Spring sports preview: Coupeville High School soccer

Anchored by a strong defense, the Coupeville soccer team aims to reach the state playoffs for the third time in four years.

Seven lettermen return to lead the attack for coach Paul Mendes: seniors Zach Forland (keeper, defender), David Hefflinger (midfielder), Taylor Phillips (defender) and Dylan Tack (midfielder, forward); juniors Nathan Lamb (midfielder) and Luke Pelant (defender); and sophomore Sean Donley (forward, midfielder).

Key newcomers in-clude freshman Jeremy Copenhaver, junior Josh Wilsey and senior JP Ward.

Mendes said Copenhaver has “looked sharp and skillful in preseason,” Wilsey has “improved in all aspects of his game, and is now looking to be one of our play makers,” and Ward, is “stepping up to fill the void at striker/forward.”

Mendes said, “We lost our highest number of seniors (10) to graduation. This (year’s) group is not as large, but they have been eager to step up and take on the challenge.”

The Wolves’ defense, Mendes said, is the team’s strength.

Defenders Forland, Phillips and Pelant return from last spring, and “midfielders Dylan Tack and Nathan Lamb should be instrumental in linking our defense to our offense, and hopefully score some goals along the way,” Mendes said.

The multi-talented Forland will start in goal, Mendes said. “If other goalkeepers step up, Zach might play other positions as well.”

“Inexperience at the forward goal-scoring positions” is the team’s weak spot, according to Mendes.

Mendes said it is the team’s goal “to progress this season and to get in the tournament again.” He added, “If we advance to the quarter finals of state, we will make history for the program.”

The Wolves were 6-11-1 in 2011, and they open this season Saturday, March 17, at home with Port Townsend at 2 p.m.

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