Soccer team eyes strong finish
Samantha Schigner (right) of Westland races after the ball with Marysville's Lindsey Sullivan during a game earlier this season. The Cougars, who beat Madison Plains 6-3 on Sept. 20 to snap a six-game losing streak, were 2-8 overall before playing Tree of Life on Sept. 29. Buy This Photo
Westland High School girls soccer Pat Ellis would like to see his team pick up a few more victories before the start of the postseason.
The Cougars were 2-8 overall before playing Tree of Life on Sept. 29. They opened the season with a 5-3 win over Division II Fairfield Union on Aug. 23 and defeated Division III Madison Plains 6-3 on Sept. 20, ending a six-game losing streak.
Westland is 0-5 in the OCC-Central Division, with its most competitive game being a 6-1 loss to Olentangy Liberty on Sept. 18. Its final two league games are Tuesday, Oct. 2, at home against Upper Arlington and Oct. 9 at Central Crossing.
The Cougars play host to Canal Winchester on Thursday, Oct. 4, and close the regular season Oct. 13 at Ready.
The Division I district tournament begins Oct. 16, with the tournament draw being held Oct. 7.
"Given the games that we have coming up, I'd like to see how many wins we can get out of them," Ellis said. "We have Arlington on Tuesday, but then Canal Winchester on Thursday and then Central Crossing and Ready. Being realistic, I'd like to see if we can (win) three out of those four."
Junior midfielder Keila Herrara led the Cougars in scoring through 10 games with eight goals. She also has seen time at goalkeeper in place of injured senior Melina Gaines, having 66 saves through 10 games.
"Keila is an all-around athlete and she understands the game from pretty much every position," Ellis said. "She's been quite a team player. Whatever the needs of the team are, she's been willing to do."
Ellis said junior Christina Simpson has emerged as the starting goalie, having 41 saves through 10 games. Gaines, who has returned to action, had 14 saves.
Westland was outscored 60-13 through 10 games.
"This season has impressed me a lot because from past seasons we've had to start from fresh with girls who didn't know how to play," senior defender Juliann Cooper said. "As a whole, the team is impressing me as we move along. We are fighting. We have a lot of heart. Our girls don't give up and that's also a good quality they have."
Boys soccer team falls to Shamrocks
Boys soccer coach Dan Heckler believes the final score in his team's 5-0 loss to host Dublin Coffman in an OCC-Central contest Sept. 25 is misleading.
The Shamrocks led 1-0 at halftime and extended their lead to 2-0 early in the second half before scoring three goals in the final 17 minutes.
"It was a lot closer than 1-0 for a long time," Heckler said. "The first goal was an unlucky goal for us rather than a skilled goal for them, and a couple of the other goals were just bad luck. They have a good team, but I thought it was a lot closer than 5-0."
Goalie Shawn Draper had nine saves against Coffman and had 80 saves through 12 games.
Westland defeated Franklin Heights 3-1 on Sept. 22 as midfielders Emmanuel Lopez and Jack Fischer and forward Ibrahima Diallo scored and Draper had five saves.
"That was a good, friendly game and we both got something out of it," Heckler said.
Through 12 games, Diallo and midfielder Eric Quiroz had five goals apiece to lead the team.
Football team getting ready to face Liberty
The football team will play host to Liberty in an OCC-Central contest Friday, Oct. 5.
The teams last met in 2005, with Liberty winning 28-27 in double overtime. The Patriots lead the series 2-0, having also won in 2004, 42-19.
The Cougars were 1-4 overall and 0-2 in the OCC-Central before playing Hilliard Davidson on Sept. 28, and Liberty was 4-1 and 2-0 before playing Marysville on Sept. 28.
Through five games, Liberty quarterback Joey Longhino was 86-for-123 passing for 1,252 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions. In a 37-21 win over Upper Arlington on Sept. 22, he completed 13 of 19 passes for 121 yards and rushed for 145 yards on 18 carries, and running back Daryian Davies ran for 153 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries.
"We played a 7-on-7 against Olentangy Liberty in the summer and they were real efficient throwing the ball," coach Steve White said. "If we can play physical against them, I think we have a good shot."
Westland lost to Thomas Worthington 50-19 in a league game that was suspended Sept. 21 because of lightning and completed Sept. 22.
The Cougars trailed 21-12 at halftime when play was suspended. They were outscored 29-7 in the second half.
Through five games, quarterback Jalen Brown had 861 yards rushing and six touchdowns on 129 carries and had completed 42 of 96 passes for 631 yards and five touchdowns. Running back Mike Jackson had 200 yards rushing on 53 carries.
"The kids are coming back and they're getting to work in practice," White said. "Practices are a good learning experience."
Boys golfers to play in Darby Creek sectional
The boys golf team will play in the 14-team Division I sectional tournament Tuesday, Oct. 2, at Darby Creek.
The top four teams and top four individuals not on a qualifying team advance to the district tournament Oct. 9 at Apple Valley.
Westland is seeded 37th in the district. Among the teams competing in the Darby Creek sectional are fifth-seeded Coffman, sixth-seeded Liberty, eighth-seeded Lancaster and 10th-seeded Davidson.
"We are matched up with Hilliard Darby (29th seed), Worthington Kilbourne (30th seed) and Franklin Heights (32nd)," coach Brad Kramer said. "It is a good draw for us. Many of our players are familiar with the players on those teams."
Westland defeated Groveport 202-208 in nine holes on Sept. 24 at Oakhurst. Gage Church led the Cougars with a 47, followed by Drew Barrow (51), Steven Lewis (51) and Tarrell Dixon (53).
Before competing against Central Crossing and Franklin Heights on Sept. 27, Church led the team with a nine-hole average of 44 strokes and Lewis was averaging 47.
"I see a lot of improvement with the underclassmen," Kramer said. "They all have improved and their knowledge of the game has greatly improved. They have gained a lot of experience being in the best OCC division in the (conference)."
Westland finished 0-28 in the four-round OCC-Central tournament to place eighth, behind Upper Arlington (27-1), Coffman (24-4), Liberty (21-7), Thomas Worthington (13-15), Davidson (12-16), Marysville (11-17) and Central Crossing (4-24).