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Posts Tagged ‘winning streak’

Former CHS volleyball guru Toni Crebbin lays down some smack. “You come for the queen, you better not miss!!”

Pump the brakes on the hype train, at least a little bit.

While the 2019 Coupeville High School volleyball squad is off to an impressive 6-0 start, and will look to make it seven straight Saturday at Orcas Island, the current Wolves still have a ways to go to catch the standard bearers.

That’s the 2004 edition, a team which was ranked #1 in the state polls, and a team which reeled off 10 straight wins to open its season.

Those Wolves, led by all-timers like Mindy Horr, Kirsty Croghan, and Taniel Lamb, finished 14-3, rose to the top of the polls by routing the best team in 1A, and narrowly missed out on a state trophy.

Two of those losses came against the team which claimed 2nd at state, La Conner, a team Coupeville also beat twice.

When coach Toni Crebbin and her squad opened the 2004 season, they were in the Northwest A/B League, which had undergone a change from the previous year.

Archbishop Murphy had moved out, while Mount Vernon Christian, Darrington, and Shoreline Christian had moved in, joining Coupeville, Concrete, Friday Harbor, Orcas Island, and the defending league champs, La Conner.

The Wolves started hot, and never really cooled off.

After opening with a four-set win over 2A Lakewood, CHS won the Lopez Island Tournament (which doesn’t count in their win/loss record), stuffing four teams in order.

Coupeville polished off Orcas, Bridgeport, and Lopez, then demolished Liberty Bell in the tourney championship.

After that, the Wolves had a strong showing at the South Whidbey Invite, despite 12 of the 16 teams in attendance being 2A or larger.

That was all preamble to the league season, a time when CHS tore through foe after foe.

Led by seven seniors — Lamb, Horr, Laura Crandall, Heather Davis, Annie Larson, Heather Fakkema, and Kristina Morris — and featuring the explosive hitting of Croghan, those Wolves were, in some ways, a mirror image of the 2019 squad.

This year’s team features eight seniors, and a big hitter in Chelsea Prescott, who, like Croghan, is still an underclassman.

The 2004 team waxed Mount Vernon Christian, Darrington, Friday Harbor, Concrete, and Shoreline Christian to get to 6-0 and enter the state polls at #6.

Two tough matches were right around the corner, but the Wolves showed off their grit by pulling out five-set wins against both Orcas and La Conner, with both bouts decided 16-14 in the final frame.

That pushed Coupeville up to #5 in the polls, before wins over Friday Harbor and Concrete sent CHS all the way out to 10-0 and a #3 state ranking.

In every story a little rain must fall, though, and perfection ended in the very next match.

Facing La Conner with the league title at stake, the Wolves fell just short, losing 3-1.

To which, to a woman, they said, “Ha!” and came roaring right back with some of their best volleyball of the season.

Squaring off with La Conner again less than 24 hours after their loss, Coupeville avenged its honor, bouncing the Braves in a tiebreaker match, earning league and district titles in the process.

That assured the Wolves of a berth in the state tourney, as well, but they weren’t done.

They promptly swept Bellevue Christian 3-0, then whacked top-ranked Bush (and its star player, a U-Dub recruit) 3-1, to exit districts with the top seed.

The state voters noticed, and, for the first time in school history, the Wolf spikers, at 13-1, ascended to the #1 ranking in the 1A polls.

Flush with success, Coupeville rode a roller coaster ride at the state tourney, opening with a 3-1 win over Zillah for its program-record 14th win, before falling 3-1 to its old nemesis, La Conner.

Having taken the season split with the Braves, the Wolves still had a chance to advance to the 4th/7th place game, and seemed like they were well on their way, taking the first two sets in their next match.

Up 25-19, 25-14 on Freeman, things looked sensational … until they didn’t.

The third set, a taut affair, went to the “bad guys” 25-23, then Freeman rolled 25-16 in the fourth to send the match to a fifth, and deciding, frame.

While the final set normally goes to 15, you still have to win by two points, and both teams weren’t ready to leave the court, stretching things out.

Trailing 15-14 and facing match point, Coupeville got a huge kill off the back line from Croghan, before Fakkema dropped a little bump into a gap to push the Wolves in front.

From there, the action went back and forth, before ending 22-20 in favor of Freeman, the match ending on a savage service ace.

While the Wolves fell just short of earning their first state trophy in volleyball, the team racked up big-time stats in their finale.

Horr, in the final match of a career in which she was the best setter the school has seen, before, then, or now, flipped 43 assists to her teammates.

Lamb smacked 17 kills and hit on 17-18 serves, while Crandall, a Videoville/Miriam’s Espresso alumnus (so, bonus points), was 22-23 on serves and thunked 11 kills at the net.

Whether their season ended on a win or a loss, the 2004 spikers remain the gold standard for the program.

The 2017 CHS volleyball squad, the first to return to state since Crebbin’s best squad, won 13 matches under Cory Whitmore, and now this year’s team is making a run at the best start to a season.

The current Wolves are shooting for the stars.

If they get there, the 2004 squad will be there to welcome them to the top of the mountain.

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“Can’t talk, have to check my stats!” (Photo by Suzan Georges)

Scoring runs? Not a problem.

After sweeping a doubleheader from visiting Anacortes Saturday, the Central Whidbey Little League Juniors softball team has scored 15 or more times in every single one of its 11 games.

So little wonder that the Wolves, after grabbing 18-10 and 19-9 victories at Rhododendron Park, sit at a flawless 11-0.

They’re doing it with pitching, with defense, but most of all, with booming bats, opportunistic base-running, and a love for stamping their feet on home plate.

And how many times have their spikes slammed down, you ask?

Oh, just 209 times so far, which means the Wolves are averaging an uncanny 19 runs a game. No big deal.

How Saturday played out:

 

Game 1:

After throwing five runs up on the board in the bottom of the first to claim a 5-2 lead, Central Whidbey never relinquished its advantage.

Though Anacortes didn’t go down all that easily.

The visitors twice rallied to within just two runs, at 6-4 and 12-10, but both times the Wolves responded emphatically.

The first time things got momentarily tense, Central Whidbey piled up five runs in the bottom of the fourth to stretch the lead back out.

Cue Anacortes chip-chip-chippin’ away at the lead, and then the Wolves hammering their rivals one more time, with a six-run assault in the sixth sealing the win.

Wolf pitcher Gwen Gustafson held Anacortes scoreless over the game’s final two innings, with barely a flicker of danger, and it was on to game two.

Central Whidbey piled up a mountain of hits on the day, raining down 20 in just the first game.

Savina Wells and Gustafson led the way with four base-knocks apiece, with Wells collecting a pair of doubles, while Sofia Peters, Maddie Georges, and Melanie Navarro had three singles each.

Rounding out the hit parade were Vivian Farris, Jill Prince, and Cypress Socha, while Adrian Burrows and Karyme Castro saw field time as well.

 

Game 2:

If the opener was semi-close, the nightcap turned into a rout quickly.

Trailing 3-0 when they came up in the bottom of the first, the Wolves promptly threw down 13 runs, with the first 11 batters reaching base safely.

Given a lead, Farris took to the pitcher’s circle and held Anacortes at bay, while getting some solid work from her defense.

Georges ripped a triple, while Wells, Socha, Gustafson, and Peters all doubled.

Central Whidbey collected “only” 13 hits in the second game, with Georges rattling a pair of singles to go with her three-bagger, but also eked out eight walks.

Burrows and Gustafson both picked up two free passes, Wells, Peters, Navarro, and Gustafson each finished with two hits, and Farris aided her own cause with a sharply-smacked single.

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Coupeville baseball stars Jordan Bradford (left) and Camden Glover celebrate another win. (Photo by Carron Chernobieff)

Softball isn’t the only sport tearing up the Island this spring.

The Central Whidbey Little League Majors baseball team is off to a scorching start as well, rolling to a 6-1 mark.

Their latest victim was the Oak Harbor Angels, who went down hard Tuesday night, falling 17-4 to Coupeville’s diamond men.

Central Whidbey, whose only loss this season was a 1-0 thriller with South Whidbey, came out swinging the big bats against Oak Harbor.

The Wolves plated three runs in the first, thanks to a booming double from Chase Anderson and sharply-hit singles zinging off the bats of Landon Roberts and Jacob Schooley.

With Jordan Bradford dealing on the hill, peppering strikes, Central Whidbey was able to deal more easily with a number of players being out of position.

Jack and Johnny Porter are out-of-state for two weeks, so Roberts slapped on the catcher’s gear for the first time this season, while several of his teammates bounced to unfamiliar playing destinations.

Not that it mattered, as Bradford whiffed two hitters in the first, and the Wolves nailed a runner coming in to third.

Spurred on by its defensive stand, Central Whidbey opened up the offensive floodgates, sending nine runners across the plate in the second inning thanks to five hits and four walks.

Marcelo Gebhard, Anderson, Roberts, Bradford, and Schooley all had the magic touch, rifling base-knocks, and the tone was set for the rest of the game.

Bradford set two more Oak Harbor hitters down swinging, then turned the mound over to Aiden O’Neill, who made a successful season debut as a pitcher.

The Wolf reliever struck out two, before Roberts came on to play Mariano Rivera, whiffing the game’s final three would-be sluggers.

John Rachal, Camden Glover, and Roberts added base-hits down the stretch, while Anderson and Roberts teamed up for a sparkling defensive play, the Wolf shortstop pegging a nice throw that his first-baseman plucked out of the air while in a full stretch.

The Wolves get right back at it Thursday, when they travel to Windjammer Park in Oak Harbor to face off with the North Whidbey Mariners, a team they’ve already beaten once.

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Allison Nastali was a force at the plate and in the pitcher’s circle Saturday as the Central Whidbey Little League Majors softball team won again. (Photo courtesy Beth Nastali)

They liked the score so much, they reused it.

Bashing a foe 21-5 for the second-straight game, the Central Whidbey Little League Majors softball squad ran La Conner right out of town Saturday afternoon.

With the win, the scorching-hot hitters who call themselves the Hammerheads improved to 5-0 on the season, having outscored their rivals 95-20.

They also reclaimed the title of highest-scoring softball team in Coupeville.

Sitting at an even 19 runs a game, the Hammerheads edge ahead of the CWLL Juniors, who are tossing “just” 18.7 runs a night on the scoreboard.

La Conner actually led the game through an inning and a half Saturday, as hard as that might be to believe.

The visitors pushed three runs across in the top of the first, then after Central Whidbey tied the game back up, notched two more scores in the second.

And then death and destruction came raining down, as the Hammerheads used their bats to inflict grave damage on the hapless softball.

By the time Central Whidbey was done peppering hits in the bottom of the second, it had plated 14 runners and turned a 5-3 deficit into a 17-5 lead.

Four more runs in the bottom of the third, after Allison Nastali threw a perfect inning in the top half of the frame, whiffing two La Conner hitters, ended things.

Nastali, who was making her debut in the pitcher’s circle, teamed up with Taylor Brotemarkle and Chloe Marzocca to baffle the La Conner hitters.

While the Hammerhead hurlers were zipping fastballs past their rivals, the Central Whidbey bats were booming.

Mia Farris filled up the stat sheet, collecting three hits, including a triple, while knocking in a pair of runs and scoring four times herself.

And that was just the start of the offensive bonanza, as Madison McMillan used two hits to pick up five RBI, including a walk-off three-run double which ended the game, thanks to the mercy rule.

Teagan Calkins, Brionna Blouin, Marzocca, and Jada Heaton chipped in with two hits apiece, while Nastali, Mayleen Weatherford, and Katie Marti also had base-knocks.

“Everyone contributed and Allison was awesome on the mound,” said Central coach Fred Farris.

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Powered by a high-octane offense, the Central Whidbey Little League Juniors softball team is 6-0 on the season. (Susan Farris photo)

In a season of blow-outs, they had to work for this one.

The Central Whidbey Little League Juniors softball team has been destroying foes this season, culminating with a 19-3 romp Thursday over South Skagit.

Saturday afternoon the Wolves had a rematch, but on their home turf, and jumped out to a big lead.

And then, to everyone’s surprise, gave back their entire six-run lead, fell behind by a run, and had to rally for a 15-9 win in a game that went the full seven innings.

Romp or somewhat of a nail-biter, a win is a win, and this one improves Central Whidbey to a crisp 6-0 on the season.

A Wolf team which has outscored foes 112-35 so far came out swinging hot, plating seven runs in the bottom of the first to stake themselves to an early 7-1 lead.

The first seven hitters to stride to the plate reached base safely, with the trio of Jill Prince, Savina Wells, and Sofia Peters coming up big with back-to-back-to-back base hits.

But, as quickly as the offense turned on, it (somewhat surprisingly) turned off, with the Wolves going down 1-2-3 in both the second and third innings.

That slow-down gave Skagit a chance to fight its way back into the game, and the visitors did just that, scraping together a run in the second, then tossing three on the board in each of the next two innings.

The onslaught left Central Whidbey in a rare position, trailing 8-7 headed to the bottom of the fourth.

But there was no panic in the Wolf dugout, just a lot of stone-cold killers flexing their biceps as they hefted their bats and prepared to unleash a second round of “let’s whup on the pitcher.”

Just like in the first inning, it was the same hot-swinging trio who did the most damage, only with a bigger base-knock in the middle.

Prince and Peters both ripped singles, but Wells went two bases better, bashing a two-run triple to safely put Central Whidbey back in front.

The Wolves tacked on a single run in both the fifth and sixth, just to pad the lead out a bit, then coasted home with their record still unblemished.

Peters paced the offensive attack, collecting three singles, with Prince and Wells backing her with two hits apiece.

Melanie Navarro rounded out the hit parade with the team’s eighth base-knock on the afternoon.

The Wolves also walked eight times, with Gwen Gustafson, Vivian Farris, and birthday girl Maddie Georges getting aboard twice each thanks to wayward pitching.

Adrian Burrows and Navarro both walked once, with Cypress Socha, Hayley Fiedler, and Karyme Castro also seeing playing time.

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