ITHACA, N.Y. � The 20th-ranked men�s lacrosse team beat seventh-ranked Nazareth 11-10 in four overtimes Saturday to clinch the Empire 8 regular-season title and the top seed for next weekend�s Empire 8 Championship Tournament.
Freshman Mike Cintineo (Honeoye Falls-Lima/Honeoye Falls) scored an unassisted goal 1:48 into the fourth overtime to end the Bombers� longest game ever (73:48). He took the ball from the top of the box, passed his defender and scored the game-winning goal above the right shoulder of the Nazareth goalie. Ithaca�s previous longest game was a 16-15 victory over Cortland on March 24, 1993, which lasted 71:48.
The Bombers (10-3, 7-0 Empire 8) opened the scoring when sophomore Logan Bobzien (Arapahoe/Littleton, Colo.) took a pass from freshman Matthew Ruhnke (Brien McMahon/Norwalk Conn.) and scored just 13 seconds into the contest. Nazareth (9-3, 4-2 Empire 8) quickly answered before sophomore Matt Nelligan (Pingree School/Rowley, Mass.) put the Bombers back on top 2-1 with under four minutes remaining in the quarter. The Golden Flyers would score the final two goals of the quarter, including a man up goal.
Both teams remained scoreless in the second quarter until Nelligan scored his second goal of the afternoon at the 4:32 mark. Freshman Mike Nowak (Ballston Spa/Ballston Spa) gave the Bombers the advantage, scoring with just under two minutes remaining in the half. The Golden Flyers would send the game tied going into halftime, scoring with 42 seconds remaining.
Nazareth would strike first in the second half, scoring 15 seconds into the third quarter. The Bombers would respond by scoring the game�s next four goals, three by Cintineo and one by Nowak. The Golden Flyers cut the Bombers� lead to two before Nelligan answered with his third goal of the afternoon. Nazareth would score one more goal to send the game into the four quarter with the Bombers owning a 9-7 lead.
Nazareth knotted the game at nine before Nelligan scored his fourth goal of the afternoon with more than eight minutes remaining in the contest. The Golden Flyers scored the game�s final goal in regulation with 58 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Both teams had opportunities to end the game in the first three overtimes. Nazareth had nine shots with junior Dennis Butler (Pleasantville/Pleasantville) making four saves in the extra sessions. Cintineo scored the game-winning goal on the team�s seventh shot of overtime. Butler finished the game with 15 saves.
Cintineo matched his career-high by scoring four goals. Nelligan has scored at least four goals in four-straight contests and added two assists. He has scored at least one goal in each of the Bombers� 13 games this season. Seniors Brandon Geluso (Harborfields/Greenlawn) and Doug Lumb (Auburn/Auburn) each recorded two assists.
Ithaca extended its conference-record winning streak to 16 straight league victories. The Bombers have never lost a home Empire 8 contest in the regular season, winning all 19 games.
Ithaca will host either St. John Fisher of Nazareth in one semifinal Friday with second-seeded Rochester Institute of Technology hosting the other semifinal (Nazareth hosts St. John Fisher Tuesday; the winner will be seeded third and play at RIT and the loser will be seeded fourth and play at Ithaca). Game times will be announced.
Ithaca vs. Nazareth