By Will Murphy ’23
The Providence College Men’s Soccer team capped off another successful season with their second trip to the Sweet Sixteen in the past three years.
The Friars began their run in the tournament against their regional rival Marist College at their home field, Chapey Field, on Thursday, Nov. 18. The Friars controlled the game from the start, able to muster more than double of Marist’s shot attempts. In the 40th minute, midfielder Christopher Roman ’22 pushed the Friars ahead with a goal that was assisted by Armaan Wilson ’24 and Gil Santos ’22.
In the 67th minute, the Friars were afforded some breathing room after Wilson was able to find the back of the net. Gevork Diarbian ’24 was credited with the assist that helped expand the lead to 2-0.
From there the Friars were able to maintain their lead the rest of the way, pushing their NCAA Tournament record at home to 7-0.
That win moved the team on to the second round where they would face last year’s reigning NCAA Tournament Champion, Marshall University, which had been awarded the No. 14 seed in the tournament by the selection committee. That game was played at Hoops Family Field, in Huntington, WV, the home field of the Marshall University Thundering Herd.
It was a rather evenly matched game, with each team creating opportunities for four shots on goal, with neither team being able to find much separation.
Marshall’s best scoring opportunity in the first half came when Alexander Adjetey broke free and only had the Friar’s goalkeeper, Lukas Burns ’24, to beat, but Adjetey was unable to capitalize, sailing his shot harmlessly over the goal.
The Friar’s best chance in the first half came from a corner in the 18th minute after a deflection led to a loose ball landing at the feet of Miguel Candela ’22, who fired a shot from the top of the box that was saved by Marshall’s keeper, Oliver Semmle.
After a tightly contested first half, the teams headed into halftime in a deadlock at zero. Marshall came out of the break hot, and in the 56th minute, they were able to find separation from the Friars. The goal came on a cross from Milo Yossef after a counterattack, which was finished by Adjetey.
It appeared as though the Friars were able to pull themselves level in the 74th minute when Brendan McSorley ’24 was able to knock in a deflection, but the goal was waved off as McSorley was flagged for offsides.
Momentum then began to swing in the direction of the Friars, as they were able to earn four corner kicks in eight minutes after that.
Finally, in the 85th minute, the Friars were able to break through and level the game at 1-1 on a goal from Candela.
Candela received a pass from Santos at the top of the box and was able to perfectly place his shot inside the right post. That would be the last scoring opportunity in regulation, and the two squads entered overtime even 1-1.
The first overtime period came and went quietly without many scoring opportunities. Just three minutes into the second overtime period the Friars were able to break free and score the game-winning golden goal. The goal was scored on a diving header from Davis Smith ’22 off a beautiful feed from McSorley. This goal pushed the Friars through to their second Sweet Sixteen in the past three years, where they would face their Big East rival, the third-seeded Georgetown University.
The Friars played Georgetown University Sunday, Nov. 28, at Georgetown’s home field in Washington, D.C. It was the third meeting of the season for Providence and Georgetown, with the Friars winning 3-0 in the first meeting, but dropping the second meeting 2-1 in overtime of the Big East championship.
Both teams were held without a shot for the first 32 minutes of action until the 33rd minute when McSorley fired a shot wide left of the net. Shortly after that in the 36th minute, the Hoyas pulled ahead when Dante Polvara collected a loose ball and rifled it into the back of the net. Georgetown’s advantage would remain at one through halftime and into the beginning of the second half.
In the 53rd minute Georgetown was able to get some breathing room thanks to a goal from Marlon Tabora off of a cross from Stefan Stojanovich. Tabora added two more goals in the 58th and 64th minutes respectively, to expand Georgetown’s lead to four and achieve a hat trick.
The Friars avoided the shutout thanks to a goal in the 88th minute scored by McSorley. The goal was assisted by Candela and Diarbian. The game finished with a 4-1 score, putting an end to the Friar’s successful postseason campaign that saw them notch an impressive upset win over last year’s defending National Champion, Marshall University.