BY DON DELCO
ThisWeek Staff Writer

Upper Arlington High School girls soccer coach Mark Wise held the Division I district championship trophy in his left arm on Saturday after UA defeated DeSales 1-0 for the program's fourth district title in five years.

"The girls have been around doing this forever, but this is my first time to see (this trophy)," Wise said. "This is amazing."

Upper Arlington improved to 16-1-2 and DeSales finished 12-5-2.

The Golden Bears play in a regional semifinal game Wednesday at a site and opponent to be determined.

Upper Arlington's district-winning goal came with 8 minutes, 50 seconds remaining in the first half. Eileen Saunders took a shot on goal from the top of the goal box. DeSales goalkeeper Jordan Barnett slapped the ball away, but UA's Michela Paradiso was able to corral the rebound and score.

"We've been working all season on following shots," Paradiso said. "I saw (Saunders) shoot on goal and I rushed the net."

With 32:52 remaining in the second half, it appeared DeSales tied the game at 1 on a corner kick from Mary Wickert to Erin Doone.

The Stallions celebration was cut short as referees deemed a handball, nullifying Doone's goal.

"I fought for it, but to be honest, it happened so quick I don't know where it hit," DeSales coach Josh Brader said. "My biggest argument was the flag didn't go up. It affected the game, but UA is a great team. Our girls did a pretty good job adjusting, but that was a devastating blow."
For the remainder of the game, DeSales had trouble mounting an offensive attack.

"Things like that can invigorate the other team or depress the other team," said Wise, whose team has outscored opponents 63-4 this season. "Unfortunately for them, it took them out of the game and we played more on our end of the field, which is always easier on my ticker."
DeSales' last district final appearance was in 2005 when the Stallions lost to Upper Arlington 3-0.