With a solid core of returning players, the Coupeville High School soccer team is poised to make a run at the playoffs.
Kyle Nelson, the boys coach, is adding the girls team to his coaching duties this year and is excited about the season.
“The girls have a great attitude and we are looking forward to having some fun,” Nelson said.
The Wolves lost five girls to graduation and another, Mia Littlejohn, transferred to Lake Stevens. Littlejohn was the Olympic League’s co-MVP in 2016 after setting a school single-season scoring record with 27 goals.
Coupeville, however, returns a bevy of talent from a team that won a school record eight matches last year. The Wolves will be led by four multi-year starters: seniors Lauren Bayne and Sage Renninger and juniors Kalia Littlejohn and Lindsey Roberts. Renninger and Roberts were first-team, all-league in 2016.
Also back are three sophomore starters, Mallory Kortuem, Avalon Renninger and Tia Wurzrainer.
Varsity reserves from last year, junior Ema Smith and sophomores Anna Dion and Megan Thorn, also return.
The team will receive a boost from three newcomers who played a different sport last fall: juniors Sarah Wright and Maddy Hilkey and sophomore Natalie Hollrigel.
Five freshmen (Knight Arndt, Mollie Bailey, Aurora Cernick, Genna Wright and Lily Zustiak) will be added to the mix.
Nelson likes his club’s experience and willingness to learn.
“The girls have a great positive spirit, and we are going to use that to build through the season,” he said.
The building could take some time, he added, as they integrate the new players to the team and get used to his system.
“I believe we will do real well this year,” Nelson said. “We should be strong in the league, but Klahowya, as usual, will be very tough. We would like to see an extended run in the playoffs this year.”
Coupeville (8-7-1, 6-3 last year) plays in a jamboree in Oak Harbor at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 31. The Wolves go to South Whidbey at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7. The home opener is two days later when Bellevue Christian visits at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9.