Upper Arlington High School assistant boys water polo coach J.J. Spangler was as unhappy as some of his players when their chance at a state championship evaporated Oct. 28.

Upper Arlington High School assistant boys water polo coach J.J. Spangler was as unhappy as some of his players when their chance at a state championship evaporated Oct. 28.

At the same time, Spangler was thrilled at how the Golden Bears responded on the final day of the tournament Oct. 29.

After losing 11-6 to seventh-seeded and eventual champion Cincinnati St. Xavier in a second-round game, second-seeded UA rebounded for two wins the next day, beating sixth-seeded Toledo St. Francis 12-4 and fifth-seeded Cincinnati Sycamore 19-3 in the fifth-place game. All of the Bears' games took place at Mason.

UA finished 26-6 on the season.

"They didn't meet their own expectations of themselves (in the loss to St. Xavier)," Spangler said. "But the way they bounced back, we couldn't be more proud. St. Xavier started fast and we just couldn't respond. We were 1-for-8 with a man advantage.

"They brought so much positivity into the (Oct. 29) games. They relaxed and played exactly how they know to play. They came out much better and just came together."

St. Xavier defeated top-seeded St. Charles 11-9 in the state final Oct. 29.

One occurrence was bittersweet for Spangler, to an extent.

Senior Drew Wilson's 12 goals against Sycamore gave him the program's single-season scoring record with 147 goals this year, one more than Spangler scored as a senior during UA's state championship season of 2009.

Spangler's last goal of that year came in the same facility, and it was the game-winner in the state final against Thomas Worthington on Oct. 24, 2009.

"Drew is an excellent player who just works hard. It's as simple as that," Spangler said. "He had a lot of good times with this team. They were very close."

Wilson had three goals against St. Xavier.

Senior goalkeeper Alex Rabe made 14 saves against St. Francis, a game in which 16 players saw time, and had 12 saves against Sycamore.

On the season, senior Parker Neri had 54 goals and 41 assists, junior Gavin Voss had 34 goals and 36 assists and senior Dominic Lebron had 32 goals and 16 assists. Wilson also had 33 assists.

Rabe stopped 312 of 462 shots (67.5 percent). According to Spangler, his successor in goal will be junior Ben Staton.

"Alex is going to be a big loss," Spangler said. "He had so many strong games. We're going to miss him."

Other expected returnees include sophomores Alec Caswell (29 goals, 10 assists) and Ted Dimitrov (11 goals, 14 assists).

Heuerman makes state cross country meet

Heidi Heuerman of the girls cross country team will run in the Division I state meet Saturday, Nov. 5, at National Trail Raceway, marking UA's return to the meet after a one-year absence.

Heuerman finished 11th (19 minutes, 50.41 seconds) of 117 runners in the regional meet Oct. 29 at Pickerington North, as the top five teams and top 20 individuals advanced to state.

The Bears finished seventh (180 points) of 16 teams, behind champion Gahanna (97).

Also scoring for UA were Elizabeth Clingan (37th, 20:42.83), Mallory Sharp (38th, 20:42.88), Eileen Dunn (58th, 21:03.81) and Madeline Nichols (60th, 21:09.66). Lindsey Rush finished 79th (21:55.76) and Madelyn Skidmore was 91st (22:15.71).

The Bears were seeking their 28th state appearance as a team and the first since 2013.

In 2014, Ann Heuerman -- Heidi's older sister who now is a freshman runner at the University of Wisconsin -- finished 19th at state as a junior.

"We had some big goals for the postseason," Heidi Heuerman said before the regional meet. "It's been a lot of fun with this team this season. We do a lot together, and I think it helps everybody run better."

Boys soccer team falls in semifinal

Fernando Dapino scored early in the first half of a Division I district semifinal Oct. 26, but the boys soccer team gave up three unanswered goals and lost to host and third-seeded Dublin Jerome 3-1.

Goalkeeper Jack Schoed-inger made seven saves for ninth-seeded UA, which finished 10-5-4.

Dapino accounted for four of UA's five goals in its final two games, having scored three goals in a 4-1 second-round win over 27th-seeded Westerville North on Oct. 22.

Field hockey team ousted by Eagles

Libby Mislan made two saves and Faith Seely had three in the eighth-seeded field hockey team's 3-0 loss to second-seeded Watterson in a district semifinal Oct. 25 to finish 9-6-1.

Masters, McKenna led volleyball team

Senior right-side hitter Madeleine McKenna and sophomore middle hitter Elizabeth Masters led the girls volleyball team, which finished 13-10 overall and 6-4 in the OCC-Central Division.

McKenna led UA in kills (199) and was second in digs (94) and blocks (27), while Masters had a team-high 47 blocks and was second in kills (122).

Seeded 15th in the 47-team Division I district tournament, the Bears lost 25-18, 25-22, 25-20 at 11th-seeded Hamilton Township in a second-round match Oct. 27.

UA finished third in the OCC-Central, behind Dublin Coffman (10-0) and Hilliard Davidson (8-2) and ahead of Marysville (4-6), Central Crossing (2-8) and Westland (0-10).

The Bears' league losses came against Coffman and Davidson, which were seeded first and second, respectively, in the district tournament and ranked fifth and 16th, respectively, in the final state poll.

McKenna was named first-team all-league. Masters was second-team all-league, junior setter Emma Van Arsdale made special mention all-league and middle hitter Remington Giller was named honorable mention all-league.

Van Arsdale had a team-high 404 assists.

Tennis team falls short of goals

The girls tennis team was represented in the state tournament for the fourth consecutive year and 23rd time in 24 years, but neither of its qualifying doubles pairings won a match, ending a year in which UA fell just short of several of its top goals.

Senior Nicole Holman and sophomore Evelyn Holman went 0-1 in the Division I state tournament Oct. 21 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, as did senior Ashley Weeks and junior Masha Manilchuk.

UA went 9-5 overall and was second in the OCC-Central for the second consecutive year, going 4-1 to finish behind Coffman (5-0) and ahead of Davidson (3-2), Marysville (2-3), Central Crossing (1-4) and Westland (0-5).

The Bears lost to Pickerington North 3-2 in the third round of Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Division I district tournament Sept. 12.

UA had much more success in the postseason, advancing six players to district from its home sectional that concluded Oct. 8. Senior Anna Reynolds won the singles championship, freshman Wendy Shi was fourth in singles, Manilchuk and Weeks won the doubles title and the Holmans were third as the top four finishers in singles and doubles advanced.

In the district tournament that concluded Oct. 15 at UA, Manilchuk and Weeks defeated New Albany's Taylor Selby and Christina Vitellas 6-4, 6-3 in the final and the Holman sisters lost to Pickerington Central's Maddie Bechert and Margaret Gordon 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) in the third-place match. The top four finishers in singles and doubles advanced to state.

Other expected returnees include junior Lily Goldberg, sophomore Angela Li and freshman Sarah Marti.

Girls soccer coach reflects on season

The girls soccer team ended a tough-luck season with a 4-1 loss at third-seeded Pickerington North in the second round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 20.

A year after winning a district championship, UA gave up two goals or fewer in 11 of its 17 games but averaged just 1.9 goals per game. The Bears, who were seeded 17th of 42 teams in the district tournament, finished 4-9-4 overall.

"We worked hard and we got good opportunities, but the other keeper would make a great play or a defender would tip it away," coach Chris Merrick said. "I love the brand of soccer we play. We had trouble scoring, but it wasn't for lack of effort."

The Bears went 2-3 in the OCC-Central, finishing fourth behind Davidson (4-0-1), Marysville (3-0-2) and Coffman (2-1-2) and ahead of Central Crossing (1-3-1) and Westland (0-5).

Senior defender Anna Piscopo and junior forward Molly Morgan were named first-team all-league. Senior midfielder Olivia Schildmeyer was second-team all-league, senior forward Mary Bridget Ginn made honorable mention all-league and freshman goalkeeper Carolyn Stehle was special mention all-league.

Morgan led UA with seven goals. Ginn scored four goals and senior midfielder Olivia Schildmeyer scored three.

Other returning starters include freshman forward Sydney Lape.

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

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