Even though his team fell one win shy of having a .500 record, Westland High School boys soccer coach Dan Heckler was pleased with the Cougars' accomplishments this season.
The Cougars lost to host Grove City 1-0 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 17 to finish 6-7-4 overall. The teams had played to a scoreless tie in a game shortened because of bad weather Sept. 6.
"We had a really good season," Heckler said. "We had a strong team. They worked hard and did well. We've done things that we haven't done before. We came close to a winning season."
Westland played Hilliard Davidson to a scoreless tie Sept. 11, marking the first time during Heckler's nine-year tenure that the Cougars didn't lose to the Wildcats. Davidson had won the previous six meetings by a combined score of 39-3.
Westland went 1-5-1 in the OCC-Central Division, closing league play Oct. 9 with a 3-0 win over Central Crossing. The Cougars finished seventh in the league, behind Olentangy Liberty (6-1), Dublin Coffman (5-2), Thomas Worthington (4-1-2), Davidson (3-2-2), Marysville (3-2-2) and Upper Arlington (2-4-1) and ahead of Central Crossing (0-7).
Senior goalkeeper Shawn Draper had four saves in the shutout against Central Crossing and finished the season with 118 saves. He was named first-team all-league and third-team all-district.
"Shawn was a team captain and a very tough goalkeeper," Heckler said. "He worked hard at that and really made a difference for the team. He helped us get some wins we wouldn't have gotten and some ties we wouldn't have gotten. He's a great team leader. We'll miss him."
Senior midfielder Eric Quiroz led the team in scoring with six goals, followed by senior midfielder Jack Fischer with five and senior forward Ibrahima Diallo and junior midfielder Bachir Bah each with four.
Bah was second-team all-league and Fischer was honorable mention all-league.
Diallo, Draper, Fischer and Quiroz were part of a nine-member senior class.
"I thought we had a lot of potential," senior defender Mustafa Farah said. "We had a lot of returning players and a lot of seniors on the team, so at the end my expectations were kind of met. We challenged one of the big teams like Coffman (5-0 loss on Sept. 25) and Davidson, so overall I'm happy with the season."
In addition to Bah, expected to return are juniors Jonah Cortes (defender), Kris Davies (defender), Eduardo Santiago (midfielder) and Van Tling (defender) and sophomores Jose E. Garcia (midfielder), Luke Klatt (defender) and Emmanuel Reyes (defender).
Another junior, midfielder Van Thawng Uk, is not eligible to play next season, according to Heckler.
Herrera led way for girls soccer team
The girls soccer team finished 2-11-2 overall after losing to eighth-seeded Worthington Kilbourne 6-1 in the second round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 18.
Both teams had a first-round bye.
"Some games could have went better, but overall the team played hard," coach Pat Ellis said. "They progressed from the first game to the last game."
Westland went 0-6-1 in the OCC-Central to tie Central Crossing for seventh, behind Coffman (6-0-1), Davidson (6-1), Liberty (5-2), Thomas (3-3-1), Marysville (2-2-3) and UA (2-4-1).
The Cougars defeated Fairfield Union 5-3 on Aug. 23 and Madison Christian 6-3 on Sept. 20 and tied Central Crossing at 5 on Oct. 9.
Junior midfielder Keila Herrera led the team in scoring with 13 goals and was named first-team all-league and second-team all-district. She also saw playing time at goalie, finishing with 64 saves.
Junior goalie Christina Simpson had 21 saves against Kilbourne and finished with 105.
Westland loses six seniors, including defender Juliann Cooper, who was second-team all-league.
In addition to Herrera and Simpson, expected to return are juniors Devine Davies (midfielder), Rachelle Marcum (midfielder) and Danielle Miller (midfielder), sophomores Kate Antonyuk (midfielder), Sarah Krepps (midfielder/forward) and Natalie Rock (defender) and freshmen Mackenzie Curry (midfielder), Camryn Moreno (midfielder), Ali Orozco (forward) and Marisol Perez-Garcia (forward).
Marcum was honorable mention all-league.
Football team falls to Comets in finale
The football team concluded the season with a 34-14 loss to visiting Central Crossing on Oct. 26 to finish 1-9 overall and 0-7 in the OCC-Central.
Central Crossing, which finished 2-8 and 1-6, led 21-0 after the first quarter.
Senior quarterback Jalen Brown rushed for 116 yards on 25 carries and junior running back Myles Fowler, who also saw time at quarterback, rushed for 95 yards on four carries.
Fowler scored both touchdowns for the Cougars. He had a 99-yard touchdown run on the first play in the second quarter and had a 1-yard scoring run in the fourth.
Westland held a 261-116 advantage in rushing yards but had five turnovers.
"You can't do that and expect to be in any game," coach Steve White said of the turnovers. "I don't care what level it is."