Sports

Wolves eliminated after close matches in volleyball sub-district

Local manicurists may want to head to Coupeville and check out anyone connected with the Wolves' volleyball team.

It was a nail-biter day for Coupeville at the sub-district Saturday at Lynden Christian High School where the Wolves were eliminated in three matches.

Coupeville edged Nooksack Valley 3-2, lost to Lynden Christian 3-0, then was nipped by Meridian 3-2.

Things were tense right out of the chute for the Wolves. In their opening, loser-out match against Nooksack Valley (1-13), Coupeville dropped the first two tightly fought games 25-23, 25-21. On the verge of elimination and the end of the season, the Wolves squeaked out a heart-stopping 26-24 win in the third set.

The win propelled them to two more tense wins, 25-22, 15-12, and a berth in the double-elimination winners' bracket.

Next up was Lynden Christian (14-1). Earlier in the week the Lyncs knocked off the state's top-ranked 2A team, Burlington-Edison, to earn a tie for the 3A-2A-1A Northwest Conference championship. Although the Lyncs swept Coupeville 3-0, the Wolves did not go easily in the 25-15, 25-13, 25-22 match.

Coupeville coach Toni Crebbin said the first two games "were 10-10" before Lynden Christian pulled away. She said her team was not intimidated, even after losing the first two games and went toe-to-toe with the Lyncs in the final game. She said the girls "never doubted for a minute they could win."

Lynden Christian, the sixth-ranked 1A team in the state, surely will move up in the ratings. Not only did they knock off Burlington-Edison, but after beating Coupeville they went on to defeat the state's top ranked 1A team, King's 3-0, for the sub-district title.

The loss to the Lyncs dropped the Wolves into a battle with Meridian (6-9) for the third and final berth to the tri-district tournament.

True to the spirit of the day, the Meridian match was another assault on one's blood pressure and finger nails.

The Trojans won the first game 25-19 in what turned out to be the most "lopsided" set of the match. Coupeville evened it up with a 25-22 win in game two. Meridian won by the same score in game three.

Coupeville faced match point, 24-22, in the next set but rallied for a 28-26 victory.

Meridian slipped by 15-13 in the gut-wrenching final game.

Corbin said, "When it was 10-10, I turned to Shannon (Carroll, Crebbin's assistant coach) and said, 'win or lose, there is going to be a ton of emotion after this game.'"

She was right. She said, "The girls were shocked by the loss, fully disappointed. They expected to go on."

Freshman Jessica Riddle tallied 30 kills and 86 digs at sub-district. Senior Michelle Riddle added 22 kills, and senior co-captain Julie Swankie had 91 assists.

Co-captain Jessica Blanchette and Kaylie Kellison were the other senior Wolves playing their final matches.

Although the season ended sooner than the Wolves hoped, they still earned a sense of vindication in Cascade Conference play. In the preseason coaches' poll, the Wolves were picked to finish seventh in the eight-team league. Coupeville (8-6, 10-8) placed third, trailing only state ranked King's and Archbishop Thomas Murphy. The Wolves and King's are the only 1A schools in the 2A-dominated league.

Crebbin said, "We would like to think we earned some respect."

Crebbin recapped the season by saying, "The team bonded so well; we had fun."

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