Providence College’s Pep Band Rallies Once Again
Providence College’s Pep Band Rallies Once Again
The Group’s Triumphant Return to Schneider Arena
Jack Downey ’23
The past weekend was an absolutely wild time at Providence College. From the festivities held for the class of 2020 to the arrival of many parents for the weekend, the last few days were vibrant and exciting. One major event that had many people in good spirits was the first men’s hockey game of the season. Facing off against Army in Schneider Arena, the line to get in stretched as far as the eye could see. Light up cups were handed out for a lightshow between periods. And, of course, the pep band returned.
This was particularly exciting because of the lack of action the pep band experienced last year. Thanks to the pandemic, there were few publicly attended sports games, meaning that the pep band did not get many chances to shine, only playing once or twice during the spring semester. However, with Schneider being open to spectators once again, the pep band took their spots in the stands as people began filing in.
Helmed by long-standing leader Jeff Hoyer and newly-minted student conductor Joe Genest ’22, the band played a few tunes as people took their seats, and a sense of anticipation grew. After a while, the pregame practice concluded. The pep band proceeded to blast a lively take of the classic “When The Saints Go Marching In.” No other tune could have felt like such a fitting beginning to the hockey season. The atmosphere in the arena was full of joy.
Soon the game started and within a minute the Friars scored, taking an early lead. In response, the pep band played some upbeat anthems, such as Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off.” Genest dutifully conducted the band, occasionally also playing guitar. Hoyer also played along with the band, alternating between trombone and keys. Throughout the rest of the game, the band continued to provide an excellent backing track to the proceedings as the men’s hockey team won, destroying Army 7-0.
While this game was certainly a memorable one for PC’s men’s ice hockey team, it perhaps had even more significance for many of the musicians in the pep band. Current sophomores were able to truly experience the electric atmosphere that permeates Schneider Arena, something that they had missed last year. Learning so many songs only to not showcase them to anyone was undoubtedly a frustrating experience, so it must have been exhilarating to finally get the chance to play them at last weekend’s game. This game also reminded people why the pep band is such an important part of PC’s campus. Without them, so much of the excitement that comes with attending PC athletic contests would be lost.
There are many more games to come this season, and it will be great to hear the sounds of the pep band at them. Perhaps even more exciting is the prospect of returning to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center for basketball games, especially for the younger members of the pep band who have not experienced this yet.
Editor’s Corner: Ode to Fall Sports
by Jack Belanger ’21
It is apt to say that sports play a significant role in shaping the culture at Providence College. From the first moment I stepped onto this campus, it was clear how important basketball and hockey are to the PC community. While fall sports do not come close in terms of popularity to winter sports, they nevertheless are an important part of the culture on campus.
For six semesters I have manned the sidelines as a ball boy for all fall athletic teams. I have been up close for countless shootouts at Anderson Stadium. I woke up one early Saturday morning to witness the Friars score eight goals in a field hockey game. I spent Friday evenings in Alumni Hall counting down how many points the volleyball team needed to score to end their match so I could begin my night. What I noticed was where all these sports lacked in flash, they made up for in one unique characteristic: intimacy.
Have you ever noticed how at basketball and hockey games, student sections are packed behind either the basket or goal, away from the benches and an entire half of the court/rink? It would be nice to be close to the action for the whole game. While games at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center carry a lot of excitement and energy, there is something special about the games in which you can hear and see the action up close behind the bench.
Fall sports may not be as loud as their winter counterparts, but the sounds you hear are more distinct. During men’s soccer games, head coach Craig Stewart’s English accent can be heard for the full 90 minutes no matter where you are sitting. There are always a few fans whose chants stand out, whether it be the passionate parents we are all too familiar with or the immature classmates shouting wacky chants.
While the Dunk brings in fans from all around, fall sports are events that specifically bring the campus community together. You always recognize the faces you see at a fall sports game, whether it be fellow students, professors, parents, or even the Dominican friars. The fans are there not because of the prestige of the team competing, but to show authentic support for those they know.
PC’s winter sports may show the size of the Friar Family, but the College’s fall sports reveal its strength. You do not stay to the end of a volleyball match after the team loses the first two sets or sit through a chilly night because you think your team has a chance to win a national title. You do it because Friars support each other, regardless of the outcome.
Friends of Friars Football Return
PC Football Alumni Gather for Annual Reception
by Jack Belanger ’21
This past weekend, Providence College hosted its Alumni and Family Weekend and many former Friars made their way back to campus. While many met up at the events and games on campus, one group of friends found themselves at McCormick & Schmicks, a seafood restaurant in downtown Providence. This group of friends, or brothers if you asked any of the men in attendance, make up the Friends of Friar Football.
While Providence College has not had a club football team on campus since 1988, the Friends of Friar Football is comprised of former members of PC’s club football team, known as the Fighting Friars, which started in 1967 and was active up until its last season in 1988. From Paul McGuire ’70, the team’s first QB, to Tom Allen ’88, a member of the final team, and men nicknamed Spider, Weasel, Skunk, and Bear, the gathering gave men across multiple generations time to connect and reminisce about their playing days. The group had about 100 men in attendance and was over 200 active members who stay in contact with the club.
Geno Harding ’74 who has helped organize the gathering for the past 10 years, has acted as the organization’s historian, compiling old photos and memorabilia from the Fighting Friars days. Back when he was in school, Harding was one of the main organizers for the team as he was in charge of selling tickets and lining Hendricken Field on game days.
Even though the team was not an official varsity team, the former players will be quick to tell anyone they treated every game like they were in Division I. The team competed against schools such as Marist College, Assumption College, Westchester Community College, and Stony Brook University before many of these teams moved up to Division III. Multiple alumni said that they played for the love of the game.
In 1973, the team was given money to design new uniforms and many of the players could not have been happier with the outcome. Harding and Ted Fitzgerald ’75 worked together to create a new helmet logo for the team. With the Fighting Friars already sharing the same silver and black color scheme as the Oakland Raiders, the two went the extra mile and modeled the new logo after one of the National Football League’s most popular. Harding created the black shield with “Friars” sketched in. Then Fitzgerald sketched out a Friar head over a cross to complete the logo. Any of the men who played for PC are quick to say it was the best logo in all of college football.
One of the reoccurring stories during the reception was the tale of when PC played “the champs from the west,” Chapman University in California, in the 1979 Heritage Bowl in Providence. The day before the game the temperature was well above 50 degrees. Then all of a sudden, come gameday, the temperature dropped below 30° and the players from California experienced New England weather at its finest. One player recalled that the game was so windy that on one play where Chapman was punting, the football actually went backwards on the kick. The Friars ended up winning in a blowout 34-0, in what was one of the most memorable games in the club’s history.
Despite a 21-year gap between the first and last teams, the Friends of Friar Football has been able to bring men from different eras into one brotherhood. Gerry Marzilli ’72 described the Friends of Friar Football and the club team itself as “a special group…we paid to play football, we are lucky to be together this long.” Despite only consisting of alumni that attended Providence College over about 20-year span, The Friends of Friar Football is one of the largest PC alumni groups that are still active. The club manages to raise money through donations to give a scholarship to one PC student every year.
After a few hours discussing who was the fastest or who was the toughest player, the alumni made their way outside to take their yearly group photo on the front steps of City Hall. Afterwards, Marzilli presented games to former players Mike Lee ‘79, Steve Lamendola ’79, and Bob “The Bear” Peters ’78, to recognize them for creating the Friends of Friar Football group.
Even as years pass, the gathering has not lost any of its allure for any of the men. As each former player entered the restaurant, all of them were just as excited to see their former teammates as if they were getting ready for game day. Jim Murphy ’70 said that football at PC “has forged a friendship for over 50 years.” Murphy was one of the key contributors to starting the football club back in 1967 as he oversaw raising money for the team.
Even though most of the members of the varsity team are no longer around, the club takes time to remember the men who brought football to Providence College by looking back at the old photos and share the stories of the alumni. Harding shared one story of former player Hank Soar ’37, who played nine seasons in the NFL and then went onto become an umpire for Major League Baseball from 1950 until 1972.
While the PC club football team does not have the documented history of the University of Alabama or even Boston College, every player has his own stories to share and every team had its place in the school’s history that is just as important to the College. None of these men played with future glory in the back of their heads, but rather to play their hearts out for the game they cherished.
Fall Sports Wrap-Up
By Joe Myko ’19
As the year creeps further into November, fall sports at Providence College are beginning to wrap-up. With the exception of volleyball, all the fall sports have ended. Now, before we fully turn our attention to hockey, basketball, and other winter sports, let’s take a look back on an exciting fall season for PC athletics.
Providence College’s Cross Country Teams remain ranked in regional and national polls this year for their performances, with the most recent and potentially most notable event being October’s Big East Cross Country Championships, in which the men’s team finished fourth overall.
The team began the season in impressive form on Sept. 2, managing to successfully sweep the University of New Hampshire Dual Meet. The men’s team also came in first at the Nassaney Invitational on Sept. 9, with Tom O’Neill ’18 winning the race.
The women finished second, behind Brown, with Millie Paladino ’18 coming in first. The women’s team successfully finished second in the Big East Cross Country Championships, with graduate student Catarina Rocha ‘17G impressively picking up the individual title. The women’s team also deserves praise for winning Battle-in-Beantown on the Sept. 22 for the third season in a row, as well as accumulating their third straight NCAA Northeast regional title.
The Providence College Men’s Soccer Team was ranked first in the New England Journal Division and in the Big East Preseason Coaches’ Poll this year, before they kicked off their season with a hard-fought loss againt the University of North Carolina on Aug. 25.
October’s game against Brown University was one of the most notable wins for the Friars, with Joao Serrano ’20 scoring the decisive golden goal in the 96th minute. On Nov. 8, former Friar Julian Gressel ’16 picked up the Major League Soccer Rookie of the Year award for his impressive performances for Atlanta United.
It was a successful season for goalkeeper Colin Miller ‘19RS, who has continued his good form from the last campaign where he earned the Big East goalkeeper of the year, with two consecutive Big East Goalkeeper of the Week awards.
The team was unfortunately knocked out of the Big East Tournament on Nov. 4, bested at the quarterfinal by Xavier University.
The Women’s Soccer Team secured Big East All-Tournament honors on Nov. 5, concluding a commendable season in which they made it to the semi-finals of the Big East competition, before losing 3-0 to Butler University on Nov. 2. Two Friars, Katie Day ’19 and Hannah McNulty ’21, were also picked for the All-Tournament team for their impressive performances through the season.
The field hockey team concluded an incredible season with a hard-fought loss in the Big East semi-finals, losing 3-0 to top-ranked University of Connecticut on Nov. 3. The Friars were very successful in the Big East field hockey post-season awards, which were released on Nov. 2, with four different players earning honors.
Defender Manon van Weezel ’21 picked up the Freshman of the Year award. She was also unanimously selected for the All-Big East First Team, alongside midfielder Megan Hamilton ’18. Defender Corinne Kenney ’19 and goalkeeper Megan Guilbert ’18 also deserve congratulations for accumulating All-Big East second team honors.
Prior to the season commencing on Aug. 25, in a 3-0 win against University of Alabama Birmingham, the volleyball team was awarded team academic honors from American Volleyball Coaches Association for their 2016-17 season.
Providence College’s volleyball team then went on to sweep the Hatter Classic on Sept. 2, as well as the 13th Annual Friar Classic on Sept. 9. In terms of individual honors, McKenzie Lydon ’21 and Allison Barber ’21 both deserve praise for picking up Freshman of the Week awards in August and September, respectively.
Most recently, the team just dropped a match against Xavier University, losing three sets to one. The team will look to get back in the win column on Nov. 17 versus Georgetown University. The Friars will close out their season at Villanova University on Nov. 18.