Bethlehem girls complete perfect regular season

Getting through the regular season without a loss or a tie was the easy part for the Bethlehem girls soccer team.

Now comes the hard part: winning the Section II, Class AA title.

The Lady Eagles (16-0 league, 18-0 overall) will have the No. 1 seed for Sectionals after capping their perfect regular season last Friday with a 5-0 Suburban Council victory over Guilderland.

We played very well against Guilderland, said Bethlehem coach Tom Rogan. "We moved the ball very well."

Five Lady Eagles entered the scoring column against Guilderland, led by Kristina Maksuti's one-goal, one-assist performance. Kaitlyn Martin, Meg Olsen, Marjana Maksuti and Kristie Link also tallied.

"I have very high expectations for any kid on my team to score goals," said Rogan.

The other expectation Rogan has for his team is not allowing goals. Last Friday's shutout was Bethlehem's 15th of the season, and the Lady Eagles have allowed only three goals in their 18 games.

"We're very well organized defensively," said Rogan. "Our defensemen are very, very talented, and we have a veteran goaltender (in Kiersten Swete)."

Between its balanced attack and its stingy defense, Bethlehem appears to be the favorite to win the Class AA title this year. But after some postseason disappointments in recent years including last year's shootout loss to Niskayuna in the semifinals, Rogan knows nothing is a given in Sectionals.

"There's a number of good teams in our section. Niskayuna, Ballston Spa, Shenendehowa and Saratoga are all very tough," said Rogan.

Bethlehem will also have a long wait before playing its first playoff game this year. The Lady Eagles receive a first-round bye for earning the No. 1 seed, which means they won't play until the middle of next week " at least a 10-day layoff.

"That's a long wait," said Rogan. "The kids are used to it, though. We've had the bye before. We may schedule a scrimmage with somebody or just play each other, but it's tough."

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