SYRACUSE, NY: For the first time in the program's history, the GCC men's lacrosse team captured the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Championship after defeating Onondaga CC 13-12 in overtime on Sunday afternoon.
The fourth-seeded Cougars snapped a seven-year streak in which OCC won the title, becoming just the third different team to be crowned national champions since 2006.
Genesee trailed 1-0 early in the first but tied it at the 11:37 mark when Pat Van Bortle scored off of an assist from Alex Henry. Jacob Bomberry followed with his first of three goals in the game just 20 seconds later and gave GCC a 2-1 lead.
OCC ended the opening quarter with three straight goals and took a 6-2 lead five minutes into the second to build what would be its largest lead of the afternoon.
Genesee capitalized on a man-up opportunity and ended its scoreless stretch when Van Bortle recorded his second goal with 9:14 to play in the half. Davis Prince cut the deficit to two with an unassisted goal at 6:24 and just over a minute later the Cougars were within one after Jonah Mohawk found the back of the net to make it 6-5.
The Lazers went into the half scoring back-to-back goals, including one with just six seconds left, and led 8-5 at the break.
Another man-up goal for GCC started the scoring in the second half when Van Bortle set Up Sherman Williams for his first of the game halfway through the third to cut the OCC lead down to two. The Lazers responded less than a minute later to extend their lead back to three before Williams struck again on a man-up opportunity to make it a 9-7 game.
Both teams exchanged goals to end the third as Bomberry got his second of the game for GCC and he scored again early in the fourth to get the Cougars to within one at 10-9. Williams then scored back-to-back goals at 11:24 and 10:40 and GCC held its first lead since the first quarter at 11-10.
OCC got the equalizer even strength and then scored a man-up goal with just over six minutes to play to regain the lead at 12-11. But Van Bortle wasn't done and tied it at 12 with 3:43 left in regulation and after a scoreless duration of the fourth, the game went into overtime.
Both teams held a possession early in the extra session but could not cash in, until with just 1:14 left in overtime, Van Bortle found an opportunity in front of the OCC net and scored his fourth goal of the afternoon to send GCC to its first national title.
Van Bortle, named the tournament's offensive MVP, finished with six points in the game adding a pair of assists to his four goals. Williams also tallied four goals and Bomberry finished with six points, scoring three goals and assisting on three.
Darin Eakins was named the tournament' defensive MVP and made 14 saves in net. Reed Hnidy led the GCC defense with six ground balls and caused five turnovers and Kyle Dalrymple and Mike Caternolo each collected four ground balls. Caternolo was also 10 for 27 on face-offs.
Genesee's national championship season ends with a 15-4 overall record. It is the College's second national title in school history and first since 1971 (bowling).