Connor McMahon is one of 14 players returning for the Bethlehem boys soccer team this season. The Eagles open their season Wednesday against Averill Park.
Photo by Rob Jonas.
continued That veteran defense will come in handy for Bethlehem this season, since goals could be hard to come by in a highly-competitive Suburban Council.
“It’s not too much pressure [on us] because we are returning three starters, and a lot of the teams in the league have lost a lot of players on their defenses,” said Campion.
The South Division alone could be tricky for Bethlehem. Several teams have their sights set on first place including the Eagles’ two closest rivals in terms of distance — Guilderland and Colonie.
“Guilderland will be very good. They have a lot of guys back from last year. And Colonie is always strong,” said Ridgway. “I [also] think Mohonasen will be better than they were last year.”
As difficult as the South Division will be to navigate, the true strength of the Suburban Council is likely to be the North Division where all six teams — Ballston Spa, Saratoga Springs, Shenendehowa, Niskayuna, Shaker and Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake — are legitimate Section II title contenders.
“It’s going to be a tough go in the North Division because everyone has got players back,” said Ridgway.
Bethlehem avoids the North Division through the first three games. After hosting Averill Park Wednesday, the Eagles play Guilderland Friday before traveling to Colonie Tuesday, Sept. 13. Their first cross-divisional game is Thursday, Sept. 15, against Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake.
Campion said the Guilderland and Colonie games are important for Bethlehem.
“Guilderland and Colonie are definitely threats [in the South Division],” said Campion. “We face them twice, so we have to step up when we play them.”