Onondaga Wins Fourth Straight NJCAA Title
|Onondaga won its fourth NJCAA
title in a 15-6 win over Nassau on Sunday afternoon.
© Greg Shemitz
UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The Lazers emblazoned their name in the record book another year.
The Onondaga Community College men's lacrosse team won its fourth straight NJCAA title and sixth in the last seven years on Sunday with a 15-6 win over Nassau CC at Mitchel Athletic Complex on Long Island. Top-seeded OCC, which finished 19-0, has won 52 straight games, while No. 2 Nassau finished its season 15-4. OCC is the first team to win four straight national championships since Nassau did it from 1999-2002.
Randy Staats, who missed Saturday's semifinal with an ankle injury, led OCC with three goals and three assists. In doing so, the freshman attack became the school's single-season points leader with 139, according to head coach Chuck Wilbur. Current assistant coach Mike Villano held the previous mark with 135 in 2006.
"Helpless," Staats said when asked how it felt to watch Saturday's game, a 15-6 win over Genesse, from the sideline. "But I had to save myself for the big game today and it worked out in the end."
Added Wilbur about Staats: "To be honest, his ankle is so bad, he probably shouldn't even be playing. He has the heart of a champion. He didn't want to let his teammates down."
Hank Delisle had four goals and one assist, while Jordan Saunderson scored three goals and was named the tournament's offensive MVP. Gil Connors made 15 saves and earned defensive MVP honors.
The Onondaga defense, led by starters Tom Klosowski, JT Foltz and Logan Tousaw, held Nassau scoreless for a 31:45 stretch that spanned the entire second and third quarters. OCC scored six goals during the run, capped by Delisle's with 9.4 seconds left in the third, to stretch its lead to 11-4.
OCC also killed all 11 of Nassau's man-up situations.
"Honestly, it wasn't fun," Connors said of playing a man down so much. "But that just shows me those guys are trying. They're throwing their bodies around and they don't care. I would rather take a man down than a goal. If we have 10 man-downs or 20 man-downs, as long as we come up with the 'W' at the end, that's all that matters."
Nassau CC, trying to protect its home field, had a chip on its shoulder starting in pregame warmups, as the teams got into a shouting match near midfield 15 minutes before the opening faceoff. The unfriendliness spilled into the game, as 26 penalties were called — 16 on OCC, 10 on NCC — and numerous times the referees had to warn the sidelines to remain in their designated area.
Wilbur said, as the underdog, it was NCC's strategy to get under his team's skin. OCC beat NCC 17-6 when the teams met during the regular season. "I don't think they had a lot of confidence beating us 6-on-6," he said. "Our man-down made it so their game plan wasn't successful."
OCC's 15 goals matched Saturday's win as a season low, and it was only the third time the Lazers scored less than 20 goals this season. But Wilbur said it didn't matter with the way the defense performed. "We're known to be an offensive juggernaut team," he said. "This year, we have a defense every bit as good as our offense."
The teams traded the lead twice in the first quarter, but OCC led for good after Saunderson's shot while falling beat NCC goalie Eddie Collins (19 saves) stick side at the 3:41 mark of the first.
Midway through the fourth quarter, OCC began celebrating. First with hugs between teammates during stoppages, then a Gatorade bath for Wilbur and finally a team pile-up near the 40-yard line.
"We have great kids who come through this program who care more about each other than they do themselves," Wilbur said. "That's why we're so successful."
Added Connors, who'll head to Quinnipiac next year after never losing a game at Onondaga, "It feels like you really accomplished what you came here for. Being here was the best two years, so far, of my life."
No. 1 Onondaga Community College 15, No. 2 Nassau Community College 6
Scores by quarter for OCC: 5, 2, 4, 4
Scores by quarter for NCC: 4, 0, 0, 2
#45 Randy Staats: 3G, 3A
#9 Brett Williams: 1G
#29 Kyle Styer: 1G
#32 Jordan Saunderson: 3G
#3 Mike DeBottis: 1G
#17 Rodd Squire: 1G
#48 Hank Delisle: 4G, 1A
#14 Eugene Sellie: 1G
#8 Mike Cummings: 1A
#40 Nick Dirado: 1A
#19 Tim Zdimal: 1A
#15 Kevin Chapman: 1A
#5 Gil Connors: 15 saves
#14 Brian Gill: 1G
#30 Matt Tompkins: 1G
#21 Glen Tompkins: 1G, 2A
#10 Zakary Goldbach: 1G
#24 Fred Mase: 1G
#3 Tim Daly: 1G
#2 Eddie Collins: 19 saves
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