Try as they might, the Bethlehem Eagles couldn't keep Arlington off the scoreboard forever.
Matt Turcio scored with 17 seconds left to give Arlington (Section I) a 1-0 victory over Bethlehem in Saturday's class AA state semifinal at the National Soccer Hall of Fame Soccer Complex in Oneonta.
They had a cross in the final 30 seconds, and they headed it over Jason Daniels' head. It happens in soccer, said Bethlehem head coach Phil Ridgway.
The Eagles (16-5-3) stayed with Arlington through the first half, but they couldn't maintain the pace. By the middle of the second half, Arlington was controlling the ball and applying pressure on Bethlehem's defense.
"The defense played fantastic,' said Ridgway. "Nate (House), Tanner (Crosier), Rob Wexler and Pat Campion played extremely well. They really held their own."
Daniels made several saves to keep Arlington off the scoreboard, but there was nothing he could do to stop Turcio's shot from finding the back of the goal.
It was the first state semifinal appearance for Bethlehem. The Eagles won Section II titles in 2000 and 2002, but were eliminated in the regional round each time.
"I told the guys right after the game they had nothing to be ashamed of," said Ridgway. "We won the Section II title, we won the regional title and we made it to the state semifinals. That seemed to perk them right up because they were really down after the game."
Bethlehem graduates its entire starting lineup including its defense, its goaltender and its most dangerous offensive players " Darko Knezevic, Bryan White, Bill Barrowman and Patrick Meany.
"The last two years, we've had a huge senior class," said Ridgway. "Next season, we'll only have six seniors, which is unusual for us. So, we'll have a young team."
Still, the 16 seniors that are leaving the Eagles' nest can say that they made school history and pushed Arlington " which went on to win the state title " to the brink.
"We made it to the semifinals of the state tournament. That's quite an accomplishment," said Ridgway.""