When two of the best boys soccer teams in New York state get together, you can expect a highly-competitive game.  Well, Bethlehem and Shenendehowa didn't disappoint on Tuesday afternoon in a Suburban Council showdown.

It was Bethlehem on top, 2-1, behind goals by Connor McMahon and Ian Ksanznak.  Entering the game, Shenendehowa was ranked eighth in the state Class AA poll while Bethlehem occupied the 15th spot.

After a scoreless first half, Bethlehem hit the mark first when McMahon scored on an assist from Ksanznak and then the latter tallied with help from Elliot Hiller for a 2-0 Bethlehem advantage.  A talented and determined Plainsmen struck back when Marcus Moore delivered a goal thanks to an assist from Adam Barlow to cut the deficit to 2-1.

In the final 20 minutes, Shenendehowa had its opportunities but was turned away by an aggressive Bethlehem defense.  Shenendehowa almost tied the game on a ball deflected by a Bethlehem defender and then Brad Campion made a great diving block to preserve the lead.

"It's the beginning of the season. It's regular season, not the sectionals. I'm happy we played well and came out on top. It's a rivalry that's been going on for years. It was a physical game," said Bethlehem head coach Phil Ridgway.

Last year, Shenendehowa beat top-seeded Bethlehem in the second round of the Section II Class AA playoffs on penalty kicks.

"They (Shenendehowa) came out strong in the last 20 minutes moving a lot of people. It was a nice win. Brad (Campion) made a great play. He's our center-back. A very good player, Brad is our leader and captain. He made a lot of great plays," said Ridgway.

Bethlehem upped its record to 4-0-1 and leads the Suburban Council South Division while Shenendehowa suffered its first loss in five games. They occupy first place in the North.

"It's a very competitive South division. We visit Saratoga on Thursday so there's not a moment to rest. They're use to getting in high intensity games. The Suburban Council is like that," said Ridgway.

Bethlehem received fine efforts from Kevin Maddock, McMahon, Ksanznak and Ethan Gunty.

Article by Mike Collar