There is no defensive strategy that one can employ against a competitor in the game of golf, and that is why Westland High School boys golf coach Brad Kramer wants his players to concentrate on improving their games and not worry about their opponents' scores.
"We don't really play defense or anything like that in golf," Kramer said. "The whole thing is to spend all your time on your own players and really making sure they develop and get better."
Although Westland is 0-21 heading into the final round of the OCC-Central Division tournament Monday, Sept. 16, at Turnberry, Kramer said he has seen improvement from each of his players since the start of the season.
The Cougars are eighth in the league through three rounds, behind Dublin Coffman (21-0), Upper Arlington (17-4), Olentangy Liberty (16-5), Marysville (11-10), Hilliard Davidson (8-13), Thomas Worthington (8-13) and Central Crossing (3-18).
The fourth round was to have been played Sept. 11 but was postponed because of bad weather.
Seniors Gage Church (44.1 strokes per nine holes) and Steven Lewis (46.9) have the Cougars' top two scoring averages. Sophomore Stephen Gorslene has an 54 average, three strokes better than last season, Kramer said.
"Personally, I feel like I could do better, but everybody does," Lewis said. "More of the mental game is what I feel like I could get better. Golf is definitely a mental game as much as it is physical."
Lewis' best 18-hole round this season came in the Pickerington Central Tiger Invitational on Aug. 15 at Turnberry, where he shot an 84. His best score in league play was an 87 in the second round Aug. 12 at Apple Valley.
"We're not set out to win. We're just set out to try our best, beat our personal scores, beat our team score," Lewis said.
Church's top score in league play was an 83 in the third round Aug. 28 at Darby Creek.
Football team prepares for start of league play
The football team begins OCC-Central play Friday, Sept. 20, at Marysville.
Westland, which was 0-2 before playing Columbus East on Sept. 13, went 0-7 in the OCC-Central last season and has lost 34 consecutive league games. Its last league win came against Hilliard Darby, 46-29 in week nine of the 2006 season, when it was in the OCC-Ohio.
"We need to get some league wins around here, that's for sure," coach Steve White said. "Last year, Marysville impressed me with how physical they were. They were a very physical, hard-hitting team, and that's a credit to coach (Morgan) Cotter."
Marysville, which defeated the Cougars 51-14 last year, was 2-0 before playing Dublin Scioto on Sept. 13.
Among the key players for the Monarchs are quarterback Matt Mulholland, fullback and linebacker Austin Pfarr and tailback Aron Mowery. In a 13-0 win over Jonathan Alder on Sept. 6, Mulholland completed 24 of 45 passes for 182 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
"We look forward to our league play," Cotter said. "It will be important to get off to a good start against Westland. I have seen glimpses of them on film and they have nice athletes. If they get that thing righted, we're going to have to play real well to put ourselves in a position to be successful."
Westland lost to Mifflin 24-0 on Sept. 6.
The Cougars trailed 6-0 late in the first half before the host Punchers took control. In the final two minutes of the second quarter, the Punchers scored on a 30-yard interception return by defensive back Montrese Frazier and on a 35-yard pass from quarterback Marsaan Banks to wide receiver Stanley Jackson to lead 18-0 at halftime.
"It was really a tale of two halves," White said. "We really didn't play too well in the first half. It was 6-0 most of the (first half) and then with two minutes to go in the half we had some meltdowns on offense and defense. That really put us in the bad situation down three scores."
Volleyball team looks to change fortunes
The girls volleyball team was 3-8 overall and 1-4 in the OCC-Central before playing Upper Arlington on Sept. 12.
Westland, which had lost five matches in a row before playing the Golden Bears, travels to Central Crossing on Tuesday, Sept. 17, for a league match before beginning the second round of league play Thursday, Sept. 19, at home against Marysville.
The Cougars, who lost to Coffman 25-15, 25-14, 25-13 on Sept. 10, defeated Marysville 25-22, 25-21, 24-26, 25-11 in their opening league match Aug. 27.
"We have had a rough start to our OCC season so far," coach Eric Hughes said. "However, the girls are showing some resiliency and dedication to improving their skills along with their record. ... The girls know this is the best team Westland has had in some time. We are just lacking one small push in the tight games to take control. As long as we continue to execute as we have this past week, the push will come and we will start to accumulate wins."