As the Upper Arlington High School boys soccer team prepares to enter October, it knows full well what's at stake.

As the Upper Arlington High School boys soccer team prepares to enter October, it knows full well what's at stake.

Not only are the Golden Bears positioned to win the OCC-Central Division championship, they're also in the hunt for one of the top seeds in the Division I district tournament.

The tournament draw will be held Oct. 9 at Hilliard Davidson. The first-round games will be played Oct. 19.

"I feel like we've played some good teams, but we certainly want to be peaking right around the tournament," forward and midfielder Rhodes Moore said. "I think we still have some juice left in the tank."

UA was 8-0-2 overall and 3-0-1 in the OCC-Central before playing Westland on Sept. 27. The Bears were second in the league behind Dublin Coffman, which was 4-0.

The league title could be decided when the teams meet Oct. 11 at UA.

Another test looms Thursday, Sept. 29, at Olentangy Liberty, which was fifth in the Division I state poll last week. The Patriots were 7-1-1 overall before facing 10th-ranked Dublin Scioto on Sept. 27 with first place in the OCC-Cardinal on the line.

The Bears beat Liberty 4-1 last season.

"We handled them pretty well at home last year, but they're a team that's playing with confidence," coach Carlos Bonilla said. "They're a very well-coached, disciplined team with good size. It's definitely a gauge game for us and we're taking it that way."

The Bears had allowed just seven goals before playing Westland, posting back-to-back shutouts against Central Crossing (5-0 on Sept. 20) and Westerville Central (1-0 on Sept. 22).

Strong senior leadership has been crucial to UA's success this season.

Bonilla refers to some of the seniors as unsung heroes.

"We have who might be the best player in the Central District in Rhodes Moore, but we've got many others who might not be getting the accolades," Bonilla said. "This senior class is committed to having a great senior season."

Among the seniors are defenders Jake Anderson and Curtis Payne and midfielder Arman Ramnath.

"You can hear them on the field, especially Jake and Curtis, who are always making sure we're getting back into position," Bonilla said. "Those are some of the kids you don't see in the stats. They just go out and do their job every night and are very committed to the team."

Liberty, which has lost in a district final the past three seasons, also features a strong senior class.

The Patriots had allowed just seven goals before playing Scioto. They were averaging 2.44 goals a game through nine games, while UA was averaging 2.8 through 10 games.

Liberty's schedule includes three defending district champions in Gahanna (a 2-1 loss on Sept. 22), Thomas Worthington (a 5-0 win on Sept. 8) and DeSales (Oct. 5).

UA defeated Thomas 2-1 on Aug. 30 in its OCC-Central opener.

"We certainly want the best record possible heading into the tournament and beating Liberty would go a long way in allowing us to move up in the seeding, if we can win it," Bonilla said. "We know we're capable of playing some good soccer, but we also know we have more work to get done."