Chances are few would question whether the Upper Arlington High School girls soccer team is one of the top programs in the state following its appearances in a Division I regional final and state semifinal the past two seasons.

Chances are few would question whether the Upper Arlington High School girls soccer team is one of the top programs in the state following its appearances in a Division I regional final and state semifinal the past two seasons.

However, despite being 9-0-1 overall and 4-0 in the OCC-Central Division before playing Westland last Tuesday, the Golden Bears were not among the top 10 in the Division I state poll last week.

"We're definitely going to be able to prove that we're a top team in the state," forward Michela Paradiso said. "We can't control who we play, but we've got some big games coming up."

Only three of UA's first 11 opponents had a winning record at the time the Bears played them, but the challenge begins Saturday when UA plays host to Pickerington North, which was 7-2 before last Tuesday.

Games on Tuesday at Hilliard Davidson and Oct. 12 at home against Dublin Coffman, which was third in the state poll last week, will decide whether the Bears win the OCC-Central title.

Davidson was 8-2 overall and 4-0 in the OCC-Central before facing Coffman last Tuesday. The Shamrocks were 7-1-2 and 4-0.

"We're concerned about these last two weeks because we've had some lopsided victories," coach Mark Wise said. "But we've been preparing for the big ones and I think we're focused. This is the time we begin preparation for the postseason."

The game against Coffman gives UA an opportunity to avenge a 2-1 loss to the Shamrocks in a regional final last year.

The Bears had defeated Coffman 1-0 during the regular season to take the league title at 5-0, ahead of runner-up Coffman (3-1-1) and third-place Davidson (2-2-1).

"We're looking forward to that because it's always been a big rivalry for us," Paradiso said. "I know a lot of girls on their team after playing club with them. They only lost two seniors, so we know they're going to be really strong again this year."

UA was third in the area coaches poll last week behind Coffman and Olentangy Liberty. The Bears' game against Coffman comes two days after the district tournament draw, which could make it more difficult for the Bears to obtain the top seed in the postseason. UA was awarded the top seed last year.

"It's going to be a fun two weeks ahead," Wise said. "It seems every year coaches look at records and not strength of schedule. I think we've had a pretty strong schedule for the most part. It's certainly strong at the end here."

The Bears entered last Tuesday's game averaging three goals per contest.

But what has impressed Wise the most is the number of players who have scored. The team hasn't had to rely solely on Paradiso, last year's OCC-Central Player of the Year.

Paradiso was leading all scorers with seven goals and three assists through 10 games. Gena Inbusch had five goals and Chiara Paradiso and Eileen Saunders each had four.

After allowing four goals in the first two games, UA's defense produced five shutouts in the next eight games.

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Upper Arlington boys and girls soccer teams:

BOYS

*Sept. 21 - Defeated Central Crossing 2-0

Last Saturday - Tied Beavercreek at 2

*Last Tuesday - Played Westland

Today - At DeSales

*Tuesday - Home vs. Hilliard Davidson. The Wildcats were 6-3-1 overall and 2-2 in the OCC-Central before last Tuesday.

Of note: The Bears were 4-5-2 overall and 1-4 in OCC-Central before last Tuesday.

GIRLS

*Sept. 21 - Def. Central Crossing 11-0

Last Saturday - Def. Rocky River Magnificat 3-1

*Last Tuesday - Played Westland

Saturday - Home vs. Pickerington North. The Panthers were 7-2 overall before last Tuesday.

*Tuesday - At Davidson. The Wildcats were 8-2 overall and 3-0 in the OCC-Central before last Tuesday.

Of note: The Bears were 9-0-1 overall and 4-0 in OCC-Central before last Tuesday.

*OCC-Central game