CHS volleyball team losses 2 but earns respect

Respect has to be earned, and the Coupeville volleyball team made a positive step toward getting that recognition from the Cascade Conference’s top clubs, King’s and Archbishop Murphy, this week.

Coupeville, playing at home, lost to both: 3-1 to Archbishop Murphy Wednesday and 3-0 to King’s Thursday. The pair of defeats weren’t total losses as the Wolves realized how close they are to competing against the best.

At the beginning of the season the Wolves were picked to finish seventh out of eight teams in a poll of the league coaches. The Coupeville girls and coach Toni Crebbin believed they were better than that; however, they knew they couldn’t just believe it, but they had to prove it on the court.

After losing to talented Archbishop Murphy on Wednesday, the Wolves, playing their third match in four days, then had to take on defending state champion and currently No. 1 ranked King’s. Coupeville lost 18-25, 11-25, 15-25.

Crebbin said, “We played a lot of defense; they are definitely the better team. We just didn’t put it all together. I think the girls were frustrated from the night before and it affected our cohesiveness.”

Coupeville, Crebbin said, didn’t play its best, but it was good enough to get the attention of the Knights. King’s head coach Steve Bain told Crebbin after the match, “You guys are the toughest team we have played this year.” This coming from the coach whose team won its division in the prestigious SunDome Tournament in Yakima last weekend against some of the historically toughest teams in the state.

Respect. For the time being, mission accomplished.

While King’s won all three games, the scrappy Wolves made them fight for every point and the victory was far from a breeze. Except for one game, the match the night before had a similar script.

In Wednesday’s 25-23, 9-25, 21-25, 11-25 loss to undefeated Archbishop Murphy, it didn’t take long for Coupeville to get the favored Wildcats’ attention and respect.

No team led by more than two points in the Wolves’ win in the first game, and Archbishop Murphy seemed frustrated that Coupeville wouldn’t fold from the Wildcats’ heavy attack. On the contrary, the Coupeville offense kept coming hard, even late in the game when some teams go conservative, afraid of making hitting mistakes.

In the second game, Coupeville’s defense, so good at setting up its offense in the first game, faltered and the Wildcats cruised to an easy win. Crebbin said, “We played reactively instead of going on the attack.”

Coupeville found itself behind by eight points three different times in the third game, but each time clawed its way back into the game. Eventually the Wolves ran out of time to rally for the win, reeling off four straight points before the Wildcats got the game winner.

Archbishop Murphy took the fourth game and the match as it slowly pulled away in a set that was closer and more evenly fought than the score might indicate.

Coupeville is now 2-2 for the season and 1-2 in league. Even after the two losses, Crebbin said her team is in a good place right now mentally, understanding how close they are to being among the league’s elite and knowing they are making a positive impression in the conference. She added that the season is still young and “a lot can happen in the next 12 games.”

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