Friar Sports Moment of the Year: Men’s Soccer Defeats No. 1 Maryland
by Jeff Williams ’17
The Providence College Men’s Soccer Team had a remarkable conclusion to the 2016 regular season, running the gauntlet with eight straight victories (including an undefeated October) and the Big East regular season. PC suffered a tough 2-1 loss in the first round of the Big East tournament to the Creighton Blue Jays. The Friar men had hoped to receive a first round bye into the NCAA tournament, but were seeded into the first round, hosting the Delaware Blue Hens. As goalie Colin Miller ’19 expressed, “We were excited for the opportunity, after losing to Creighton we had a chip on our shoulder.” The Friars cruised, 2-0, to advance to the second round.
Providence traveled to face the number one ranked and undefeated Maryland Terrapins in College Park. This game sparked a homecoming of sorts for Miller, who hails from Bel Air, Maryland, just an hour away. “We wanted to give it our all,” he said. PC faced steep odds on the home turf of the most dominant machine in college soccer. Despite an early goal by First Team All-American Julian Gressel ’17, the Terrapins were fully in control for most of the game, taking a 2-1 lead to the half, and then scoring two quick goals to go up 4-1. “I think when we went down early a lot of people stopped watching” recalled Miller. “Captain brought us together, [and said] stay together no matter the outcome.”
The tide began turning in the 70th minute. Gressel collected a rebounded corner kick and put it away for his second goal. Just 36 seconds later, Nick Sailor ’17 made it 4-3 with a long, looping shot that curled into the top left hand corner of the net. Miller feels that this was the most impressive strike of the evening. “He hadn’t scored since his freshman year!” He remembers that after this sequence, he knew they could actually win this game. “After the second and third goals, it went really quickly.” Four minutes later, Danny Griffin’s ’20 shot was deflected to Steven Kilday ’19. His shot from 25 yards somehow made its way through traffic to tie it up. The game winner came in the 82nd minute, when Joao Serrano ’20 bent a corner kick into the net to complete the improbable comeback, 5-4. “Joao Serrano was pretty incredible too from the corner flag,” added the winning goalie.
None of the last three scorers had done so this season, and the Terrapins had not allowed five goals in a game in years. In the third round, the Friar men traveled to Omaha, Nebraska for a rematch with Creighton, and got revenge on their last loss, 2-1. They next traveled to Chapel Hill to take on the ninth seeded North Carolina Tar Heels in the NCAA quarterfinals.On Dec. 1, the magical run ended with a 1-0 loss in double overtime. The Friars would end the 2016 season ranked tenth in the nation by the NSCAA.
The 2016 season’s Elite Eight run is the latest in a run of success for the PC men’s soccer team. As Miller added, “For us, we were trying to make this a program. One of the main goals is to consistently make a run for the national title.” Despite the departure of Gressel and his classmates, Miller fully expects the Friar men to be strong next year once again. “It’ll be a very talented team, we have some good graduating seniors but you can expect a very talented group of players. We’re very fortunate and we hope we can win another regular season title. We should be a very mature, competitive, enthusiastic, blue collar, hard working team.”
Track Teams Hitting the Home Stretch
by Jeff Williams ’17
The 2016-2017 school year has been another great one so far for Providence College Track and Field, with another Big East Women’s Cross Country title and numerous All-Big East and All-American athletes. After yet another banner fall and indoor season for Ray Treacy ’82 and his cross country and track teams, the Friar men and women have yet again laced their sneakers and taken off into a new campaign.
The Friars’ men and women kicked off their outdoor seasons with a bang at the Stony Brook Quad Meet on March 23. They took on Stony Brook University, Iona College, Columbia University, and La Salle University in Stony Brook, New York. Nick Carleo ’19 won the 800-meters with a time of 1:56.05, and Jimmy Campbell ’17 finished third in the 400. They then teamed up with Michael O’Leary ’19 and Marcus Karamanolis ’19 to win the 4×800 in a fast 7:56.61.
For the women, Alexandra DeCicco ’20 finished third in the 800 and Lauren Mullins ’17G came in third in the 1500. The team of DeCicco, Bridget Gonzalez ’20, Aisling Quinn ’19, and Molly Keating ’17G placed third in the 4×800.
Over the weekend, the teams split up to compete in different events across the country. The Stanford Invitational hosted many of the best programs and athletes in the NCAA, but the Friars held their own. Millie Paladino ’18 grabbed second in the 1500 meters while Brianna Ilarda ’18 came in fourth in the 5000; both times ranked fifth nationwide. Hugh Armstrong ’17 ran a fast 10000-meters in 29:23.29 that should qualify him for the NCAA championships in June. Julian Oakley ’17G took eighth in a strange 1500 race where the lead pack of runners collided with a meet official who had stepped onto the track.
Meanwhile, the rest of the team was back in Smithfield, Rhode Island for the Black and Gold Invitational against nine Northeast schools. The men dominated the 5000, as Stephen Robertson ’17G came in first (14:47.94), followed by Austin Scola ’18 in second, Marcus Karamanolis ’19 in fourth, and Brendan Sullivan ’17G in sixth. Campbell finished third in the 800 while Joseph Hurton ’19 placed fifth in the 400-meter hurdles. The duo then teamed up with Jared Grossi ’20 and Micheal O’Leary ’19 to come in third in the 4×400 relay. John Olayiwola ’18 took third on the triple jump. For the women, Keating dominated the 800 meters (2:20.05), followed by Gonzalez in second and Darra Cuffe ’19 in sixth. DeCicco placed third in the 1500, closely followed by Mullins in fifth.
Providence College will host their next meet, the Ocean State Invitational, on Saturday, April 15. They will close out the regular season with the Penn Relays in Philadelphia and the Brown Invitational at the end of April. Villanova will host the Big East Championships from May 12-13, where both the Friar men and women are expected to make a splash.
Men’s Basketball Caps Off Season
by Jeff Williams ’17
After closing out the regular season with an 86-75 win over St. John’s, the Friar Men’s Basketball Team looked ahead to the post season. For the 35th straight year, the Big East Men’s Basketball Tournament was held at the world’s most famous arena—Madison Square Garden in New York City. From March 8-11, while PC students enjoyed spring break, thousands of fans descended upon Manhattan to see their favorite teams play for a Big East title on the biggest stage.
The Tournament tipped off with a bang on Wednesday night. The matchup between the eighth seed St. John’s Red Storm and the No. 9 seed Georgetown Hoyas became reminiscent of a classic Big East battle. Amidst the chippiness, St. John’s pulled out their first tournament win in six years, 74-73. Next, the seventh placed Xavier Musketeers faced a bottom-of-the-barrel DePaul Blue Demons in a must-win game. After facing a one-point halftime deficit, Xavier pulled away in the second half to advance, 75-64.
At 12 p.m. the next day, the top-seeded Villanova Wildcats opened the quarters by smashing the exhausted Red Storm to the tune of 108-67. The four and five matchup pitted the Seton Hall Pirates and the Marquette Golden Eagles. Tied at halftime, the Pirates burst out of the gates with a 17-2 run and held on, 82-76. Fresh off their victory the previous night, the Musketeers took on the second ranked Butler Bulldogs and rode their momentum to a 62-57 victory. After a 4-8 start to conference play, the Friars raced home with a six game winning streak and were rewarded with the third seed. However, they would meet their match against the sixth-seeded Creighton Blue Jays. After taking a 30-27 lead into half time, the Blue Jays dominated the second half, pulling away for a 70-58 win.
Seton Hall gave Villanova a huge scare in the semifinals. The Pirates jumped out to a 27-20 lead at the half—the worst start by the Wildcats this season. Villanova scratched back into the contest, and conference player of the year Josh Hart converted the game winner to prevail, 55-53. Xavier had a great run, and ran up a 37-31 lead, but Creighton proved to be too good. Marcus Foster knocked down the game winning three-pointer as his Blue Jays prevailed, 75-72. In the final on Saturday, the Villanova Wildcats captured the Big East title in emphatic fashion. They raced out to an early double-digit lead and never looked back. Hart netted 29 points as his team cruised (74-60) to a third Big East championship.
The Friars made their 19th appearance in the NCAA tournament, making it four consecutive seasons for the first time in school history. Ed Cooley’s team kicked off its tourney bid on March 15 in Dayton, Ohio, against the Southern California Trojans, a rematch of PC’s first round victory last year. As fans will recall, that matchup occurred on St. Patrick’s Day, when Rodney Bullock ’18 won the game with a buzzer-beating lay-up off of an inbounds from Drew Edwards ’19. When asked, Coach Cooley aptly pointed out that these were two very different teams. “Well, the biggest experience you can take is we won the game. But I think both teams are totally different, totally different…I think their style of play is still the same. Ours is very similar. But totally, totally different personnel.”
To make a run in the tournament, Providence needed Bullock, Kyron Cartwright ’18, and their teammates to bring their “A” game. In the first half, the team certainly did. After an early 7-0 deficit, the Friars exploded with a 15-0 run, bolstered by 15 points and four three pointers from Jalen Lindsey ’18. PC dominated the game’s opening, going into halftime with a 44-29 lead. Unfortunately, the Friars could not keep flying high, and it would be a very bad fall. Providence still had a 12-point lead with 12:53 remaining, but the Trojans came roaring back, narrowing it to four in three minutes. The game remained tight for several minutes before USC used a late 11-1 run to put the game away and end the Friars’ season, 75-71.
After the game, Coach Cooley was disappointed but hopeful.“Really, really frustrated with how this game ended. I thought we controlled it for most of it. But in tournament play you’ve got to play a complete game, and we didn’t. So we’re going to take ourselves home and brush ourselves off and look forward to next season…Those kids are in there hurting. I’m proud of our group this season. I think we had a year no one expected. I thought we did some great things in this game. But in tournament play you canít have the mistakes weíve shown and advance and expect to win.”
Athlete of the Week: Kyron Cartwright
by Jeff Williams ’17
After a tough overtime loss to Seton Hall on Feb. 8, the Providence College Men’s Basketball Team had lost four of their last five games and were 4-9 after a great 10-2 start to the season. At 14-11 overall and 4-8 in the Big East, the future looked bleak for the Friar men. Since then however, PC has gone on an absolute tear, winning their last five games versus Butler, Xavier, Creighton, Marquette, and DePaul.
Kyron Cartwright ’18 and his teammates have risen to the occasion as the Friar engine roared to life. As the straw that stirs the drink, the floor general is a no-brainer for “Athlete of the Week.” He has done an exceptional job of stepping up as a leader after the departures of Kris Dunn ’16 and Ben Bentil ’18 to the NBA, an accomplishment he credits to having “confidence, [and] getting other people to believe in you.”
Cartwright is the school’s first ever sports media major, a discipline he is very enthusiastic about. “Hopefully, one day I can be a sports broadcaster. These are great people to be around.” While he enjoys being here in Providence, the proud California native does not enjoy Rhode Island drivers, whom he describes as “crazy.”
Despite the seemingly daunting odds, Cartwright and the team never gave up. As he reiterates, “We just had to focus and bounce back.” On Alumni & Family Weekend, Providence knocked off No. 22 Butler at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, 71-65. Cartwright played 37 minutes, scoring 14 points (including two for four from behind the arc) and dishing out seven assists. Four days later, playing host to Xavier, Cartwright led the way with 17 points and five assists to help mow down the Musketeers, 75-63.
The Friars traveled to Omaha on Feb. 22 to visit the No. 23 Creighton Blue Jays, who beat Providence earlier this year by double digits. The hosts used a 21-1 run to build a steady, consistent lead in the first half, but PC burst out in the second half to get back in the game. Down one point with only a few seconds left, the final play was chaotic. Rodney Bullock ’18 and Isaiah Jackson ’19RS were both heavily covered underneath. Somehow, Jackson managed to spot Cartwright. “Everybody but one got the ball, and Isaiah did a nice job of finding me…I hoped it would go in, and it did.” Cartwright proceeded to knock down a very long three pointer to nab a 68-66 victory.
On Saturday, unseasonably warm temperatures caused the Dunk floor to be dangerously wet and slippery for the game against Marquette. Nonetheless, Cartwright steadily directed his team to a key 73-69 victory, notching 16 points and eight assists. Despite the difficulty that he and his teammates had in staying upright, he aptly points out that, “Both teams had to play with that situation.” Three nights later, he recorded 14 and six on senior night for Casey Woodring ’17. “It was nice to get the win for him,” Cartwright added. The Friars proceeded to cruise by DePaul, 73-64 on Tuesday night.
It’s safe to say that Cartwright has had a breakout year, averaging 11.4 points per game, knocking down nearly 40 percent of his attempts from three point land, and doling out 6.8 assists a night, which is good for first in the Big East and fourth in the country. When pressed about his play, Cartwright is humble, “It’s an honor to be recognized as one of the best.” The Friars next play at St. John’s on Saturday, March 4, and will hope to make a run in the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden, which is March 8-11. Cartwright readily acknowledged that Saturday’s game will be a “classic Big East battle,” and will not think past them; “We’re just focused on St. John’s right now,” said Cartwright. With a five game winning streak and the play of Cartwright, the sky is the limit for the Friars.
Men’s Basketball Defeats No. 22 Butler
By Jeff Williams ’17
After a heartbreaking loss to the Villanova Wildcats at a jam-packed Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Feb. 1, the Providence College Men’s Basketball Team fell to 14-10 overall and 4-7 in the Big East, a very disappointing drop from their 10-3 mark in nonconference play. After three straight seasons of making the NCAA tournament, the Friar men will need a great run in order to go dancing again during March Madness in 2017.
After a week off, the Friars flew to Newark to challenge the Seton Hall Pirates, a team they had previously beaten at home. PC enjoyed an early 17-2 run and sprinted out to a 27-12 lead. However, the hosts quickly clawed their way back to a 41-36 deficit at halftime. Throughout the duration of the game, the Friars looked in control, leading for 26 minutes.
However, the Pirates just would not back down and finally took the lead with a minute left. Trailing 60-59, Rodney Bullock ’18RS hit a jumper to put his team out in front with 43 seconds left. Seton Hall knocked down a free throw to tie it, and Kyron Cartwright ’18 could not get a shot off before the clock ran out. In overtime, the Friars took an early lead, but the Pirates fought their way back and put the game away on a layup with nine seconds remaining to win 72-70.
Providence returned to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Saturday, February 11, for the annual Alumni & Family Weekend matchup against the No. 22 Butler Bulldogs. With 12,746 students, alumni, families, and prospective students and parents in attendance, the game started off very slowly. Only 20 points were scored in the first 12 minutes, and Butler led by a slim 25-23 margin at the half. During the break, the school honored two program greats by raising their jerseys to the rafters: the late Bruce “Soup” Campbell ’78, who was was represented by his family, and Otis Thorpe ’84, a former All-Star and NBA champion after PC, who walked out to loud cheers.
In a contrast to the Seton Hall game, the Friars trailed for 27 of 40 minutes, keeping it close, but never feeling secure. Butler raced out to a 47-41 lead, but Cartwright directed a 9-2 run and hit a three to take a 50-49 lead with 7:25 minutes left. Alpha Diallo ’20 stepped up for the hosts, scoring 15 points and making a bid for SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays with a ferocious dunk off of a missed free throw. Emmitt Holt ’18 scored from under the basket to take a 65-60 lead with 39 seconds left, and later dunked with authority to cap off a strong 71-65 win for the Friars.
Saturday marked PC’s second victory against a ranked opponent this season; the first was over No. 21 University of Rhode Island on Dec. 3. While the Seton Hall loss was devastating, the Butler win represents Providence’s first signature win. With another win against Xavier under their belt, the Friars appear to be rolling. The only four games that remain are, home games against Marquette and DePaul, and away games versus Creighton and St. John’s. The Friars may need to win each of them (or at least go -1) to get back into the tournament conversation. It will be tough, as they are 1-4 against those teams this season, but given recent history, no one should ever doubt a team coached by Ed Cooley.