A bid for the second National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Tournament appearance in school history fell short for the Genesee Community College men's soccer team, after the Cougars lost in the Region III Group A finals to Herkimer County Community College on Saturday night at Tompkins-Cortland Community College, 2-0.
Genesee, the No. 4 seed in the tournament, matched up with HCCC, the No. 1 seed and the top-ranked team in the country, for the third time in as many seasons in the regional finals.
The Generals took a 1-0 lead when former Cougar Ben Polk beat GCC goalkeeper Connor Halsted in the 25th minute.
Just over 10-minutes later, HCCC struck again with the second goal of the game in the 36th minute.
The Cougars were held to just one shot in the first half, a scoring change by Ikuma Hirano that was halted by the Generals' stopper that kept GCC off the board.
Herkimer controlled possession for the majority of the second half, but the GCC defense held strong and kept the Generals off the board in the final period.
Clayton Lovelace nearly drew the Cougars to within one in the 71st minute, but a header off of a free kick sailed just wide. Habib Balarabe also sent a header on net off of a corner kick in the 86th minute, but the bid was turned aside by the Herkimer goalkeeper and the Cougars were held without another scoring chance the rest of the way.
Halsted made four stops in net and GCC managed just three total shots in the game, two on net.
Dean Byrne and Balarabe were named to the All-Tournament team for GCC. The Cougars finish the season with an overall record of 10-8.