After missing the entire the 2009 season, the Westland High School boys and girls soccer teams are looking forward to returning to the field this fall.
Westland High School girls volleyball coach Bryan Webb is looking forward to his team's return to the court.
The Cougars don't have any seniors, but Webb feels his squad deep with underclassmen has a chance to develop into a solid unit.
"Right now we're in the teaching phase," said Webb, in his third season with the Cougars. "By the time they're juniors, it's going to be more of the pushing phase. It's been a lot of teaching this year."
Two seasons ago, Westland finished 5-17 overall and 2-12 in the OCC-Central Division. Last season, falls sports were canceled in the South-Western City Schools after voters rejected an operational levy in August.
Webb realizes there might be some growing pains with his young team, but believes eventually it can become a solid contender. There are no girls on the team with varsity experience.
Juniors Malaney Nicholson (outside hitter) and Brittany Starner (right-side hitter) are expected to crack the starting lineup and provide leadership. Starner played at the junior varsity level as a freshman.
Junior Danielle White (outside hitter) also hopes to contribute. Sophomores Bianca Anderson (middle hitter) and Stephanie Mitchell (outside hitter) are also vying for starting positions.
Webb expects freshman middle hitter Tanesha Dixon to develop into an elite player.
"Tanesha is my No. 1 athlete," Webb said. "She has it going on."
Freshman Erika Moore will be the team's starting setter.
Other freshmen looking to earn starting roles are Maria Turner (libero) and Kaitlyn Wilming (back row).
"We're loaded in the freshmen class," Webb said. "My lineup is not going to change for three years and we have some real good talent coming up in the middle schools, too.
"We're going to be in good shape. It's just getting through this year."
Last season, Dublin Coffman (10-0) finished ahead of Hilliard Davidson (7-3), Worthington Kilbourne (5-5), Thomas Worthington (4-6), Upper Arlington (4-6) and Hilliard Darby (0-10) in the OCC-Central.
The Shamrocks reached the Division I state final before losing 25-16, 25-19, 18-25, 25-17 to Cincinnati
Webb hopes his team can be competitive in the challenging division.
"Our goal is to improve every day," Webb said. "As far as wins and losses go, we're going to struggle, but there are a couple of teams in our league that we should at least be able to compete with."
•The boys and girls cross country teams also lack experience. Only three runners return who have competed at the varsity level.
Seniors Caimen Lewis and Ben Warner are the lone boys with varsity experience. Seniors Jon Bowen, Abdi Omer and Dylan Ross are new to the sport, but competed on the track and field team in the spring.
Junior John White is also in his first year in the sport. Sophomore Sean Tho, who also competed on the track and field team, will also be making his debut.
"A lot of our kids are first-year cross country runners, which is not ideal," fourth-year coach Josh Barkeloo
"I would have loved to have had these guys four years, but the fact that they have track experience is the next best thing."
Two seasons ago, the boys finished eighth (249 points) at the OCC-Central meet behind champion Davidson (33). The Cougars were 14th (382) at the Division I, district 1 meet behind champion Darby (31).
Barkeloo hopes to add runners to a girls team that will be incomplete in the early season.
Junior Brooklyn Harris, the team's top runner at district in 2008, is the lone runner with varsity experience.
Juniors Louise Kirk, a foreign exchange student from Denmark, and Moni Neri are new to the sport. Neri competed in the shot put and discus during the track and field season.
"Moni is more built as a distance runner and she has had some decent times at practice," Barkeloo said.
Two years ago, the girls team was eighth (249) at the OCC-Central meet behind first-place Upper Arlington (32) and 10th (289) at district behind champion Davidson (39).
"We still have plenty of room for improvement, but the season is still young," Barkeloo said. "We're definitely looking for people to step up.
"I would be happy knowing that everyone left everything that they had on the course. Ideally, you would like to see somebody move on to regional, but if they're working hard and they're getting better every meet that's all I can ask."
*Aug. 31 - at Hilliard Davidson *Sept. 2 - vs. Dublin Coffman Sept. 4 - Karen Wohrer Invitational at Lancaster *Sept. 7 - at Worthington Kilbourne *Sept. 9 - vs. Thomas Worthington *Sept. 14 - vs. Upper Arlington *Sept. 16 - at Hilliard Darby *Sept. 21 - vs. Central Crossing *Sept. 23 - vs. Hilliard Davidson *Sept. 28 - at Dublin Coffman *Sept. 30 - vs. Worthington Kilbourne *Oct. 5 - at Thomas Worthington *Oct. 7 - at Upper Arlington *Oct. 12 - vs. Hilliard Darby *Oct. 14 - at Central Crossing *OCC-Central match
Aug. 28 - at Pickerington North Classic Sept. 1 - at Canal Winchester Inv. Sept. 11 - McGowan Inv. at Watkins Memorial Sept. 22 - at Whetstone Inv. Oct. 2 - Erin L. Nance Fall Distance Classic at London Country Club Oct. 9 - Ray Russell Inv. at Jonathan Alder Oct. 16 - OCC-Central Championships at TBD