Fall preview: Coupeville High School volleyball

In spite of her team’s youth, coach Toni Crebbin expects the Coupeville High School volleyball team to challenge the league’s best this year.

Last fall, the Wolves (8-6, 10-8) finished third in the Cascade Conference race behind King’s and Archbishop Thomas Murphy. That third place helped Crebbin earn co-coach of the year honors after the Wolves were predicted to finish seventh in the preseason poll.

Crebbin expects King’s and ATM to be the teams to beat again this year, and added “but we are going to give them our best shot.”

The Wolves return just two starters and most likely will start three sophomores, Crebbin said. But the youth doesn’t mean CHS is inexperienced.

Leading the way is outside hitter Jessica Riddle, who, as a freshman last year, earned first-team all-conference honors. The other returning starter is junior Katie Smith, who will man the right side again.

Three (and maybe four) other letter winners return: senior Laura Chan (setter/libero), senior Tauni Moody (hitter) and sophomore Hannah Christensen (hitter).

The wild card is senior middle hitter Kyra Ilyankoff. A starter last year, Ilyankoff injured a knee late in the season and is still recovering from surgery.

Crebbin said, “She (Ilyankoff) is practicing now, but limited; we’ll see how it goes.”

Because of injuries to several Wolves last fall, sophomore Bessie Walstad (hitter) and junior Taya Boonstra (setter/libero) were thrust into varsity action in the playoffs. Crebbin said they, along with junior Alexis Trumbull, could “find themselves in key roles this year.”

Crebbin said she expects the Wolves to be in the top three in the league again this year and “would love to get back to state.”

She said although her girls are young, they “have a lot of enthusiasm and love of the game, and most of them played club this winter, so I think that will get us far.”

She added, “Another strength is that I have a lot of girls who can play multiple positions. It’s just going to take a bit of playing around to find the right combination.”

Coupeville begins the season at home with Friday Harbor Wednesday, Sept. 8, at 4:30 p.m.

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