SCHUYLERVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The redemption season continues for the Bethlehem Central girls lacrosse team.

After being upset as the top seed in the Sec. II, Class A postseason tournament last year, the Eagles have responded in 2023 by claiming a Class B sectional championship, and are now headed to the regional round of the state tournament following a 7-6 sub-regional victory over Sec. I’s Yorktown at Schuylerville High School Wednesday night.

A free-position goal from Bethlehem senior Sophie Klein put the Eagles on the board first at the 21:29 mark of the first half. After Yorktown tied the game up just over eight minutes later, the Bethlehem defense, anchored in the cage by sophomore goalie Madeline Ward, locked down the Huskers’ offense, holding them scoreless the remaining 13:21 of the half.

The Bethlehem offense capitalized on that drought, going on a 4-0 run in that span that was sparked by another strike from Klein on a sidearm sling shot, while drifting to her right over the middle of the field. The run was capped by junior Kaitlyn Tietjen, who charged right through the teeth of the Huskers’ defense, and with a flick of her wrist, netted goal number five of the first half for Bethlehem with just 35 ticks left before halftime.

Out of the break, though, the Bethlehem offense hit a lull. Tietjen netted the second goal of the second half for the Eagles on a free position at the 16:06 mark. That would be the final time they’d score.

Yorktown rattled off a 3-0 run over the next 9:18, and Bethlehem’s lead was down to one goal at 7-6 with still 6:48 to play.

Bethlehem won the ensuing draw control, and elected to chew some clock, playing essentially “keep away” from Yorktown, and passing the ball around its’ offensive zone to kill time.

That worked until just over a minute remaining when the Huskers forced an Eagles turnover. But at the other end of the field, Bethlehem took the ball right back after a Nina Palella stick check.

Yorktown had another chance to tie the game late, but the Bethlehem defense ramped up the pressure one final time, forcing an errant, last-ditch shot from the Huskers that was well off the mark, and the Eagles survived the comeback effort, holding on for the 7-6 win.

Tietjen further explained the team’s strategy once it gained possession following the Yorktown goal that cut Bethlehem’s lead to just one.

“Our main focus was to keep the ball, not to get another foul, but really to tuck our stick in, and keep running…keep the ball on the offensive end,” said Tietjen. “It’s very exhausting. You know you’re gonna get hit. You know you’re gonna get the fouls. But you just gotta keep running. That’s what our coaches always say, “just keep runnin’; take the foul; take the hit.”

Bethlehem head coach Danielle Blanchard said she was impressed with how her team managed that particular late-game scenario, and added that their execution comes down to preparation in practice.

“We have set ourselves up in practice to practice these situations time and time again,” said Blanchard. “So, we just want to have composure with the ball. We knew that they (Yorktown) were gonna come after us – they’re a tough team – and we were able to handle the pressure.”

Bethlehem will square off with Sec. IX’s Minisink Valley Saturday in the regional round at James I. O’Neill High School in Highland Falls. Opening draw is set for 10:00 a.m.