by Joe Quirk '23 on September 8, 2022
Over the last number of years, Providence College soccer fans have been gifted with strong play from both the men’s and women’s programs. In the 2021 season, the men’s team finished 12-5-4 in a season that saw them defeat #1 ranked Georgetown University 3-0 in the regular season, before ultimately losing to that same team in the third round of the NCAA tournament. The women’s team excelled too, finishing 10-7-3 and losing to Hofstra University in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Both teams had excellent years and earned themselves national tournament bids, fully encapsulating what Providence soccer has become. Now, both teams look to continue that success as they begin the 2022 season looking to make it back to the NCAA’s.
The women’s team has gotten off to a bit of a shaky start in the 2022 season. After a 1-0 win in their season opener against Colgate University, the lady Friars have dropped three out of their last four games. In two of those three losses, the Friars failed to score a goal and were shutout by three or more goals, including a 3-0 loss at the hands of #3 ranked Rutgers University. The Friars have rebounded, with a 4-2 win away at Stony Brook University Sunday, September 2.
Junior forward Meg Hughes was a big offensive motor in that game, registering both a goal and assist. This game is indicative of Hughes’s overall role on the team, and that is offense. She leads the team in goals so far this season with nine, which is five more than the next highest goal scorers. She is also tied for second in assists on the team with four, only one behind fifth year senior Amber Birchwell ’22.
On the defensive end, goalkeeper Emma Bodmer ’24 returns to goaltend for the Friars, looking to have yet another incredibly strong year. Bodmer has started all 20 games for the Friars and has posted an impressive 0.758 save percentage and 1.05 goals-against-average. While Bodmer is an impressive goalkeeper, reliability has perhaps been her biggest strength. Since arriving in Friartown, she has started every game for the Friars and the Friars have not had a losing season yet with her in the net.
The women’s team has three more games to tune up with before they begin Big East Conference play. They get a home game against Boston College Thursday, September 8 followed by an away game at Monmouth University Sunday, September 11. Their final out-of-conference game will be away, however it will still be local as it is at Brown University. The Big East currently does not feature any ranked opponents for the Friars to fear, but that does not make the conference, or any perennial powerhouses within it such as Georgetown, any less daunting.
Like the women’s team, the men’s team had a bit of a slow start to their 2022 campaign. The men’s team started the season off with incredibly lofty expectations, entering as the preseason ranked #16 team in the country. The ranking was understandable, seeing as much like the women’s team, this squad is older and experienced. The men’s team returned a number of players from their 2021 NCAA tournament team, including three of their four top goal scorers and starting goalkeeper. They lost senior midfielder and star goal scorer Paulo Lima ’22, which was a major loss. But with many offensive weapons still on the team, a year of experience under their belts and a returning goalkeeper in Lukas Burns ’24, the Friars look to have a good 2022. However, their start has not met their expectations.
The Friars have started 1-1-1, with a season opening loss to unranked Colgate University at home. They followed that up with a 0-0 draw at Fordham University. Just like the women’s team, the men’s squad has won their last outing, a 4-0 rout at home against Siena College Friday, September 2. They too have three more out-of-conference games to tune up with before facing a Big East Conference with no currently ranked teams. Two of those out-of-conference games will be local, reducing travel fatigue with the team. They tied the University of Rhode Island 1-1 on Tuesday and they face Brown University Saturday, September 10th.
Both teams have gotten off to quite shaky starts but both have also swung momentum back into their favor. They both have older and more experienced squads that have won big games and goalkeepers that have shown the ability to put together winning seasons and tournament runs. With a wide open Big East conference, there is no reason that should suggest that either the men’s, women’s or both teams cannot come back from their respective slow starts and have yet another dominating soccer season.