Luke Sweeney ’24
Coach Gabrielli Resigns
Providence College lacrosse head coach Chris Gabrielli announced on Wednesday, May 4 that he would resign. Gabrielli served as the Friar lacrosse coach for the last 10 seasons. Gabrielli said, “I’m grateful for the opportunity I was provided to lead this program, especially when the College transitioned to such a high commitment level toward lacrosse.” Bob Driscoll says the Friars will “begin a national search immediatley.” The Friars were 27-37 over Gabrielli’s final five years.
Track and Field:
The Providence College track team traveled across the city to Brown University on Sunday, May 1 for a meet. There were 12 Friars who found first place finishes at the event, making it an extremely successful dayl. Alex O’Neill ’23 was the star of the day as she broke the 30-year-old PC record for the 800-meter with a finishing time of 2:06.07. Meg Hughes ’24 finished first in the 400-meters once again. In the men’s division, Sam Lagan ’24 of Natick, MA was one of many who finished in first with a time of 59.60 in the 400-meter hurdles.
Over the weekend, The Providence College softball team suffered a loss to Butler University in a Big East matchup. The Friars were in the lead entering the seventh inning when Butler’s Ella White hit a walk off three run homerun to win the game 5-4. For the Friars, Tori Grifone ’24 of Sussex, NJ earned her 18th start and pitched a little over three innings. This Saturday, the Friars will host DePaul University for their final regular season Big East series of the year.
Providence College hosted the Annual All-Sports Gala on Monday, May 2. For two years the event has been held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this event, all PC student athletes, staff, coaches, and administrators gathered in person for the prestigious event. For the second year in a row, Nate Watson ’22GS took home the Athlete of the Year for Team Sports Award due to his outstanding performance during the Men’s Basketball team’s historic March Madness run.
Providence College Investigates
Who Will Win the Big East Tournament?
Will Murphy ’23
As March Madness rapidly approaches, one of the most highly anticipated conference tournaments this year is the Big East Tournament, taking place in Madison Square Garden March 9-12.
The Big East has been one of the premier conferences in college basketball all year and is projected to have upwards of six NCAA Tournament teams. That should make for an action-packed week in New York City.
The Providence College Friars enter the tournament atop the conference, as regular-season champs. The Friars have been one of the best in the nation in close games down the stretch. Many analysts have attributed this to luck, but the experience of the Friars has benefitted them time and time again.
The Friars will also be riding high on the momentum from winning the Big East regular-season title for the first time in program history.
Graduate transfer Al Durham ’22 has run the point for the Friars with the calm demeanor necessary to win close games in the always competitive Big East.
Big man Nate Watson ’22 has been one of the best centers in the country all year for the Friars, and his physicality wears our opponents.
AJ Reeves ’22 is another experienced Friar, one who has the potential for an offensive explosion each game. His three-point shooting will be key in the Big East Tournament, as the offense opens for the rest of the team when he can knock down threes.
Jared Bynum ’23 has come on incredibly strong, recently winning Big East Player of the Week twice during conference play. His presence off the bench will also be key for the Friars as he provides instant offense that few other players within the conference can match.
Noah Horchler ’22 is another crucial player for the Friars whose experience will be invaluable during tournament play. His defense has improved significantly from last year, and his rebounding should help the Friars limit their opponents to only one shot per possession in the tournament.
Justin Minaya ’22 is one of the best defensive stoppers in the nation. His versatility on defense has been a significant factor to the Friars’ success, and his ability to guard the opposing team’s best player is a reason the Friars are such a threat to win the tournament.
Ed Croswell ’22 is another player who has made great improvements since last year’s campaign, and his energy has been critical to the team’s success all year.
Overall, the Friars’ combination of depth, experience, and defensive prowess will result in them being crowned the Big East Regular Season and Tournament champions.
Luke Sweeney ’24
Tuesday, March 1 marks the official end of the historic 2022 regular season for the Providence College Men’s Basketball team. In their final game, they faced off against the Villanova Wildcats at the Finneran Pavilion in Villanova, PA. In a close contest once again, the Wildcats came up victorious, 76-74, to sweep the season series.
For those who have followed Big East basketball this season, Providence and Villanova have consistently been on top of the pack and have proved that they have the players and team ability to go head-to-head with some of the toughest teams in the nation. Coach Ed Cooley and the Friars made history on Saturday when they beat Creighton University to win Providence’s first Big East regular season championship in program history.
Despite the unprecedented season by the Friars, Villanova is still a dangerous team which has the potential to go far in both the Big East Tournament as well as the NCAA Tournament in mid-March. With a stacked lineup of extremely efficient shooters, including the NBA prospect Collin Gillespie, it is hard to find a team in the NCAA that the Wildcats cannot keep up with.
One of the biggest elements of tournament play in men’s college basketball is experience. A team with age and experience in big-time games is almost as important as a team’s record in the current year. Experience is something that Villanova seldomly lacks, year in and year out. Fifth-year point guard Gillespie was last year’s Big East Player of The Year and has a national championship under his belt. Fellow fifth-year and Massachusetts native Jalen Samuels also has a national championship ring and has had an outstanding year defensively. If they can use their age and depth in the right ways during the Big East Tournament, it is hard to imagine a scenario where the Wildcats won’t win it all.
Head coach Jay Wright has had an incredible career with Villanova thus far, and hopes to add to his trophy collection when he and his team travel to Madison Square Garden this year. Since his first year as head coach, he has achieved a 490-189 record (72.2 winning percentage), including a wildly impressive 30-15 record in the NCAA tournament. He will without a doubt be inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame by the end of his career.
Lastly, the Villanova Wildcats have played out the no. 4-ranked strength of schedule during the 2021-2022 regular season, including hard fought battles against top-ranked opponents such as PC and Purdue University. It will most definitely be interesting to see how the Big East Tournament pans out, but I am picking the Villanova Wildcats to hoist the trophy.
Who Will Win Super Bowl LVI?
Providence College Investigates
Will Murphy ’23
Los Angeles Rams
The Los Angeles Rams are set to square off with the up-and-coming Cincinnati Bengals to decide a Super Bowl Champion, and the champion will be the Rams.
Both teams have put together impressive playoff runs, each winning three consecutive games to reach the Super Bowl. The Rams managed to build their team up into one of the top Super Bowl contenders prior to the season. They were able to re-up at the trade deadline, acquiring star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who has been one of the Rams’ most dangerous weapons down the stretch. In addition to Odell, the Rams also have Cooper Kupp, who has been one of the most productive wide receivers in the league this year.
Despite his recent struggles with turnovers, Matt Stafford is one of the most talented quarterbacks in the league, with the ability to push the ball down the field in a hurry. It will be key for Stafford to take care of the ball and avoid any critical mistakes. If he can do that, the Rams’ dominant defense is more than capable of slowing down the prolific offense of the Bengals.
The Bengals’ quarterback, Joe Burrow, has had a breakout year in his sophomore campaign, but his offense’s glaring weakness is their offensive line. Unfortunately for them, the Rams’ biggest strength defensively is their ability to get to the quarterback. Aaron Donald is widely considered the best pass rusher in the league, and if the Bengals are unable to slow him down, Burrow could be in for a long game. Alongside Donald is Von Miller, another trade deadline acquisition, who is more than capable of getting to the quarterback and forcing turnovers. All-pro cornerback, Jalen Ramsey, is another player with a great impact on the game. Jamarr Chase, the Bengals’ rookie wide receiver, has emerged as a star this year, but will draw an incredibly tough matchup in all-pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey’s physicality is unlike anything Chase has faced so far this year, and it could pose a serious problem for the Bengals’ offense if Chase struggles.
Overall, the Rams have a high-octane offense that the Bengals’ defense will struggle to contain. In addition to their powerful offense, the defense will be able to pressure Joe Burrow consistently enough to throw him off his game. The Rams’ overall wealth of talent should prove to be too much for the Bengals to overcome and ensure that the Rams wake up Monday morning as Super Bowl Champions.
Luke Sweeney ’24
This Sunday, two blazing hot teams will meet for the Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA when the Cincinnati Bengals face off against the Los Angeles Rams. Unlike most years, both of these teams have had to play a wild card game at the beginning of their postseason campaigns. The Bengals have won six of their last seven games and are currently the high-powered offense that is being talked about around the league.
Led by the prophesied young Louisiana State University quarterback Joe Burrow, the Bengals have been shocking the world recently with big postseason wins against the Las Vegas Raiders, Tennessee Titans, and then the reigning American Football Conference (AFC) championship powerhouse, Kansas City Chiefs. Joe Burrow and the Bengals proved everyone wrong who thought that the Chiefs were an unstoppable force. In doing so, they have left their mark on the AFC as the new young team to beat for the coming years.
The National Football Conference (NFC) and AFC championship games two weeks ago left the world with their jaws open. The San Francisco 49ers and Chiefs, although coming up just short of a victory, showed that they have the tools on both offense and defense to win a Super Bowl. The weekend of championship football will go down in history as two of the most competitive and offensively explosive games ever played on the gridiron.
As for the Super Bowl between the Rams and Bengals, the Bengals are the younger and better of the two teams who will come up with the win. While the Rams have superstars such as Matt Stafford, Cooper Cupp, Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsay, there is no group of players that can stop the well-rounded AFC powerhouse Bengals.
Joe Burrow and his number one target, Jamar Chase, have been unstoppable all season and the media is widely on their side. The deciding factor of this Super Bowl matchup is most likely going to be on the defensive side of the ball. It is no secret that both offenses have the ability to sling the ball down the field and hammer the run game when needed. That being said, whoever makes the biggest plays on defense will be the ones to hoist the Lombardi Trophy and bring it home to their respective cities.
The question, though, still remains: does a young Joe Burrow have the NFL-caliber skills and poise in the pocket to perform on a stage as big as the Super Bowl? We have all seen what he is capable of, but only time will tell.
Men’s and Women’s Hockey Ready for Second Half of Play
Friar Hockey Looks to End Season on High Note
Luke Sweeney ’24
The Providence College Men and Women’s Hockey Teams have been fighting through the cold winter months as they both sit at the 17th rank in the nation in their respective seasons.
All of Hockey East would enjoy a few weeks off before the grind of the rest of the season came back underway. For the Friars, after the Christmas holiday, they would head out to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to play in the Kwik Trip Holiday Faceoff.
In their first game, the Friars played Bowling Green State University, and coach Nate Leaman’s team picked up where they left off before the break. They would defeat Bowling Green 6-2 behind Jamie Engelbert’s ’23 natural hat trick and Patrick Moynihan’s ’23 four-point night.
The following night, the Friars battled against Wisconsin University in a tight contest. The game officially ended in a 2-2 tie, but the Badgers claimed the Holiday Faceoff title with a 2-1 win in the shootout.
Jaxson Stauber ’23 made 37 saves in the contest.
The Men’s team has their work cut out for them heading into the final stretch of the season, going 2-2 in the month of January so far. The boys finished up last week with two wins against the Boston College Eagles.
Great goaltending and goal scoring alike contributed to the past two wins over BC, as their first matchup on Jan. 21st ended in a 7-0 blowout with the Friars dominating all corners of the ice. Nick Poisson ’23 racked up two goals and an assist after four shots on goal during the game. Although coming off a few tough losses from the 19th ranked Merrimack College, the Friars were able to overcome their issues and collect themselves for a positive win and tie against Boston College the next week.
The Friars will be on the road this weekend with games at #9 University of Massachusetts Amherst on Friday and Boston University on Sunday.
In recent news for the Providence College Women’s Hockey Team, the girls suffered two hard-fought losses to the powerful 12th ranked University of Vermont this past week.
On New Year’s Eve, the Catamounts and Friars faced off at Schneider Arena where the Friars picked up a 3-1 victory. Sara Hjalmarsson ’22 scored a pair in the second period and Lily Martinson ’25 netted her first collegiate goal to secure the win for the Friars.
Although it has been a tough season for the women Friars this year, they have earned big wins scattered throughout the season that has allowed them to remain in the top 20 teams in the country, including wins against Boston College, University of New Hampshire, and University of Vermont.
Additionally, the girl’s season has been riddled with cancellations and postponements due to the recent outbreak of the new COVID-19 strain. Four of their seven games over the winter break were postponed due to COVID-19. All said and done, the Friars have played extremely well given the hard conditions of playing in a COVID-19 season.
This week, the girls played Boston College on Tuesday in Chestnut Hill. After taking an early 1-0 lead heading into the second period thanks to Hayley Lunny ’22GS, the Friars were not able to hold on and after three third period goals from the Golden Eagles, the team fell to 8-10-5 on the season.
Their season continues this coming weekend with two home games at Schneider Arena against the University of Maine for a Hockey East battle.
Women’s Soccer Makes History
By Luke Sweeney ’24
Saturday marked the tumultuous end to an excellent season for the Providence College Women’s Soccer team. The summer and fall came with many ups and downs, including big wins against multiple big-time programs.
Although their postseason was cut short, the women’s soccer team received a bid to be selected to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 28 years. This season was monumental for the team, and the chemistry among the girls was noticeable to opposing coaching staff and Friar fans everywhere.
Being matched up against the NCAA champion Hofstra Pride was not an easy task for the Friars, even after gaining momentum in the later parts of the regular season. The girls were able to pull out two huge wins against DePaul University and Seton Hall University in the last two regular season games of the year. After a very close loss to St. John’s University in the first round of the Big East Tournament, the PC Women’s Soccer team was awarded a chance to compete for a national championship in the NCAA tournament.
Members of the Friars women’s soccer team credit the team’s success this year to good team chemistry, an excellent coaching staff, and total dedication from every member of the team. It is rare that the Friars find themselves facing a team with more talent than them, so it was important this year for every member to know that hard work and perfect team-play would win them the games they needed. When asked prior to their game against Hofstra, midfielder Alexis Rothman ’23 gave her thoughts: “Every game is a hard game, and every team is going to be really hard but we just have to stick to what we are used to. Stick to what we do as a team and that’s all that we can control.”
Gillian Kenney ’25 had the first scoring chance of the game but sent the shot wide. Goaltender Emma Bodmer ’24 had her first save of the game in the 21st minute, but it was soon spoiled when Hofstra’s Georgia Brown scored at 27’. Less than 10 minutes later, the Pride hit the back of the net again to make it a 2-0 game. The Friars pressed on into the second half before there was a weather delay due to lightning in the area. At 57’, Hofstra scored once again, making it 3-0 as the final score on Saturday, Nov. 13.
Starter Meg Hughes ’24 had three shots during the game, two of them on goal. Hughes had a terrific second season with the women’s soccer team, remaining one of the Friars’ top threats. When asked about her thoughts on the season, she gave us a positive answer and outlook on next year: “I was happy with the outcome of the season. Really happy to get our first tournament appearance in 28 years. I’m still a little disappointed with the loss, but overall, really pleased with how the season turned out. For next year, some goals would be to make it back to the NCAA tournament and to make it further into the Big East tournament.”
The bond between the girls on the team was crucial to their success and gave them their first postseason opportunity in a long time.
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.
Luke Sweeney ’24
The Providence College Men’s Basketball Team started their preseason this week against head coach Ed Cooley’s alma mater, Stonehill College. The team played well as they eased into competition with a Division II school that they have started their season with since the arrival of Cooley as head coach. The Friars beat the Skyhawks 96-71 and were able to see their entire bench play. The team will start their regular season on Tuesday, Nov. 9 against Fairfield University, and then play two days later on Nov. 11 against Sacred Heart University. Both home games help the Friars prepare for their first major test against the University of Wisconsin on Nov. 15.
The Providence College Men’s Soccer Team won at home on Saturday, Oct. 23, taking down unranked University of Connecticut 2-1. PC took the first lead of the game thanks to a goal from Luis Garcia ‘23, but the Huskies equalized following a goal from Okem Chime. Providence’s Brendan McSorley assisted Kevin Vang for the game winning goal in the 87th minute. The team will take on Villanova University on Saturday, Oct. 30 on Chapey Field.
Women’s Ice Hockey:
The Providence College Women’s Hockey Team has been off to a hot start this season with a 3-1-2 record. The team currently sits at a ranking of No. 11 in the country and looks to move up as the season progresses. Losing to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Saturday put the team back a bit, but they look to rebound on Sunday, Oct. 31 against Boston University at home.
The Providence College Women’s Soccer Team had a strong week, as they played the University of Connecticut Huskies on Thursday, Oct. 21, and then the University of DePaul Blue Demons on Sunday, Oct. 24. The Friars tied to UConn 1-1 and then beat DePaul 1-0. The win against DePaul came in double overtime after a close game all the way through. Fifth year senior Amber Birchwell scored the game-winning goal off an assist from sophomore Meg Hughes. They will play Seton Hall on Thursday, Oct. 28 at Chapey Field for the team’s senior night.
Women’s Club Rugby
A Game Worth Playing
Luke Sweeney ’24
The game of rugby is growing fast here in America. While in the past it has been a game mostly dominated on the world stage by Australia, England, and New Zealand, young Americans continue to introduce rugby to their communities and find ways to enjoy the sport.
Providence College is home to a men’s and women’s club rugby team who are both extremely competitive in their regular season play.
Senior team captain, Anna LaFortune ’22, shared her feelings on the upcoming season. She said, “It’s going to be a big learning curve for a lot of our newer players this year, but we have a lot of potential to compete and win matches.”
The team will have a deep bench to work with this season, as they have 35 players to field a 15-person lineup. In recent years, they have gone into the season with less than half the amount of players.
LaFortune also says that there are a good amount of freshman and first year players that will need to undergo a learning period .
“The best way to learn the game is to play the game” LaFortune claims. She believes that as the season goes on, the team will improve more and more as their newer players more experience on the field.
With only six girls returning from the team last year, no one is complaining about the larger but younger roster. LaFortune told me that at one point during her sophomore season, they only had 13 players on the team, resorting to borrowing players from opposing teams to be able to field a full 15.
Rugby is not the best sport to have a short roster, “not having enough players can be dangerous because girls are tiring themselves out easier without substitutions and can get themselves hurt.”
Head Coach Mike Cox returns to lead the squad this year. Cox was a former rugby player at Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island and coached the men’s rugby team here at PC for many years in the past.
In 2019, Coach Cox volunteered to sign on with the women’s team and has created a great program since then. The coaching staff includes two other assistant coaches who have experience playing the game.
LaFortune says that coach Cox will oftentimes have some of his friends from the rugby community drop by practices to run drills, give tips and advice, or practice strategy with the girls.
The regular season for women’s club rugby runs from September to October with two home and three away matches scheduled against Bentley University, Stonehill College, Roger Williams University, and University of Massachusetts Lowell. They will play every Saturday during this season, and LaFortune says that their recent match against Bentley was the first time the team has gotten to play since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is a really hard game to learn for freshmen coming in, but everyone can tell that there is so much athleticism and potential on this year’s team.” PC lost in a close matchup to Bentley, but the match was a great experience for a young team. LaFortune let us know that this is going to be a great learning year for young players, and she expects the team to be extremely successful in the next few years.
During a match there are 15 players on each team who are broken up between forwards and backs. The forwards do the brunt of the hitting and blocking, and the backs try to get themselves into position to run with the ball and score.
Anna’s position is “Number 8,” arguably the most important position on the field. The number eight position is the only forward who has the ability to pick the ball up out of the scrum and run with it. Hitting and running ability are crucial skills when playing this position.
Practice for the women’s club rugby team takes place three to four times a week, depending on if there is a match that week or not.
Much like American football, LaFortune says it can be hard to simulate game-speed scenarios during a rugby practice because it could lead to unnecessary injury. Most of the time, practice is just touch, so you have to be able to turn on a new level of aggression during game day.
We wish the Women’s club rugby team best of luck as they embark on their 2021 fall season.
If you or anyone you know wants to get involved with the sport or learn more about it, make sure to drop by one of their home games on Oct. 2 verus Stonehill and Oct. 16 versus Roger Williams.
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.”
PCI: Who Will Win the NFL MVP this Season?
Providence College Investigates: NFL
Joseph Quirk ’23
Josh Allen will be the National Football League’s “Most Valuable Player” this season.
To win the NFL MVP, you must have three things: a top three-seeded team, consistent MVP-level play throughout the season, and a lot of luck. While it is hard to predict luck (the primary reason most MVP predictions pre-Week 6 are usually wrong), we can certainly predict the other two things to some extent.
Heading into Week 1 this weekend, Allen will have both. Starting with the first thing necessary, a top three-seeded team (or, at least, a playoff caliber team), the Buffalo Bills should easily be one of the best teams in AFC this season.
Although they do play in a tough division, neither the New England Patriots nor the Miami Dolphins should cause problems for the Bills as they have arguably one of the most well-rounded rosters in the league.
The Bills’ defense is one of the best in the league, with defensive-minded head coach Sean McDermott’s leadership, an elite secondary, ball-hawking linebackers, and a versatile defensive line.
On offense they boast a solid offensive line, a couple of strong running backs, as well as several skilled wideouts and tight ends for Allen to throw to. That’s not to mention their top special teams’ units.
Now, onto the second thing Allen needs: a consistent MVP-level season.
Allen had a breakout year, which led him to be considered for the award last season. He has all the physical tools necessary to play at an MVP level: a big body to fend off opponents and keep him durable, speed to maintain a fast-paced game, and a cannon of an arm.
Last year, he managed to improve upon weaknesses in his passing accuracy. Add in the arrival of star wideout Stefon Diggs last season to make some plays, and Allen had his best statistical season yet.
Factor in his physical capabilities, history of good health, yearly progression, and history of putting up huge numbers, and there isn’t a reason why Allen can’t throw for over 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns. And if the Bills play as well as everyone anticipates, it will be difficult to find another worthy recipient of the award.
There is a third aspect to winning MVP, and that’s luck. No one can predict it.
Anyone can get hurt or outplayed in any given season, which is what makes this sport so exciting.
Although we can’t predict how luck will treat him this season, looking on paper before kickoff indicates that Josh Allen is a good, healthy bet.
Luke Sweeney ’24
The 2021 NFL Season kicked off last Thursday night in exciting style with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers versus the Dallas Cowboys. The usual playmakers of each team were healthy and made highlights on each side of the ball in a high-scoring game that came down to the last few minutes.
Dak Prescott made an impressive return from his injuries last season by throwing 42 out of 58 completed passes for 403 yards, but ended up falling short of a win in the fourth quarter. Of course, the Buccaneers’ quarterback, Tom Brady, stepped up when he needed to by playing at an elite level in the season opener.
While Sunday’s Week 1 slate of games was full of great quarterback performances around the league such as Kirk Cousins, Matt Stafford, and Patrick Mahomes, nobody looked sharper and more confident than Tom Brady on Thursday Night.
It has been said year after year, but Brady continues to show that he can compete at the highest level well into his 40s. Because of excellent pocket presence and quick, efficient decision-making, Brady is looking like the current MVP frontrunner after Week 1.
Brady threw for 379 yards and four touchdowns against the Cowboys and proved that he has not lost a single step over the offseason. The final minutes of the game were set up in a way that Brady had seen a thousand times before. The Buccaneers were down one point with 1:24 to go in the game. This achievement is basically free for Brady, and everyone watching knew it. He waltzed down the field as he always does and set up an easy kick for Tampa to seal the victory.
Dallas played an outstanding game the whole way through, and Prescott may have played an even better game than Brady, but the bottom line is that no one knows how to win the way he does. In big moments when he needs to produce results, he always gets it done.
Brady and the Buccaneers still have some room for improvement if they hope to repeat what they did last year. Brady threw two interceptions against Dallas, giving them an opportunity to win the ball game at certain points. But none of that mattered after a game-winning drive snuffed out any doubt.
As always, Brady was able to spread the ball and get many different playmakers involved in the win. He threw touchdowns to Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, and twice to fellow former Patriot Rob Gronkowski.
If Brady can look this sharp for the rest of the regular season and come up clutch when his team needs, he will be the 2021 NFL MVP.