Guilderland might have won the Suburban Council South Division title, but Bethlehem nabbed the No. 3 spot away from the Dutchmen for the Section II Class A boys lacrosse playoffs thanks to a final week surge.
The Eagles (8-5 league, 10-6 overall) defeated the Dutchmen 11-6 and Shaker 9-5 to conclude the regular season with a 7-1 mark against South Division opponents. Guilderland (9-4, 10-6) went 6-2 within the division.
As a result, Bethlehem earned the No. 3 seed and a quarterfinal match-up with No. 6 Colonie Wednesday, while Guilderland was given the No. 4 seed and a home game against No. 5 Shaker (8-6, 9-7).
We had to win out to do it, but we think we deserved it, said Bethlehem coach Dave Rounds.
Guilderland coach Sean McConaghy said he was surprised by his team's seed given the Dutchmen's better league record, but he also said his team's play over the final week " losses to Bethlehem and Shaker " didn't help matters.
"Everyone from the coaches to the players aren't happy with the way we played the last two games," said McConaghy.
Bethlehem's play has been bolstered by the return of midfielder Pat Johnson from a knee injury. Though Johnson hasn't gotten on track yet (four goals and three assists in his last four games), his presence has given new life to an offense that had been stuck in neutral at times.
"Having Pat back definitely gives us some of our [offensive] depth back," said Rounds. "Unfortunately, being out so long has put him out of synch with the rest of the team, but he's contributed in all four games."
While Bethlehem surged to the finish line, Guilderland has struggled, especially at the offensive end of the field. The Dutchmen managed a total of 11 goals over the last 96 minutes of lacrosse action. But McConaghy said his players have been working hard in practice since last Tuesday's loss to Bethlehem, and they're ready to face a Shaker squad that beat them 9-5 May 14.