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Coupeville makes history, advances in district
By TIM ADAMS
Prior to the start of Tuesday’s district play-in soccer game against Nooksack Valley, Coupeville coach Paul Mendes said the Pioneers were a hard-working, quick team that likes to play the long ball.
“They don’t play it up the middle very much and keep possession, so we are hoping to use our passing game to control the ball,” he said.
In the end, ball control was the deciding factor and the Wolves advanced to Thursday’s Class 1A District 1 game in Meridian with a 4-0 victory.
Coupeville scored at the 28-minute mark of the first half on a header by senior Geoff Wacker off an assist by Ben Hayes and as the game progressed, it turned out that was the only score the Wolves would need.
The Wolf Pack put a rush on Pioneer keeper Chris Huttema and when Hayes made a great crossing pass in front of the crease, Wacker was right there to put the ball away.
“It took us a while to get our game going because they were aggressive and they played a tough, pack-the-middle-type of game,” Mendes said. “Our passing got going and eventually it opened things up.”
Coupeville held on to the 1-0 lead until Mitch Stevenson made the score 2-0 five minutes into the second half of play beating Nooksack Valley keeper Victor Luna on a penalty kick.
Stevenson’s goal was the first of three that Coupeville would score in the second half.
Sam Berggren gave the Wolves some breathing space, tallying an unassisted goal at the 69-minute mark to up the lead to 3-0.
Then, with six minutes remaining in the contest, Jack Caselden took the ball upfield in front of the Coupeville bench and fed teammate Zeb Williams, who beat Luna with the final goal of the game.
“By the end of it, I thought we were in full control of the game, it just took us awhile to break them,” Mendes said. “We controlled the ball and got them started chasing, which tired them out. Most importantly, we were able to keep our cool under playoff conditions.”
Evan Ameluxen-Coleman recorded the shutout in the net for Coupeville.
Coupeville 1, Meridian 0
At Bellingham Thursday afternoon, the Wolves advanced to the 1A Bi-District playoffs with a 1-0 victory over Meridian.
The game was scoreless through two overtime periods before Coupeville claimed the match with a 5-4 win in a shootout.
Mendes put Isaac Wacker, known as “El Goto, the Cat” to his teammates because of his speed and quickness, in goal for the final minute of the second overtime period and the shootout, replacing Coleman.
The switch paid off when Wacker stopped the first of Meridian’s penalty kicks.
Coupeville scored on all five of its attempts and Stevenson ended the game by putting the fifth shot in the net.
Mendes said reaching the 1A District title game is the furthest a Coupeville soccer team has gone in the history of the program.
The Wolf Pack plays King’s High School in the District 1 championship game at 1 p.m. today, Saturday, May 9, at