Members of the Upper Arlington High School girls water polo team felt their squad flew under the radar for most of the season.

Members of the Upper Arlington High School girls water polo team felt their squad flew under the radar for most of the season.

The Golden Bears, however, never doubted their ability and their determination paid off with the program's 11th state title.

UA completed its title quest with a 15-8 win against Napoleon last Saturday in the state championship at Mason.

"We knew we had the potential," UA coach Dan Peterkoski said. "The question was are they going to live up to it. From a confidence standpoint, to be able to do what they did, there was no question."

The Golden Bears reached the final after beating Thomas Worthington, the top seed from the North regional, 17-12 in a semifinal game last Friday. Thomas defeated UA 12-11 in the state title game last season.

UA, which ended the season at 23-6, entered the tournament as the second seed from the South regional.

"It was a very exciting weekend," senior Kayla Hammerberg said. "We overcame a lot of adversity. It was a very interesting season. We went through a lot and had a lot of growing to do. We had a lot of young girls on the team at the very beginning and everyone grew really well together as a team and improved a lot. We did a very good job of proving to the rest of the state that we really did deserve to win because I don't think anyone at the beginning of the season thought that we could do what we did this past weekend."

Against Thomas, Hammerberg led the Golden Bears with five goals, followed by junior Kelly Stiebler with four. Juniors Lauren Comer and Beth Long had three apiece.

"That was big confidence-builder," Peterkoski said of the win against Thomas. "Thomas was our nemesis this year. They were a very talented team. They competed very well. They gave us a lot of trouble throughout the year."

Stiebler capped her weekend by scoring five goals in the title game. Comer, Hammerberg and Betsy Trace had two apiece. Hammerberg and Stiebler were named to the all-state team.

"At the beginning of the season, we had team meetings and it was our goal to play the best that we could all season in the last game, and that's what we did," Stiebler said. "Our whole team just came together."

Peterkoski will look to replace seniors Hammerberg, Alison Edwards and Amy Trace.

Edwards shared goalkeeping duties with juniors Stephanie Turner and Katie Johanni, and freshman Shea Stiebler.

"The seniors are always important," Peterkoski said. "They need to keep the traditions established by those before them and instill the proper work ethic into the underclassmen, so that the program's success will continue into the future. Their legacy is not only measured in the success of this team, but the success of the teams that follow."

UA finished second at the South regional on Oct. 15-16, defeating Mason 12-8 and Sycamore 13-7 and losing to Milford 7-6.

Hammerberg and Stiebler were named to the all-regional team.

Stiebler led the team in scoring with 104 goals and 48 assists followed by Hammerberg with 68 goals and 38 assists. Hammerberg led team in steals with 81.

•The boys team also reached the state tournament at Mason, defeating Milford 13-2 in the third-place game last Saturday.

The Golden Bears lost to St. Charles 10-8 in a semifinal last Friday.

St. Charles defeated Toledo St. Francis 6-4 for the state title last Saturday.

Against Milford, seniors Charlie Coons, Andrew Rabe and Adam Rabe led UA with three goals apiece. Adam Rabe, who was named to the all-state team, had five goals in the loss to St. Charles.

UA, the 2009 state champion, advanced to state after winning the South regional with a 12-5 win over Sycamore and an 11-9 victory over Mason for the title.

Adam Rabe and Andrew Rabe were named to the all-regional team.

"I'm happy with how we progressed," coach Jim Roberts said. "I'm a little disappointed we didn't make it as far as we wanted to, but the kids gave effort all season and really grew as a team. For that, I'm happy."

Adam Rabe led the team in scoring with 93 goals and 36 assists, followed by Andrew Rabe with 65 goals and 26 assists, Coons with 55 goals and 13 assists, and Michael Johanni with 20 goals and 31 assists.

Sophomore goalie Nick Sievert had 208 blocks.

Along with Adam Rabe, Andrew Rabe and Coons, UA will look to replace seniors Alex Chin, Michael Huntley and Will Smith.

"It's tough to say goodbye to the seniors not only because they're all pretty darn good water polo players, but they're all just great kids," Roberts said.

Members of the Upper Arlington girls water polo team pose for pictures last Saturday after defeating Napoleon 15-8 for the state title.

At a glance

BOYS

•Record: 19-11

•Seniors lost: Alex Chin, Charlie Coons, Michael Huntley, Adam Rabe, Andrew Rabe and Will Smith

•Key returnees: Joe Cameruca, Adam Dodson, Michael Johanni and Nick Sievert

GIRLS

•Record: 23-6

•Seniors lost: Alison Edwards, Kayla Hammerberg and Amy Trace

•Key returnees: Lauren Comer, Marissa Jaskot, Kelly Stiebler and Stephanie Turner