The Bethlehem boys lacrosse team isn't scoring goals at the same breakneck pace it did at the start of the season, but it isn't giving up goals at a breakneck pace either.
That second fact has helped the Eagles go on a four-game winning streak that has raised their record to 9-4 entering Tuesday's Suburban Council game against Niskayuna.
We made some adjustments with our defensive alignment, and that's really helped us out, said Bethlehem coach Dave Rounds. "It's cut down on our penalties, and it's forced teams to shoot from the outside, rather than from point-blank range at our goalie."
The contrast has been noticeable. The Eagles have allowed fewer than seven goals in each of their last three games. Prior to that stretch, Bethlehem allowed fewer than seven goals only twice.
Besides changing the defense, Rounds and his coaching staff have encouraged Bethlehem's high-powered offense to hold on to the ball a little longer before shooting it. The extra possession time has cut down on the Eagles' goal totals, but it's also helped the defense gain some valuable down time.
"The points being reduced from the beginning of the year was all planned," said Rounds. "The scoring is down, but we're possessing the ball better and getting better looks (at the goal)."
The Eagles will have to continue their improvements under hostile conditions this week. After facing league-leading Niskayuna Tuesday, they battle Guilderland Thursday and Big 10 leader Christian Brothers Academy Friday.
"We've looked forward to this week all year because we think we're a top four team, and in order to be a top four team, we have to beat one of those teams," said Rounds.
Eagles overcome slow start
Bethlehem had some difficulty Saturday dealing with another Big 10 team, LaSalle. But the Eagles outscored the Cadets 6-2 in the second half to pull out a 9-6 non-league win.