Second-year coach Bryan Webb can sense a new attitude with the Westland High School girls volleyball team.

Second-year coach Bryan Webb can sense a new attitude with the Westland High School girls volleyball team.

Westland, which will open Tuesday at OCC-Central Division-rival Hilliard Davidson, finished 6-16 overall and tied Groveport for fifth in the OCC-Ohio at 1-9 a year ago.

"It's night and day," Webb said of the difference between last year and this season. "They know what to expect out of us. They have a lot more experience than they had before. The level of play just all the way around is much better. We will be much more competitive this year."

Webb lost four graduates, led by outside-hitter Lacey Lykins, who last year had 164 kills, 46 blocks and 131 digs and was second-team all-OCC-Ohio.

With several players back, Webb enters the season with optimism. But Westland will have to play the first few weeks of the season without starting junior setter Leah Vertullo, who is out with a stress fracture in her back. Webb expects Vertullo to return by the middle of September.

Senior Katelyn Beesler, who played libero last season, will be the setter in Vertullo's absence. Beesler led the team in digs last season with 172 and was second-team all-OCC.

The other seniors are outside-hitter Halie McKenzie and middle-hitter Katie Krafft. Other juniors are outside hitters Britney Mickens and Chrissy Ervin, libero Skylar Allman and defensive specialists Samantha Greenlee and Vanessa Rebollar. Sophomore middle hitter Kelsey Bowman rounds out the roster.

Westland now is in the OCC-Central with Davidson, Central Crossing, Dublin Coffman, Hilliard Darby, Thomas Worthington, Upper Arlington and Worthington Kilbourne.

"We will have for sure the toughest division in central Ohio," Webb said. "Our biggest thing is just to get them to believe that they're good enough to compete. If they really think they can win some matches they'll be able to do it because they have the talent level."

•The football team, after opening last Friday against Watkins Memorial, will play its second home game of the season when it faces Cleveland John Marshall on Saturday.

The Lawyers last year finished 1-9 under Michael Stevens, who was in his first season at the school.

"He seems like an intelligent guy, a good communicator," coach Brian Smith said of Stevens. "I'm sure he has his kids motivated. He was excited about this season. He felt very similar to the way I felt which was we were young and outmatched last year, but had a lot of kids coming back and was kind of excited to see if that experience was going to pay off. It sounds like we're two programs in similar situations."

Stevens plans on using multiple sets and a balanced offense. The Lawyers, who opened last Friday against Toledo Scott, will utilize a 4-4 base defense.

The Lawyers feature above average speed in the secondary and experience at the skill positions, but return just nine players.

John Marshall's top threat is expected to be senior Jermaine Smith (6-foot-2, 195 pounds), who can play running back, wide receiver, linebacker and defensive back.

"I think it's going to be a pretty good game," Stevens said. "We're both at the same level. Like anything else, you want your kids to have an opportunity to see what they can do. It will be probably be our longest drive of the year. We want to get a good look at our kids, a good feel and see what they can do."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Westland boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and boys golf teams:

BOYS SOCCER

Last Tuesday -- Defeated Ready 8-1 in opener. Kyle Ellis scored three goals and David Blamo added two.

*Tuesday -- At Hilliard Davidson

Saturday -- Home vs. Teays Valley

GIRLS SOCCER

Last Tuesday -- Lost to Ready 5-2 in opener. Amanda Snyder and Mallory Loless scored.

Last Thursday -- Played Canal Winchester

Last Saturday -- Played Whetstone

*Tuesday -- Home vs. Davidson

Saturday -- At Teays Valley

TENNIS

*Aug. 14 -- Lost to Davidson 5-0 in opener

*Last Tuesday -- Lost to Dublin Coffman 5-0

*Tuesday -- At Worthington Kilbourne

GOLF

*Aug. 13 -- Finished eighth (422) in first round of OCC-Central tournament

Aug. 14 -- Finished fifth (361) in eight-team Delaware Invitational

*Last Monday -- Finished eighth (405) in second round of OCC-Central tournament

Last Tuesday -- Lost to Ready 359-378

Last Thursday -- Played Grove City

Tuesday -- At Blackhawk vs. Central Crossing and Westerville South

Thursday -- At Oakhurst vs. Gahanna

*OCC-Central contest