Displaying mettle to go along with their talent, the Coupeville High School volleyball team won a winner-to-state, loser-out match 3-1 over Cascade Christian Saturday, Nov. 4, at the District 3 1A tournament at Charles Wright Academy.
With the win, the Wolves return to the state tournament for the first time since 2004.
Coupeville (13-3) faces undefeated Trico champion and sixth-ranked Castle Rock (16-0) at 3:15 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10, in the opening round of the double-elimination state tournament held in Yakima’s SunDome.
The Wolves will meet either top-ranked and defending champion Lakeside of 9 Mile Falls (16-0) or fourth-ranked King’s (15-2), the Cascade Conference co-champion, in the second round.
Coupeville has lost only three matches this year — two at the hands of Bellevue Christian.
The Vikings defeated the Wolves in a non-league match during the regular season and then 3-1 (19-25, 25-23, 19-25, 23-25) in the opening round of the district tournament.
That dropped Coupeville into the match for third and fourth place, with the winner moving on to state and the loser going home.
The Wolves slipped by Cascade Christian 3-1 (27-25, 20-25, 25-19, 25-22).
“I was very impressed with this group’s ability to mentally recover from a loss to be in a loser-out situation game,” coach Cory Whitmore said. “It’s a testament to our experience with a large group having been in that very situation a year before to turn around and come ready to fight for that last spot to state.
“I’m so proud of this team’s fight and heart throughout the day and especially down the stretch to meet the goal, going to state. I can’t say enough about how hard they have worked, and worked together, to accomplish this milestone.
“We had a great group of fans and parents that made the trip which made a huge difference and the team always appreciates the support. The girls played for each other tonight and because of it, they get to play another week.”
Coupeville’s service attack struggled in the match, Whitmore said, but the Wolves stayed aggressive to allow its defense to pick up the Cougars’ attack.
Strong passing by Hope Lodell, Payton Aparicio, Maya Toomey-Stout and Kyla Briscoe spurred the Coupeville offense and allowed the Wolves to feed its middles, Katrina McGranahan and Emma Smith, for kills.
McGranahan finished with 10 and Smith eight. Aparicio added seven.
Defensively, the Wolves racked up 55 digs, lead by Lodell (15), Aparicio (11) and Lauren Rose (eight).
Rose also finished with four aces, while Aparicio had two.
Serving was an issue as well in the loss to Bellevue Christian, Whitmore said.
Regardless, Toomey-Stout and Aparicio collected four aces each, while McGranahan and Ashley Menges hit for three apiece.
Mikayla Elfrank led a balanced attack with seven kills; McGranahan and Aparicio had six; and Briscoe and Smith finished with four.
Setters Rose and Menges guided the Wolves to 31 kills.
Lodell and Aparicio each recorded 12 digs.