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Eagles advance to state semifinals with win

This continued White's remarkable comeback from a torn abdomen muscle that kept him out most of the season. He still plays with a lot of pain, but has put in all three of the Eagles' goals in the last two playoff games.

Ultimately, Bethlehem would not get so close again against CNS, and relied on Daniels and the rest of a hard-working defense to preserve that slim margin.

All night long, the back line of Rob Wexler, Tanner Crosier, Pat Campion and Nate House stayed calm and collected, breaking up the Northstars' attacks and protecting Daniels.

In one extreme case, House made the biggest stop of the night. In the 53rd minute, Gilbert returned to attack and had Daniels beaten as he took the shot " but at the last moment, House stepped in and kicked the ball away before it could trickle over the line.

Head coach Phil Ridgeway said his team had to stay in a defensive mode because it was getting used to playing on an artificial surface (Field Turf, to be exact) for the first time all season, and knew CNS had a lot more experience on that surface.

Ultimately, said Ridgeway, "we settled down and played our game."

"We played well in the first half, then went into our defensive mode," said Daniels. "Fortunately, we came out on top."

All of those Bethlehem fans that ventured to Camillus will make a much shorter commute this weekend " to the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, where the state Class AA title will be decided.

On Saturday morning at 9 a.m., the Eagles will meet Arlington (Section I) in the semifinals, with the championship game set for Sunday at 11 a.m.

Ridgeway said the experience provided by 16 seniors (including most of the starting lineup) on the roster, plus the tough competition in the Section II ranks, has prepared his team well for the state tournament.

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