Westland Roundup: Injuries, COVID-19 hindered progress of volleyball team
With eight returning players, Westland girls volleyball coach Nicole Zumpano expected her team to improve on its 6-16 record from a year ago.
Instead, the Cougars struggled amid injuries and other issues as they finished 3-18 overall and 0-10 in the OCC-Ohio Division.
“I thought we would have been better, but it was a crazy season with the amount of injuries that we had and COVID protocol,” Zumpano said.
Junior setter Kenadee Winters missed about three weeks with a right leg injury but still led the Cougars in assists with 175.
“Our season wasn’t as we expected because of COVID,” Winters said. “We had players with injuries and people who had to quarantine, so our outcome wasn’t what we expected.”
Westland was scheduled to play at sixth-seeded DeSales in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 19, but it was unable to compete because of a COVID-19 case. The Cougars were seeded 40th.
“It would have been a chance to go back to where I graduated from and to see them in action,” said Zumpano, who is a 2000 graduate of DeSales.
Junior libero Kaci Roush was second-team all-league and sophomore middle hitter Kiera Bonds was honorable mention all-league.
“It was great to get Kaci on (the) second team and getting an honorable mention for Kiera, she played really well this season,” Zumpano said. “It was good for what we did.”
Junior middle hitter Rylea Bott led the Cougars in kills with 73, followed by junior outside hitter Alaina Russell (70), Bonds (57), senior right-side hitter Lyhea Correa (48) and senior outside hitter Ashley DuMelle (41).
Roush led in digs (285), while Roush and Winters tied for the team lead in aces (28) and Bott led in blocks (21).
Junior setter Delaney Moore had 154 assists.
Others eligible to return are junior Olivia Fernandez (right-side hitter/outside hitter) and sophomore Morgan Spires (defensive specialist/setter).
Defensive specialist Sofia Rodriguez was the other senior.
“It’s tough to say goodbye to seniors, especially when they’ve been with you when you came in in day one,” said Zumpano, who completed her fourth season.
Westland’s wins came against Franklin Heights (25-7, 25-6, 25-9 on Aug. 25), Harvest Prep (25-10, 25-13, 25-11 on Aug. 27) and Marion Harding (18-25, 16-25, 25-15, 25-16, 15-8 on Sept. 9).
The Cougars closed the season on a 14-match losing streak.
“Every game, every set, we gave 100 percent and gave it our best, and that’s really all that we can do,” Winters said.
Girls soccer squad
faced injuries, adversity
Girls soccer coach Nick Courtright said his team faced numerous injuries as it finished 2-14 overall and 0-5 in the OCC-Ohio.
Seeded 40th in the Division I district tournament, the Cougars lost at third-seeded Dublin Coffman 11-0 in the second round Oct. 24 after a first-round bye.
Westland beat Harding 5-3 on Aug. 25 and Franklin Heights 8-1 on Aug. 27.
“We fought through several key injuries,” Courtright said. “We had to shuffle the lineup several times. That didn’t work in our favor, but the girls progressed as a group and bonded well through the struggle. We just couldn’t put results on paper or in the win column.”
Junior goalie Cynthia Stevens was second-team all-league, senior defender Ingrid Jimenez was special mention all-league and junior forward Bella Garner was honorable mention all-league.
Others eligible to return are juniors Alex Carlton (midfielder/defender), Catalina Gesling (defender), Madeline McGaffee (forward/midfielder), Yaritza Plascencia Garcia (midfielder) and Jennifer Rodas (midfielder/forward), sophomores Hannah Bruno (forward/midfielder), Mya Moxley (forward/midfielder), Salma Pacheco Cortez (midfielder) and Milsy Ramirez (defender/midfielder) and freshmen Kailey Demboski (midfielder/defender), Lydia Jordan (midfielder/forward), Janet Ramirez Jeronimo (defender/midfielder), Jacqueline Sandoval Marcial (defender) and Brisha Trujillo (midfielder).
•Record: 2-14 overall
•OCC-Ohio standings: New Albany (5-0), Pickerington North (3-1-1), Grove City (3-2), Gahanna (2-2-1), Westerville Central (1-4), Westland (0-5)
•Seniors lost: Ingrid Jimenez, Andrea Lopez Garcia, Heaven Manbevers, Jennifer Rodas and Iris Ventura Pablo
•Key returnees: Bella Garner and Cynthia Stevens
•Postseason: Lost to Dublin Coffman 11-0 in second round of Division I district tournament.
•Record: 3-18 overall
•OCC-Ohio standings: Central (8-1), North (7-2), Gahanna (5-1), Grove City (4-5), New Albany (2-7), Westland (0-10)
•Seniors lost: Lyhea Correa, Ashley DuMelle and Sofia Rodriguez
•Key returnees: Kiera Bonds, Rylea Bott, Kaci Roush and Kenadee Winters
•Postseason: Did not compete in Division I district tournament