The Genesee Community College men’s soccer team took the pitch against Herkimer County Community College for the second time this season on Sunday afternoon, this time to play for the NJCAA National Championship.
The Generals of Herkimer built a 1-0 lead in front of their home crowd about 15 minutes in when Charlie Anderson lofted a shot over GCC goalkeeper Joe Agerskow (East Yorkshire, England) that crossed the goal line just in front of a hustling Barry Kinsella (Dublin, Ireland). The Cougars nearly tied the game two minutes later when Ryan Fredal (Bloomfield Hills, MI) sent a header just under the cross bar that six-foot-five Herkimer goalkeeper Davion Bailey stretched out to save.
The Generals kept pressure on Genesee throughout the first half, but Agerskow came up with a couple of saves to keep the Cougars in it. In the 21st minute, Agerskow was able to get a hand on a point blank shot that was ultimately steered aside by defender Josh Gray (Norwich, England), and put a halt to a low liner from inside the box with two minutes to play to keep the score 1-0 at the half.
Herkimer added goals in the 51st and 52nd minute to build a 3-0 lead with just over 37 minutes to play. Peter Keegan (Dublin, Ireland) nearly put GCC on the board in the 66th minute when he corralled a loose ball ten yards outside of the goal crease and blasted a shot just inches wide of the far post. The Cougars were able to break through with just over 11 minutes left when Brady Smith (Brisbane, Australia) drilled a shot that found the upper 90 to beat Bailey and draw GCC within two.
The lead was too much to overcome, however, and Herkimer added a fourth goal late in the second half to seal the victory and earn the 4-1 win.
The loss was only the second on the year for GCC who finishes the season 16-2-2 and NJCAA National runner-up. Brady Smith, Jonny Bonner (Buncrana, Ireland) and Josh Gray were named to the NJCAA National All-Tournament team for GCC.
The win for Herkimer claims their 8th men’s soccer National Championship in school history and their second in four years.