The Upper Arlington High School girls volleyball team has seen a bit of everything so far this season.

The Upper Arlington High School girls volleyball team has seen a bit of everything so far this season.

Having a 7-1 record in OCC-Central Division play before playing Worthington Kilbourne on Sept. 27, the Golden Bears are sure they'll see even more as they attempt to improve on two consecutive seasons of losing in a Division I district semifinal.

UA won its first seven matches, four of them in three games and the other two in five, before losing back-to-back matches to Centerville (25-14, 14-25, 21-25, 25-21, 25-9 on Sept. 17) and league-foe Dublin Coffman (25-20, 25-19, 25-20 on Sept. 20).

The Bears rebounded with a 22-25, 25-13, 25-15, 25-18 win over Thomas Worthington on Sept. 22 in a league match, but lost a non-league match to Hilliard Bradley 25-11, 18-25, 26-24 on Sept. 24 to enter this week 8-3 overall.

"We're at the exact same spot as last year," coach Matt Wion said after the Coffman match. "These were the same two losses we had then. A positive aspect is we're doing better than what we were last year. We took Centerville to five in a great match. We did fairly well against Coffman, even for all the mistakes we made. The positive outlook is we're further along than what we were last year at this spot."

The Bears, who finished 19-5 overall last year, lost five players from a year ago to graduation and are playing with two seniors, two juniors, two sophomores and a freshman. Early five-game league wins over Thomas (25-18, 18-25, 15-23, 25-23, 15-9 on Aug. 30) and Kilbourne (25-12, 22-25, 25-17, 23-25, 17-15 on Sept. 1) proved to be character-builders.

"We had a ton of energy, we were positive in every set and we always went point-by-point," junior defensive specialist Samantha Farwick said. "We never just assumed we were going to win. We all had to work together point-by-point to get those wins."

The Bears lost a five-point lead in the third game against defending league champion Coffman. UA finished two wins behind the Shamrocks in the league last year.

"We've experienced everything now," said senior setter Kate Quinn, a second-year starter. "We've gone to five sets, we've beaten teams in three, we've been down in sets and come back, and now we've lost. Everything we've experienced will make us better as a team."

Samantha Farwick and her twin sister, Sydney, have anchored the Bears' defense behind Quinn and senior middle hitter Kelly Hutchison, a Kent State University recruit. German exchange student Laura Hillebrand has become "an amazing outside hitter," Wion said, and is second on the team in kills behind Hutchison.

UA's rematch with Coffman will be the final match of the regular season, Oct. 13 in Dublin. Then the Bears' primary goal will become advancing beyond the district semifinals, where they've been eliminated by Watterson each of the past two seasons.

"These teams have seen us before, too, so we have adjustments to make," Wion said. "We have to make changes to our serve-receive, we have to adjust how we play free balls. ... Every team is making improvements and every team is getting better. There will be a lot of different looks, but we just have to do the best we can and hopefully we'll be successful."