In the first of many championship events to come in the revamped Great Lakes Conference, Westlake struck first with a victory in the league’s girls tennis tournament.
Originally delayed by rain, the tournament wrapped up on Sept. 27 at Veterans Memorial Park in Parma. If it weren’t for Rocky River standout and former Division I state qualifier Samantha Robertson, the Demons came within an eyelash of sweeping the tournament finals.
Robertson secured a 6-0, 6-0 win over Neige DeAngelis in the first singles championship, and was later named the GLC’s Player of the Year. The Demons won the league title on each of the other four courts.
Madison Shami defeated Bay’s Leah Ernst 6-2, 6-3 in the second singles final, Nadia Milovich beat North Olmsted’s Vivian Orosz 6-0, 6-0 in third singles, Jackie Wong and Stella Davisson beat Rocky River’s Hannah Burgess and Scout Hahn 6-4, 0-6, 7-6 in first doubles, and Michelle Ho and Brooke Evans topped Bay’s Lizzy Carney and Gretchen Nagel 7-6, 6-2 in second doubles.
Demons coach Doug Cook was named the GLC Coach of the Year. The Pirates took second place in the team standings, followed by the Rockets – last year’s league champion.
This week marks the start of state tournament play for Division I-II, with Westshore players competing at the Elyria Athletic Complex over the course of three days. The finals will take place on Saturday, with the top four singles and top four doubles finishers advancing to the district tournament at the Springside Athletic Club in Akron on Oct. 14-16.
Area teams competing at the Elyria sectional in Division I include Avon, Avon Lake, Bay, Lakewood, Magnificat, North Olmsted, North Ridgeville, Olmsted Falls, Rocky River, St. Joseph Academy and Westlake.
In order, the top four singles seeds in the tournament are SJA’s Amara Brahmbhatt, Robertson, Avon’s Denver Johnson and Magnificat’s Anna Mancino. The top four doubles seeds are Magnificat’s Audrey and Natalie Smitek, Magnificat’s Kayra Koprulu and Caroline Moritz, Strongsville’s Bhavya Anoop and Delia Guzik and Midview’s Kat and Gabriela Yates. Play began on Tuesday.
Westlake wins boys golf title
Rain delayed the start of the Great Lakes Conference boys golf tournament at Rawiga Golf Club in Medina by a week, but Westlake was ready when play commenced on Oct. 1.
The Demons, in a repeat of the GLC Preview held at the same course in August, carded a collective score of 317 to win the tournament in their first year as a part of the expanded 12-team league. Sion Park fired a 74 to win medalist honors. Chris Brown (77) and Will Fankhauser (81) helped secure the win.
Defending champion Rocky River shot a 329 to finish runners-up. Luke Dietrich (75) and Nick Tianello (78) both finished among the individual top five. Bay finished third, paced by Andrew Chesterfield’s 82.
Golf sectionals begin
Postseason play began last week for golfers in Divisions II-III.
On Sept. 28 at a Division II sectional at Forest Hills Golf Course in Elyria, Lutheran West’s Ashton Sopko carded an 83 to qualify for the district tournament. As a team, the Longhorns shot 371 to finish fifth out of 12 participants. The top three teams and top three individuals not on a qualifying team advanced to the district round, taking place this week.
Fairview shot a team 414 to finish ninth, led by Tyson Crandall’s 95.
In a girls Division II sectional at Punderson State Park Golf Course in Newbury Township on Sept. 27, Lutheran West finished sixth with a score of 418. The Longhorns were led by Callie Wabeke (90) and Julia Colton (98).
At Punderson, the top four teams and top four individuals not on a qualifying team reached this week’s district tournament. Independence (364), Gates Mills Hawken (364), Southeast (371) and Shaker Heights Laurel (395) made it out as teams, while Ravenna’s Abbie Retherford (78), Beaumont’s Lauren Bangasser (84), Perry’s Emily Capitosti (89) and Villa Angela-St. Joseph’s Samantha Turk (89) advanced as individuals.
Lake Ridge Academy finished 14th (455) in a Division III sectional at Hicnkley’s Pine Hills Golf Club on Sept. 29, led by a 101 from Connor Spencer. The top three teams (Gates Mills Gilmour Academy, Independence and Dalton) qualified for district, while B.K. Kwasniak (Cornerstone Christian, 75), and the Mapleton duo of Evan Dennison (82) and Brock Durbin (82) advanced as individuals.
Liber headed to St. Louis
A 5-foot-11 athlete listed as a guard on the Avon girls basketball roster, Abby Liber is the type of player that can fill just about any role on her team.
Area voters took notice last season. She was the Southwestern Conference's Most Valuable Player, the Lorain County Division I Player of the Year, and an All-Ohio Special Mention after averaging 14 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and a block per game.
Liber had no shortage of college options, and made the decision to commit to NCAA Division I St. Louis University on Sept. 30. The Billikens, coached by Lisa Stone, went 14-5 overall last season and 9-3 in the Atlantic 10 Conference. They gained an invite to the WNIT, where they ultimately lost a quarterfinal to Northern Iowa, 58-50.
Streaks win fifth straight
With five games left in the regular season, the Magnificat field hockey team has pieced together another winning streak.
After dropping consecutive one-goal games to Shaker Heights and Hudson on Sept. 9 and Sept. 14, respectively, the Blue Streaks (9-2) have rattled off five wins in a row, including an 8-0 result over Western Reserve Academy on Sept. 30.
The Blue Streaks have been led by senior Olivia French, who has team-highs in goals (13) and assists (7). Sophomore Kristina Fedorova is second in scoring with 10 goals, while junior Kylie Coughlin has eight. They will host Dublin Jerome of the Columbus area on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
Demons clinch GLC West
The Westlake volleyball team is riding a growing wave of momentum as the end of the regular season draws near, and was able to swallow up an all-important victory on Sept. 30.
With their four-set victory at Bay, the Demons clinched the Great Lakes Conference West Division. They hosted Rocky River on Tuesday and will travel to Fairview on Thursday as the season rounds out. They entered the week still unbeaten at 18-0.
They will play East Division champion Holy Name on Oct. 14 for the overall GLC title.
Pappas reaches record book
In a command performance last week, Morehead State University quarterback Mark Pappas, an Avon Lake native and 2016 ALHS graduate, set a new school record for passing.
Pappas, a 6-foot-2, 213-pound redshirt junior, completed 32 of 43 passes for a school record 481 yards and six touchdowns in a 45-38 overtime victory over Dayton on Oct. 2. His yardage total is the sixth-best single-game output in the Football Championship Subdivision, and his six touchdowns tied for second among all FCS quarterbacks this season.
Pappas, who threw for over 3,000 yards and 33 touchdowns during his senior year with the Shoremen, was named the Pioneer League’s Offensive Player of the Week on Oct. 3.