SYRACUSE: The No. 2 nationally ranked GCC men's lacrosse team outscored Monroe CC 10-4 in the second half of Saturday's second Region III title game at host site Onondaga CC, shaking off a slow start to drop the Tribunes 16-11 and earn its first regional title.
The second seeded Cougars surrendered a man-down goal to the third seeded Tribs just over a minute and a half into the game, and were outscored 5-3 after the first 15 minutes.
MCC extended its lead with a second quarter goal at the 11:43 mark before Genesee began its comeback. Sherman Williams cut the deficit to two with his first of three afternoon goals at 9:22 and Davis Prince followed with a goal off of an assist from Pat Van Bortle to get GCC to within one.
Genesee trailed 7-6 to open the second half, but scored four straight goals in the third quarter to take the lead for good. Van Bortle tied the game at seven with an unassisted goal just over halfway through and Patrick Bilbrey put GCC in front for the first time less than a minute later with an unassisted goal of his own. Seth Ferguson gave Genesee an insurance goal with just over four minutes to play and the special teams provided a man-up goal courtesy of Baden Boyenko off of an assist from Van Bortle that put the Cougars up 10-7.
GCC continued its momentum with three quick goals to open the fourth and outscored Monroe 6-4in the final period to cap off an 11-2 season with a regional championship, along with No. 1 nationally ranked Onondaga CC, which won the first title game over Tompkins Cortland CC.
Van Bortle led the offense with three goals and four assists, Ferguson finished with two goals and two assists, Boyenko added a hat trick with three goals, Davis Prince sored twice and added an assist, Bilbrey tallied two goals and an assist and Jordan Brennan chipped in a goal.
Brad Hejmanowski won 13 face-offs and led Genesee with seven ground balls. Williams collected four ground balls and caused two turnovers, Chase Neibert had three ground balls and had two takeaways and Logan Favata finished with five ground balls and had one takeaway. Darin Eakins made 14 saves in net to earn the win.
With the win, Genesee earns an automatic bid for the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Tournament, which will begin with the opening round on May 6. Tournament seeding and pairing is to be announced.