Spring sports preview: Coupeville soccer

Buoyed by the most successful four-year run in school history, the 2013 Coupeville High School boys soccer team wants to stick its name in the record book.

Twice in the past four years the Wolves qualified for the state tournament, just missing last spring when they dropped a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Cedar Park Christian. Coupeville finished the year with a respectable 10-8 record even though it was the smallest and only 1A school in the rugged Cascade Conference.

This year, with a strong senior class and the nucleus of last year’s team returning, Coupeville is ready to crash the state tournament again.

Coach Paul Mendes said one of the team’s goals is to return to state, adding , “If we advance to the quarterfinals of state, we will make history for the program.”

Heading the quest for state are returning lettermen seniors Luke Pelant (defender), Nathan Lamb (midfielder), Josh Wilsey (midfielder), Kole Kellison (goalkeeper) and Nathan Kircher (forward); juniors Sean Donley (forward/midfielder) and Brett Arnold (defender); and sophomore Jeremy Copenhaver (forward).

Mendes said,  “Our defense kept us in a lot of games last year. We graduated our sweeper Taylor Phillips, but Luke Pelant will provide the leadership in our defensive core. His reading of the game, poise, athleticism and passing skills will set a fine example for the newcomers.

“Returner Josh Wilsey will help shore up the defense and provide good distribution out of the back.”

Offensively, Mendes said, Lamb, Donley and Copenhaver are “all very fit and capable of scoring and setting each other up.” He added, “They have worked very hard to sharpen their game and are ready to go. They should be fun to watch.”

Key newcomers, according to Mendes, are senior Jacob Lovell and freshmen Zane Bundy and Dawson d’Almeida.

Lovell has improved all aspects of his game, Bundy has looked sharp and is pushing for playing time, and d’Almeida has good quickness and technique, according to Mendes.

One of the team’s strong points is its leadership, Mendes said, with the returnees and additional seniors Tim Quinn, Danny Savalza and Lovell “eager to make the most of their last opportunity.”

The Wolves go to Friday Harbor at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 12. The first home match is at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 26, with South Whidbey.

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