The Westland High School boys soccer team's previous offseason included finding a replacement for then-senior goalkeeper Andrew Shepherd.
The Westland High School boys soccer team’s previous offseason included finding a replacement for then-senior goalkeeper Andrew Shepherd.
Shawn Draper volunteered to take over the position. Draper, who had played in goal during recreational league games and was Westland’s center defender, attended camps during the offseason to improve his skills as a goalie.
The junior not only became the Cougars’ starting goalkeeper, but he received first-team recognition in the OCC-Central Division this fall.
Draper, who also was third-team all-district, finished the season with 110 saves.
“Shawn looked real good in goal,” coach Dan Heckler said. “He kept our team in a lot of games with his goalkeeping. He put his time and effort into it and made himself better. He knew the team needed a goalkeeper.”
The Cougars finished 5-10-1 overall and 1-6 in the league.
“At the beginning of the season we were OK, but as the season went on, I thought we came together and we fought as a team,” Draper said. “We did really good this season.”
Westland lost to sixth-seeded Hilliard Bradley 6-0 in the second round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 22. The Cougars had a first-round bye.
Senior forward Eduardo Perez led the Cougars with eight goals followed by senior forward Nick Ellis and junior forward Emmanuel Tuolee with four apiece.
Other seniors are Carlos Martinez, Jesus Partida, Jason Quintana and Alex Reyes.
Ellis was second-team all-league and Reyes was honorable mention.
“The seniors had a good influence on the team,” Heckler said. “They were strong players and they showed a lot of leadership on the team.”
Westland finished seventh in the league behind Upper Arlington (6-0-1), Dublin Coffman (5-1-1), Worthington Kilbourne (3-0-4), Hilliard Davidson (3-2-2), Hilliard Darby (2-3-2) and Thomas Worthington (2-3-2) and ahead of Central Crossing (0-7).
The Cougars defeated Central Crossing 1-0 on Oct. 11.
Junior defender Mustafa Farah scored and Draper had five saves.
Other key returning players next season should be junior Jack Fischer (midfielder) and sophomores Bachir Bah (midfielder), Kris Davies (midfielder), Eduardo Santiago (defender), Van Tha Tling (defender) and Van Thawng Uk (midfielder).
“The team improved throughout the year,” Heckler said. “We got better on defense. We got better on holding on against strong opponents.”
•The girls soccer team finished 1-13 overall and 0-7 in the OCC-Central.
The Cougars, after a first-round bye, lost to top-seeded Dublin Jerome 10-0 in the second round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 20.
Westland’s win came over Hamilton Township 5-4 on Sept. 10.
Sophomore midfielder Keila Herrara, who scored 18 of the team’s 20 goals this season, had four goals against Hamilton Township. She was honorable mention all-league.
Junior midfielder/defender Juliann Cooper was second-team all-league.
“Juliann took a lot on her shoulders as far as being the strength of the team, being the one that they could all lean on,” coach Pat Ellis said.
Ellis will look to replace seniors Natasja Christensen, Veronica Ham, Jordin Miller and Desarae Santiago.
The Cougars were eighth in the league behind Coffman (6-0-1), Davidson (5-0-2), Thomas (4-1-2), UA (3-2-2), Darby (2-3-2), Kilbourne (2-4-1) and Central Crossing (1-6).
“The girls matured as both individuals and as a team to gain as much skill that they needed to compete through the season,” Ellis said. “It’s a tough league for us to play in, but they didn’t quit in any of the games, even up to the last game against Jerome.”
At a glance
Below are the recent results for the Westland cross country, football and girls volleyball teams:
Oct. 22 — Boys: Did not have enough runners for a team score in Division I, district 2 meet at Watkins Memorial. Andrew Ritchie was 92nd (20:00.30); Girls: Did not have enough runners for a team score in Division I, district 2 meet at Watkins Memorial. Moni Neri was 70th (23:42.66).
*Oct. 21 — Lost to Hilliard Darby 45-7
*Oct. 28 — Played Central Crossing in season finale
Of note: The Cougars were 1-8 overall and 0-6 in the OCC-Central before Oct. 28.
Oct. 20 — Lost to Westerville Central 25-11, 25-13, 25-8 in first round of Division I district tournament
Of note: The Cougars finished 3-19.