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Vivian Farris was sensational Thursday, as she and the Wolf C-Team pulled off a truly stunning comeback win. (Brian Vick photos)

“We’re just here to take all the wins, baby!!”

Al Michaels called. He doesn’t believe it.

The announcer who gave the world “Do you believe in miracles?” ran out of words when confronted with what went down in South Whidbey’s #2 gym Thursday night.

Down a set and coming back to win? Sure.

Facing 12 consecutive match points and fighting them all off? Um…

Pulling together as a team and playing absolute flawless volleyball for five torrid minutes, the Coupeville High School C-Team volleyball squad shocked the crowd (and anyone reading this), while ripping out the collective hearts of their next door neighbors.

Reading the score, which came out 19-25, 25-16, 28-26 in favor of the Wolves doesn’t do it total justice.

And, as fate would have it, I wasn’t in the room for this one, as both the Coupeville JV and C-Team were playing at the same time, and I chose the main gym, where there was a pretty intense match-up of its own.

But the C-Team squad dodging death, destruction and what would have been its first loss to anyone other than the juggernaut known as King’s, was obviously the match of the night.

Possibly of the season.

“I can’t feel my face!”

“Is this real life?”

“Oh lord, where’s my pacemaker???”

“I’m just saying, there should be a 2-for-1 deal on hot dogs for all Wolf fans after that one…”

All pertinent comments coming out of the mouths of dazed, confused and deliriously happy Coupeville fans as they exited the side gym to rejoin their brethren in the big room.

The win lifts the Wolf spikers to 6-1 in league play, 7-1 overall, but is bigger, much bigger.

This is the kind of victory, the kind of jolt to the psyche of all involved, which can launch a thousand future celebrations.

Bouncing back from an early deficit, one of the few they have faced this season, Krimson Rector’s squad of furious fightin’ freshmen came roaring back multiple times.

A dominating performance in set two evened things up, but the Falcons seemed to have recovered, up 24-12 in the third frame, needing just a single, solitary point to get over the top.

It was a point which never came, as Wolf Vivian Farris, channeling the spirit of Lauren Rose, the calmest server in CHS volleyball history, went off on a tear at the line.

One point, two points, five points, the collar constricting around every Falcon’s neck, and the “we’ve got this” spirit growing in the soul of each Coupeville player.

All the way back to 24-24 the Wolves came, and then the two squads went at it in the middle of the ring, pounding shots to the ribs and refusing to fall.

Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson came up with big plays for CHS, and then the battlin’ Lucero twins, Allie and Maya, sealed the deal.

The final point was a wild one, with a return allegedly bouncing off a basketball backboard, before Coupeville put South Whidbey out of its misery.

At least for the moment.

Ten years from now, when a random Falcon player thinks back on this night, she may start screaming for no reason.

It’s possible. Very possible.

For the Wolves however, for Rector and her rampaging crew of win-happy big hitters, this will be one for the memory books.

The cold hard facts will show Ryanne Knoblich led the air attack, smacking seven kills, while Jordyn Rogers (3), Kalwies-Anderson (2), Farris (1), and Allie Lucero (1) all chipped in.

At the line, Gwen Gustafson popped a team-best four service aces, with Rogers, Farris, and Maya Lucero throwing down three apiece.

But, as is always the case with epic matches like this, it’s about more than just the stats.

It’s about Gustafson charging out of the side gym and bear-hugging a teammate as she told her the final score.

It’s about the Lucero twins, relating the tale of the final, frantic moments, words tumbling out, then dissolving into huge smiles as dad Aaron beamed like the sun over the Serengeti.

It’s about Rector, poppin’ gum and pumpin’ fists, as she rambled into the big gym to join fellow Wolf coaches Cory Whitmore and Chris Smith for the varsity contest.

It’s about the future of Coupeville volleyball. A future which seems to have few limitations.

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Zoe Trujillo stepped up big Thursday night, helping Coupeville volleyball sweep South Whidbey in straight sets. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Emma Mathusek and friends are 11-1 heading into Senior Night.

The freight train keeps rumblin’ down the track, wrecking almost everything in its way.

Overcoming a young, but feisty South Whidbey squad Thursday, the Coupeville High School varsity volleyball team continues to match the best start in program history.

Pulling out a 25-20, 25-17, 25-23 win on the road in Langley, during a rumble in which they came back from a 10-1 deficit in the final set, the Wolves improve to 6-1 in North Sound Conference play, 11-1 overall.

Coupeville sits a game off of King’s (7-0, 11-0) in the race for a title, and is a win away from clinching at least second-place in league play.

The Wolves, who have three regular season bouts left, starting with Senior Night Tuesday against Granite Falls, have matched the 2004 CHS spikers for the best record through 12 matches.

But, while they won in straight sets Thursday, it wasn’t a walk-over.

The Falcons, led by freshman Morgan Batchelor, who was ferocious at the net all night, led in every set, but ultimately broke when the much-more experienced Wolves fully bared their teeth.

Eight of Coupeville’s 12 varsity players are seniors, and they are a pack which has played together through middle and high school.

Their CHS days have come under the guidance of coach Cory Whitmore, who took the helm of the program as the current seniors arrived on campus as freshmen.

Together, coach and players have produced four straight seasons of 11 or more wins, two league titles (so far), and a trip to state in 2017.

They may bend at times, but the Wolves rarely break, as South Whidbey was reminded once again.

With a hyped-up crowd behind them, the Falcons jumped out to an 8-5 lead in the first set, before Coupeville used its strong team-wide serving to take control.

Maya Toomey-Stout was the first Wolf to go off, putting together a run of four straight points, with a huge spike from Zoe Trujillo and a Hannah Davidson kill which caught the top of the net and flopped over, helping to spark things.

With the score knotted at 10-10, that brought Wolf captain Scout Smith to the line, and the Falcon faithful to their feet.

To their credit, the South Whidbey student section brought the hootin’, the hollerin’, and the good-natured harassin’, yet they forgot one thing.

Nothing ruffles Scout Smith. Nothing.

Perhaps her insides are a cauldron of bubbling anxiety, but, if so, she never, ever betrays it.

Instead, Smith, like her brothers before her, just placidly stares ahead, ignores the din, and unleashes winner after winner.

With her serves, and her flawless passes, paving the way, Scoutosaurus Rex set the table, and Trujillo and Maddie Vondrak dined out, lashing winners and leading group cheers afterwards.

Up 16-10 after Smith’s service run, the Wolves got a five-spot from Raven Vick, who was crackin’ off lasers on her serve, and Coupeville stretched the lead out.

Batchelor refused to bend the knee, however, crashing a pair of eye-popping kills off the back corner, including one which held off set point, at least for a moment.

But what was meant to be was meant to be, as Toomey-Stout, once herself a preternaturally-talented freshman, and now a battle-hardened senior, came flying in to finish off the set.

Exploding skyward, scanning the Falcons for a weakness, “The Gazelle” locked and loaded, her arm rearranging the molecules of the volleyball as she pounded a final kill, angling it off a rival’s arm and out of bounds.

The second set was more of the same, with Batchelor playing like a star, but Coupeville responding with danger from every angle.

Lucy Sandahl was a delight at the service stripe, while Toomey-Stout, Davidson, Trujillo and Vondrak brought the heat with a tantalizing variety of kills, stuffs, and tips.

Coupeville took the lead quicker in set two, never surrendering it once up 4-3.

Trujillo, playing in front of big sis Valen, herself a CHS volleyball all-timer, upheld family honor with an especially-strong performance.

A late service ace off of Zoe’s fingertips was a true marvel, diving and burrowing under a Falcon player’s arms.

The less said about the first third of the final set, probably the better, as the Wolves, for a few minutes, seemed to collectively forget how to play their chosen sport.

But, a few quiet words from Whitmore later, Coupeville righted the ship and did so in a hurry.

Sandahl started the comeback with a six-point run at the line, several big kills from Davidson pulled the Wolves closer, and then, bam, Trujillo was once again the woman on the spot, slamming a ball off of a Falcon’s chin to push CHS up 15-14.

Even then, Batchelor and Co. kept coming, yanking the lead back and going up as far as 23-19.

With the crowd noise surging, and momentum seemingly slipping away from the Wolves, Coupeville needed a big-time play to turn the tide a final time.

Enter Toomey-Stout, who forced a side-out with a floor-shaking kill, and Vondrak, who ended the match with a five-point run at the line.

And exit to the bus a happy Whitmore, who has guided Coupeville volleyball to a .730 winning percentage (46-17) during his time on the Wolf bench.

“It was good to come out on top versus an improved South Whidbey team,” he said.

If he scanned the stat sheet on the short jaunt back to Cow Town, Whitmore saw a very-balanced attack, with Smith (25 assists, seven digs, two aces, two kills) and Toomey-Stout (11 kills, 16 digs, two aces) leading the way.

Davidson (eight kills, two blocks), Trujillo (five kills, three aces, four digs), Vondrak (four kills, two aces), Vick (two digs), Sandahl (two aces, four digs), Emma Mathusek (seven digs) and Lucy Tenore also joined in on the fun.

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Kylie Chernikoff brings the thunder and the lightning. (Brian Vick photo)

It helps when you have the best player on the floor.

Thursday night’s JV volleyball match-up between South Whidbey and visiting Coupeville was competitive, tense, a back-and-forth rumble.

And then Kylie Chernikoff went off, plucking every last feather off the Falcons.

Paced by their stellar star, who rocketed her way to a 13 kill, eight dig, three service ace performance, the Wolves came out on top 25-21, 21-25, 25-15.

With the win, Coupeville rises to 6-1 in North Sound Conference play, 9-2 overall.

To get to the finish line and take a season sweep from their next door neighbors, the Wolves had to overcome a few rough moments along the way.

All of that faded into the mist which hung over the SWHS parking lot, as Coupeville exited on a major high, riding big-time serving and bigger-time kills to run wild in the third, and deciding set.

Every Wolf to step to the line in the final set went off on a run, with Jaimee Masters and Taygin Jump leading the way with four straight points on their serve.

Jump lashed back-to-back aces to bust open the set, but it was Chernikoff, lurking, waiting, anticipating, then exploding and decimating, who put the fear of God into her rivals.

One spike tore off a Falcon player’s arm, leaving it flopping uselessly on the floor (maybe I’m slightly exaggerating, but just slightly…), while another Chernikoff masterpiece was delivered from her own back-court, yet still ripped a chunk out of South Whidbey’s back line.

A sweet little running tip for a winner from Jump sweetened the deal, before scorching serves from Maddie Georges, Heidi Meyers, and Abby Mulholland softened up the defense.

And then … oh, good sweet lord, hide the women and children … Kylie is trying to kill people again!!

Chernikoff’s final thunderous spike, which put Coupeville a point away from winning the match, erupted off of her hand like a bolt of lightning, made every hair on the back of Wolf coach Chris Smith’s neck stand up and salute, and almost broke the universe itself.

Six South Whidbey players saw the blast coming, and six South Whidbey players decided they’d rather stay out of the way and live to breathe another day.

After that, the final point of the match, a low, screaming, extremely nasty ace from Mulholland, was impressive, and yet almost an afterthought as the gym support beams continued to shake from Chernikoff’s spike.

The strong finish brought a positive ending to a match which went back-and-forth for much of the way.

Despite getting strong work at the net from Anya Leavell (slicing winners left and right) and Jill Prince (rejecting and stuffing would-be Falcon kills), the Wolves didn’t lead in the opening set until 10-9.

The frame was tied as late as 16-16, and each time CHS started to pull away, thanks to Georges winning a tip battle or Masters flicking a winner over the heads of a pulled-in defense, South Whidbey rallied.

Down by five points, back within two, and then, ladies and gentlemen, we have Ms. Chernikoff getting, as my notes put it, “freakin’ savage.”

With the set hanging in the balance, the JV’s most dangerous assassin crunched a mammoth shot which parted the fleeing Falcons like Moses doing his thing at the Red Sea.

The Wolves almost repeated the scenario in the second set, with Mulholland holding court at the service line, Leavell floating tip winners, and Chernikoff abusing every last volleyball which dared to enter her air space.

South Whidbey fought hard, though, and found a little something extra to take the set and send things to a deciding showdown.

Where Chernikoff was waiting to whack ’em.

She got plenty of support, with Georges (three aces, four assists), Jump (four kills, three aces), Mulholland (two kills, four aces), and Alita Blouin (three digs, two assists) also filling up the stat sheet.

Masters (two kills, one ace), Leavell (four kills), Prince (two kills) and Meyers (two digs) added to the strong team effort, with Ivy Leedy providing advice and support while in street clothes on the bench.

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Coupeville’s Katie Marti sends the ball skyward during a recent match. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Three matches, three very different outcomes.

The Coupeville Middle School volleyball squads hit the highway Wednesday, headed up to the wilds of Everett to face off with swanky Northshore Christian Academy.

Once there, the Wolves came within a set of winning two of the three bouts, before eventually taking a loss in each rumble.

How the day played out:

 

Level 1:

Coupeville’s top aces fell 25-14, 25-13 in the first two sets, then rallied to take the third frame 15-9.

The loss drops the Wolves to 1-7 on the season, with matches against South Whidbey (Oct. 21 at home) and Lakewood (Oct. 24 on the road) left on the schedule.

Mia Farris had the hot hand for CMS, picking up 10 points off of her serve, while Chloe Marzocca netted eight, and the tandem of Lyla Stuurmans and Grey Peabody recorded six apiece.

Rounding out the attack were Taylor Brotemarkle, Olivia Schaffeld, and Katie Marti, who each tossed four points onto the score sheet.

 

Level 2:

The day’s closest match, with CMS taking the opening set 25-21, NSA rebounding to edge the Wolves 25-22 in the second frame, and then the hosts taking the match with a 15-9 third set.

The razor-thin loss drops Coupeville’s most-successful team to 5-3 on the season.

Three Wolves were especially effective with the volleyball in their hands, as Brionna Blouin (14 points), Jada Heaton (12), and Madison McMillan (11) topped Wolf servers.

Also scoring for CMS were Ava Mitten (5), Allison Nastali (4), Issabel Johnson (3), Laila Wenzel (3), Aby Wood (2), and Skylar Parker (2).

 

Level 3:

Coupeville lost all three sets, but narrowed the margin in each, eventually falling 25-11, 25-14, 15-10.

The young Wolves are 1-7 on the season.

Hayley Thomas topped the points charts, rolling up eight, while Maryah Love and Bryley Gilbert amassed six apiece.

Jackie Contreras (4), Jones Walther (4), Kaylee Clark (2), Kassidy Upchurch (2), Bailey Thule (2), and Gabriella Becktell (1) rounded out the Wolf scoring.

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Vivian Farris crunched four kills Tuesday as the Coupeville C-Team volleyball spikers rolled to their sixth win in seven matches. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Unleash the wrecking crew.

Each time Coupeville High School C-Team volleyball coach Krimson Rector has sent her spikers to the floor this season, they have delivered a stellar performance.

After thumping host Cedar Park Christian Tuesday, the Wolf freshmen sit at a tidy 5-1 in North Sound Conference play, 6-1 overall.

That non-conference victory came against 2A Anacortes, while Coupeville’s only loss was a three-set war with undefeated King’s in which the Wolf C-Team came as close as any squad has to unseating the Knights this year.

Facing off for the second time with Cedar Park, Coupeville controlled play Tuesday, especially at the service line, where the battlin’ Lucero twins, Allie and Maya, delivered eight aces apiece.

Jordyn Rogers added five aces, while Gwen Gustafson and Vivian Farris both picked up one, as well.

“The girls played great with a new lineup,” Rector said.

At the net, the Wolves were opportunistic and brutally-efficient, with Rogers leading the squad with six kills.

She was joined by Ryanne Knoblich (5), Farris (4), and Maya Lucero (1).

With a trip Thursday to South Whidbey next on the agenda, the young Wolves are in the stretch run, with four more matches between now and Oct. 28.

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