By Jack Belanger ’21
Last Fall, the Providence College Men’s and Women’s Soccer Teams looked to build off their 2016 seasons in pursuit of Big East Championship wins.
Unfortunately, after finishing first in the Big East in 2016 and a run to the Elite Eight, PC’s men’s soccer team fell to fifth place in the conference finishing 5-8-5 overall in 2017, losing in the first round of the Big East Tournament.
While PC’s women’s team record did not drastically improve from 2016 to 2017, the team went from fifth to third place and made their way into the Big East Semifinals.
Both teams are in position for improvement, as the women’s team only lost four seniors, and the men still have several key players from the 2017 season.
PC’s women’s soccer team has plenty to look forward to this season as four out of the top five point-scorers from last year return this season, including Hannah McNulty ’21 and Casey Estey ’19 who were tied for the team lead in goals with three.
Defenseman Katie Day ’19 and midfielder Kayla Steeves ’19 were named to the Preseason All-Big East Team. Last season, Day was named to the All-Big East First Team, while Steeves was named to the Second Team. Midfielder/forward Amber Birchwell ’21 was named to the All-Big East Freshmen Team as she was tied for third on the team in points.
PC’s goalkeeper, Shelby Hogan ’20RS was named the Big East Freshman of the Year last season, as she had seven shutouts last season and a 1.05 goals against average.
The team welcomes five new freshmen to the team, including Celina Falzarano ’22 and Hannah Morgan ’22, who play forward and defense respectively.
This season, the team will head down to Durham, North Carolina to play in the Duke Nike Classic, where they will play the University of North Carolina and Duke University.
The team is picked to finish fourth based on the Big East Preseason Coaches’ Poll, receiving 55 points, though third place Marquette University garnered only four more points than PC.
Georgetown University is picked to be the favorite after winning the championship last season.
After a season that was filled with injuries and performance inconsistencies, the PC men’s soccer team comes into 2018 with plenty of hope of success with players returning and 10 new players in a strong incoming freshman class.
The team looks to find its next goal scorer as 2017 top goal scorer Mac Steeves ’17RS graduated and was drafted by the Major League Soccer team, the Houston Dynamo. The Friars hope midfielder Danny Griffin ’20 and midfielder/forward Alex DaCosta ’20 can fill the void left by Steeves.
Joao Serrano ’20RS led the team in assists and was second in points in 2017 at the center midfielder. Serrano is a captain this year and is one of the team’s better ball distributors.
In goal, Colin Miller ’19RS returns for his third season as the team’s starting goalkeeper. Last season, Miller had a 1.08 goals against average along with five shutouts, earning Big East Goalkeeper of the Week twice.
Miller, the 2016 Big East Goalkeeper of the Year, was voted as the Big East Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year and was voted to the All-Big East Preseason Team along with Griffin.
Two freshmen to watch are Kevin Vang ’22 and Ramzi Qawasmy ’22, who play midfield and defense respectively.
Midfielder Simon Fisher ’21 is also a potential breakout player. Fisher had a strong spring season and looks to give the team quality minutes on the field.
The Friars have the pieces to compete this year if all of their players can stay healthy and they can find a number one scoring option.
Looking around the league, Georgetown looks to repeat as league champions, while Xavier University also returns with a strong team.
PC has their home opener on Friday, August 31 at 7 p.m. against Boston College.