A Decade of PC Athletics
A Look Back at a Monumental Ten Years
By Thomas Zinzarella ’21
This decade has shown one of the largest growths among every sport at Providence College. There are so many moments to choose from but here are some of the greatest from this past decade:
Men’s Basketball Capture 2014 Big East Championship
Ed Cooley and the Friars playing in Madison Square Garden are something Friars fans have begun to enjoy throughout this decade, and it all began back in 2014. This was the first year of the newly aligned 10-team Big East conference and the Friars only championship was back in 1994. The Friars were an NCAA Tournament bubble team coming into the tournament making it vital for them to win. Some had the Friars succeeding and others had them as the first four teams out. Well, the Friars burst a couple of bubbles and downed the Creighton University Blue Jays to punch their ticket. This Creighton team held one of the greatest college basketball players ever to roam the floor, Doug McDermott. The Friars were led by Bryce Cotton ’14 and LaDontae Henton ’15 with a number of other upperclassmen who started the rise of Friar basketball. This would be their first of five straight NCAA tournament appearances and set the standard of what PC basketball is today.
Friars Knock off No. 3 Villanova
Valentine’s Day 2018: The Friars needed a win to bolster their NCAA tournament resume, having already defeated the No. 5/4 Xavier University Musketeers about a month prior in Providence. The holiday featured a Big East match-up against rival Villanova University. The team PC faced is considered by many college basketball critics to be the best team of the decade, as they would go on to win the NCAA Tournament. It was a fast-paced, nail biter of a game as the Wildcats and Friars remained within single digit points of each other over the course of the two halves. Ultimately, the Friars pulled ahead at the end and beat Villanova 76-71 in a game that Cooley cites as “the greatest win” that he has had with the College. Scenes of students storming the court in a matter of seconds have stuck with many Friar basketball fans ever since. The win was a pivotal moment for the team that year as it gave them the momentum they needed to make a push in the Big East Tournament which secured them a spot in the Championship game.
2014 Men’s Soccer College Cup
Just like the men’s basketball team, 2014 brought great success for the men’s soccer team. The Friars advanced to the NCAA tournament as the 11th overall team. The Friars earned themselves a first round bye and picked up victories over Dartmouth University, the University of California-Irvine and the No. 3 team Michigan State University en route to their first ever College Cup appearance. The Friars faced a tough task with in the No. 2 University of California-Los Angeles Bruins and fell 3-2 in double-overtime. Under the direction of Craig Stewart, the Friars have made six NCAA tournament appearances with a follow-up Sweet 16 appearance in 2016 under future MLS star Julian Gressel ’16.
Women’s Cross Country National Championship
Any time there is a national championship mentioned, it more than likely will be involved as one of the greatest moments. The 2013 National Championship Women’s Cross Country Team is no exception. The Friars were runners up the year prior and would not be deterred the following year. The Friars were led by Emily Sisson ’14 who finished seventh overall. Sisson is now currently competing for a spot on the U.S. National team for this upcoming Olympics and is well known in women’s running. It was the Friars first championship since 1995. Under head coach Ray Treacy ’82, the team has won two national championships and has transformed into one of the best programs in the country.
Men’s Hockey Team Wins 2015 National Championship
Friars head coach Nate Leaman has elevated this program to national prominence once again and brought the Friars back into the spotlight by advancing to the 2015 Frozen Four. The Friars were one of the final teams to make the tournament and used this motivation to their advantage. After the Friars got past the University of Nebraska-Omaha, the Friars faced off against the Boston University Terriers in the NCAA National Championship game at the TD Garden in Boston. The Friars were searching for their first National Championship in program history and, after falling behind 3-2 after two periods of play, needed some magic to secure the win. In what is considered one of the craziest finishes to an NCAA Championship hockey game, the Friars were able to come out on top in last ten minutes of the third period after finding themselves in a tied game when BU accidentally scored on their own net. It was Brandon Tanev ’15 who flicked in the game-winner wrist shot with just over six minutes left of play that secured the program’s first ever NCAA championship. Tanev would go on to become one of seven Friars to play in the NHL from the team.
Women’s Basketball Team Advances it to the 16th Round of the 2018 Women’s Basketball National Invitation Tournament
Women’s basketball had lost its way for a bit after their great success in the 1980s and early 90s at PC. Jim Crowley in his third year at the helm took tremendous strides for the Friars. The Friars made postseason play for the first time since 2010 and just the second time since the Friars advanced to the 1991-92 NCAA tournament. The Friars defeated University of Hartford and University of Pennsylvania to advance to the Sweet 16 of the WNIT and were set to face their fellow Big East foe, the Georgetown University Hoyas. The Friars ultimately fell to them, but this was a special collection of players young and old. Friar fans saw one of the greatest scorers in program history, Jojo Nogic ’19, and featured the Big East Freshman of the Year, Mary Baskerville ’22. Nogic finished as the 4th all time leading scorer in program history and Baskerville also set the program record for blocks for a freshman and the most by a Friar since the 1999-2000 season. The Friars also won eight games in conference play, the most since the 1996-1997 season. These are just a few of many accomplishments for this women’s basketball program as they look to continue their rise in the rigorous Big East conference.