Margaret Maloney ’23
The Providence College Men’s Lacrosse Team has risen to the occasion in this difficult spring 2021 season, and are ready to continue the momentum they had at this time last year before COVID-19 struck. Last year, the Friars started their season 5-1 and were ready to dominate in the Big East tournament. This year, they have used their disappointment as a motivator and now aim to make some noise in the Big East tournament.
The Friars, the fourth seed in the tournament, will take on top-seeded University of Denver on May 6 right here on the PC campus. The Friars have lost their two matchups this year against a talented Denver squad and will look to pull off the upset in their semifinal matchup.
Head coach Chris Gabrielli shared how proud he was of his team for pushing through all sorts of COVID-19 restrictions and protocols, explaining that the adversity has made the team better overall and more committed to the sport. He especially emphasized their win against Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI.
Gabrielli explained that the trip to Milwaukee entailed taking “multiple flights and buses, wearing masks, isolating in our hotel rooms…It was an in-and-out trip, leaving the day before, and it was a very quick turnaround to play the next morning, and we just played great.”
He then spoke about how hard it has been mentally for his players to stay healthy, get tested multiple times a week, and also stay focused on the fact that they play the game because they love it. All of the protocols and restrictions have made the season a difficult one, but that all seems to go away when they step on the field to practice or play in games. Gabrielli has made the extra effort to ensure that his players remember this feeling of normalcy.
When talking to coach Gabrielli about preparing for the tournament this season, he explained how important it is to have fun. While the Friars are sticking to their regular practice schedule with extra shooting sessions heading into the tournament, there was an organized “inter-squad scrimmage to make it competitive and fun” for the team the week before the tournament. Gabrielli emphasized that the team is putting in hard work to succeed in the postseason, but it is also important to stay loose going in.
This year, the Friars had eight returning graduates who decided to take advantage of the opportunity given to them by the NCAA to play one more season. When asked about what winning the Big East tournament would mean to him as a coach and what it would mean to his players, Gabrielli responded that “a Big East championship would mean the world to us, especially for all of our fifth year athletes who came back with the goal of competing for a Big East championship on Chapey Field.”
Indeed, PC is lucky enough to host the Big East championship this year, giving the Friars home-field advantage. As they approach their first game in the tournament on May 6, the men’s lacrosse team is fully prepared to excel in the tournament and earn back what they lost last year.