Guilderland edges Bethlehem in border battle

The Bethlehem boys lacrosse team wanted nothing more than to beat Guilderland on Senior Day, but the Dutchmen were uncooperative.

Ian DiPace and Tony Stanish scored fourth-quarter goals to lead the Dutchmen to a 5-4 victory over the Eagles in Saturday's Suburban Council South Division game in Delmar.

It was a hard-fought win against a team that was psyched up to play, said Guilderland coach Sean McConaghy.

The Dutchmen (6-1 league. 6-3 overall) had a difficult time shaking Bethlehem (3-3, 4-4). Every time Guilderland scored a goal through the first three quarters, Bethlehem responded with one of its own.

DiPace and Stanish changed that pattern in the fourth quarter. DiPace broke a 3-3 tie midway through the quarter by charging through the middle of the field and firing a shot past Bethlehem goaltender Theo Ferguson. A short time later, Stanish scored off a pass from Paul Jones to put the Dutchmen ahead by two goals " the first time either team had such a cushion.

Eric Halek scored with less than three minutes left in regulation to pull Bethlehem within a goal, but a pair of penalties in the final two minutes thwarted any chance the Eagles had of completing the comeback.

"We were pushing at the end," said Bethlehem coach Dave Rounds. "The offense could feel things weren't happening for us, so we started taking some risks."

Both goaltenders played well to keep the game low scoring. Ferguson stopped 12 shots for Bethlehem, while Sean Klim made seven saves for Guilderland.

"He had some huge saves for us," McConaghy said of Klim, who's been splitting the goaltending duties with Christian DePersis. "He's been playing well, we think."

It was Bethlehem's third consecutive loss after a 4-1 start " a stretch Rounds said the team owed more to its physical state than anything else.

"We've got some big injuries on offense right now," said Rounds. "Some of them are trying to suck it [and play], but it hasn't been the same."

Bethlehem looked to get back to its winning ways Monday when it hosted Shaker in a Suburban Council game, while Guilderland hosted defending league champion Niskayuna.""

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