Men’s Soccer Fall in Sweet Sixteen
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.
Men’s Soccer Loses Heartbreaker
Friars Fall to Georgetown in OT
By Joe Quirk ’23
The Providence College Men’s Soccer Team suffered a brutal and unfortunate loss in overtime of the final game in the 2021 Big East Tournament. The Friars lost to the nationally ranked No. 7 Georgetown University Hoyas with mere minutes remaining in overtime after a costly turnover in the Friars’ end of the pitch which allowed the Hoyas to put in the game winner. The victory must feel good for Georgetown as just over a month ago the Friars beat the Hoyas at Chapey Field 3-0 when Georgetown was still ranked No. 1 in the country.
The Friars were one of the best teams in the country this season, let alone the Big East. They finished the regular season with a fantastic 10-4-4 record and a 5-2-3 record in conference play. These were enough to get the team a bye into the Big East semifinals which were held this past Thursday, Nov. 11. The Big East tournament this year was hosted at Georgetown University, and the Friars played both their games on the eventual champions’ home pitch. In their semifinal matchup, the Friars hosted the Butler University Bulldogs and won with a score of 2-0. It was a close game for both squads until 64’ when the first Friar goal was netted by Brendan McSorley ’24. Luis Garcia ’23 was credited with the assist on McSorley’s goal. Just about a minute later, at 65’, the Friars added to their lead when Gevork Diarbian ’24 scored with an assist from Simon Triantafillou ’22. The game featured only two yellow cards, evenly distributed amongst the two teams. However, the Friars were responsible for 18 fouls, double that of Butler. Despite that, PC outshot Butler 9-8 (Providence only put up three shots in the second half, two of which found their way in the net). After the game, PC goaltender Lukas Burns ’24, who stopped a big penalty kick at 56’, was asked about the “DNA” of this Providence team. “Since the first day I’ve been here, it’s fighting to the very last minute, working together as a team, we’re a very blue-collar team and we just fight,” said Burns after his shutout performance.
The victory punched Providence’s ticket to the Big East Tournament final game to determine the champion of the conference. The game, played at Georgetown University this past Sunday, Nov. 11, ended in a much more heartbreaking fashion for the Friars. Burns’ comments from after the previous game would prove true, as the Friars scrapped with the previously four-time champion Hoyas all the way until the game-winner in overtime. After a half of scoreless play, Georgetown would score first, putting the Hoyas up 1-0 in the 51st minute. It would be another 34 minutes until the Friars would knot things up at 1 apiece. At 84’, Brendan McSorely ’24 would score again for the Friars, getting assisted by Paulo Lima ’22 and Gil Santos ’22. In overtime, Georgetown’s Stefan Stojanovic netted his second of the day, getting the ball in the Friars’ offensive zone after a bad turnover. The Hoyas crushed the Friars in shots, outshooting PC 16-9, although PC had more saves, 7-3. The game had nine yellow cards, a far cry from the two-card game the Friars saw in the semifinals.
This is the fifth time in program history that PC has been the runner up in the Big East tournament, and it is also the fifth championship for Georgetown. The Friars had two team members named to the Big East All-Tournament team, goaltender Lukas Burns and forward Brendan McSorley, both of whom played tremendously and in big moments for the Friars throughout the tournament. McSorley was a big offensive spark for the Friars for the duration of the tournament and helped spur the offense to produce when it needed to. As for Burns, he was phenomenal, netting seven saves in the final and having a shutout performance in the semifinal. The only goals Burns allowed in the championship game were a penalty kick, which is a tough save, and the game winner, which was on a tough breakaway play from directly in front of the net. The Friars probably would not have made it as far in the tournament without these two.
The next move for the Friars after an incredible season is hosting Marist College on Thursday, Nov. 18 at 7:00 p.m. The Friars did not have an automatic bid from winning the conference, and their loss against Georgetown prevented them from securing a bye into the second round, but the team was able to at least gain home field for their first-round game. Marist entered the MAAC Tournament as the one-seed in their conference and seized an automatic bid to the NCAAs, defeating Rider University on penalty kicks. While Marist is from a weaker conference, they played a competitive out-of-conference schedule in the beginning of the year. Just like the Friars, the Red Foxes fell to the nationally ranked University of New Hampshire 2-1 in the beginning of the season. They defeated St. John’s University 1-0, the same scoreline that the Friars won by when the two sides played in early October. On paper, these scorelines suggest that Thursday night’s game will be a competitive one. This would likely be the only home matchup for the Friars, as the winner of their matchup against the Red Foxes will need to make a trip to West Virginia to square off against Marshall University, who are the NCAA Tournament defending champions, on Sunday, Nov. 21.