By Thomas Zinzarella ’21
Last week, the Providence College Women’s Soccer Team fell in the Big East Semifinals to the Butler University Bulldogs. This is the second year in a row that the Friars have made the semifinals and dropped both games to the Bulldogs. However, this time around the Friars fared better at Indianapolis.
The Friars were defeated 0-3 last year and showed resilience in this year’s matchup. The Friars trailed 0-2 at halftime after two quick goals scored by the Bulldogs in the 19th and 35th minute. The Friars did not give in, as Camille Murphy ’21 put the Friars on the board and gave them some life. Butler once more extended their lead with a goal in the 79th minute.
Once again, the Friars showed perserverance with a goal by Amber Birchwell ’21 in the 87th minute. The Friars were unable to mount a comeback, but they continue to progress towards the ultimate goal of a Big East championship in future seasons.
It is safe to say that the Butler-Providence rivalry is just getting started in 2018. The Friars have been defeated by the Bulldogs in their last three playoff matchups. The Friars continue to get better and develop their up-and-coming talent. It starts with the top two goal scorers on the team in Hannah McNulty ’21 and Birchwell. Both combined to score 16 of the 26 goals that the Friars recorded this season. McNulty was 3rd in the Big East with 10 goals.
The Friars were led by their defensive back line that was one of the best in the Big East. They only allowed 16 goals this year, second in the Big East only behind the likes of Georgetown University who allowed seven goals. The Hoyas were the second best in the NCAA in goals allowed which is one of the reasons why they earned the number four national ranking and number one seed in the NCAA Tournament.
A valuable piece for the future is goaltender Shelby Hogan ’21RS. Hogan, who was third in the Big East with a .77 Goals Allowed per game, also recorded 10 shutouts, second in Big East. Due to Hogan’s performance in the Big East tournament, along with Birchwell, both earned Big East All-Tournament team honors.
Another reason the future looks bright for PC is continued success from the coaching staff. Since his arrival at PC in 2014, Head Coach Sam Lopes has lead the Friars to five Big East postseason berths, along with five winning seasons including four straight seasons recording double-digit wins.
With talent and experience coming back to the team next year, expect the Friars to be in contention once again as they look to pursue a Big East title and a place in the NCAA tournament.