On this day 12 years ago, Conor O’Keefe ’03 scored 2 goals to help lead Nazareth College to the Empire 8 Championship over Ithaca.
The championship match-up brought the conference’s top two seeds together. The top-seeded and #5 nationally ranked Bombers hosted second-seeded and #7 nationally ranked Nazareth with Empire 8 supremacy on the line. Nine days earlier, Ithaca dispatched the Golden Flyers, 15-9, in their only regular season meeting of the season.
The Bombers came roaring out of the gates with four straight goals, but the Golden Flyers responded with a nine-goal run, ignited by an O’Keefe score with 5:27 left in the first quarter. O’Keefe scored a second goal during the spurt that paved the way for a 9-5 halftime lead for Nazareth.
Nazareth continued to lead 13-8 with 11:15 left in the game, but five straight Ithaca goals knotted the game with 6:21 remaining. Staring down a wave of momentum, the Golden Flyers showed their championship mettle with three straight scores to seal the upset victory.
O’Keefe finished his senior season sixth on the team in points (27) to earn an Honorable Mention All-Conference nod.