by Sam Scanlon ’19
The Providence College Men’s Lacrosse team certainly does not lack offensive firepower. However, the core of this squad can be found in its defensive unit. Led by Jarrod Neumann ’17, the Friars’ defense has been an outstanding complement to their fast paced offense.
Neumann has emerged as one of the best defensive players in the Big East Conference and in the region. The 6’4″ defender has been in charge of shutting down the opposing team’s top scoring threats, including some of the best attackmen in the country. He has been rather successful in his efforts, as he has been awarded All-Big East First Team honors for two straight years, including a unanimous decision in 2016 after leading the Friars to the Big East Championship for the first time in program history. Also, Neumann received an All-New England Second Team spot after the 2016 campaign.
Throughout his career, Neumann has played an essential role for this team as the face of the solid defensive unit that has proven to be vital to help win games this season. Currently, the Friars are ranked eighth in Division I lacrosse for scoring defense, carrying only a 7.86 goals-per-game average. Neumann’s help securing each team’s top offensive threats has been an essential asset to keeping teams off the scoreboard.
Recently, Neumann was recognized and received the honor of being named the Big East Defensive Player of the Week after capturing an impressive 9-7 win at home against a talented Marquette University team. The win helped the Friars clinch a Big East tournament spot for the second straight year. Holding the reigning Big East Champions to seven goals was a remarkable feat. Neumann played the lead role, as he has the entire season, in allowing his team to win games by being a big presence in key scoring areas, making it difficult for opponents to generate scoring opportunities.
Not only does he help the team win by playing his position well, he exerts his leadership ability across the entire team, inspiring his teammates to focus on winning. A captain since his sophomore season, Neumann has been able to gain the respect of the entire team. He is the type of player who is always locked in on his task, and as the leader of the team, every other player does the same, focusing on their role to help the team reach its maximum potential. While leading this team, the Friars have improved tremendously.
Defense wins championships. Neumann’s outstanding play in the defensive end limiting goals allowed has put the Friars in an excellent position this season. They are winning games because their opponents are struggling to find the back of the net against them. Defense only proves to be more and more important at this point in the season, so Neumann will definitely give the Friars an opportunity to make a splash in the postseason.