Little about the state tournament surprised Upper Arlington High School boys water polo co-coach Mike de Bear.

Little about the state tournament surprised Upper Arlington High School boys water polo co-coach Mike de Bear.

The Golden Bears were seeded second and finished second, losing to top-seeded Cincinnati St. Xavier 9-4 in the championship game Oct. 31 at Mason. UA advanced to the final by defeating seventh-seeded Thomas Worthington 15-5 in a second-round match Oct. 30 at Mason and edging third-seeded and two-time defending state champion St. Charles 10-8 in a semifinal Oct. 31 in the same pool.

"Things went pretty much as expected," de Bear said. "It was clear going in that these three teams were the class of the state and generally eight to 10 goals better than everybody else. The final was a battle. We just were never able to get on top of the game. We got down 7-1 and got back within 7-4. We put some pressure on them, and they came down and scored.

"We've had some good teams, but we haven't been first or second too often. As we get farther away (in time), this will become more satisfying, and I think the guys know that."

UA, which finished 31-10, was seeking its first state championship since 2012.

The Bears played the final without senior Ethan Fischer and co-coach J.J. Spangler, who received red cards during the semifinal and were suspended for the final.

Sophomore Gavin Voss had three goals in the final.

Junior Drew Wilson had five goals and five steals against St. Charles, and junior goalkeeper Alex Rabe made 11 saves. Rabe had 13 saves against Thomas, when Wilson scored seven goals.

Wilson led the team in goals (131), steals (program-record 144) and field blocks (program-record 26).

Rabe's 400 saves also are a single-season record for UA, and he will enter his senior season 29 shy of the all-time career mark of 820 set by 2013 graduate Nick Sievert. Rabe's 40 steals are second all-time in a single year.

Fischer was second on the team with 70 goals, ahead of junior Parker Neri (56) and seniors Nebyat Mamo (49) and Colin Reardon (45).

"Alex and Drew were our stalwarts all year," de Bear said. "We're optimistic. We have eight juniors and five or six younger guys ready to make their mark next year. We played hard and never really wore down.

"It's not a coincidence that we'll probably see the same teams in Canton (for the state swimming and diving meet in February) because this is great work for that, and we're all programs that work hard and emphasize conditioning. We have some good, healthy rivalries. It was a fun season."

Girls soccer team regains district title

Girls soccer coach Chris Merrick's final message to his team after it defeated New Albany 2-1 in a Division I district final Oct. 31 at Gahanna was short but sweet.

"Now it really gets fun," he said.

Mary Nicole Scott's two goals and Hannah Ewing's three saves in goal powered 21st-seeded UA past 19th-seeded New Albany for the Bears' first district championship since 2010.

The Bears were 10-5-5 before playing OCC-Central Division rival Olentangy Liberty in a regional semifinal Nov. 3 at Dublin Jerome.

UA advanced to a district final by edging 16th-seeded and host Watterson 2-1 in a semifinal Oct. 27. Hannah Dible and Ryn Wilmarth scored for the Bears and Ewing made 11 saves.

"It is a lot of pressure to get that (district trophy), and you are playing teams you've played against. It's just hard, and so once you get this one, I don't think you relax, but it's a breath of fresh air and there is a 'let's go again' attitude," Merrick said. "Everything past this is gravy on top. Everything else is just a bonus on the great season we have had so far."

Entering regional play, UA had not lost since a 2-0 setback to Grove City on Sept. 26 and was 8-0-1 in its previous nine games.

"We started playing well at the right time and feeling great," Scott said. "Once we started playing well, we knew we could keep it up. We have played to the best of our ability over and over again."

The regional semifinal winner plays Olentangy or Pickerington North in the regional final Saturday, Nov. 7, at Westerville Central. The regional champion will play Centerville, Cincinnati Turpin, Loveland or Springboro in a state semifinal Tuesday, Nov. 10, at a neutral site to be determined.

The state final is Nov. 13 at Mapfre Stadium.

UA did not play any of those teams during the regular season.

Girls runners end season at regional

The girls cross country team ended the season in the Division I regional meet Oct. 31 at Pickerington North.

UA finished 12th (263 points) of 16 teams, behind champion Granville (93), as the top four teams and top 16 individuals advanced to the state meet Saturday, Nov. 7, at National Trail Raceway.

Madeline Nichols placed 23rd (19 minutes, 35.6 seconds) of 121 runners to lead UA, followed by Heidi Heuerman (50th, 20:08.2), Elizabeth Clingan (64th, 20:24.2), Meredith Caswell (67th, 20:28.1), Caroline Howell (93rd, 20:59.5) and Morgan Brewer (118th, 22:42.1).

Ann Heuerman, who had missed the entire season with a stress fracture, began the race but could not finish. Heuerman committed last week to run cross country and track and field at the University of Wisconsin.

Boys soccer team falls in district semi

Seeded 16th in the Division I district tournament, the boys soccer team hung with host and third-seeded Dublin Coffman throughout their district semifinal Oct. 28 before losing 1-0.

Senior goalie Will Collis made seven saves for the Bears, who finished 6-9-4 overall and 3-3-1 in the OCC-Central.

"A monsoon came down in the second half and we just couldn't convert the few chances we created," coach Mic Rogers said. "As we started chasing the game and throwing more numbers forward, Coffman was creating some chances, but Will Collis was coming up with some big saves."

UA posted two home wins to start the tournament, beating 35th-seeded Whetstone 2-0 in the first round Oct. 21 and 38th-seeded Mifflin 4-0 in a second-round game Oct. 24.

That was the only winning streak of the season for the Bears, who finished fifth in the OCC-Central, behind Hilliard Davidson (5-0-2), Coffman (4-0-3), Liberty (4-1-2) and Thomas Worthington (3-2-2) and ahead of Marysville (3-4), Central Crossing and Westland (both 0-6-1).

Senior forward Santiago Barros led UA with six goals and senior midfielder Jack Stummer scored five.

Stummer was named first-team all-league. Collis was second-team all-league, Barros was special mention all-league and senior defender Nathan Martyn was honorable mention.

"I thought we started the season playing decent soccer but struggled with consistency as the season went on," Rogers said. "We were able to refocus and were playing our best soccer in the playoffs. The team gave everything they had against Coffman -- we just couldn't convert."

Other expected returnees include junior forward Matthew Beery, junior goalie Jack Schoedinger and sophomore forward Gage Giller.

Season ends for field hockey team

For the second consecutive season, the field hockey team's season came to an end at the hands of Liberty.

The Patriots' Karri Stadulis scored all of her team's goals, including the game-winner 1:19 into overtime, as fourth-seeded Liberty edged visiting and fifth-seeded UA 3-2 in a district semifinal Oct. 27.

Senior forward Avery Hall scored a few minutes into the second half to erase a 1-0 deficit, and freshman forward/midfielder Grace Golembiewski tied the game with two minutes left to force overtime. Senior goalie Chloe Flitcraft made 10 saves.

Golembiewski had played midfield most of the season until being moved to forward in recent weeks.

"We lost possession in overtime and never got it back," said coach Kelly Roderick, whose team finished 13-5 overall and 6-2 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-West Division. "We lost 11 seniors last year, so there was a new dynamic on the team and the girls did a wonderful job putting the pieces together. I'm really proud of them.

"We're losing nine seniors this year, but they showed the underclassmen how to make up for losing a big class ahead of them. The seniors left their mark on this program and I think the young girls saw how to reload. They realize what it takes to make a name for themselves."

UA also lost to Liberty in a district semifinal last year, 2-1.

The Bears finished third in the COFHL-West, behind Thomas (8-0) and Liberty (7-1) and ahead of Coffman (4-3-1), Olentangy Orange (4-4), Dublin Jerome (3-4-1), Olentangy (2-6), Lancaster (1-7) and Dublin Scioto (0-8).

Senior forward Caroline Barnum scored a team-high 12 goals. Junior midfielder Anna Schildmeyer and senior forward Laine Raish both scored nine and Hall had eight.

UA defeated 13th-seeded Jerome 2-0 in a first-round game Oct. 22 at home.