Men’s Soccer Fall in Sweet Sixteen
By Will Murphy ’23
The Providence College Men’s Soccer team capped off another successful season with their second trip to the Sweet Sixteen in the past three years.
The Friars began their run in the tournament against their regional rival Marist College at their home field, Chapey Field, on Thursday, Nov. 18. The Friars controlled the game from the start, able to muster more than double of Marist’s shot attempts. In the 40th minute, midfielder Christopher Roman ’22 pushed the Friars ahead with a goal that was assisted by Armaan Wilson ’24 and Gil Santos ’22.
In the 67th minute, the Friars were afforded some breathing room after Wilson was able to find the back of the net. Gevork Diarbian ’24 was credited with the assist that helped expand the lead to 2-0.
From there the Friars were able to maintain their lead the rest of the way, pushing their NCAA Tournament record at home to 7-0.
That win moved the team on to the second round where they would face last year’s reigning NCAA Tournament Champion, Marshall University, which had been awarded the No. 14 seed in the tournament by the selection committee. That game was played at Hoops Family Field, in Huntington, WV, the home field of the Marshall University Thundering Herd.
It was a rather evenly matched game, with each team creating opportunities for four shots on goal, with neither team being able to find much separation.
Marshall’s best scoring opportunity in the first half came when Alexander Adjetey broke free and only had the Friar’s goalkeeper, Lukas Burns ’24, to beat, but Adjetey was unable to capitalize, sailing his shot harmlessly over the goal.
The Friar’s best chance in the first half came from a corner in the 18th minute after a deflection led to a loose ball landing at the feet of Miguel Candela ’22, who fired a shot from the top of the box that was saved by Marshall’s keeper, Oliver Semmle.
After a tightly contested first half, the teams headed into halftime in a deadlock at zero. Marshall came out of the break hot, and in the 56th minute, they were able to find separation from the Friars. The goal came on a cross from Milo Yossef after a counterattack, which was finished by Adjetey.
It appeared as though the Friars were able to pull themselves level in the 74th minute when Brendan McSorley ’24 was able to knock in a deflection, but the goal was waved off as McSorley was flagged for offsides.
Momentum then began to swing in the direction of the Friars, as they were able to earn four corner kicks in eight minutes after that.
Finally, in the 85th minute, the Friars were able to break through and level the game at 1-1 on a goal from Candela.
Candela received a pass from Santos at the top of the box and was able to perfectly place his shot inside the right post. That would be the last scoring opportunity in regulation, and the two squads entered overtime even 1-1.
The first overtime period came and went quietly without many scoring opportunities. Just three minutes into the second overtime period the Friars were able to break free and score the game-winning golden goal. The goal was scored on a diving header from Davis Smith ’22 off a beautiful feed from McSorley. This goal pushed the Friars through to their second Sweet Sixteen in the past three years, where they would face their Big East rival, the third-seeded Georgetown University.
The Friars played Georgetown University Sunday, Nov. 28, at Georgetown’s home field in Washington, D.C. It was the third meeting of the season for Providence and Georgetown, with the Friars winning 3-0 in the first meeting, but dropping the second meeting 2-1 in overtime of the Big East championship.
Both teams were held without a shot for the first 32 minutes of action until the 33rd minute when McSorley fired a shot wide left of the net. Shortly after that in the 36th minute, the Hoyas pulled ahead when Dante Polvara collected a loose ball and rifled it into the back of the net. Georgetown’s advantage would remain at one through halftime and into the beginning of the second half.
In the 53rd minute Georgetown was able to get some breathing room thanks to a goal from Marlon Tabora off of a cross from Stefan Stojanovich. Tabora added two more goals in the 58th and 64th minutes respectively, to expand Georgetown’s lead to four and achieve a hat trick.
The Friars avoided the shutout thanks to a goal in the 88th minute scored by McSorley. The goal was assisted by Candela and Diarbian. The game finished with a 4-1 score, putting an end to the Friar’s successful postseason campaign that saw them notch an impressive upset win over last year’s defending National Champion, Marshall University.
Will Murphy ’23
In their final home game of the season, the Providence College Men’s Soccer Team tied Villanova University 0-0, on Saturday, Oct. 30. The Friars were able to outshoot the Wildcats 28-7 but were unable to find a way to notch the go-ahead goal. Goalkeeper Lukas Burns ’24 had a clean sheet making two saves, helping the Friars to their fifth shutout of the season. The tie moved the Friar’s record to 9-2-4 on the season. Next up for the Friars is the regular-season finale on Wednesday, Nov. 3, in Omaha, NE against Creighton University.
The Providence College Women’s Soccer Team closed out the regular season strong at home on Thursday, Oct. 28 with a 2-0 win against Seton Hall University on senior night. The Friars pulled ahead at 41’ thanks to Angie Suaza ’23 netting a penalty kick. After taking the lead, the Friars didn’t look back, scoring again at 58’ with a Meg Hughes ’24 goal. The win clinched a Big East Tournament spot for the Friars, for which they traveled to New York to take on St. John’s University on Sunday, Oct. 31.
The Providence College Field Hockey Team had a successful week beating Quinnipiac University 5-2 Friday, Oct. 29 at home. The Friars got off to a hot start and by the time the first half was over, they led 3-0. In the third and fourth quarter, each team traded goals, but the Friars were always able to keep the Bobcats at arm’s length. Sophia Pompeo ’23 and Olivia Ward ’22 each scored two goals, and the fifth was added by Niamh Gowing ’22. The Friars close the regular season at home on Sunday, Oct. 31, taking on Dartmouth University.
The No. 8-ranked Providence College Men’s Hockey Team had a busy weekend, taking on the unranked University of New Hampshire on back-to-back nights, Friday, Oct. 29, and Saturday, Oct. 30. They dominated Friday’s matchup at home, winning 6-1, but fell in Saturday’s matchup on the road 2-1 in a tightly contested overtime battle. The weekend’s results moved the Friar’s record to 6-3 on the season. Looking ahead, the Friars have an important two-game set with the No.12-ranked University of Massachusetts Amherst Friday, Nov. 5, and Saturday, Nov. 6.
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.
Joseph Quirk ’22
The Providence College Field Hockey team had a rough week, dropping a Big East game at the University of Connecticut this past Friday before losing a home game to Virginia Commonwealth University on Sunday Oct. 3. The Friars were shutout in both games, meaning they have now been shutout in three straight games. After the two losses, the Friars dropped their record to 5-7 overall and 1-2 in conference play. They lost the game Friday in Storrs, CT by a score of 3-0 and the home tilt Sunday 1-0. The Friars next play Friday, Oct. 8 at home vs. Temple University.
Men’s Ice Hockey:
The Providence College Men’s Ice Hockey team kicked off their season at Schneider Arena this past Saturday, Oct. 2 against the United States Marine Academy, also known as Army West Point. The Friars won their home opener in routing fashion, beating the Black Knights by a score of 7-0. Goals were scored as soon as a minute into play and six different Friars put the puck into the net. Sophomore Brett Berard ’24, a New York Rangers draft pick, led the scoring notching two goals himself. The Friars next take on Merrimack College to open their Hockey East play at home Thursday, Oct. 7.
Women’s Ice Hockey:
The Providence College Women’s Ice Hockey Team also began play this weekend with an exhibition this past Friday, Oct. 1 at home against the Boston Pride. The Boston Pride is an LGBTQ+ hockey organization that creates a supportive environment for people of different sexual/gender orientations to have fun and play hockey. The Friars won the game 3-2, when Hunter Barnett ’22 scored the game winner with only 13 seconds remaining in regulation. The Friars were out-shot 23 shots to 31 in favor of the Pride. The Friars open Hockey East play this Friday, Oct. 8 at home against the University of New Hampshire.
The Providence College Men’s Soccer team tied a Big East game against Marquette University this past Saturday, Oct. 2 in Milwaukee. The score ended tied at two goals apiece and sent the Friars record to 6-1-2 overall and 2-0-1 in conference play. Both teams scored their two goals in the second half of regulation play and would remain scoreless throughout the overtime period. Providence held the edge in shots and corner kicks while Marquette fared better in the saves and fouls categories. The Friars’ next game is Wednesday, Oct. 6 in Queens, NY to face St. John’s University.
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.
Stephen Foster ’22
The Providence College Men’s Soccer Team earned a spot in the United Soccer Coaches Poll on Tuesday, Sept. 21, coming in at no. 24 in the weekly Top 25 National Rankings for Men’s Soccer. Since then, the team extended their win streak to four games with a 3-0 win over Brown University on Wednesday, Sept. 22 and a 3-2 win over Xavier University on Saturday, Sept. 25. Davis Smith ‘21 continued to impress against Xavier, scoring on a header and dishing out an assist in the contest. Smith was named the Big East Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season on Monday, Sept. 20. Men’s Soccer looks to continue their winning streak this Saturday, Oct. 2 as they travel to Marquette University.
The Providence College Women’s Soccer Team brought their record to 6-3-1 this week, splitting the games with one win and one loss. The team forced overtime in both games this week, ultimately losing 1-0 against Xavier University on Thursday, Sept.23 and shutting out Creighton University 1-0 on Sunday, Sept. 26. Emma Bodner ‘24 won the Big East Goalkeeper of the Week on Monday, Sept. 20, putting up eight saves against Brown University on Thursday, Sept.16. Bodner continued her strong play from the net with eight more saves this past week. Women’s Soccer will be traveling to No. 25 ranked Georgetown University on Sunday, Oct. 3 to take on the Hoyas.
The Providence College Women’s Volleyball Team faced two tough conference matchups this past week, losing 3-2 to Xavier University on Friday, Sept. 24 and 3 – 0 to Butler University on Saturday, Sept. 25. The team registered 43 kills on 133 total attacks, 65 digs, and 39 assists in the game against Butler. Their record now sits at 12-3 on the year. Women’s Volleyball looks to rebound with two more Big East Conference matchups this upcoming week. They face Seton Hall University on Friday, Oct. 1 and St. John’s University on Saturday, Oct. 2.
The Providence College Field Hockey Team brought their record to an even 5-5 this past week. Four of their five losses this season have come against teams ranked in the Top-25 national poll. The team lost to No. 20-ranked Monmouth University on Sunday, Sept. 19 and No. 22-ranked University of Massachusetts Amherst on Sunday, Sept. 26, but fought well to pull out a tough conference win against Georgetown University, winning 2-1 on Friday, Sept. 24. This upcoming week, Field Hockey will face off against University of Connecticut on Friday, Oct. 1 and Virginia Commonwealth University on Sunday, Oct. 3.
Will Murphy ’23
The Providence College Women’s Soccer Team played one game this week, picking up a 2–1 win at home against Brown University on Thursday, Sept. 16. The Friars went down 1–0 in the 17th minute, but were able to battle back and take the win thanks to two clutch second-half goals. Meg Hughes ’24 scored the equalizer in the 62nd minute, and Hannah McNulty ’22 netted the go-ahead goal in the 71st minute. Looking ahead, the Friars will take on Xavier University on Thursday, Sept. 23.
The Providence College Field Hockey Team went on the road to face Villanova University on Friday, Sept. 17. After trading goals in the first quarter, the Friars went into the half-tied 1–1. Each team scored two goals in the third, but Villanova pulled away in the fourth with two more goals for a 5–3 win. Sophia Pompeo ’23 scored two goals and Amanda Collins ’22 scored the third. The loss dropped the Friars to 4–3 on the year. Looking ahead, the team has a matchup with Monmouth University on Sunday, Sept. 19, and Georgetown University on Friday, Sept. 24.
The Providence College Men’s Soccer Team traveled to South Orange, N.J. to face No. 19 Seton Hall Pirates on Saturday, Sept. 18. The Friars were trailing 2–1 until the 81st minute when they were able to break through with two unanswered goals in two minutes. Brendan McSorley ’24 scored the first and Paulo Lima ’22 was able to notch the go-ahead goal in the 83rd minute. The win pushed the Friars to 4–1–1 on the year, and 1–0 in Big East play. The Friars next take on Brown University on Wednesday, Sept. 22.
The Providence College Volleyball Team continued their strong play as they traveled to the Bronx for the Fordham Tournament on Saturday, Sept. 18. The Friars started the day with a match against St. Francis College and won in straight sets. In the next match, they faced the host, Fordham University, and after four sets they entered the pivotal fifth set tied 2–2. In the deciding set, they were able to win 15–13, taking the victory. The undefeated weekend pushed the Friars to 12–1 on the year.
Leo Hainline ’22
The Providence College Women’s Volleyball Team continued their outstanding form this past weekend, winning the 16th annual Friar Volleyball Classic. The four-team tournament consisted of the Friars, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Saint Peter’s University, and Binghamton University. PC squared off against Saint Peter’s in their first match, defeating the Peacocks in straight sets. Providence claimed the championship the following day, winning against Binghamton in the afternoon and then Fairleigh Dickinson in the evening to cap off an undefeated weekend. Maryanne Boyle ’24 won the title of tournament MVP. The Friars moved to 10-1 on the season.
The Providence College Men’s Soccer Team returned to their winning ways after defeating Loyola University Maryland 3-1, defending their home turf at Chapey Field and offering them a bit of momentum before taking on Seton Hall, ranked 22nd, this Saturday. Right-winger Roman Christopher ’22 broke the deadlock in the first half, opening his scoring account for the season. Striker Brendan McSorley ’24 helped the Friars cushion their lead, bagging a brace in the second half and continuing his good form this season.
The women’s soccer team lost a heartbreaker in Madison, WI this Sunday to the University of Wisconsin, 3-2, in extra time. Maria Pavelgio ’25 opened the scoring, giving the Friars the lead entering halftime. Wisconsin started the second half with all the momentum, scoring twice in quick succession. The Friars fought back to grab the equalizer, thanks to a Badgers’ own goal. Unfortunately, the home side grabbed the golden goal in extra time, spoiling PC’s comeback effort. The women will face in-city rivals Brown University this Thursday at Chapey Field.
Providence College Field Hockey produced a perfect 2-0 weekend, defeating both the University of New Hampshire and Long Island University at Lennon Family Field. The Friars were able to hold on to a 2-1 victory over UNH Friday night thanks to goals from Nora Goddard-Despot ’23 and Amanda Collins ’24. On Sunday, PC completed an impressive comeback effort against LIU. The Friars went down 2-0 in the first half but responded with a brilliant second half, scoring five unanswered and extinguishing the Sharks’ upset effort. Second-half goals were provided by Niamh Gowing ’22 and Olivia Ward ’21GS, who each provided two goals, along with a goal from Nora Goddard-Despot ’23.
Men’s Soccer Preview
Providence College Men’s Soccer is enjoying a strong start to the season, having won their opening two matches against Fordham University and Saint Peter’s University.
The Friars have buried nine goals between the two games thanks to their relentless attacking style of play, creativity, and clinical finishing in the final third.
Their early performances indicate that this squad has the potential to disrupt the assumed hierarchy of the Big East, which ranked the Friars fourth in the preseason poll behind Georgetown University, Seton Hall University, and Creighton University. Both the Hoyas and Pirates are ranked in the nation’s top 10.
In the season opener against 23rd-ranked Fordham, the Friars successfully defended their home turf at Chappy Field.
Midfielder Luis Garcia ’23 brought his shooting boots that evening, bagging a brace that helped propel the Friars to a 3-0 victory. Both of his goals were well taken; for his first, Garcia created space for himself and fired a low left-footed strike to the far right corner of the net, while his second perhaps required a bit of luck as he scored directly from a corner kick, beating the keeper at his near post.
Davis Smith ’21GS opened his scoring account by capitalizing on an ill-advised back-pass that gave the striker a one-on-one with the goalkeeper. PC was also sharp defensively, and their clean-sheet marked the first time the Friars have not conceded a goal in a season opener against a top-25 program.
PC continued their momentum in Sunday’s match against St. Peter’s, defeating the Peacocks in a highly entertaining 6-2 match.
The high score was a product of a fantastic team effort that saw much of the squad receiving solid minutes and six different names on the score sheet.
Although Saint Peter’s opened the game’s scoring, the Friars quickly drew level after Gevork Diarbian ’24 dusted his defender and dumped the ball off in the box where it eventually found Miguel Candela Bravo ’22, a transfer from Franklin Pierce University, who slid it past the keeper.
Soon after, the Friars took the lead when both Adam Riis ’23 and Thomas Tulgar ’25 pressed high up the pitch to dispossess a Peacock center-back, giving Tulgar a one-on-one with the keeper that he finished with composure.
The game’s best highlight came close to halftime when Kevin Vang ’22 produced a moment of magic, dancing through two Saint Peter’s defenders in a Messi-esque fashion and dishing to Tulger, who sent the ball across the face of goal to striker Brendon McSorley ’24, who made the score 3-1.
In the second half, Davis Smith grabbed his second goal of the season by scavenging a loose ball in the box, and Samuel Biven ’24 grabbed his first collegiate goal through a great individual effort, in which he chased a ball down the right flank, attacked his defender, and created a yard of space as moved the ball to the left foot.
From there, Biven placed the ball past the diving keeper into the bottom right corner of the net. A well taken penalty from Vang in the game’s closing moments completed a satisfying afternoon for the Friars.
Although there were some departures from last season’s squad, the Friars retain many players who made significant contributions from their shortened 2020-21 season.
Midfielder Paulo Lima ’22 and center-back Ramzi Qawasmy ’22 were both named to the preseason All-Big East team and will assume roles as senior leaders both on and off the pitch.
Lima was awarded with an All-Big East First Team selection for the 2020-21 season and possesses many of the qualities one would want in a central midfielder: great vision, physicality, and even the ability to contribute to the score sheet, as he led the Friars in scoring during their 2019 campaign.
As indicated by their first two performances, the Friars are full of attacking potential.
Standing at 6’7”, Davis Smith is a proper no. 9 and is a unique threat that defenses will have to face. Sophomores Brendon McSorley and Gevork Diarbian also have a knack for finding the back of the net, with Diarbian leading the Friars in scoring the previous season.
The Cranston product was one of the most talented freshmen in the conference and will look to build on his already impressive resume in Friartown. Do not be surprised if Diarbian achieves All-Big East First Team status.
Likewise, his fellow Cranstonian, Kevin Vang, has the ability to culminate his career at Providence College with All-Big East accolades. The midfielder stands out for his quickness and exceptional vision, which were both fully on display against Saint Peter’s on Sunday afternoon.
Christopher Roman ’22 is another attacking player to keep an eye on this year. The right winger possesses speed, strength, and the technical ability to create chances for his teammates. He has started all matches for the Friars since 2019 and will likely again be a staple of the squad’s starting XI.
In their next two matches, the Friars will be on the road as they travel north on Friday to face another top-25 program in University of New Hampshire, and then square off against in-state rival University of Rhode Island three days later.
They return to Chappy Field on Friday, September 10 to host Loyola University Maryland. Big East play begins the following week, as the Friars will travel to New Jersey with the goal of conquering last year NCAA semi-finalists Seton Hall, a match every Providence College player and fan should have marked on their calendars.
Likewise, while the rest of the Big East cannot be overlooked, save the date for October 13, when the Friars will host Georgetown, who, like Seton Hall, made the NCAA semifinals last season.
The Hoyas also won the 2019 NCAA tournament and have established themselves as one of the top collegiate programs. Results against Seton Hall and/or Georgetown would be massive for momentum and would help the Friars reach their goal of qualifying for the Big East tournament, which only consists of the top four teams in the conference.
However, given the early season success that has revealed this squad’s quality and cohesion, the Friars will be hungry to achieve more illustrious objectives such as winning the Big East and not only qualifying for, but also making a run in the NCAA Tournament.
Their talent combined with hard work and leadership can definitely help this team accomplish these goals.
Friar Freshman Off To Hot Start
Diarbian Right at Home in Friartown
By Thomas Zinzarella ’21
Coming into the fall season, Providence College Men’s Soccer player Gevork Diarbian ’24 did not know what to expect. Colleges around the country were still attempting to figure out a safe way for fall sports to occur. As a conference with member schools spanning from Rhode Island to Nebraska, the Big East Conference ultimately decided to follow suit with other conferences by moving all fall sports to the spring season.
“The freshman guys, we were all prepared and we couldn’t wait,” Diarbian stated. “I remember we had a couple of practices; they were telling us games are coming up and then we hear ‘practice is canceled’…it was really hard. There were some moments where I was like ‘Are we going to get the chance to play?’”
When play finally resumed in February, Diarbian instantly made a major impact on the field. He scored a goal in each of his first three games, including a double overtime game-winner against Big East foe Villanova University. Across this stretch, the Friars went a perfect 3-0 to start the year with wins over the University of Rhode Island, the University of Connecticut, and Villanova.
Diarbian collected seven points in his first three collegiate games and has helped PC rise in the national rankings. The Friars came in at No. 13 in the United Soccer Coaches College Rankings last week following a draw at home against No. 5 Georgetown University. Since then, PC has dropped their last two matches.
Diarbian’s performance caught the attention of other Big East schools when he was named to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll on March 1. He was then tabbed the Big East Freshman of the Week the following week, too.
Diarbian’s accolades are representative of his teammate’s success as well. Goalie Rimi Olatunji ’22RS has been honored twice with Big East Goalkeeper of the Week after several impressive shutout performances. Christopher Roman ’22 was named Big East Offensive Player of the Week on Feb. 22 following his three-point showing in PC’s season opener.
It is never easy to please all fans, especially after the performances that Diarbian has put up, but for him, it is the mindset for the future that keeps him going. “For me, always in my mind, I just tell myself to keep going and keep going…the most important thing is us as a team, to stay together and to work as a group to get better.” With this competitive mentality, Diarbian looks primed to continue to reach not only his goals, but the team’s as well.
In high school, Diarbian wore the coveted number 10 jersey. When he arrived on campus over the summer, the number was available, yet, he was not sure which number was going to be on the back of his jersey. Former captain Danny Griffin ’20 had worn number 10 for the previous four years prior. “As a freshman, it’s an amazing feeling. Ever since I was a freshman in high school, I always dreamed of starting and wearing the number 10 for PC.” He had some big shoes to fill, but so far he is doing so very successfully.
Hailing from Cranston, RI, Diarbian is very familiar with New England soccer. He played a number of years for Bayside FC (the state’s premier soccer club), before starting at La Salle Academy, just down the road from PC. Then, he was a part of the New England Revolution Youth Academy prior to enrolling at PC.
His older brother, Azad Diarbian ’22, attends all of the Friars’ home games along with his parents and other family members. “It’s an unbelievable feeling. Without them [my family] I wouldn’t be where I am today…just seeing them watching me play, it’s an unbelievable feeling,” said Diarbian.
Diarbian is one of two local players on the men’s soccer roster from Rhode Island, the other being another Cranston native and fellow Revolution Youth Academy alum Kevin Vang ’22.
“You know, for me, it’s very good to play with Kevin. He’s a great player, a good kid, and I feel I have a good connection with him on the field. For example, he assisted me against URI.” On that play, Vang sent a gorgeous through-ball to a cutting Diarbian in the box. Diarbian then beat the keeper with a shot to the top right corner.
“I love to play with him,” said Diarbian. “He’s great on the ball and very easy to play with because we have known each other for a very long time.”
Diarbian also pointed out just how different of an experience it is to play at the college level compared to the youth academy ranks. “It’s way different,” Diarbian admitted. “When you were there, it felt like a job…you were there every single day training Monday through Friday and then games on the weekend. It was always traveling.”
The Revolution Youth Academy would travel all over, competing against fellow Major League Soccer youth academy teams. “The competition…you’re playing the best kids in the country. It was good for me, though, to be in that environment. I feel like it helped me as well to show what I can do but also what the other academies do.”
It mirrors a similar experience to that of men’s soccer head coach Craig Stewart. Stewart spent a number of years as a youth academy player for big English football clubs in Sunderland AFC, Newcastle United, and Everton FC.
One figure Diarbian looks up to as a role model is PC men’s soccer legend Julian Gressel ’17. Gressel was an All-American at PC in 2016 and led the Friars to the NCAA tournament quarterfinals before they fell to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in double overtime. Gressel currently plays in the MLS with DC United.
Diarbian hopes to one day follow in the footsteps of Gressel and fulfill his own dream of playing in Europe for his favorite football club: FC Barcelona.