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Posts Tagged ‘Yakima SunDome’

   Hope Lodell (1), here backed by junior Ashley Menges, is one of seven seniors who led CHS volleyball to its first state berth in 13 years. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

   Young fans sent the Wolves off to Yakima in style Thursday. (Susan Wenzel photo)

   Junior Emma Smith made it to state in her third season as a varsity player. (Wenzel photo)

   Sophomores (l to r) Emma Mathusek, Maya Toomey-Stout and Scout Smith are planning repeat trips to Eastern Washington. (Charlotte Young photo)

   Chelsea Prescott was the lone freshman to see varsity action this year. (Wenzel photo)

   Allison Wenzel, one of Coupeville’s seniors, the Magnificent Seven. (Susan Wenzel photo)

   Wenzel’s compatriots are (l to r), manager Kayla Rose, Lodell, Katrina McGranahan, Kyla Briscoe, Payton Aparicio, Lauren Rose and, in front, Mikayla Elfrank. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

From also-ran to powerhouse.

The seven Coupeville High School seniors who capped their volleyball careers Friday at the 1A state tourney in Yakima are responsible for an amazing turnaround.

While the Wolves couldn’t escape from an astonishingly-tough draw which pitted them against three of the state’s top six teams in the “Group of Death,” the spikers finished off their school’s best run in 13 years.

Coupeville took a set from undefeated, sixth-ranked Castle Rock in its opener, before falling 25-8, 22-25, 25-8, 25-9.

The Wolves then found themselves face-to-face with #1 Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls), the defending state champs, who hadn’t lost a set all year until being upended by #4 King’s.

The Eastern Washington juggernaut stayed alive with a 25-12, 25-10, 25-16 win, ending Coupeville’s season at 13-5.

Also headed home from Yakima is fellow Island squad South Whidbey, which lost to Charles Wright Academy and Naches Valley.

King’s plays Lynden Christian in one semifinal Saturday, while Cascade (Leavenworth) meets Chelan, which rallied from down two sets to one to CWA.

While the Wolves will not be hanging a state banner this year, their season stands with the best in program history.

The 13 wins ties the 2004 squad, the last to make it to state, for the most in a single season by a CHS spiker unit.

Along the way, Coupeville won a second-straight Olympic League crown, rolling to a 9-0 conference mark without dropping a set.

Contrast that against 2014, when three of the seven current seniors — Kyla Briscoe, Lauren Rose (and, in a late season cameo) Katrina McGranahan — played for a team which finished 1-11 under Breanne Smedley.

McGranahan, Allison Wenzel, Hope Lodell and Payton Aparicio were the core of a JV team that went 4-5 under Amy King that season during the first year of the then new four-team Olympic League.

As sophomores, Lodell, Aparicio and McGranahan made the full-time jump to varsity, and the Wolves improved to 6-10, including a district playoff win on their home floor against Seattle Christian.

The JV was the first to break through to a winning record, as Heidi Wyman guided the 2015 team to a 7-4 mark.

The big jump came in 2016, with Wenzel moving up to varsity and Mikayla Elfrank arriving from South Whidbey to make it a seven-pack.

Actually six, since a leg injury sidelined big-hitting Briscoe all season.

With Cory Whitmore sliding into the head coaching job after Smedley returned to her alma mater in Columbia River, the Wolves went 11-6, including an 8-1 run to capture a league title.

Kristin Bridges, making it three JV coaches in as many seasons, went 12-2 and the ascent continued.

For those who didn’t think there was much room left to improve, well, you were wrong.

This season Whitmore’s varsity, for the first time featuring all seven Class of 2018 spikers together on the same roster, zipped through a 12-2 regular season, then split two matches at districts.

A win over Cascade Christian, the school which knocked it out of the playoffs two years earlier, sent the Wolves back to Yakima.

And the JV?

Playing for new coach Chris Smith, with the help of now veteran assistant Ashley Herndon (the only coach to be on scene all four years), went 12-1.

That bodes well for the Wolves, who will have seven open roster spots when they return to chase a third-straight league crown and another trip to Yakima.

For the moment, though, the spotlight firmly remains on the splendid senior class, which includes five girls who came within a single strike of making it to state in softball last season.

This time, they broke through, and did it in style.

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