For the last number of years, NJCAA has lacrosse has been downright predictable, but in 2016 we saw upsets, crazy results, and a brand new JuCo champ in Genesee CC!
Brand NEW JuCo Champ: Genesee CC
Onondaga has been the prohibitive favorite in JuCo lacrosse for YEARS now, and in 2016 it looked like Nassau CC would take the reins back, at least for much of the season. In the playoffs, Genesee rose to the occasion, and beat BOTH Nassau and Onondaga on back-to-back days, to secure their first title in men’s lacrosse. UNREAL!
Fun fact: Genesee has ONE other NJCAA title, in Bowling, back in 1971. Well done by the NJCAA to dig that factoid out!
The Cougars entered the NJCAA final weekend as the #4 seed, after beating Howard 19-9 on May 7th. Their #4 seed bought them a date with #1 Nassau, and the Cougars won an improbably 8-7 game to make the finals. After losing to NCC 10-7 in the regular season, GCC knew what they needed to do, limited Nassau to less than 8 goals, and made an extra offensive push to seal the win. Putting up 8 on Nassau’s D is impressive, and had to give Genesee a lot of confidence for their next game, where they would face 7-time repeating champ Onondaga.
OCC and GCC had played back on May 1st, with the Lazers winning 23-15. They also played in April with OCC winning 15-10. Genesee knew they could score on OCC, but limiting their attack was a different matter. We all know beating a good team three times in one season can be tough, but if Genesee was going to win, they needed to bring their A-game.
To Genesee’s credit, their defense really stepped up in a major way, limiting OCC to 26 total shots on cage. Freshman goalie, Darin Eakins, made 14 saves, and OCC only managed 12 goals in regulation. GCC also notched 12 goals, and the game went to OT. OCC had the ball in OT, won 17 of 27 face offs in the game, and held a slight edge in ground balls, but none of it mattered, as Genesee’s Pat Van Bortle stuck home the game winner on a dodge from X after an endline restart.
OCC came out hard, held multiple leads in the game, but Genesee just kept coming, and never gave up. They got big turnovers, goals, and man up chances when they needed them, and converted. It was going to take a superb effort to knock of OCC, and Genesee delivered in a very real way!
Cam Horn had a hat trick for OCC, Kyle Killen went 5 and 2 for a huge day, and Larson Sundown had 4 assists for lazers.
For Genesee, Sherman Williams had 4 huge goals, Pat Van Bortle had 4 goals (one being the OT game winner) and two assists, and Jacob Bomberry had an even and impressive 3 goals and 3 assists. GCC’s stars came out to play, and they helped bring the Cougars to title town, as they had done all year.
Genesee got better as the year went on, they learned from losses, and brought a superb effort and plan of attack to Championship Weekend. The players executed, and a surprising year ended with a surprising result. It truly was a wild and amazing ride!
Congrats to Genesee’s players, and congrats to Coach David Hoover! Well done!!!!
Want to watch a replay of this game? Well, if you are in New York State, you can’t. Everyone else can watch it, but not the teams that played in it. Or me. WHYYYY????????
Link to watch replay:
NJCAA Final Poll
Who cares? Genesee is the #1 team, it’s all that matters, and it was proven on the field. NEXT!
My NJCAA MVP
How do you not give it to Pat Van Bortle of Genesee?
National Championship OT game winner, 69 goals and 49 assists on the year for 118 points in 19 games, and a superb performance in the title game overall. He also scored those 69 goals on a 46% shooting percentage, and only had 5 turnovers all season long. He scored 16 man up goals, and when he hit the cage, 72% of his shots went in.
Now to be fair, two other Genesee guys in Jacob Bomberry (97 points) and Davis Prince (101 points) also had monster years, but Van Bortle gets the nod for his title game winner. Seems like a fair way to make the call. But like the poll, WHO CARES? It’s all about Genesee’s TEAM win.