Boys soccer: Bethlehem ends title drought

Goals by Hiller and Roohan propel Eagles past Niskayuna

— Six years of frustration ended for the Bethlehem boys soccer team Monday.

Elliot Hiller and Liam Roohan scored to lead the Eagles (17-0-2) to a 2-0 victory over Niskayuna in the Section II Class AA finals at Colonie Central High School and their first Sectional championship since 2006.

"It's unbelievable," said Roohan. "It doesn't even feel like we won."

"It feels good to finish it out," said Bethlehem coach Phil Ridgway. "We've been the No. 1 seed (from the Suburban Council) the last three years, and for some reason we kept losing in either the quarterfinals or the semifinals."

Hiller's goal came out of left field. The senior defensive midfielder hadn't scored at the varsity level before he launched a long shot past Niskayuna goaltender Taylor Tear in the 16th minute of the first half.

"Just out of nowhere, it was a great shot," said Ridgway.

Roohan's goal was another surprise. The senior forward leaned into a Ethan Gunty corner kick and got enough velocity on the shot that the ball barely crossed the goal line before a Niskayuna defender cleared it away. There was a slight hesitation before the referee signaled for a goal.

"Gunty sent a great corner into the (penalty) box," said Roohan. "It was too low for me to head the ball, so I ran it in with my chest."

Niskayuna (11-5-3) generated several scoring chances, but it had a harder time getting shots on goal. One first half shot sailed slightly over the crossbar, and the Silver Warriors misfired on three attempts in the second half.

"It was close, but sometimes it doesn't fall the way you want it to," said Niskayuna coach Joe Carosella.

"They never stopped playing hard. You have to give them credit," said Ridgway. "Some teams might have stopped trying when they get down two goals, but they never stopped."

Bethlehem advances to this weekend's Class A regional against Section III champion Utica Proctor.

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