posted on: Thursday November 14, 2019
By Jack Belanger ’21
For the fourth consecutive season, the Providence College Field Hockey Team earned a spot in the Big East Tournament to play for the league’s conference title. With a conference record of 4-3, the Friars were able to finish fourth in the conference and grab the final playoff spot.
Needing a win to get past the semifinals, PC was set to face-off against the top-seeded University of Connecticut Huskies, who were ranked No. 3 in the country according to the NFHCA Coaches Poll. The two teams met earlier this season with the Friars losing to the Huskies 0-3 down in Storrs, CT. Unfortunately for the Friars, they would suffer a similar outcome, seeing their season come to an end with a tough 0-2 loss against their Big East rival.
The Friars got off to a slow start in the first quarter, failing to register a shot on goal. Luckily the defense was able to keep the Huskies at bay and go into the second quarter tied at zero.
PC almost took the lead early in the second frame. Mary O’Reilly ’20 forced a turnover in Connecticut’s zone and manged to fire a shot that went just off the far post. Forward/Midfield Izzy Mendez ’20 got the rebound and deflected the ball back into the net. While for a moment it seemed like the Friars got the first lead of the game, the goal was soon waved off because a foul was called for the ball going off of Mendez’s foot. This would end up being the Friars best scoring opportunity, as the team manged only three shots on goal for the entire game.
After the teams went into halftime still tied 0-0, Connecticut struck with the first goal of the game on a rebound from Antonia Tiedtke. That goal was all the Huskies needed as they would tack another goal in the fourth and win 2-0.
Despite the early end to the season, it was another successful season for the Friars as they broke into the NFHCA rankings as the No. 25 team in the nation for three weeks before losing in the regular season finale. This was thanks to a tough schedule where PC played seven games against ranked opponents and played four teams that made it into the national tournament. One of the team’s biggest wins came early in the season when they upset no. 24 University of Maine 5-4 in overtime. That was the first time since August 25, 2017 that the team beat a ranked opponent.
The Friars were well represented in the end of season All-Big East Honors Teams. A total of four players from the team were selected, with two on the first team and two on the second team.
O’Reilly and Corinne Kenney ‘18GS represented the Friars on the All-Big East First Team. This is the third time Kenney has been selected to an All-Big East Team, and second time on the first team. She has been one of the Friars’ best defenders during her career and she has started in all 75 games since she came to PC.
O’Reilly has steadily improved every season since her freshman year and set career highs in several offensive categories including, points (16), and goals (five). She would also lead the team in assists with six. Last season she was selected for the All-Big East Second Team. In November she will head down to North Carolina to play in the NFHCA Division I Senior Game.
Mendez and Lydia Rice ‘19GS were selected for the All-Big East Second Team. Rice was one of the best goalies in all of the conference this season, posting a 1.26 goals against average, second best in the Big East, to go along with six shutouts. She was also named to the second team last year.
The team leader in points and goals, Mendez saved her best season for last, recording the team’s first 20 point season since 2016. Mendez’s nine goals were tied for fourth best in the conference. Her 21 career goals is the 26th highest all-time at PC. This is also her second time being selected to the second team.
Looking forward, PC hopes they can finally break into the Big East Finals. The team will return with Niamh Gowing ‘22, Olivia Ward ‘21, and Maddie Babineau ‘21, all of whom tallied eight or more points this season.