RogersCypress Socha, Jill Prince, Katie Buskala and Melanie Navarro, the Wolves fell 25-11, 25-16.

After a run of back-and-forth play in the early going, with Buskala ripping off three straight aces for CMS, Granite began to steadily pull away.

The first set had four ties, and Coupeville was up by a point twice, but once the Tigers grabbed the lead at 9-8, they never gave it back.

The second set looked like another runaway, as Granite bolted out to a 6-1 lead, but the Wolves had a few tricks up their sleeve.

After forcing a side-out, Coupeville gave the ball to Navarro and she kick-started things in the opposite direction with a run of three straight points on her serve.

One rotation later, it was Prince’s turn to fire up the ace machine at the service line, then Socha slammed a winner off of a Granite player’s toe and suddenly the Wolves had turned a five-point deficit into a 12-10 lead.

The visitors had their own high-powered servers, however, and used three long runs at the line to close the set on a match-deciding 15-4 run.

 

7th grade JV:

After being bounced 25-16 in the opening set, Coupeville came within a point of taking the second frame and earning a split  in the match.

Unfortunately for the Wolves, the Tigers had a mighty mite armed with a very-effective, and surprisingly-powerful, underhanded serve, and she ran off the final five points as Granite rebounded to edge CMS 26-24.

Coupeville got strong play from Sofia Peters, who snapped off an ace that dropped suddenly and skidded away, before returning to notch a point on a play where she punched the ball between defenders while on a full run.

Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson and Lauren Marrs keyed Coupeville’s run in the second set, both ripping off five straight points on their serve – the maximum allowed in middle school volleyball — as the Wolves built a 15-7 lead.

Marrs put some extra mustard on her winners, bashing an ace which skipped off of a Granite player’s forehead, then operating as a one-woman wrecking crew.

After sending a low, slicing serve into play on her third attempt, Marrs eventually closed out the point by going airborne and crunching a spike which launched from her own back-court and splashed down behind the defense just inches away from the line.

The next five CMS servers failed to garner a single point on their serve, however.

That blunted Coupeville’s surge, despite a great hustle play on which Brenna Silveira ran down a ball and popped it skyward, giving Kalwies-Anderson a prime opportunity to smash the put-away.

It wasn’t until Marrs once again rotated back behind the service line that the Wolves reclaimed their mojo, as she deposited yet another ace in a spot where Granite had no hope of returning the ball.

But, up 24-20, Coupeville’s luck ran out under a hail of high-arcing rainbow serves from the smallest, but deadliest, girl on the floor.

 

7th grade varsity:

Granite made it three wins in four matches with a 25-18, 25-12, 15-8 victory, playing with a quick, decisive style as the clock skipped past 7 PM.

Marrs continued to be one of the true stars of the season finale, bashing one bullet-like winner with the heel of her hand, before dropping another point on a well-placed lob.

Desi Ramirez and Jesse Ross-McMahon cracked off service winners, while Ava Mitten, Skylar Parker, Lily Meyers, Kaitlyn Leavell, Grey Peabody, Karyme Castro and Hayley Thomas all chipped in with hustle, fighting for every point.

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Hannah Davidson, elevating in an earlier game, played strongly Wednesday as CHS volleyball kept its hot streak alive. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Everybody steps up, every night.

That could be the mantra for the Coupeville High School volleyball squad, which solidified its hold on second-place in the North Sound Conference Wednesday with a gutsy four-set win at Granite Falls.

Playing without big-time masher Maya Toomey-Stout, who was home recuperating from an illness, the Wolves got strong work from other key players, and inspired play from “The Gazelle’s” replacement, Zoe Trujillo.

Pulling out a 25-13, 24-26, 25-18, 25-18 victory, Coupeville improves its record to 6-2 in league play, 9-2 overall.

That leaves the Wolves a game up on Cedar Park Christian (5-3) and two up on South Whidbey (4-4) with two to play in the battle for the league’s #2 playoff seed.

It also keeps alive the hope of the Wolves earning a share of the league title, at least mathematically.

Coupeville’s final regular-season matches are at home, Oct. 23 vs. King’s (8-0) and Oct. 25 against Sultan (0-8), when the Wolves will honor seniors Ashley Menges and Emma Smith.

Win both and have King’s be toppled by CPC in its finale, and CHS would finish in a dead-heat with the defending 1A state champs.

While Wolf fans daydream, Coupeville’s players will have five days to rest, kick various bugs and prep for the big match-up with the Knights.

Toomey-Stout and her uncanny ability to elevate, hang in mid-air for an eternity, then devastate the ball, should be back in the lineup when that royal rumble goes down.

Wednesday night, though, the other Wolves rose up and filled her (missing) shoes.

In the case of Trujillo, literally.

Zoe did a great job filling in for Maya and taking on a strong role playing all the way around,” said Coupeville coach Cory Whitmore, who is now 33-13 in his three years at the helm of the Wolf program.

“I’m proud of this group adapting and raising the level of play in order to compensate not having a key player.”

The Wolves were balanced across the board, something their coach is always pleased to see.

“Our serving was much more consistent and we did a nice job of getting Emma Smith the ball,” Whitmore said. “Scout Smith did a fantastic job of distributing the ball and our strong passing from Chelsea Prescott, Emma Mathusek, Ashley Menges and Zoe did a solid job of passing the ball in order to run our offense.

Hannah Davidson was great off one foot and had a first-set serving run that helped propel us forward,” he added. “We’re happy to pull off the road win and look forward to next week.”

Emma Smith paced the Wolf attack, shredding Granite for 11 kills, while also dominating at the net with four solo blocks and two assists on other stuffs.

Springing from one side of the court to the other, the bounce in her step never wavering, Scout Smith doled out a season-high 30 assists, while also adding three aces, two blocks and two digs.

Prescott (seven kills, six digs), Trujillo (five kills, two digs), Mathusek (18 digs), Menges (four kills, three aces, three digs), Davidson (three kills, two aces) and Lucy Sandahl (a wicked ace) all chipped in to keep CHS manager Heidi Meyers busy as she recorded team stats.

 

JV wages strong fight:

Coupeville’s young guns forced Granite Falls to a third and deciding set for the second time this season, but couldn’t quite pull out the win.

The Wolves ultimately fell 25-19, 23-25, 25-14, dropping their record to 3-5 in league, 5-6 overall.

“We lost, but we got some good work in,” said Coupeville coach Chris Smith. “We are a work in progress, but I like the improvement we are seeing.”

Sandahl, the motor which makes the JV squad run, was limited to just a single set so she would be available for duty with the illness-depleted varsity. She made good use of her time on the floor, however, recording seven assists and two service aces.

Kylie Van Velkinburgh pounded home seven kills, while Izzy Wells tallied 10 assists and five aces.

Meanwhile, the rampaging Vick sisters, Willow (five digs, four kills, two aces) and Raven (five digs, three aces) were their usual consistent, dangerous selves.

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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.

 

 

Football:

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:

http://www.nscathletics.com/tournament.php?tournament_id=2738&sport=1

 

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:

http://www.nscathletics.com/tournament.php?tournament_id=2747&sport=11

 

Volleyball:

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:

http://www.nscathletics.com/tournament.php?tournament_id=2745&sport=1

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