Mike Schwarten is hoping to bring some stability to the Westland High School girls soccer program.
Schwarten guided the Cougars to a 2-15 finish this fall as their third coach in three years, but he said he saw improvement throughout the season.
"If they work in the offseason they'll be able to continue to see how much further they can grow and how much better they can make the team," Schwarten said.
"There's nothing better than teaching the life lesson of if you put in the hard work you'll improve."
Seeded 40th for the Division I district tournament, Westland had a first-round bye and lost at seventh-seeded Hilliard Darby 12-0 in the second round Oct. 19.
The Cougars defeated Franklin Heights 4-1 on Sept. 5 and Briggs 5-1 on Oct. 5. They also were competitive in losses to Marion Harding (4-1 on Aug. 24), Hamilton Township (2-0 on Sept. 6) and Ready (4-1 on Oct. 14).
Westland loses eight players to graduation.
"I wish I could have worked with them for all four years," Schwarten said.
Schwarten replaced Bri Stone, who went 2-15 in her only season. Stone took over for Pat Ellis, who led Westland for 11 seasons.
The Cougars' top returnee should be junior forward Shelbey Barnhill, who led the team with nine goals. She began the season at goalkeeper, but was moved to help generate scoring.
"Shelbey is an all-around athlete," Schwarten said.
Junior forward Valentina Torres Osorio scored three goals, and senior forward Kenia Campuzano and sophomore defender Laura Ornelas Rodriguez each had two. Campuzano also had six assists.
Junior midfielder/defender Erica Rodriguez, another expected key returnee, credits Schwarten with the team's improvement.
"He did really well this year," she said. "He helped the team out a lot."
Rodriguez said the win over Briggs was a highlight of the season.
"The Briggs game was really big to us because last year we lost (4-3) and we won 5-1 this year, so it was a big win of for us," she said. "That showed we improved so much from last year."
Senior Claudia Perez-Hall, juniors Aleysha Martinez-Guerrero and Bailey Monhollen and sophomore Mackenzie Hall split time in goal this season.
Sophomore defender Jessica Hurley also is eligible to return.
The Cougars went 0-5 in the OCC-Central Division to finish sixth behind Dublin Coffman (3-0-2), Hilliard Davidson (3-1-1), Marysville (2-0-3), Upper Arlington (2-1-2) and Central Crossing (1-4).
"I definitely enjoyed (my first season)," said Schwarten, who is a Spanish teacher at Westland. "I know myself and my assistant coach (Autumn Harris) both at the end of the season liked coaching a lot more than we initially thought we would."
Cross country teams compete at district
The boys and girls cross country teams closed the season by competing in the Division I, district 1 meet Oct. 21 at Watkins Memorial.
The boys finished 14th (398) of 16 teams behind champion Davidson (45).
Kevin Reyes was 73rd (18 minutes, 24.44 seconds), followed by George Reyes (76th, 18:26.57), Billy Holland (83rd, 19:00.54), Manny Rojas (85th, 19:13.45), Timmy Wotring (94th, 19:46.96), Conor Milligan (103rd, 20:19.69) and Drew Hutchinson (107th, 20:51.96).
The girls did not have enough runners for a team score as Olentangy Liberty (42) was first of 11 teams.
Aja Nathans was 46th (22:20.48), followed by Kaela Ponce (57th, 23:30.9) and Bethony Fay (71st, 25:12.53).
The top five teams and top 20 individuals in the boys and girls races advanced to the regional Oct. 28 at Pickerington North.
Football team closes season
The football team entered its season finale Oct. 27 against Davidson at 1-8 overall and 0-4 in the OCC-Central. Their season ended with a 70-0 loss to the Wildcats.
The Cougars lost at Coffman 49-0 on Oct. 20 as quarterback Tyquwone Workman passed for 117 yards.
"Coffman is good," coach Kyle Goebbel said. "They're always going to have size. Their biggest thing is their defense. They always come in with a very sound defense."
Through nine games, Workman had passed for 1,100 yards and Anthony Widen had 19 receptions for 321 yards and two touchdowns.
Ousmane Dabo had 115 tackles to lead the defense.