The best way the Bethlehem boys soccer team could put its season opening 1-0 loss to Guilderland behind it was to get off to a quick start against Mohonasen.
The Eagles (1-1) did exactly that, as they struck for two goals in the first four minutes on their way to a 9-0 Suburban Council victory over the Mighty Warriors (0-2) Thursday, Sept. 4, in Bethlehem.
“It was good. It was a chance for us to have some time to play … work on some things and get the confidence back in our guys,” said Bethlehem coach Phil Ridgway.
For a moment, it appeared that the first Bethlehem goal might not count. Luke Dole’s original shot spun on the goal line and Kevin Piccolino slid in to knock the ball into the empty net, but neither of the two referees blew their whistles to stop play and signal the goal. That led to some confusion among the coaches, players and fans, but the referees cleared things up and allowed Piccolino’s goal to stand.
“It was a lot of confusion among the referees,” said Ridgway. “We didn’t know if it was good or if it had crossed the (goal) line.”
There was no confusion about Bethlehem’s other four goals in the first half. Trevor De las Alas booted an 18-yard shot on the break to make it 2-0 in the fourth minute. Piccolino scored off a pass from Brian Devane in the 18th minute, and Devane added two goals of his own to put the Eagles ahead 5-0 at halftime.
The scoring continued early in the second half. Eamon Conway got things going with a shot from the top of the penalty box. Piccolino then tallied off a rebound at the 45- minute mark to give Bethlehem a 7-0 advantage. Goals by Dole and Colin Randles finished the Eagles’ rout.
Piccolino – one of four sophomores on this year’s roster – recorded his first varsity hat trick, and Devane pitched in with two goals and an assist.
“He comes off the bench, and he’s very motivated,” Ridgway said of Devane, one of 11 seniors on the squad. “He played very well today.”
Ridgway said he hoped Thursday’s offensive production gets his team going, as Bethlehem heads into the heart of its Suburban Council schedule.
“I think we have the basics now,” said Ridgway. “We have some things to fine tune on offense, and we have some work to do on defense. But they’re a good group. They’re very coachable.”
Meanwhile, defending Section 2 Class AA champion Guilderland (2-0) is off to a strong start. After beating Bethlehem 1-0 in their home opener Tuesday, Sept. 2, the Dutchmen edged Columbia 2-1 Thursday, Sept. 4, in East Greenbush.
Dan DiBiase put Guilderland ahead of Columbia (0-2) with a first-half goal. The Blue Devils tied the score at 1-1 in the second half before Matthew Shiller netted the game winner.
In the Colonial Council, Voorheesville and Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk are off to .500 starts after splitting their first two league games.
Voorheesville began its season with a 3-0 victory over Cobleskill-Richmondville Sept. 2, but Albany Academy defeated the Blackbirds 2-0 Sept. 4 on two goals in the last 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, Ravena found itself in two high-scoring affairs. The Indians lost to Ichabod Crane 9-3 Sept. 2, but they bounced back with a 5-3 victory over Lansingburgh Sept. 4. Donovan Varney had four of Ravena’s five goals against Lansingburgh.
Associate editor/sports editor