Westland Roundup: Boys soccer squad looks to finish strong

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group
Bryan Garcia and the Westland boys soccer team are preparing to face South-Western City Schools rivals Grove City on Tuesday, Oct. 13, and Central Crossing on Thursday, Oct. 15. The Cougars are hoping to build momentum for the Division I district tournament.

Westland boys soccer coach Jamie Dato hopes his team can salvage a disappointing regular season with a pair of strong performances leading into the Division I district tournament.

The Cougars, who were 1-8-2 overall and 0-3 in the OCC-Ohio Division before playing Westerville Central on Oct. 6, close the regular season with road games against South-Western City Schools rivals Grove City on Tuesday, Oct. 13, and Central Crossing on Thursday, Oct. 15.

“Our record is disappointing,” Dato said. “I could probably flip about four of those games to the win column and make us look better. We had stupid stuff (happen). We did some dumb stuff. ... We’d like to win some of the games we have left.”

Westland is 8-0-2 in its last 10 meetings with the Comets. Central Crossing’s last win in the series was a 3-1 decision in 2008.

The Cougars are 0-7-2 in their last nine games against Grove City. They played the Greyhounds to a scoreless tie in 2012 and tied them at 1 in 2011.

In its other game this season against a school-district rival, Westland defeated Franklin Heights 3-0 on Aug. 27.

“They’re excited to play both Grove City and Central Crossing,” Dato said. “We’ve already beaten Franklin Heights. I always hang the carrot out there. They always expect to beat Central Crossing. If they could beat Grove City, too, they would be the best in our district. We would have beaten all three teams.”

The Cougars, who also played Delaware on Oct. 8 and Hilliard Bradley on Oct. 10, tied Newark at 1 on Sept. 8 and Hamilton Township at 2 on Sept. 29.

Against Hamilton Township, Khalil Suleiman scored both goals and goalie Omar Campa had seven saves.

“Omar is more consistent,” Dato said. “Keeper consistency is the key now.”

Westland lost to New Albany 6-0 on Oct. 1. The Eagles were ranked third in the Division I district poll released Oct. 3 and 13th in the state poll released Oct. 5.

Pickerington North, which defeated the Cougars 4-0 on Sept. 22, was ranked second in the district and ninth in the state.

The district tournament drawing is Sunday, Oct. 11, with the postseason scheduled to begin Oct. 20.

“All I care about right now is getting consistent with these last (few) games,” Dato said. “We want to get a consistent rotation.”

Marvic Martinez connected with Brendan Wiseman for a 17-yard touchdown and scored on an 88-yard run in Westland's 48-12 loss at Grove City on Oct. 2.

Football team

falls to Grove City

Playing with a depleted roster because of injuries, the football team lost at Grove City 48-12 on Oct. 2.

The Cougars, who opted not to participate in the Division I, Region 3 playoffs, were scheduled to play Thomas Worthington in a regular-season finale Oct. 9 but canceled the game Oct. 6 because of the limited roster.

Coach Rick Rios, whose team finished 0-6 overall and 0-5 in the OCC-Ohio, expected to have about 30 players available.

“Our numbers have been so bad, we’re just limping to the finish line,” he said.

Against Grove City, Marvic Martinez connected with Brendan Wiseman for a 17-yard touchdown and scored on an 88-yard run. Martinez rushed for 166 yards on 12 carries, and Tim Smith ran for 51 yards on 15 carries.

“We actually came out and executed well early,” Rios said. “We moved the ball well early and then gave up a couple big plays. I thought we ran the ball pretty well.”

Cross country teams

compete at Berlin

The boys and girls cross country teams competed in the Bear Den Dash on Oct. 3 at Olentangy Berlin.

Drew Hutchinson led the boys, finishing 91st in 18 minutes, 56.3 seconds. Westland was 15th (485) of 15 teams behind champion Dublin Jerome (63).

For the girls, Taylor Gullion was 77th (23:05.6) and Allison Chapin was 91st (26:25.5). The Cougars did not have enough runners for a team score.

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank