With six seniors and the return of the team's leading scorer, Westland High School girls soccer coach Pat Ellis is hoping for a turnaround season.
Last season, the Cougars finished 0-16 overall and went 0-7 in the OCC-Central Division to finish eighth, behind champion Dublin Coffman (6-0-1).
Junior midfielder Camryn Moreno leads the list of returnees after scoring a team-high three goals and earning second-team all-league honors a year ago.
"Camryn has really good knowledge of the game," said Ellis, who is in his 10th season. "She's been playing it for a quite some time."
Westland opened Aug. 19 at home with a 3-1 loss to Wellington and lost at Whetstone 3-1 on Aug. 23 before falling to 0-3 with an 11-0 loss at Marysville on Aug. 26 in its OCC-Central opener.
Junior midfielder Marisol Garcia scored and junior goalkeeper Mariama Bah, who also will see playing time as a defender, had 13 saves against Wellington.
Against Whetstone, Moreno scored and freshman goalie Addison Hall had nine saves.
"It's the beginning of the season and it's good to see them come out and try to be competitive against some of the schools before the league schedule kicks in," Ellis said before the loss to Marysville.
The seniors are Sarah Demana (forward), Sarah Krepps (midfielder), Jennifer Moshier (midfielder), Adi Perez (midfielder), Natalie Rock (defender) and Aleeah Ruthers (defender).
Demana, Garcia, Krepps, Moreno and Ruthers are captains.
"That's a good number for seniors," Ellis said. "They have a good knowledge of the game and they're taking the younger players under their wing to try and let them know what needs to go on and how they need to go about business."
Also on the team are juniors Jasmin Campos (midfielder), Eimy Cordova (midfielder), Brianda Galvan (midfielder), Destinee Long (defender) and Ali Orozco-Bueno (midfielder) and sophomores Chayla Davis (defender), Madison Evans (defender), Yelitza Garcia (goalie), Katie Guy (forward) and Francisca Lopez (midfielder).
Cross country teams have experience
The cross country program has returned a total of nine runners from last season.
The boys team consists of five runners, including three returnees in seniors Andrew Choate, Bryce Long and Andrew Ritchie.
Also on the team are juniors Josh Moore and Nick Stazzone.
The girls team is comprised of eight runners, including six returnees in seniors Kelly Draves and Heidi Paxson, juniors Elizabeth Finley and Donna Mayhew and sophomores Hannah Festog and Kayla Kulwicki.
Also on the team are sophomore Sarah Grover and freshman Kaela Ponce.
Westland opened Aug. 16 by competing in the OHSAA Preseason Invitational at National Trail Raceway.
The boys team finished 15th (412 points) behind champion Mason (30) as 20 teams scored. Moore finished 62nd (19 minutes, 59.02 seconds) of 195 runners, followed by Long (81st, 20:24.47) and Choate (87th, 20:33.25).
The girls team finished 22nd (657) behind champion Mason (88) as 23 teams scored. Mayhew led the Cougars, finishing 116th (22:26.3) of 211 runners.
Westland competed in the Pickerington Classic on Aug. 23 at Pickerington North.
The boys team finished 14th (352) in the Bengal Division behind champion Caledonia River View (42) as 16 teams scored. Long placed 42nd (19:57.1) of 190 runners and Moore finished 52nd (20:15.6).
The girls team finished 10th (336) in the Bengal Division behind champion Upper Arlington (40) as 21 teams scored. Mayhew placed 28th (22:30.2) of 292 runners and Finley finished 53rd (23:58.1).
"We have a lot of kids coming back," eighth-year coach Josh Barkeloo said. "I have a decent amount of seniors. They've put in a lot of work over the years. This is a chance for everything to really come through and show how hard they've worked."
Football team getting ready for Punchers
The football team will travel to Mifflin on Friday, Sept. 5, for the second of three non-league games on its schedule.
Westland, which finished 1-9 last season, opened Aug. 29 at home against Eastmoor Academy. The Cougars will play host to Delaware on Sept. 12 before beginning OCC-Central play Sept. 19 at home against Marysville.
Westland lost to Mifflin 24-0 last year and trails the all-time series 3-2.
In last year's matchup, the Cougars trailed 6-0 late in the second quarter, only to see the Punchers score two touchdowns in the final two minutes of the first half to take an 18-0 lead into halftime.
"We're hoping to close that gap and reverse that," first-year coach Kyle Goebbel said.
Mifflin, which opened Aug. 29 against Licking Heights, went 5-5 overall and 4-3 in the City League-North last season.
Key players for the Punchers include junior quarterback D'Anthony Williams (6-foot-1, 186 pounds), senior running back Montrese Frazier (6-0, 175) and senior wide receiver Stanley Jackson (6-3, 190).
Last season, Frazier rushed for 720 yards despite missing four games with an injury and Jackson had 29 catches for 541 yards and nine touchdowns.
"Mifflin has been improving and doing a lot better than in the past," Goebbel said. "I know with Brookhaven closing, they got a few players from Brookhaven. They're definitely a very solid team."
Aug. 16 -- OHSAA Preseason Invitational at National Trail Raceway
Aug. 23 -- Pickerington Classic at Pickerington North
Aug. 27 -- Canal Winchester Invitational
Sept. 6 -- McGowan Invitational at Watkins Memorial
Sept. 13 -- Shin Splint Invitational at Westland
Sept. 17 -- Whetstone Arrowhead Invitational at Park of Roses
Sept. 27 -- Panther Invitational at Pickerington North
Oct. 4 -- Ray Russell Invitational at Jonathan Alder
Oct. 11 -- OCC-Central meet at Hilliard Darby
Aug. 19 -- vs. Wellington
Aug. 23 -- at Whetstone
*Aug. 26 -- at Marysville
*Sept. 2 -- vs. Thomas Worthington
Sept. 4 -- vs. Columbus Academy
Sept. 6 -- at Lancaster
*Sept. 9 -- vs. Hilliard Davidson
Sept. 11 -- at Groveport
Sept. 13 -- at Tree of Life
*Sept. 16 -- at Olentangy Liberty
*Sept. 23 -- vs. Dublin Coffman
Sept. 27 -- at Hamilton Township
*Sept. 30 -- vs. Upper Arlington
Oct. 2 -- vs. Briggs
*Oct. 7 -- at Central Crossing
Oct. 11 -- at Ready