by The Cowl Editor on November 18, 2021
By Joe Quirk ’23
The Providence College Men’s Soccer Team suffered a brutal and unfortunate loss in overtime of the final game in the 2021 Big East Tournament. The Friars lost to the nationally ranked No. 7 Georgetown University Hoyas with mere minutes remaining in overtime after a costly turnover in the Friars’ end of the pitch which allowed the Hoyas to put in the game winner. The victory must feel good for Georgetown as just over a month ago the Friars beat the Hoyas at Chapey Field 3-0 when Georgetown was still ranked No. 1 in the country.
The Friars were one of the best teams in the country this season, let alone the Big East. They finished the regular season with a fantastic 10-4-4 record and a 5-2-3 record in conference play. These were enough to get the team a bye into the Big East semifinals which were held this past Thursday, Nov. 11. The Big East tournament this year was hosted at Georgetown University, and the Friars played both their games on the eventual champions’ home pitch. In their semifinal matchup, the Friars hosted the Butler University Bulldogs and won with a score of 2-0. It was a close game for both squads until 64’ when the first Friar goal was netted by Brendan McSorley ’24. Luis Garcia ’23 was credited with the assist on McSorley’s goal. Just about a minute later, at 65’, the Friars added to their lead when Gevork Diarbian ’24 scored with an assist from Simon Triantafillou ’22. The game featured only two yellow cards, evenly distributed amongst the two teams. However, the Friars were responsible for 18 fouls, double that of Butler. Despite that, PC outshot Butler 9-8 (Providence only put up three shots in the second half, two of which found their way in the net). After the game, PC goaltender Lukas Burns ’24, who stopped a big penalty kick at 56’, was asked about the “DNA” of this Providence team. “Since the first day I’ve been here, it’s fighting to the very last minute, working together as a team, we’re a very blue-collar team and we just fight,” said Burns after his shutout performance.
The victory punched Providence’s ticket to the Big East Tournament final game to determine the champion of the conference. The game, played at Georgetown University this past Sunday, Nov. 11, ended in a much more heartbreaking fashion for the Friars. Burns’ comments from after the previous game would prove true, as the Friars scrapped with the previously four-time champion Hoyas all the way until the game-winner in overtime. After a half of scoreless play, Georgetown would score first, putting the Hoyas up 1-0 in the 51st minute. It would be another 34 minutes until the Friars would knot things up at 1 apiece. At 84’, Brendan McSorely ’24 would score again for the Friars, getting assisted by Paulo Lima ’22 and Gil Santos ’22. In overtime, Georgetown’s Stefan Stojanovic netted his second of the day, getting the ball in the Friars’ offensive zone after a bad turnover. The Hoyas crushed the Friars in shots, outshooting PC 16-9, although PC had more saves, 7-3. The game had nine yellow cards, a far cry from the two-card game the Friars saw in the semifinals.
This is the fifth time in program history that PC has been the runner up in the Big East tournament, and it is also the fifth championship for Georgetown. The Friars had two team members named to the Big East All-Tournament team, goaltender Lukas Burns and forward Brendan McSorley, both of whom played tremendously and in big moments for the Friars throughout the tournament. McSorley was a big offensive spark for the Friars for the duration of the tournament and helped spur the offense to produce when it needed to. As for Burns, he was phenomenal, netting seven saves in the final and having a shutout performance in the semifinal. The only goals Burns allowed in the championship game were a penalty kick, which is a tough save, and the game winner, which was on a tough breakaway play from directly in front of the net. The Friars probably would not have made it as far in the tournament without these two.
The next move for the Friars after an incredible season is hosting Marist College on Thursday, Nov. 18 at 7:00 p.m. The Friars did not have an automatic bid from winning the conference, and their loss against Georgetown prevented them from securing a bye into the second round, but the team was able to at least gain home field for their first-round game. Marist entered the MAAC Tournament as the one-seed in their conference and seized an automatic bid to the NCAAs, defeating Rider University on penalty kicks. While Marist is from a weaker conference, they played a competitive out-of-conference schedule in the beginning of the year. Just like the Friars, the Red Foxes fell to the nationally ranked University of New Hampshire 2-1 in the beginning of the season. They defeated St. John’s University 1-0, the same scoreline that the Friars won by when the two sides played in early October. On paper, these scorelines suggest that Thursday night’s game will be a competitive one. This would likely be the only home matchup for the Friars, as the winner of their matchup against the Red Foxes will need to make a trip to West Virginia to square off against Marshall University, who are the NCAA Tournament defending champions, on Sunday, Nov. 21.