In the offseason, Upper Arlington High School girls soccer coach Mark Wise spent a good amount of time going over last season's 1-0 loss to Dublin Coffman in a Division I regional final.

In the offseason, Upper Arlington High School girls soccer coach Mark Wise spent a good amount of time going over last season's 1-0 loss to Dublin Coffman in a Division I regional final.

The Golden Bears breezed though the regular season with a stout defense, which allowed just four goals and recorded 12 shutouts.

That made the loss to Coffman, which UA defeated 1-0 during the regular season to earn the OCC-Central Division title, only more difficult to digest.

Plenty of talent had returned from a 2008 team which reached a state semifinal under former coach Bob McGee and fell to eventual state champion Cincinnati St. Ursula 3-0.

"What is it going to take to be tough enough this season," said Wise, whose team faces Dayton Wayne Huber Heights on Saturday. "A lot of games we won easily last year. I know that didn't prepare us well enough for the tournament so we've stepped up our schedule."

The Golden Bears have defending Division II state champion Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown, Watterson, which fell to Coffman in a district final a year ago, and Dublin Jerome on their schedule.

Last season UA finished 17-2-2 overall and 5-0 in the OCC-Central Division, ahead of Coffman (3-1-1), Hilliard Davidson (2-2-1), Thomas Worthington (1-2-2), Worthington Kilbourne (1-2-2) and Hilliard Darby (0-5).

"I think we're just looking to see how we can be the best we can be," junior forward Michela Paradiso said. "I think we have the talent to put it all together this year and it's definitely our goal to get back to where we were last year."

Paradiso, a first-team all-district and Player of the Year in the OCC-Central, sparked an offensive attack which produced 71 goals last season. The captain of the ThisWeek Super 12 team finished with 26 goals.

Senior forward Gena Inbusch (second-team all-league) also returns as a top scorer. Junior Eileen Saunders is a returning starter in the midfield. UA has plenty of ammunition if opponents decide to focus on Paradiso.

"This year we're really looking to vary our attack," Wise said. "If they try to shut down Michela, we're going to have somebody else open it up. There's going to be a lot of pressure on Michela, but she's had two outstanding seasons."

The Bears will look most different on defense where Colleen Fugate and goalkeeper Shannon Flowers (first-team all-district, first-team all-league) played crucial roles.

Senior Mary Clare Yerke and Ali Stone and junior Olivia Horner will be counted on in the back to help support freshman goalkeeper Ashley Copley.

"Ashley is a talented freshman, but she is a freshman," Wise said. "We know she'll make mistakes along the way, but the team has really rallied around her."

Upper Arlington junior Michela Paradiso (left) was first-team all-district last season when she scored 26 goals as the Golden Bears finished 17-2-2.

Schedule

Aug. 24 - vs. Hathaway Brown (Shaker Heights)

Aug. 28 - at Wayne (Huber Heights)

Aug. 31 - at Thomas Worthington

Sept. 4 - vs. St. Ursula Academy (Toledo)

*Sept. 7 - vs. Worthington Kilbourne

Sept. 9 - at Dublin Jerome

*Sept. 14 - vs. Hilliard Darby

Sept. 16 - vs. Westerville South

*Sept. 21 - at Central Crossing

Sept. 25 - at Magnificat (Cleveland)

*Sept. 28 - vs. Westland

Oct. 2 - vs. Pickerington North

*Oct. 5 - at Hilliard Davidson

Oct. 9 - vs. Findlay

*Oct. 12 - vs. Dublin Coffman

Oct. 16 - vs. Watterson

*OCC-Central game