The Genesee Community College men’s soccer team will play for the NJCAA National Championship on Sunday, after beating Anoka-Ramsey Community College (Minn.) 3-0 in the semifinals Friday afternoon at Herkimer County Community College.
The Cougars struck early on in the snow-filled match, when Theo Stamatopolous (Norwich, England) sent a cross to Jonny Bonner (Buncrana, Ireland) that Bonner buried into the back of the net during the 2nd minute of play. GCC would threaten a couple of more times during the first half, but could not increase their lead. The Genesee defense, missing Jack West (Notts, England) and Declan Brennan (Dublin, Ireland) due to injury, stayed solid thanks in part to defender Ryan Fredal (Bloomfield Hills, MI) and goalkeeper Joe Agerskow (East Yorkshire, England). Agerskow aggressively came out of the net to make two big saves in the later part of the first half to keep the Rams off the board. GCC took a 1-0 lead into halftime.
In the second half, the Cougars missed a scoring opportunity about four minutes in when Dom Francis (Huddersfield, England) found an open net with the goalkeeper out of position, but his shot was saved by a defender that stepped in. Genesee was able to score when Peter Keegan (Dublin, Ireland) sent a blast from just outside the box past the Rams goalkeeper to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead with thirty minutes to play. Just four minutes later, Sean Brettell (Welwyn Garden City, England) scored his second goal of the national tournament by sending a header off of a Josh Gray (Norwich, England) free kick into the net, giving GCC the 3-0 lead.
The lead was kept safe by Agerskow who made a breakaway save with 18 minutes to play and followed it with a diving save off of a corner kick less than a minute later.
Genesee controlled possession for the remainder of the second half and ended Anoka-Ramsey’s season with the 3-0 win.
Genesee advances to the NJCAA National Championship game and will take on Herkimer County Community College who defeated Nassau Community College 5-0 on Friday. It will be a rematch of an October 18th meeting in which GCC beat Herkimer, then ranked number one in the country, 1-0. The match will be played on Sunday at 12pm on the campus of Herkimer County Community College.