When the Westland High School boys soccer team began play in the OCC-Central Division, coach Dan Heckler expected it to face numerous challenges
When the Westland High School boys soccer team began play in the OCC-Central Division, coach Dan Heckler expected it to face numerous challenges.
He probably never expected it to finish with just one win overall, but that's what happened as the Cougars went 1-15 overall and 0-7 in the league. Westland, which lost to Watkins Memorial 8-0 on Oct. 15 in the first round of the Division I district tournament, was last in the OCC behind Worthington Kilbourne (7-0), Upper Arlington (5-1-1), Dublin Coffman (4-2-1), Hilliard Davidson (3-2-2), Hilliard Darby (2-3-2), Thomas Worthington (3-4) and Central Crossing (1-6).
Westland scored just 18 goals and allowed 83. The Cougars were shut out five times. The Cougars opened with their only victory, 8-1 over Ready on Aug. 19. Senior Kyle Ellis scored three goals and senior Dave Blamo had two.
"The team had big shoes to fill from the previous year's leaders and the team never jelled on the field," Heckler said. "On the field they never really got everything together."
Westland scored more than one goal in just one other game, a 7-2 loss to Coffman on Sept. 2. The Cougars dropped a pair of 2-1 non-league decisions to Centennial on Sept. 4 and Whetstone on Sept. 6.
Hilliard Darby scored in the second half to edge the Cougars 2-1 on Sept. 30 and Central Crossing turned back Westland 3-1 on Oct. 7.
"Most of the year was characterized by people trying hard to improve," Heckler said. "Most of the problems came from individual mistakes and then there were people not covering for those mistakes properly. We had good individual efforts and sometimes they would try to do too much, which would lead to an individual mistake."
From the OCC-Central, Coffman, Davidson, Kilbourne and UA played in district title games last Saturday. Davidson is the defending Division I state champion.
Blamo, one of six seniors, led the team in scoring for the second year in a row, totaling seven. He was followed by Ellis with three.
Heckler is hoping one of his two sophomore goalies, Andrew Shepherd and Luis Perez, emerge as the top keeper next fall. Shepherd finished with 77 and Perez stopped 60 shots.
"The keepers just need experience," Heckler said. "They had great effort. Neither one of them distanced themselves from the other as far as being a lot better."
Heckler also expects sophomores Abdinasir Farah (defender/midfielder), Troy Fleischman (center midfielder/defender), Yavony Garcia (midfielder) and Andy Van (defender) to be key contributors next season.
"I'm looking forward to having them back," Heckler said. "They showed a good focused effort through practices and games. They always do what they're asked. I look forward to seeing that kind of effort next season."
At a glance
•Record: 1-15 overall, 0-7 (eighth) in OCC-Central
•Seniors lost: Luis Bautista, Dave Blamo, Kyle Ellis, Zack Lewis, Ahmed Modi and Tyler Shepherd
•Key returnees: Abdinasir Farah, Troy Fleischman, Yavony Garcia, Luis Perez, Andrew Shepherd and Andy Van