SYRACUSE: The bid for a repeat national championship for the GCC men's lacrosse team came up short on Saturday after the Cougars, the NJCAA National Tournament's No. 2 seed, lost to third-seeded Howard CC 14-13 in the semifinals at host site Onondaga CC.
Genesee, ranked No. 2 nationally, scored the first goal of the game just over three minutes in when Seth Ferguson found the back of the net unassisted.
Howard then rallied off three straight to take a 3-1 lead before Davis Prince scored the final goal of the opening frame to cut the Dragons lead down to one.
GCC took advantage of a man-up opportunity to open the second quarter and Prince tied the game at three with a goal at the 14:42 mark off of an assist from Sherman Williams. The Cougars were 4-8 with a man advantage in the game.
Prince scored three times in the second quarter, including another man-up goal, and with the game tied 5-5, Pat Van Bortle sent Genesee into the half with a 6-5 lead after scoring with just over two minutes to play in the half off of an assist from Jonah Mohawk.
Howard came out strong in the second half and held GCC to a single goal, a tally by Baden Boyenko, and outscored the Cougars 5-1 to take a 10-7 lead into the fourth.
Genesee responded in the fourth and scored three straight to open the period and tied the game at 10 apiece. Williams buried a pass from Ferguson before Alex Mack followed with a goal just over a minute later. Van Bortle then scored man-up to tie it off of a feed from Williams.
With under 10 minutes to play, GCC took an 11-10 lead thanks to a Van Bortle goal at 9:47, but gave up a goal with just over six minutes to go to even the score at 11. Prince put Genesee back in front less than a minute later, but Howard got it back with 3:38 to play to tie the game at 12.
Boyenko then scored man-up with under two minutes left to give the Cougars a one goal lead, but Howard tied it again with just over 30 second to go in regulation.
The Dragons then held possession with a man advantage during the final second, and with 1.7 seconds left scored the game-winner to knock off the defending champs 14-13.
Prince ended the day with six points, five goals and an assist, Van Bortle added a hat trick with three goals and also assisted on a goal, and Boyenko finished with two goals.
Eakins made 18 saves in net and Hejmanowski was 12-30 on face-offs.
Genesee finishes the season with an 11-3 overall record. Howard advances to the NJCAA National Championship game and will take on Onondaga CC, which knocked off Nassau CC in the first semifinals game of the day to advance.