COLONIE The Bethlehem boys soccer team is in its first Section II Class AA title game since 2007, but not before meeting some resistance from Albany.
Ethan Gunty scored in the first half, and Liam Roohan added a goal late in the second half to lead the Eagles (16-0-2) to a 2-0 victory over the Falcons in Thursday's Class AA semifinal game at Colonie Central High School.
Albany (10-3-4) kept the score close by hustling all over the field to break up Bethlehem's passes and possessing the ball in the midfield. But, the Falcons couldn't muster many quality scoring chances against a tough Bethlehem defense.
"I thought it was a great performance by Albany," said Roohan. "They kept pushing the whole game."
"They gave us a run, and for a Big 10 team they worked their butts off," said Bethlehem coach Phil Ridgway.
Gunty did most of the work on Bethlehem's first goal. After receiving a pass from Zach Stryker, the senior made a run down the right sideline, crossed into the box and shot the ball into the lower left corner of the net to make the score 1-0.
"The ball is always in front of him, and he always looks to either shoot or pass the ball," said Ridgway. "If the pass isn't there he'll take it himself, and that's exactly what he did on that play."
Bethlehem continued to press forward in the second half. Precise one-touch passes allowed the Eagles to move swiftly through Albany's defense several times, but they couldn't connect when it came time to shooting the ball.
"We pushed forward a lot, and we played the ball wide a lot to create a lot of chances," said Ridgway. "We just couldn't finish our chances."
Roohan had several scoring chances go by the boards.
"It's frustrating, especially when my teammates keep pushing the ball forward and giving me great chances," said Roohan.