The Westland High School boys soccer team avoided a winless season in OCC-Central Division play by defeating host Central Crossing 3-0 on Oct. 8.
Coach Dan Heckler, whose team was 7-8 overall before playing Dublin Scioto on Oct. 12 and finished seventh in the OCC-Central at 1-6 behind champion Dublin Coffman (6-1), is hoping the win provides the Cougars with some momentum heading into the postseason.
"The rivalry game is the beginning of the end of the season," Heckler said of playing Central Crossing. "We're at the part of the season where we have to be ready to go and play our best games. It's fun. Everybody is hopefully on top of their game and everybody is as pumped as they can get."
Westland is seeded 31st of 45 teams in the Division I district tournament and plays at 16th-seeded Pickerington North in the first round Wednesday, Oct. 16. The Cougars did not face North, which is 7-5-4, during the regular season.
"I know Pickerington North is a strong program every year," Heckler said. "I know they'll have good players and they have a good coach (Darrin Monhollen). I'm expecting a good, competitive game."
The winner plays 25th-seeded Watkins Memorial in the second round Saturday, Oct. 19, at the site of the higher seed.
Against Central Crossing, midfielders Juan Rios and Bachir Bah and defender Luke Klatt scored and goalkeeper Jonathan Olvera had seven saves.
"We had a lot more possessions. We were just playing our game," Bah said. "We were passing the ball, not being too selfish and just taking our chances when we had them."
Through 15 games, Rios had a team-high 11 goals and Bah had nine, and Olvera had 113 saves.
Westland lost to visiting Upper Arlington 5-1 on Oct. 5 in a league game. Midfielder Eduardo Santiago scored for the Cougars.
Volleyball team gets set for postseason
The girls volleyball team completed a season sweep of Upper Arlington in OCC-Central play and looked to gain momentum heading into the Division I district tournament when it played Central Crossing on Oct. 10.
The Cougars, who were 8-13 overall and 4-9 in the OCC-Central before playing the Comets in their final regular-season match, defeated host UA 25-15, 21-25, 25-21, 25-19 on Oct. 8. They beat the Golden Bears 25-21, 25-20, 25-19 in the first round of league play Sept. 12 at home.
"The girls did a great job of being accurate with their serve receive and staying active on defense," coach Eric Hughes said of his team's most recent match against UA. "It was a good start to ramp up for the tournament."
Westland is seeded 31st in the district tournament and has a first-round bye. It will play fourth-seeded Grove City or 36th-seeded UA in the second round Wednesday, Oct. 16, at the site of the higher seed.
The second-round winner will face 10th-seeded New Albany, 13th-seeded Big Walnut or 26th-seeded Westerville South in a district semifinal Oct. 24 at Bloom-Carroll.
"I like our tournament draw," Hughes said. "We have played and beaten Upper Arlington twice this year and we scrimmaged Grove City earlier in the year, so we have an idea of what to expect if we see them as well. It is going to take us firing on all cylinders (to win), no matter who we play."
Football team getting ready for Coffman
The football team will play host to Coffman on Friday, Oct. 18, in an OCC-Central contest.
The Cougars were 1-5 overall and 0-3 in the league before playing Olentangy Liberty on Oct. 11. Coffman was 3-3 and 2-1 before playing Central Crossing on Oct. 11 and had won two in a row entering the matchup with the Comets.
"Coffman is playing a sophomore quarterback (Gunnar Hoak) and he must be getting into their system and doing a better job," coach Steve White said. "(Coach Mark Crabtree) has had success doing his offense and defense, so it's unlikely that he would change."
Hoak has been splitting time under center with junior Ben Beckett.
Westland lost to visiting Hilliard Davidson 63-12 on Oct. 4.
Both of the Cougars' touchdowns came on special teams, as Brian Foster scored on kickoff returns of 94 and 92 yards in the third quarter.
"Davidson is as advertised -- very physical," White said. "(The Wildcats are as) physical as they've always been, especially on the defensive line. They were just very good up front."
Through six games, D'Kahri Scott led Westland in rushing with 256 yards and three touchdowns on 64 carries. He began the season at quarterback, but was moved to wide receiver and was replaced by Jayson Evans and Clay Carrel, who have been splitting time under center.
Runners preparing for postseason
The cross country teams will spend this week preparing for the Division I, district 2 meet on Saturday, Oct. 19 at Watkins Memorial.
The top five teams and top 20 individuals in both the boys and girls races will advance to regional Oct. 26 at Pickerington North.
Westland competed in the Ray Russell Invitational on Oct. 5 at Jonathan Alder.
Seth Farmer led the boys team, finishing first of 76 runners in the six-team Red Division in 16 minutes, 48.39 seconds.
Also competing were Bryce Long (18th, 19:09.5), Andrew Choate (26th, 19:45.29), Andrew Ritchie (45th, 21:30.58), Robinson Abreu (48th, 21:43.46), Kurt Guffey (50th, 21:56.54) and Connor Scott (58th, 22:59.46), as the boys team finished fifth (116) behind champion Teays Valley (37).
Donna Mayhew placed fifth (21:51.38) of 54 runners to lead the girls team, which was second (51) in the five-team Red Division behind champion Ready (48).
Also competing were Heidi Paxson (ninth, 22:31.94), Elizabeth Finley (12th, 22:54.93), Hannah Festog (14th, 23:29.67), Kelly Draves (18th, 24:01.17), Jessie Neavill (27th, 25:19.5), Macala Schirtzinger (47th, 29:45.09) and Kayla Kulwicki (48th, 30:47.83).
Westland competed in the OCC-Central meet Oct. 12.
Girls soccer team to face top seed
The girls soccer team is seeded 40th of 40 teams in the Division I district tournament and opens at top-seeded Coffman in the second round Thursday, Oct. 17. Both teams have a first-round bye.
The Cougars were 0-13 overall before playing Ready on Oct. 12 and finished eighth in the OCC-Central at 0-7, behind champion Coffman (6-0-1). The Shamrocks defeated Westland 10-0 on Sept. 24.
The second-round winner plays 21st-seeded Scioto, 24th-seeded Whetstone or 26th-seeded Canal Winchester in a district semifinal Oct. 22 at the site of the higher seed.
Through 13 games, goalie Shayan Brown had 118 saves.
Tennis team ends season at sectional
The girls tennis finished its season in the Division I sectional Oct. 3 at Davidson.
The Cougars did not win a match.
"It was a good day," coach Shaela Hinckley said. "For some of them, it's going to be the last match they ever play in high school or ever, and they played their best. They had a great end of their season."
Westland finished 4-13 overall and placed seventh in the OCC-Central at 1-6, behind UA (7-0), Coffman (6-1), Liberty (5-2), Davidson (4-3), Thomas Worthington (3-4) and Marysville (2-5) and ahead of Central Crossing (0-7).
Westland defeated Central Crossing 4-1 on Sept. 5.
The Cougars finished third (10) in the seventh-place OCC tournament Sept. 28, behind Westerville South (17) and host Grove City (15) and ahead of Mount Vernon (8).
Westland loses six seniors, including Cassidy Dyer and Jenna Neff, who split time at first singles. Expected to return are juniors Emily Gantt, Ami Perez and Madison Qualls and freshman Mia Botkins.
"I'm happy," Hinckley said. "I'm very proud of the work that they put in. I'm going to be upset when my seniors graduate. I've had them for a while and have seen them develop, have seen them grow."