Bethlehem and Guilderland entered last Thursday's Suburban Council South Division boys soccer game separated by one-half of a point for first place.
When they emerged from 100 minutes of soccer, Bethlehem remained a half-point ahead of Guilderland.
Bethlehem goaltender Dan Maddock stopped all four shots on goal he faced in a 0-0 tie with Guilderland that clinched the South Division title for the Eagles (12-3-1).
I'm very satisfied, said Bethlehem coach Phil Ridgway. "With all the injuries and the flu-like symptoms we've had recently, I'm very happy with where we are."
Neither team had many quality scoring chances on a cold day in Delmar. Bethlehem had several opportunities in the first half that were stopped by Guilderland goaltender Devin Bailey, while Maddock made the necessary saves at the other end.
"We played well, and we made some opportunities," said Ridgway. "We hit the post on one shot and missed an open shot in the first half, but overall we played well."
"I thought we played one of our best games of the season against Bethlehem," said Guilderland coach Mike Kinnally. "Their goaltender played a great game."
The half-point each team earned for the tie gave Bethlehem 15.5 standings points, which tied the Eagles with Saratoga Springs for the second-highest point total in the Suburban Council behind overall champion Shenendehowa (14-1-1, 19.5 points). Guilderland (10-3-3) finished with 15 points, which tied the Dutchmen with Ballston Spa for the third-best point total.
"It stings a little because it makes you look back at the mistakes we made earlier in the season and magnifies them," said Kinnally. "All in all, we're pleased with how the season has turned out so far."
Bethlehem and Guilderland received their seedings for the Section II, Class AA playoffs Tuesday. Both teams were hoping for a top four seed, with Bethlehem staring at the prospect of having the No. 2 seed.
"We've got to see what Big 10 teams will be up there, but it would be nice to have the No. 2 seed," said Ridgway.
Kinnally said he was hopeful Guilderland could get as high as a No. 3 seed since the Dutchmen have a better record than Saratoga (10-5-1) or Ballston Spa (11-5).
"We know we're going to be a No. 3, a No. 4 or a No. 5 seed, but it doesn't make the road any easier for us," said Kinnally.""