After snapping an eight-game losing streak, the Westland High School boys soccer team was looking to build momentum for the Division I district tournament.
The Cougars had won two games in a row and were 5-8-1 overall before playing Pickerington Central on Oct. 11. They closed the regular season Oct. 13 against Jonathan Alder.
"The eight losses were against pretty good OCC schools and in six of them we played well and two of them we didn't play well," coach Jamie Dato said. "If we can end (the season) with a ... winning streak and maybe a playoff win, that's a good way to close out the season."
Westland is seeded 34th of 48 teams for the district tournament and visits 24th-seeded Groveport in the first round Wednesday, Oct. 17. The Cruisers are 5-5-3.
"Record-wise, we're pretty similar," Dato said. "We're playing at their place and it's on turf, so that will be a disadvantage to us, but besides that, we're pretty even. It takes us a little while to get used to the speed (on turf)."
The winner plays at second-seeded New Albany in the second round Saturday, Oct. 20.
Westland ended its losing streak with a 4-1 win over Lancaster on Oct. 4 as Juan Martinez scored three goals and Bawi Lian added one. Goalkeeper Trent Beach had three saves.
The Cougars also defeated Central Crossing 3-1 on Oct. 9 as Lian scored twice, Mesiah Bawi scored once and Beach had seven saves.
"We like keeping that rivalry (with the Comets) alive," Beach said. "I like the way the team played. They played smart. They do what they need to do to move the ball and get those opportunities to score."
Westland has defeated Central Crossing in all of Dato's three seasons, also winning 3-1 last year and 3-0 in 2016.
The Cougars are 7-0-2 in the last nine games in the series, outscoring the Comets 23-2. Central Crossing's last win came in 2008 (3-1).
"The kids all know the (Central Crossing) players, so they like to get that win," Dato said. "They're excited whenever they beat their buddies."
Through 14 games, Lian led Westland in scoring with 10 goals, followed by Martinez with eight goals and three assists, Bawi with three goals and five assists, Van Uk with four goals and two assists and Axel Rodriguez with four goals.
"We've definitely picked up the intensity of wanting to win balls, wanting to get goals and finding our momentum to have that win again, have that drive," said Beach, who had 59 saves through 14 games. "Seeing as many shots as I get, I think that I've been playing pretty well. I've had a couple of games where I've been off, so has the rest of the team, but overall all of us are doing well."
Football team to face Coffman
The football team will close the season against two of the top teams in the area, as it plays host to Dublin Coffman on Friday, Oct. 19, and visits Hilliard Davidson on Oct. 26.
The Cougars were 1-6 overall and 0-2 in the OCC-Central before playing Central Crossing on Oct. 12.
Coffman was 7-0 overall and 2-0 in the league before playing Davidson on Oct. 12.
"The goal the whole year has been to get better every day and to be playing our best ball at the end of the season," coach Rick Rios said. "We're playing our best ball defensively."
Westland lost to visiting Marysville 36-12 on Oct. 5 after being outscored 22-6 in the fourth quarter.
"We gave up a couple of scores in the fourth quarter and it got away from us a little bit," Rios said. "We turned the ball over early in the fourth quarter, but our kids were competing. I was pleased with the effort. We didn't execute really well again offensively. We're not happy with some of the things that we did offensively."
Through seven games, quarterback DeShawn Evans had completed 137 of 246 passes for 1,529 yards with 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Iresne Peterson had rushed for 529 yards and five touchdowns on 105 carries, Anthony Widen had 39 receptions for 511 yards and six touchdowns and Robert Clark had 52 catches for 426 yards and three scores.
Girls soccer team earns first win
The girls soccer team earned its first win of the season by defeating Whitehall 3-1 on Oct. 6.
The Cougars were 1-13-1 overall before playing Franklin Heights on Oct. 11.
Westland is seeded 44th of 44 teams for the Division I district tournament and opens in the second round by visiting 12th-seeded Hilliard Darby on Thursday, Oct. 18.
The Cougars finished 0-5 in the OCC-Central.
Girls volleyball team readies for postseason
The girls volleyball team was 4-17 overall and 0-9 in the OCC-Central before playing Central Crossing on Oct. 11.
The Cougars are seeded 46th of 49 teams for the Division I district tournament and have a first-round bye. They visit fifth-seeded Worthington Kilbourne or play host to 48th-seeded Mifflin in the second round Thursday, Oct. 18.
Cross country teams to compete at district
The boys and girls cross country teams will compete in the Division I district meet Saturday, Oct. 20, at Darby.
The boys team will run in the 17-team district 2 meet and the girls team will run in the 15-team district 1 meet. The top five teams and top 20 individuals advance to the regional Oct. 27 at Pickerington North.
The Cougars competed in the OCC-Central meet Oct. 13 at Davidson.
Girls tennis team concludes season
The girls tennis team closed its season by playing in a Division I sectional Oct. 5 at Reynoldsburg.
Junior Genesis Perez-Hernandez and sophomore Kacey Flanagan went 1-1 in doubles. Juniors Anna Ebert, Anais Fernandez and Katie Murray went 0-1 in singles, and senior Elyson Pui and junior Samantha Khoun went 0-1 in doubles.
Westland finished 2-16 overall and went 0-5 in the OCC-Central to place sixth behind champion Coffman (5-0).
"It was a better season overall for the team," coach Shaela Hinckley said. "A lot of effort was given by all players."