Coupeville High School will face the challenges of the new North Sound Conference with a veteran team.
“We are returning quite a few starting varsity players in most positions on the field,” coach Kyle Nelson said. “We also have a number of players who played with a select team in the offseason. So, we have experience on our side this year.”
The Wolves went 8-9 last year and 6-3 in the Olympic League, placing third.
Competition will go up a tick this fall; the North Sound Conference includes defending state champion King’s and state qualifier South Whidbey.
“It should be a little tougher competition overall, but I believe we will be right in there,” Nelson said.
The Wolves will counter with a bushel of returning players: seniors Sarah Wright (goalkeeper, captain), Lindsey Roberts (midfielder, captain), Maddy Hilkey (defender) and Ema Smith (midfielder); juniors Tia Wurzrainer (defender), Natalie Hollrigel (defender), Avalon Renninger (midfielder), Mallory Kortuem (midfielder) and Anna Dion (forward); and sophomores Mollie Bailey (goalkeeper), Genna Wright (forward), Knight Arndt (midfielder) and Aurora Cernick (defender).
Genna Wright earned first-team, all-Olympic League honors last fall.
New to the team this year are junior Casey Rogers, sophomore Megan Behan and freshmen Kiara Contraras, Lily Leedy, Katelin McCormick, Mary Milnes and Sam Streitler.
The team’s defense, where the least experience exists, is Nelson’s biggest concern.
“We will be looking to incorporate some new players who look to be important to our team, but it can take a while for both the defense and the new players to fully integrate,” he said.
The goals, according to Nelson, are to be well-organized, disciplined and exiting to watch; show improvement throughout the season; and make the playoffs.
Coupeville plays in the Oak Harbor Jamboree at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30.
The Wolves go to Meridian at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 4, and then host Friday Harbor at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6.