MASON -- In order for the Upper Arlington High School girls lacrosse team to move forward, it seems like the Golden Bears must first fall apart.

UA nearly squandered a four-goal lead in the first half before defeating Thomas Worthington 18-12 in a Division I state semifinal Friday.

"It does concern me. It's human nature that when you start to be successful, you take a step back and relax," said UA coach Kim Rocheleau, whose team also nearly squandered a 10-4 lead in a 15-13 victory over Mason in a regional final May 21. "They started to relax again today but when they recognized they were doing that, they snapped out of it."

Kelly Mason had four goals and Susan Dappen, Erin Junk and Adriane Ghidotti each had three goals to lead Upper Arlington. Becca Niles and Erin Williams each added two goals and Kelly McDermott had one. Kevyn Harer recorded 12 saves.

Upper Arlington improved to 16-4 and will face Cincinnati Sycamore, which is 21-0, in the state final 3 p.m. Saturday. The previous two years, the two schools have faced each other in the state final, with Sycamore winning in 2007 and UA winning last year. The Aviators defeated the Bears 11-5 on May 9.

"Making it to the state final brings back a lot of good memories from last year," Dappen said. "Hopefully we can bring it home again."

UA will have to do a better job of containing the Aviators' speed than it did against its last two opponents.

The Cardinals closed within 7-6 but could never take the lead. Thomas' Stephanie Littell, Tara Benninger and Anna Geissbuhler each had three goals. Megan Strasser scored twice and Tierney Ford added a goal. Maddy Smith stopped eight shots.

Thomas coach Ally McCarthy said it was the little things that did in the Cardinals.

"In high-level games, it's the little things are what can cost the game," McCarthy said. "A missed ground ball, a turnover and missed shot -- those are the things that can help us or hurt us. And that's what happened."