By Cam Smith ’21
Simply put, the Providence College Women’s Soccer Team is a force to be reckoned with. The Friars’ record of 7-4-1 gives them a position in the top five in the Big East standings, just behind Georgetown University, Butler University, Villanova University, and DePaul University.
The Friars’ success is due in large part to their steady defense and tremendous goalkeeper play. The defense has been anchored by Katie Day ‘19 and Hailee Duserick ‘19, who along with Alessandra Arace ‘20 and Olivia Lucia ’20 have helped PC allow only 10 goals on the entire season thus far, the second-best mark in the conference. Five shutouts from goalkeeper Shelby Hogan ’21 have also helped the Friars keep the scoresheet clean on the opposing side. Hannah McNulty ’21 leads the Friars so far this season in goals scored with eight and is second in the entire conference (just behind Georgetown’s Caitlin Farrell with nine). She will be looking to keep up her prolific scoring as the season enters its second half.
The Friars opened up the season with nine out-of-conference games, in which they went 6-2-1. That stretch saw the team pull off key wins against vaunted institutions such as Harvard University, Brown University, and Drexel University. The Friars’ only two losses came from the third and 17th ranked teams in the entire country, the University of North Carolina and Duke University, respectively. Against Duke, forward Casey Estey ’19 pinned a shot top right corner with 75.2 minutes on the board, pulling the Friars within one goal and effectively silencing the raucous Blue Devil fans. PC would end up falling 2-1, but the Friars proved that they belong alongside the nation’s best.
After finishing off their non-conference schedule with a tie against a talented University of Arkansas team, PC began their Big East portion of the schedule with a 2-0 win over rival Villanova on Sept. 22. The end of the first half saw both teams tied at zero, but that was not for a lack of chances on both sides. PC’s McNulty pushed a shot just wide of the net in the 6th minute from the penalty spot, while Villanova’s Kristen Vinciguerra’s 43rd minute bid to put the Wildcats on top was met with a great save from Hogan. The Friars came out of the half with their foot on the gas pedal, as McNulty fired a laser past the Wildcat keeper to put PC up 1-0 in the 50th minute. Eight minutes later, the scoring onslaught continued as midfielder Kayla Steeves ’19 curled a masterful shot into the net off of a corner kick to seal the game for the Friars.
A home game on Sept. 27 saw PC fall in a heartbreaking fashion to Xavier University 2-3 in double overtime. McNulty and Arace both scored for the Friars in regular time, but a goal from Xavier’s Sydney Schembri snuck past Hogan to drop the Friars to 1-1 in Big East play.
PC took on Butler Sept. 30 and will return to action on Oct. 4 to play St. John’s University, where they will look to build upon a fantastic first half of the season.