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Girls soccer: Guilderland makes history

Lady Dutch win first Sectional title and deny Bethlehem its fifh in a row

— The Guilderland girls soccer team made history for itself and denied Bethlehem an opportunity to extend its string of Section II titles.

First-half goals by Emma Oliver and Emily Center were enough for the Lady Dutch (15-3-1) to hang on for a 2-1 victory over the Lady Eagles in Tuesday's Class AA final at Stillwater High School.

It's the first Sectional girls soccer title in Guilderland's history, but not the first for head coach Curtis Snyder. He won one as a Guilderland boys soccer player for his father, Don Snyder, in 1985, and he coached the Guilderland boys tennis team to a championship in 2011.

"I've had that feeling, and I wanted (my players) to have that feeling, too," said Snyder.

Oliver's goal came off a bang-bang play with 14 minutes left in the first half. A Bethlehem clearing attempt bounced off Guilderland's Jess Capone to Oliver, who turned and fired a shot past Bethlehem goaltender Katie Nickles.

"We really needed the goal to get everyone pumped up because we were kind of flat for the first 25 minutes," said Oliver. "It was a nice deflection to me, and I just shot it."

Center made the score 2-0 with 5:30 left in the first half when she fired a long direct kick past Nickles. It was Center's first goal of the season.

"I knew she had a heavy foot, so I had her take the shot," said Snyder.

Bethlehem (11-5-3) had several scoring chances -- most notably, a shot by Tara Teal midway through the first half that bounced off the outside right corner of the goal -- but didn't capitalize until the latter stages of the second half. Once again, it was a bang-bang play as a failed Guilderland clearing attempt placed the ball at Elle Lutz's foot. Lutz immediately fired a shot past Lady Dutch goaltender Jenna Cubello to pull the Lady Eagles within a goal with 14:07 left.

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