Panthers Fall in Battle of Top Ten Teams

The Panthers and Cougars played through yet another blast of April snow.
The Panthers and Cougars played through yet another blast of April snow.

The Tompkins Cortland Community College lacrosse team entered Thursday's game with Genesee Community College with the longest winning streak and the highest national ranking in the history of the program. The Panthers, winners of five straight and owners of the #10 spot in the latest NJCAA national poll, hosted #3 Genesee in a matchup of top ten teams, falling to the Cougars 23-5. The Panthers are now 8-3 overall and 7-3 in Region III while the Cougars improve to 9-2 overall and 7-1 in regional play.

Genesee led the entire game, but the score was just 2-1 heading into the final minutes of the first quarter. The Cougars scored three times in the last 2:41 of the quarter, and then rattled off the first five goals of the second quarter to take a commanding 10-1 lead. After a Panthers goal stopped that run, Genesee scored the final four goals of the quarter to take a 14-2 lead into halftime. Genesee outscored the Panthers 6-1 in the third and 3-2 in the fourth to provide the final margin.

Despite the lopsided final score, there was a highlight for the Panthers. Anthony Irizarry (Middletown/Middletown H.S.) scored two goals, giving him 71 points on the season, a new Tompkins Cortland single-season record. Jacob Lewis (Dryden/Dryden H.S.), Derek Sammartino (Saddle Brook, N.J./Pascack Hills H.S.) and Jack Collmer (Vernon/Vernon-Verona-Sherrill) each had a goal and Matthew Bisono (Deer Park/Deer Park H.S.) and Jonathon Phillips (Cortland/Cortland H.S.) each had an assist.

Bryan Iannello (Dryden/Dryden H.S.) was busy in goal, recording 12 saves.

The loss marks the end of the regular season for the Panthers. When NJCAA Region III playoff seeds are revealed, it's expected that Tompkins Cortland will be in position to host a first-round game next week. The first-round matchups and game sites will be announced this weekend.