Coupeville brings back three

For four straight years the Coupeville volleyball team has advanced to Yakima and the class 1A state tournament.

CHS head coach Toni Crebbin wants nothing more than to make it a fifth.

“We have hopes of being there again,” she said.

In order to do so, Crebbin knows it will take some superb play from athletes who have never made the trip to the Sundome.

The Wolves return just three athletes from last year’s team as seven graduated and two were unable to play this season.

“I only have three returners, but I have three returners with a lot of experience, which is going to be key,” she said.

Those coming back include 5-foot-8 senior middle blocker Kirsty Croghan.

“She’s started ever since she was a freshman,” Crebbin said.

Also expected to come up big at the net the season is 6-foot senior Jennifer Bailey.

“She’s looking pretty strong in the middle,” Crebbin said.

Croghan and Bailey played together in the summer on the same club team and Crebbin said they are both looking sharp.

Senior Beth Mouw has also started in different positions for the Wolves over the last three years. This season she will take over as the setter.

“Beth’s coming in and looking very strong in her setting skills,” Crebbin said.

The Wolves also have some girls moving up from junior varsity that should play a large role – in particular senior Jessica Graham, who saw a lot of time and was very successful last season.

Even though they are limited in varsity experience, Crebbin has a strong feeling about this year’s team and its camaraderie.

“I keep telling these girls whatever they have in inexperience, they make up for in heart,” she said. “I have a team that has a huge love for the game.”

In order for the Wolves to make a fifth consecutive appearance to the state tournament, they will have to go through the usual suspect, La Conner.

The Braves battle year in, year out with the Wolves for the top spot in league. Coupeville managed to take it from them last year, but then La Conner knocked them into the losers’ bracket of the state tournament during the second round.

“They’re going to be the ones to beat,” Crebbin said. “I think we’ll be right up there with them.”

The Wolves will have a tough non-league schedule this year, facing 3A South Whidbey along with 2A Kings and fellow state competitor, Life Christian.

“We probably have the hardest preseason we’ve had in a while,” Crebbin said.

Coupeville started its season Wednesday against South Whidbey. They played Lakewood Friday and will host Life Christian at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 13.

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