Men’s and Women’s Basketball Transfer Portal Update
Friars Look to Rebuild for Next Season
Justin Bishop ’24
Over the past few weeks, the Providence College men’s basketball team has seen some talented players depart, while reeling in some high caliber talent through the NCAA college basketball transfer portal. Justin Minaya ’22GS has decided not to use his sixth and final year of eligibility, he did have one remaining year due to the NCAA establishing that all student athletes have an additional year of eligibility due to COVID-19. Instead, Minaya, like Noah Horchler ’22GS, Al Durham ’22GS, and A.J. Reeves ’22, has decided to declare for the NBA Draft,hoping to earn a spot on a professional roster.
Coming to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center next year will be University of South Carolina freshman transfer Devin Carter ’25 who had a standout freshman year and was ranked as the No. 26 best transfer. Carter set the record at USC for three-point-shots made in a season by a freshman, so he will be a prime candidate to fill Reeves’ spot as the team’s go-to three-point shooter.
Next is University of Connecticut freshman transfer Corey Floyd Jr. ’26, who will still have four years left to play even after next season. Floyd was highly sought after coming out of high school but did not see the court at UConn because their coaching staff apparently thought losing was better.
After Floyd came University of Louisville graduate student transfer Noah Locke, who played three seasons at the University of Florida before transferring to Louisville and who will finish here in Friartown.
Next, Lasalle University graduate transfer Clifton Moore, who played two years at Indiana University before transferring to Lasalle, will play his final year here in Providence.
Lastly, the biggest transfer in recent years for the Friars, University of Kentucky sophomore transfer, Bryce Hopkins who played little time at Kentucky but will fit in perfectly as a three or four in the rotation. Hopkins was named 2021 Illinois Player of the Year in his last year in high school and also accumulated various summer tournament accolades.
This offseason, Friar fans could not have asked for a better transfer season from the National Coach of the Year Ed Cooley. Watching these players fit into the system with returning members Ed Croswell ’23 and Jared Bynum ’23 is going to be exciting.
On the women’s basketball team’s side, the team said goodbye to the team’s second leading scorer this past season in Alyssa Geary ’22, who transferred to Indiana University for her graduate year. Geary, who played all four years at Providence, was a consistent piece of the offense along with her defense as she finished her career with 128 blocks. They would also see Mary Baskerville ’22 leave the team after four years to head to Quinnipiac University. Baskerville averaged 10.2 points per game in her four years as a Friar. An addition to the team next year is graduate transfer from the University of Iowa, Logan Cook. The 6’1 forward played all four years at Iowa where the team was upset by Creighton University in the second round of the tournament. The team will look to bounce back from last season where they were bounced in the first round of the Big East tournament by Georgetown University.
Men’s Ice Hockey Season Comes to an End
Michael Callahan Signs Entry Deal with Boston Bruins
Justin Bishop ’24
The Providence College Men’s Hockey team fell 4-2 against No. 11 University of Massachusetts Amherst on Saturday, March 12 in the Hockey East Tournament Quarterfinal after beating the University of Vermont 2-1 on Wednesday, March 9. The team entered the third period down 3-1 after Riley Duran ’25 scored his 10th goal of the year late in the second, but UMass put one in the empty net before Matt Koopman ‘21 potted his fifth of the year to cut the deficit to two with only 1:30 left. The Friars’ season comes to a disappointing end, and it seems they will just miss out on the NCAA Tournament again. Last year they were a COVID-19 bubble team but ended up not playing despite two teams dropping out due to positive tests. The team ended this season with a respectable record of 22-14-2 but finished 12-11-1 in conference play, putting them in seventh out of eleven in the Hockey East Conference. The Friars finished with the second most wins (22) in the conference next to Northeastern University which finished with 25 and were ranked first in the conference and No. 10 in the country. To put it simply, the Friars did not have a bad season; other teams in conference play just did better.
Bright spots this season for the team included winning 22 games. The Friars finished the season with both a top-10 Power-Play Percentage (PP%) and top 15 Penalty-Kill Percentage (PK%). Sophomore Brett Berard ’24 led the team in Goals (18), Points (38), and Penalty Minutes (37). Five Friars scored at least 10 goals this year, and 13 Friars had points in double digits. Jaxson Stauber ’23 had a stellar year and posted a 21-14-2 record while having a 2.10 Goals Against Average (GAA) along with a .921 Save Percentage (SV%) and put up four shutouts. The team defended Schneider Arena well with a 14-4-1 at home record.
However, the biggest news came out on Sunday, March 13, night as the Boston Bruins signed the captain of the Friars, Michael Callahan ’22, to a two-year entry-level contract. Callahan, who grew up in Franklin, MA, was a three-year captain of Providence and finished his college career with 73 points in 138 games. He was selected back in the 2018 Entry Draft where the Arizona Coyotes originally drafted him in the fifth round. The local kid will spend time in the Bruins American Hockey League affiliate, the Providence Bruins, so he does not have to get acclimated to a new city just yet.
This team has a bright future with a young core in Berard, Duran, Nick Poisson ‘24, Cody Monds ’25, Guillaume Richard ’25, and Chase Yoder ’24, who all were major pieces this past season. They will look to veteran leadership in Patrick Moynihan ’23, Jaxson Stauber, and Parker Ford ’23. The Friars will have at least eight drafted players on the team next year, and possibly more with the NHL Entry Draft occurring this summer. The Cowl will highlight the newcomers for next year’s season next fall, but names to keep an eye on this summer are Brady Berard, brother of current Friar Brett Berard from East Greenwich, RI; Chase DaFoe from Beverley, MA; and Cole Pelc out of Buffalo, NY. With a mix of experience from the current players along with the incoming talent, the team is preparing for a deep run next year to establish themselves as not only a Hockey East powerhouse, but also have a national presence.
Women’s Hockey Wraps Up
Friars Win Opening Round of Hockey East, Lose to Vermont in Second
Justin Bishop ’24
The Providence College Women’s Hockey team season has come to an end with a 4–1 loss in the quarterfinal round of the Hockey East Tournament to the University of Vermont.
The team had recently beaten the College of the Holy Cross 3–1 in the opening round of the tournament, success in part as a result of goals from captain Caroline Peterson ’22, Ashley Clark ’25, and the empty-netter from KC Brooks ’24.
However, they could not get past the Catamounts and the Hockey East Scoring Champion, Theresa Schafzahl, who also tallied two goals in the game. The bright spot in this game for the Friars was Lily Hendrikson ’25 scoring the lone goal for the Friars with less than six minutes to go in regulation. The team also outshot the Catamounts 32–27 and went 1-1 on the power play.
The Friars ended the season with an overall record of 16–14–6 and a conference record of 12–12–3 and placed seventh in the conference. The preseason rankings anticipated Providence placing second and predicted the team would compete for the Hockey East title.
With a veteran group such as assistant captain Hunter Barnett ’22, Haley Lunny ’22GS, and Peterson, and with young talent like Lindsay Bochna ’24 and Brooke Becker ’24, the team was poised to dethrone the reigning champs in the Northeastern University Huskies.
PC started out on a tear, beating a professional women’s team, the Boston Pride, in exhibition and then went on to start the season 3-0-2 beating then-ranked no. 2 Northeastern 3–0, earning a no. 9 ranking.
Then the team stalled out and went 1-5-2 over the next eight games. They split wins with most home-and-home series and could not seem to keep a win streak going to propel them in the standings.
The Women’s Hockey team had a head-to-head winning record against two teams in the conference, 4-0-0 against Holy Cross and 3-0-0 against Merrimack College, where both of those schools rank no. 9 and no. 10 respectively in Hockey East.
They struggled on the road going 7-9-3 when away from Schneider Arena along with an 8-14-5 record when not leading after the second period. Paired with a middle of the pack special teams’ units, powerplay and penalty kill, the team relied heavily on scoring first.
The team was riding a 6-1-1 record into the playoffs after taking down Merrimack twice, Holy Cross twice, splitting with the University of Connecticut, and going 1-0-1 against Boston University.
The reason was not because of goaltending, as both Sandra Abstreiter ’22, an assistant captain, and Mireille Kingsley ’24 did their jobs soundly. Abstreiter was the starter and played 27 games while posting a 1.73 GAA and a .945 SV percent along with three shutouts, making her a semi-finalist for Goaltender of the Year and a Hockey East All-Star goaltender.
Kingsley also had a season to remember as she played in nine games and put up a 1.65 GAA and a .939 SV percent and was the Hockey East Goalie of the Week twice, the week of Nov. 14 and the week of Dec. 5.
Amongst other nominations and awards, Sara Hjalmarsson ’22 was named to the Swedish Olympic Hockey team where they finished in 8th place.
Providence’s associate head coach Ali Domenico was chosen to be an assistant for the Canadian Olympic Hockey team where they edged the U.S.A 3-2 to win Gold.
The PC Women’s Hockey team will look to rebound next year with a lot of the younger players taking this year to learn from the older girls.
Seeing names like Barnett, Abstreiter, Peterson, and Lunny depart at the end of this year will have head coach Matt Kelly searching for his next leaders. It seems he has already found his next goalie in Kingsley, but he will have to look for his next top scorers.
Bochna was the second leading scorer on the team as a sophomore, scoring 19 points, nine goals, and 10 assists, and the next closest non-senior was fellow sophomore Brooke Becker as the defenseman with 12 points, two goals, and 10 assists.
Other than Becker and Bochna, the rest of the team will have to step up if the Friars want to stay relevant in a jam-packed Hockey East conference that houses two top-10 teams in no. 3 Northeastern and no. 10 Vermont.
Minaya Continues to Shine for PC
Friars Transfer Earns Big East Player of the Week
Justin Bishop ’24
The Providence College Men’s Basketball team has been one of the hottest teams this year, currently on a seven-game win streak having won 15 of their last 16. The team, as of Wednesday, Feb. 9,, sits at 20-2 overall and are 10-1 against opponents in the Big East Conference while being ranked 11 in the country. The updated rankings, by the Associated Press, are released every Monday and the Friars will certainly rise in the rankings. Multiple teams ranked ahead of Providence lost over the past week along with the team’s 86-82 win over St. John’s University and their 71-52 thrashing of Big East bottom feeder Georgetown University this week.
Since the last Friars basketball recap, the team took on two ranked conference rivals in No. 21 Xavier University and No. 22 Marquette University. Providence survived both teams but did not go without any excitement, as a clutch Jared Bynum three-pointer with 1.5 seconds left lifted the Friars past the Musketeers 65-62. The team effort of graduate student Al Durham’s 22 points, Noah Horchler ’21’s 11 rebounds, and Justin Minaya ’21’s four blocks was able to muscle past a disciplined Xavier team. If the three-point margin of victory was not close enough for you, the Friars slipped past the 22nd-ranked team in the country again putting up 65 points, but this time allowing 63 points. The 65-63 win for Providence was thanks in part to Nate Watson ’21’s 17 points and Horchler’s double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Although the Friars improved to 10-1 in Big East Play and 20-2 overall this week, the big story from the team was transfer grad student Justin Minaya being named Big East player of the Week. Minaya, who transferred from the University of South Carolina this past off-season, averaged 10 points and six rebounds while playing the entirety of both games, 80 total minutes, where the Friars beat Xavier and Marquette. Minaya also shot 50 percent from three point range and played lock-down defense against everyone he guarded, including Marquette’s star player, Justin Lewis. “All credit to my teammates and Coach Cooley to allow me to play that well and that much…” Minaya said during the interview we had this week. “The biggest thing is that we got the two wins this week, and it’s also an honor to be recognized as the player of the week in a great conference like the Big East,” Minaya said.
This is exactly what Head Coach Ed Cooley had in mind when recruiting Minaya when he entered the transfer portal. “I could tell it was time for a change,” Minaya said. He mentioned that Coach Cooley was heavily involved in the recruiting process: “I had a great relationship with Coach Cooley and felt great when deciding to come [to Providence], plus it’s close to home” said the New Jersey native. When asked about the specific reason for choosing PC over other schools, the fifth year said, “I felt I could complement great players like Nate [Watson] and shooters like A.J. [Reeves] and be a fifth of this team.”
The grad student, son of former New York Mets’ general manager Omar Minaya, played at South Carolina all four years but suffered a knee injury early in his second season which sidelined him for the entirety of that season. Justin was a reliable piece during his time at USC but has found that he is playing his best here at PC. With a hand injury to A.J. Reeves ’22, Minaya stepped up and has started every game since then, averaging 8.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.0 block, and shooting 47 percent from three over those 12 games.
Recently, Justin was snubbed of the Naismith Top 15 Defensive Players list—and that is the correct use of the word “snubbed.” The college basketball writers released their consensus list of the top 15 defensive players in the country this year, and Providence’s Justin Minaya was not on it. Coach Cooley was furious about this, and rightly so. “I do not know if [the writers] watch the Big East or if it’s about the steals… it’s about who impacts the game defensively,” Cooley said in a press conference on Sunday, Jan. 30. “For [Justin Minaya] to not be in the top 15 or top five is an absolute joke,” and finally, “Open your eyes,” he said to the writers who were listening and watching the press conference.
When asked what it meant to have Coach Cooley stick up for him publicly, Minaya responded by saying, “To have Coach Cooley stick up for me publicly and go in front of the media and say those things, I know he has my back, and it means the world to me that he would say those things publicly.”
Justin also added that the home court advantage at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center is unlike anything he has been a part of. “We are so appreciative of the fans and how much energy we are able to feed off of as players,” said Minaya. “You definitely felt it at that last Marquette game, just the level of energy in the building is such an advantage.” Coach Cooley has also praised the crowd after every home game and credits some wins to the fans because of how they impact the game.
“We are coming for that Big East Championship, but we just want to go 1-0 every day and get better as a team,” Minaya responded regarding the goals he and the team have for the rest of the season. The 20-2 Friars are a projected four seed in the National Tournament as of Sunday, Feb. 6, but this will most likely change throughout the rest of the season and how the Big East Conference tournament plays out.
The Providence College Men’s Basketball team takes on DePaul University on Saturday, Feb. 12 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
By Justin Bishop ’24
The Men’s Basketball team kicked off their season on Tuesday, Nov. 9 when they matched up against Fairfield University. The Friars played at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center and in front of fans for the first time since the 2019-2020 season. The team was greeted with a warm welcome by the fans who were ecstatic to watch their team play in person. Providence did not disappoint the energetic crowd, posting an 80–73 win in the season opener. Nate Watson ’21 cashed in 22 points and Noah Horchler ’22GS put up 10 points along with 11 rebounds.
The Men’s Hockey team had back-to-back wins on back-to-back nights. The team faced off against American International College and the University of Connecticut. Providence beat A.I.C. 2–1 in overtime where Cam McDonald ’23 sniped the top corner of the net to win the game. McDonald was responsible for both goals the team scored, and Jaxson Stauber ’23 stopped 19 of 20 shots he faced. The following day, PC took on Hockey East rival UConn, and they put up six goals in a 6–4 physical, high-scoring game. Nick Poisson ’24 had four assists and helped Providence improve to 8-5-0 on the year.
The Women’s Hockey team faced Boston College for a home-and-home series that the teams split. Friday, Nov. 12 the team upset No. 7 BC 2 – 1 in Schneider Arena where Hunter Barnett ’22 scored two goals in the victory. Goalie Mireille Kingsley ’24 stood on her head and stopped all but one of the 43 shots she faced. The team then traveled to Chapel Hill in Boston to try and sweep the weekend, but came up short and lost 2–1 in overtime. The Eagles’ freshman Abby Newhook scored both of BC’s goals. The Friars currently sit at 4-4-3 (3-3-1) in a very tough Hockey East Conference.
The Men’s Soccer team was defeated in the Big East Championship game by No. 7 Georgetown University 2–1 on Sunday, Nov. 14. The Friars tied the game late thanks to a goal from Brendan McSorely ’24, but it was not enough to steal the win. Georgetown’s Stephan Stojanovic ’23’s second goal of the game at 95’ gave the Hoyas the victory. The Friars were ranked No. 18 in the country as of Sunday, Nov. 14 and will face Marist University in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Nov. 18.
Who Will Win the Stanley Cup?
Providence College Investigates: NHL
Justin Bishop ’24
Las Vegas Knights
The Las Vegas Golden Knights are the second most recent team to be added to the National Hockey League. The organization itself is four years old, founded in June of 2016. In their first season, 2017-2018, the team reached the Stanley Cup Final, which is a feat that no expansion team had ever done, but they ended up losing to the Washington Capitals in five games.
The Golden Knights have been dominant ever since their first season and show no signs of stopping. They have reached the playoffs every year, and finished each season in third place or above in their division. With no star piece set to leave in the most recent expansion draft, the Golden Knights look to bounce back after losing in the Conference Finals to the Montreal Canadiens this past season.
The loss of Vezina Trophy winner (Best Goaltender) Marc-Andre Fleury via trade to the Chicago Blackhawks is a huge one for the team, but they have a solid replacement with Robin Lehner. Lehner was a solid backup last year, posting a record of 13-4-2 with a 2.29 Goals Against Average (GAA) and a 0.913 Save Percentage (SV%) in 19 appearances.
The top 10 point scorers from last season are returning, and in addition, the 2017 second overall pick, Nolan Patrick, was just signed to a two-year contract. Keeping the players that produce the most, like forward Mark Stone, forward Reilly Smith, forward Jonathan Marchessault, and defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, and adding depth with Patrick will help the team in the long run during the playoffs. Chandler Stephenson is currently leading the Golden Knights in points with nine through eight games and was a key part of the Knights’ third line last season and specifically during the playoffs. Before the season started, many hockey news outlets had Vegas power ranked in the top three in the league, behind the two-time defending champions Tampa Bay Lightning and the Colorado Avalanche.
Overall, Vegas has a stacked lineup and there is not a spot on their team in which they have a disadvantage. The Golden Knights’ first line can outperform any other team’s first line and their second line can play with any other team’s first line as well. The only question is if Lehner is ready to be the number-one goalie. So far this season, Vegas has underperformed greatly, posting a weak 4-4-0 record eight games into the season. It is better to start out slow and finish strong than to start strong and finish slow. The Golden Knights are currently riding a three-game win streak into a matchup against another underperforming team in the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday, Nov. 2. Las Vegas will continue to pick up momentum as the season progresses and will be ready to claim the franchise’s first ever Stanley Cup come June 2022.
Luke Sweeney ’24
With the first month of the NHL season wrapping up, we are getting an idea of which teams will be able to separate themselves from the pack and make a run at the cup later next year.
Much like last year’s NHL season, the Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes have proven to be dominating forces in the east, as Carolina remains the final undefeated team in the league. The Hurricanes received criticism recently for replacing their previous goaltending tandem with Freddie Anderson from the Toronto Maple Leafs. Surprising to many, this trade has worked out seamlessly and given the Hurricanes a tremendous advantage between the posts.
The Florida Panthers were also undefeated until last Saturday, when they suffered a shootout loss to the Boston Bruins, another team that has looked extremely sharp in the first few weeks of the season.
In recent news, the Panther’s future success has been brought into question because of their head coach being forced to step down. Coach Joel Quenneville was forced to walk away from the team after news broke of the Chicago Blackhawks sexual abuse scandal. Clearly the team has not let its coaching staff’s issues affect their on-ice play, as they are among the best two teams in the league and continue to perform at an elite level.
Another team that has stood out among experts so far this season is the Colorado Avalanche. This past week the team went 2-1, sitting at 5-3 for the month of October. Nathan MacKinnon has dished out eight assists while only playing in six games.
The Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes, and Colorado Avalanche are my picks for the league’s top teams after the first month of play. The Avalanche have the biggest potential to win the Stanley Cup this season. They have the talent and longevity to make a good playoff push after a long regular season that most teams in the NHL lack.
The Avalanche have always been one of the best teams in the league but lacked real playoff experience until the last few years. With a combination of playoff experience and a new stud goalie in Darcey Kuemper, the Avalanche finally have all of the tools that the team needs to hoist the cup.
What Sport has the Best Playoffs?
Providence College Investigates
Will Murphy ’23
The playoffs are one of the most exciting aspects of sports, but one league stands out with the most exciting playoffs: NCAA Men’s Basketball.
There is so much to love about the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament, appropriately dubbed “March Madness.” Whether one enjoys Cinderella stories, heroic individual performances, or powerhouses squaring off, there is something for everybody.
Take the University of Baltimore County Maryland, for example, ranked as the 166th best team in the country entering the tournament in 2018, after winning their conference tournament to secure a bid. They were able to knock off the one seed, the University of Virginia, who was ranked as the No. 2 overall team in the country heading into the tournament. They were the first 16 seed in the history of the tournament to defeat a one seed, instantly becoming the Cinderella story of the year.
Some Cinderella stories continue up until the final weekend of the tournament, as was the case with Butler University in 2011. Butler was able to notch upset after upset as an eight seed in the tournament to reach the final game, becoming only the second eight seed to reach the final game since the tournament began.
Another aspect of March Madness that makes it so exciting is the capacity for an individual player to carry their team to unlikely upsets and capture the heart of the country in the process. Jimmer Fredette was able to lead Brigham Young University to the Sweet Sixteen, with his electric shooting range.
Stephen Curry also led a small school from North Carolina, Davidson College, to the Elite Eight in 2008. Curry led the tournament in points per game averaging an incredible 32 points per game and drawing the adoration and support from fans across the nation.
Finally, the powerhouse matchups in the Elite Eight and Final Four add another layer to March Madness. In one of the most exciting championship games in the history of sports, Villanova University took on the University of North Carolina in 2016.
The final possessions of the game proved to be one of the most memorable moments in the sport of basketball. After Marcus Paige of UNC sank a nearly impossible double-clutched three-pointer to tie the game at 74, the game seemed destined for overtime. That was until Ryan Arcidiacono pitched the ball back to Kris Jenkins who nailed a buzzer-beater to win the National Championship, in one of the best finishes to a championship ever.
From beginning to end, March Madness provides the most thrilling moments out of any playoffs in sports.
Justin Bishop ’24
National Hockey League
Reaching the playoffs is the goal of every team in every sport, every season. To keep playing competitively after the regular season concludes is the only way to win a championship, and the hardest path to win a title out of any sport is, undoubtedly, hockey.
Few other sports have a playoffs composed of a taxing seven-game series that each team must go through in order to win their championship. In hockey, there are four rounds of this style of games, which means that a team must win 16 playoff games, no fewer, in order to lift the Stanley Cup. This is after playing a regular season of 82 games and having a top-three record out of a division of eight teams.
Basketball is the only other sport whose playoff season shares this concept, but hockey has proven to be a tougher sport to play than basketball. After each playoff series, one can only look at the injury report to see the unique circumstances that hockey players must fight through in order to win the cup.
Patrice Bergeron played games five, six, and seven of the 2013 Cup Final with a broken rib, torn rib cartilage, separated shoulder, and a pinhole puncture in his lung. Fans recognize this and appreciate the sacrifice of each player during their time playing.
The atmosphere at a regular-season hockey game is rivaled only by a college football game. If you are watching a playoff game, you know the stakes are high and players will put their whole bodies on the line in order to make a play for the advantage of their team.
Hockey fans recognize this at a different level than others and are the most passionate in sports. They increase the level of engagement in the playoffs by chanting louder, chanting more often, coordinating with each other specific chants targeted at particular players (most of the time it is the goaltender’s name).
The Nashville Predators have the most coordinated fans in the playoffs. The chant each fan participates in after a Predator goal is scored echoes throughout Bridgestone Arena, giving everyone chills down their spines. There are plenty of YouTube videos that showcase this specific chant among Predators fans.
Attending a hockey playoff game is an experience that cannot be described and can only be felt by going to one yourself. The energy, passion, and grit required by both a team in their fan base to lift the Stanley Cup makes it the greatest playoffs in all of sports.
Who Will Win the 2021 World Series?
Providence College Investigates: MLB
Justin Bishop ’24
San Francisco Giants
The best team in Major League Baseball is, without a doubt, the San Francisco Giants. The Giants were the best team in the regular season, which concluded this past Sunday with a dominant record of 107 – 55. The Giants’ +210 run differential is second in the league to their rival division opponent, the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have a +269 differential. Finishing second in the league in Team Earned Run Average (ERA) 3.24 and Team Home Runs (HR) 241, it is clear that the San Francisco pitching staff is more than capable of handling its own and that the players can hit the long ball with ease. Throughout the second half of the year, the team put together winning streaks of 6+ four times, and their longest losing streak was four and only occurred once. Being able to string along winning streaks of that stature is a necessity in the postseason, and avoiding losing streaks is equally important.
Sitting at (+450) odds to win it all, the Giants are the second in betting favorite, just behind the Dodgers at (+350), according to oddshark.com. San Francisco has no “star player” who carries the team; instead, they rely on the entire team to produce. One could raise the argument that shortstop Brandon Crawford is the “star player,” seeing that he leads the team in every offensive category other than home runs, and he is still third on that list. Brandon Belt leads the team with 29 HR and nine other players have 10+ HR, which ties none other than the Dodgers for most players with 10+ HR. Having this type of offensive production out of so many players is key to having prolonged success in the playoffs.
However, one cannot only rely on offense. Even though putting up almost five runs per game is key, pitching and fielding are also aspects of the game San Francisco have down. The team has seven pitchers on the team that have 50+ innings pitched with an ERA less than 3.00. The pitching staff holds opponents to batting a measly 0.229 average, and only allowing three runs per game will stifle almost any opposing offense. The Giants are clean and efficient in fielding, ranking second amongst playoff teams in fielding percentage. Specifically, outfielder Mike Yastrzemski ranks third in the league in fielding percentage as an outfielder, and Brandon Crawford ranks fourth amongst shortstops in the league in the same category.
Statistics are all great measurements of where a team ranks and how much they produce compared to the rest of the league; however, the only statistic that matters is how many games they win. The San Francisco Giants are the winningest team in baseball, and they will carry that momentum into the National League Division Series and eventually through to the World Series. They will take on the winner of the Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals.
Stephen Foster ’22
Los Angeles Dodgers
When looking at the group of talented teams assembled this year in the Major League Baseball playoffs, there are several with superior pitching, hitting, and defense. However, one team stands out from the rest: the Los Angeles Dodgers, the 2020 World Series Champions.
The Dodgers started the 2021 season as the favorite to go back-to-back and win it all again. Since then, their President of Baseball Operations, Andrew Friedman, has improved the team even further, making several significant moves at the trade deadline. They added starting pitcher Max Scherzer (15 Wins, 2.46 Earned Run Average) and middle infielder Trea Turner (27 Home Runs, 32 Steals, .328 Batting Average) from the Washington Nationals. Both have formed an integral part of the Dodgers’ success down the stretch. Having starting pitchers who go deep into games and keep runs off the board is essential for winning playoff games.
The Los Angeles Dodgers lead the MLB in earned run average and earned runs allowed with a 3.02 ERA and 486 earned runs, allowing a significant 38 runs fewer than the next best team. This feat is primarily achieved by the work of their outstanding starting rotation, which is arguably the best in the league. Led by Max Scherzer, Walker Buehler (15 W, 2.49 ERA), Julio Urias (20 W, 2.96 ERA), and Clayton Kershaw (10 W, 3.55 ERA), the Dodgers’ pitching rotation strikes fear into the eyes of any hitter. Furthermore, their bullpen led by Kenley Jansen (2.22 ERA in 69 games, 38 Saves) and Blake Treinen (1.99 ERA in 72 games) is equally as strong as their starting pitching. The Dodgers are ready to ride the arms of their aces all the way to The Commissioner’s Trophy. If that is not enough, their lineup is stacked with power hitters and players who excel at getting on base. The Dodgers are fourth in both home runs and on base percentage in the MLB with 237 HR and a .330 OBP.
Moreover, Los Angeles is a team known for sparing no amount of money in order to get to the World Series. Their monetary flexibility allows them to go big on many players that other small market teams cannot afford to sign. They lead the MLB with the highest payroll in 2021, which is an astounding $194,839,000. Their ability to sign the best players in the league is a huge advantage that will pay off in the postseason. Small market teams can only hope to compete with the prowess of the 2021 Los Angeles Dodgers. Their financial ability combined with their spot near the top of almost every statistics category will bode well for the Dodgers. At the end of the MLB postseason, The Commissioner’s Trophy will once again find its way to Los Angeles.
Men’s Soccer Excitement for Things to Come
Interview With Big East Offensive Player of the Week Davis Smith
Justin Bishop ’24
The Providence College Men’s Soccer team has been competing at a high level all season, which has earned them the No. 24 team ranking in the entire nation. Moving to 6-1-1 overall and 2-0-0 against teams in the Big East conference after beating Xavier 3-2 on Saturday, the team is looking forward to the next half of the season.
To recap how the team got here, they started the season with a 3-0 upset win at Fordham University, at the time ranked no. 23. Two goals from midfielder Luis Garcia ’23, one from graduate student Davis Smith ‘21, and two saves from goalkeeper Lukas Burns ’24 were the keys to the victory. One of Garcia’s goals was a rocket of a corner kick that the Rams goalkeeper could not handle and deflected off him.
The following match against St. Peter’s was no match at all because the Friars took care of the Peacocks with a dominating 6-2 win for the home opener.
Six different Friars scored and Smith ‘21, Kevin Vang ’22, along with Gevork Diarbian ’24 each had one goal and one assist in the routing of St. Peter’s. The combination of the first two games for Smith earned him the honor of being named the Big East Offensive Player of the Week.
After starting out the season with two straight wins, the team traveled to Durham, New Hampshire to take on the then-ranked no. 14 University of New Hampshire.
The Friars fell to the Wildcats 2-1 where Paulo Lima ’22 cut the lead in half late in the 86th minute on a penalty kick. The team showed grit and never gave up even when they were down two with less than 15 minutes to play.
The team then went on to tie the following game against cross-state rival, the University of Rhode Island, 1-1 with a goal from Diarbian.
Rough play from both PC and URI, as one would almost expect in a match featuring these two rivals, allowed for the game to get out of the Friars’ control.
Smith received two yellow cards which kicked him out of the game and prevented him from playing the next game as well. There were 10 yellow cards given out throughout the match, and URI was at fault for 18 fouls in the game compared to PC’s 19.
That, however, was not the story of this game. The real story was the 12 saves from PC’s sophomore goalkeeper, Burns.
Burns stood on his head and made saves that even a veteran senior goalkeeper would have a tough time making. The sophomore’s performance in the previous two games, holding the No. 14 ranked team to only two goals and making 12 saves on 13 shots against a cross-state rival, earned him the Big East Goalkeeper of the Week.
The team has won the past four games since the tie at URI thanks to two players who have raised their game to the next level. These two players are the aforementioned graduate student out of Amherst, MA, Davis Smith, and Brendan McSorley ’24 out of Randolph, NJ.
Both Smith and McSorley are huge offensive components of the team.
McSorley leads the team in goals and points, and Smith leads the team with four assists and is second in goals and points. However, Smith holds all these statistics while playing one fewer game than McSorley, which earned him the title of Big East Offensive Player of the Week this past week for a second time this season.
I was able to sit down with the now two-time Big East Offensive Player of the Week on Thursday to get an inside look on how well the team has felt so far and to get some insight into how they are preparing for the rest of the season.
Davis Smith ‘21 transferred from the University of Massachusetts Amherst two years ago to PC. When asked about the biggest change when arriving in the Big East from the Atlantic 10, Smith said, “The pace of play is definitely faster and the quality of the players around me are [sic] a lot better than when I was at UMass.”
Smith ‘22 mentioned that he struggled to adapt to how fast the game had become after playing in the Atlantic 10. He said that he used the COVID-19-shortened season to train with his brother down in Texas and grinded every day, trying to make himself better.
The training seems to have paid off with the way he affects and produces in every game in which he plays. Davis said that it is nice to have recognition, referring to being ranked no. 24 in the country and his personal accolades. However, that is not the goal of this season, he says.
“The goal of this season (right now) is to win the Big East regular season and the Big East tournament,” says Smith. “We have just as good a team, if not better than the 2019 team and I think we can really go far.”
The 2019 team, at the end of the season, was ranked no. 14 in the nation and went to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament before a heartbreaking one-goal loss to no. 2-ranked Clemson.
Smith said the team only looks to the upcoming game and not down the road, but he revealed excitement for the Georgetown game at home on Oct. 13. Not only is it a matchup of the top two teams in the conference, but Georgetown is ranked no. 1 in the nation as of Sept. 26.
Smith also praised the play of his goalkeeper Lukas Burns, saying that Burns’ Goalkeeper of the Week award was well deserved and that Smith knows his teammate will keep playing at a high level.
He also commented on how well Brendan McSorley has been playing and hopes they can keep the momentum going as they only play Big East teams for the rest of the season. “Every game in the Big East is a grind and there is no reason why we can’t beat any team in the country,” Smith says.
The Friars resume playing at Marquette University in Milwaukee on Friday, Oct. 2.
Providence College Investigates: Pro Sports
What Is the Best Sports City in the United States?
Justin Bishop ’24
Everyone knows which city is the greatest sports city in the world: Boston. This city is known for countless championships in hockey, basketball, football, and most recently, baseball.
In combinations ranging from red, white, and blue to black and gold to green and white, these colors represent everything to the people of this city.
Boston is the greatest sports city in the world and that is a fact. The Bruins, Celtics, Patriots, and Red Sox organizations represent greatness and what it means to win. Since 2000, Boston has won 12 championship trophies and has been the only city to have a championship trophy in all four major sports (baseball, basketball, football, hockey).
The New England Revolution, who recently have been on a tear in the MLS are among the teams not in the spotlight in Boston as much as the four major sports teams.
Other notable teams outside the four major sports in Boston include: the Boston Pride in the National Women’s Hockey League and the Boston Cannons, the only Major League Lacrosse team to be added to the new Premier Lacrosse League.
The Red Sox are the only team in the MLB to win four World Series in the new millennia. The Sox are a trivial part of the city of Boston. Fenway Park, the Curse of the Great Bambino, Ted Williams, 1999 All Star Game, 2004 World Series Champions, and the 2013 World Series Champions for the Boston Marathon victims are all moments that carry gravity with the people who cheer for the Red Sox and Boston as a city.
On the ice, the Bruins are a powerhouse, not just in the Atlantic Division or Eastern Conference, but also throughout the entire NHL. The B’s have reached the postseason in 16 of the past 19 seasons. They have long tenured superstars like Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, and the captain himself, Patrice Bergeron, who have all had sensational seasons in recent memory.
On the court, the Celtics have been up and down since their NBA championship in 2008 but seem to have rebounded with young stars like Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart. The Celtics have proven themselves in the playoffs over the past 10 years and with young stars on the rise, seem set for another run of dominance.
Tearing it up on the gridiron, the New England Patriots won six Super Bowl titles in 20 years. With the unstoppable tandem of Quarterback Tom Brady and head coach and general manager Bill Belicheck, the Pats could not be stopped for 20 years. The Patriots were a dynasty from 2000 to 2019, winning six Super Bowls, nine AFC Championships, 17 AFC East Division titles, and 17 straight playoff appearances.
This is the definition of winning. This is the way, the Boston way.
Luke Sweeney ’24
The unprecedented success of the New England Patriots during the 2000s and 2010s has shut down the debate over which U.S. city is the sports capital of the country. To many, Boston is the undisputed city of champions and the most dominant city in the United States for professional sports. However, another city might be overlooked, a city with a rich history of success in sports, and the home to some of the best athletes the world has ever seen: Los Angeles.
The L.A. Lakers are considered by many to be the best basketball team of all time. While the Boston Celtics hold the crown for most NBA Championships, no other team has won more playoff games than the Lakers organization. The Lakers have had the privilege of producing elite hall of famers such as Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, the late Kobe Bryant, and now Lebron James. It is no surprise that the best players in the NBA are attracted to the city of L.A. and their premier basketball club.
Having such a strong market for sports and an almost overwhelming population density, it is surprising that L.A. has gone so many years without an NFL team. The city was home to the original Los Angeles Rams from 1942-1994. During that period they had limited success, making the Super Bowl only once and never taking home the Lombardi Trophy. It was not until the team moved to St. Louis that they won a Super Bowl during the 2000 NFL season with a high-powered offense that was labeled “The Greatest Show on Turf” under quarterback Kurt Warner. Football is currently back in Los Angeles as they are home to the Rams once again and the Chargers.
Baseball has been praised in the city of L.A. since the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to California in 1958. The Dodgers immediately found success in L.A. by winning the 1959 World Series and continued to impress the baseball world into the ‘60s. The pitching tandem of Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale gave the Dodgers what they needed for an additional two championships in 1963 and 1965. L.A. was also home to pitching phenom Fernando Valenzuela, who was beloved by fans and led the club to another championship in 1988. They have won multiple World Series since the ‘80s and continue to be dominant today.
While Boston is home to the greatest football player to ever live, and the NBA team with the most championships of all time, it is impossible to exclude Los Angeles from the conversation of the “Greatest Sports City in The United States.”