About the only thing that could prevent the Bethlehem girls tennis team from winning the Suburban Council title is a major upset.
The Lady Eagles entered the final week of the regular season with an 8-0 record that included victories over their closest challengers, Shaker, Shenendehowa and Guilderland.
What's helped Bethlehem is a core of veterans led by its top four singles players Ali Greenberg, Alexa Grossman, Jen Frangella and Brittany Lutz.
It's nice to know that when you come in with some veteran players, you know they're going to improve over the previous season because they're going to work hard," said Bethlehem coach Grace Franze.
The doubles teams have also come through for the Lady Eagles. In a 5-4 victory over Shaker Sept. 20, the first doubles team of Rebecca Weissman and Jillian Ricciardi scored a critical 7-5, 7-5 victory over Breanna Critelli and Katie Reeks, while Kit Sombke and Khadijah Peek won their No. 3 doubles match in straight sets to seal the match.
"The hardest part of the job is putting together kids (for doubles teams) and have them click, but they've done a great job," said Franze.
The Shaker match and a 6-3 victory over Guilderland were the closest matches Bethlehem played all season. The Lady Eagles have dominated their other opponents, including a 9-0 sweep against Shen last Wednesday that surprised Franze.
"The girls remembered how Shen beat us by one point in last year's Sectionals, so I think they had a point to prove," said Franze.
Should Bethlehem win its three remaining matches starting with Monday's trip to Niskayuna, the Lady Eagles will lock up the No. 1 seed for the Section II, Class AA team tournament, which begins next Tuesday.
The focus isn't strictly on team Sectionals, though. Greenberg and Frangella are also looking to defend their Section II doubles title from last year, even though they are the No. 1 and No. 3 seeded singles players in Bethlehem's lineup.
"We've always done that, and we're thinking about doing it again," Franze said of placing her top singles players in the Sectional doubles competition.
Following Monday's match at Niskayuna, Bethlehem hosted Colonie Tuesday. The Lady Eagles close out the regular season Thursday against Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake.""