Leo Hainline ’22
After dropping their first three conference games, the Providence College Men’s Lacrosse Team has an opportunity to return to winning ways this weekend at home against No. 13th ranked University of Denver.
The matchup against Denver will be Senior Day for the Friars, who will be playing their final game at Chapey Field this season.
PC Lacrosse has faced a challenging schedule and are 5-7 thus far. The Big East is one of the best conferences in men’s lacrosse, with three of its six members currently in the nation’s top 25; Georgetown University is ranked third and Villanova University is ranked No. 23.
Coach Gabrielli’s men played competitive out-of-conference games, hosting Bryant University, a team that was ranked in the top 25 at the time, and Ivy League powerhouse Brown University, who are currently ranked ninth in the nation.
Saint Joseph’s University, another top 25 team, traveled up to Providence earlier in the season as well to compete against the Friars. Unfortunately for the Friars, they fell short in many of these early-season tests.
One of the highlights of the season, however, came from PC’s matchup against Hofstra University, a back-and-forth contest that went into overtime thanks to Jack Horrigan’s ’25 game-tying goal. In overtime, Michael Chabra ’24 grabbed the winner, capping off a four-goal performance from the sophomore.
As the team’s schedule suggests, men’s lacrosse is one of the most competitive and difficult sports in terms of qualifying for the NCAA Tournament. Apart from the 10 automatic qualifiers, claimed through winning conference tournaments, only eight at-large bids are awarded.
The Friars’ 0-3 start to their in-conference schedule has made qualifying for the Big East Tournament, which only takes the league’s top-four teams, highly unlikely. Denver, Villanova, and Marquette University are all tied for second place with 2-1 records.
Georgetown remains undefeated in Big East play. St. John’s University, who the Friars will play in their final game, sits at 0-3.
In the Friars’ game this past weekend at Villanova, the team fell into an early hole, trailing 4-0. The first quarter ended with the Wildcats leading 5-1.
However, PC stormed back with goals from Chris Cusolito ’24, Patrick McAleavey ’25, Chabra, and Albert Paniccia ’25 to make the game level.
Villanova responded with a run of their own and the home team led 9-6 at half-time.
The Wildcats were able to maintain their lead from then-on, claiming an 18-13 victory.
Faceoffs were a key difference between the two sides, Villanova winning 22 out of 35.
Although this year has not necessarily gone as planned, the Friars can certainly finish the season strong. The Friars are competitive against the nation’s top teams. Despite their results, they show quality on the field and have individual talents that can act as game-changers.
Attackman Matt Grillo ’22 leads the team in goals, tallying 29 this season. Midfielder Evan McGreen ’22GS has also played his part, scoring 19 and providing 11 assists thus far. Statistically, these are both players’ best years since their freshman seasons.
Friartown also has a bright future with multiple underclassmen making significant contributions. Freshman midfielder Ryan Bell ’25 tops the team in assists with 27 on the season. His tally is more than double compared to the team’s second highest assist leader.
Midfielder Michael Chabra has also been an impact player as the Friars’ second-leading goalscorer, racking up 20 goals on the year.
Fellow sophomore midfielder Chris Cusolito has filled the stat sheet with eight goals and 22 assists.
Attacker Jack Horrigan is another young player to watch out for. The freshman has the best shot percentage amongst regular starters and has contributed 14 goals on the year. He scored a hat-trick in his last game against Villanova.
Each player taking the Friars’ faceoffs is an underclassman. Quinn McConnaughey ’25, Richie Hughson ’25, and Tom Fegley ’24 are the three players in PC’s rotation. Experience this season should work to their advantage in the coming years.
A win on the Senior Day against the University of Denver, where the team’s eight seniors and two graduate students will be honored, would demonstrate great in-season growth for the Friars. The veterans will need to bring their top performances to knock off the Rocky-Mountain powerhouse, but they have shown stretches of quality that can turn into a winning performance.
The game will be held April 23 at noon on Chapey Field.