By Liam Tormey ’22
Since making it to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Tournament in 2016, the Friars have not been back. This season, the Friars are looking to get right back into it—and now they have a very good chance to do so.
Before the Big East Tournament started last Saturday against Marquette University, the Friars finished the regular season with a record of 12-5. Head Coach Craig Stewart led the team to a 6-3 record in Big East conference play and was able to protect Chapey Field, finishing the regular season at 8-2.
The Friars went into the Big East Tournament last Saturday at home as the No. 3 seed in the tournament facing off against No. 6 Marquette. Earlier in the season, on Oct. 12, the Friars beat Marquette 2-0 with goals coming from Davis Smith ’21 and Esben Wolf ’23.
This past Saturday, the Friars held another shutout in the first round of the Big East Tournament, winning 3-0. Goals in this game for Coach Stewart’s team came from Wolf, Trevor Davock ’20RS, and Paulo Lima ’22. The Friars held Marquette to only two shots on target last Saturday with goalkeeper Austin Aviza ’20RS picking up his eighth shutout of the season
In the game this past Wednesday, the Friars continued their fight in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament against the No. 2 seed and the No. 8 ranked team in the country, St. John’s University. St. John’s had a bye in the first round of the tournament but played the Friars at home in Queens, NY
In the final Big East game of the regular season on Nov. 6, the Friars shut out St. John’s in a 2-0 victory at home with goals again from Lima and Wolf.
The semifinals on Wednesday may have been one of the most entertaining games of the season for the Friars. PC went down early to the Red Storm with a 1-0 deficit at the half. Five minutes into the half, Lima scored a header off a corner from Joao Serrano ’20RS to make it 1-1.
The second half was controlled by the Friars, and with just under four minutes to go, Smith put a rebound in the back of the net to take the lead. The game was not over yet as Aviza came up with one more big save with less than 20 seconds left to secure a 2-1 victory in Queens.
Due to the Friars’ great performances throughout the season, five Providence College players received postseason honors. Tiago Mendonca ’20RS and Serrano were both named to the Big East First Team All-Conference. Lima was named to the Second Team All-Conference while Aviza and Danny Griffin ’20 were named to the Third Team All-Conference.
In the season as a whole, Lima led the Friars in scoring with eight goals along with an assist. Serrano led the team in assists with eight and also tallied four goals. Both players have appeared in every single game for PC. Davock and Smith both shared the same stat line after the season’s end with four goals and four assists.
After going to a shootout in the game earlier in the day, the No. 1 seed in the tournament and No. 3 ranked team in the country, Georgetown University, won in penalty kicks over Butler University. The Friars will now travel to Washington D.C. to play in the Big East Tournament Final at 12 p.m. on Nov. 17.