Women’s Basketball Season Comes to an End
Friars Fall to Georgetown University in First Round of Big East Tournament
Liam Tormey ’22
The Friars women’s basketball season came to an end on March 4 after a 68-55 defeat to Georgetown University in the opening round of the Big East Women’s Tournament.
After being down by one at halftime, the Hoyas jumped out to a 22-0 run in the third quarter. The Friars were unable to bounce back, and their season was over.
Emily Archibald ’25 scored a career-high 21 points in the contest, shooting 7-9 from the floor and 6-8 from three-point territory. Janai Crooms ’23 added 18 points, five rebounds, five assists, two steals, and one block for the Friars, but the Hoyas were able to hold on.
The Friars finished the season 11-19, 6-14 in Big East play, and ended the year on a five-game losing streak. They were 6-11 at Alumni Hall and 5-7 away from home.
Crooms completed her first year for the Friars after transferring to her home state from Michigan State University. She averaged 13.8 points with an average of 34.7 minutes per game in her first year as a Friar. Crooms also recorded six double-doubles – a team-best – and was the only player in the Big East ranked inside the top-15 in scoring and also ranked inside the top-10 in rebounding, assists, blocked shots, offensive rebounds, and defensive rebounds.
The Cranston, Rhode Island native, who is the first female to have her number retired at St. Andrew’s School, shot 43.6 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from behind the three-point arc. Along with Kylee Sheppard ’25, Crooms was awarded All-Big East Honorable Mention accolades.
Sheppard was a unanimous selection to the Big East All-Freshman Team. She only played in 19 games and started in 18 of them after missing 10 games in the beginning of her rookie season due to injuries. By the end of the year, Sheppard finished third in the team in scoring with 9.6 points per game 2.1 assists per game while second in steals averaging 1.6.
Alyssa Geary ’22 and Mary Baskerville ’22 both completed their senior season for the Friars. Geary started in all 30 games, averaging 26.4 minutes per game and 9.5 points per game. The senior shot 37.7 percent from the field while adding 4.2 rebounds a game.
Per her instagram, Geary will be using her extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19 and transferring to Indiana University. She played 118 games for the Friars, a total of 2655 minutes and 854 points.
Baskerville played in 23 of the Friars’ 30 games this season. She averaged 19.0 minutes per game and finished the year averaging 7.0 points and 5.5 rebounds. There is no word yet on the future of Baskerville and what she will plan to do with the extra year of eligibility.
Next year, with the return of Crooms and an entire year of Sheppard in the lineup, the Friars will have potential. They will need to make up for size with Geary leaving, but a young team under the leadership of Jim Crowley will continue to grow in the 2022-23 season.
Margaret Maloney ’23
The Friars men’s basketball team began the NCAA Tournament in brilliant fashion starting Thursday, March 17 against the number 13 seed, South Dakota State University. The Friars came out victorious 66-57 with Al Durham ’22GS and Noah Horchler ’22GS scoring 13 points each. In the Round of 32, the Friars faced the number 12 seed, Richmond University. Ed Cooley’s team dominated, winning 79-51 with 16 points from Horchler. On Friday, March 25, the Friars will play Kansas University in the Sweet 16.
The Friars’ women’s basketball team competed well in the first round of the Big East tournament, where they fell short to Georgetown University in the first round. An important highlight to note from this game is Emily Archibald ’25 hit her career high 21 points in the game. The team has a lot to be proud of this season, especially two players who earned All Big East recognition, Janai Crooms ’23 and Kylee Sheppard ’25. The Friars conclude their season with an 11-19 record.
Men’s Ice Hockey
The No. 20 Providence College men’s hockey team landed 47 shots on goal but came up short in a 4-2 Hockey East Quarterfinal loss to No. 12 ranked University of Massachusetts Amherst on Saturday, March 12 at the Mullins Center. The Friars had a great season and should be proud. They finished the 2021-22 year at 22-14-2 overall. Moreso, Brett Berard ’24 and Max Crozier ’23, who were named to the Hockey East third team.
Women’s Ice Hockey
The No. 7-seeded Providence College women’s hockey team was defeated by the No. 2 seeded University of Vermont, 4-1, in the quarterfinal round of the Hockey East Tournament on Saturday, Feb. 26. An important shoutout goes to the goaltender Sandra Abstreiter ‘22GS, who was named to the All-Hockey East Second Team as announced by the Hockey East on Friday, Feb. 25. Abstreiter has made 779 total saves and had three shutouts this season. She was recently announced as a semifinalist for the Women’s Hockey Goalie of the Year Award. The Friars conclude the 2021-22 season at 16-14-6 overall.
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.
Bob Driscoll to Retire as Athletic Director
Steve Napolillo Next in Line
Joseph Quirk ’23
It is the end of an era at Providence College: longtime athletic director Bob Driscoll has announced his retirement in the coming months. Driscoll’s tenure in Friartown certainly had its ups-and-downs and was defined by change. At the end of Driscoll’s role in leadership at PC, the athletic programs are noticeably improved and better off. His work will have everlasting effects on the athletic program at Providence College.
Driscoll was hired back in 2002. At the time, Driscoll was working at the University of California-Berkeley with the dream of one day being an athletic director. He interviewed for the position at UC Berkeley and did not get it. During his retirement announcement press conference, Driscoll told the story about how he ended up as a Friar after not being offered the position at Berkeley. He had heard that the position was open at Providence College, and he begged the headhunter to get him an interview. He ultimately got the job and established a staff that shared the vision of wanting to make the PC Athletics Department one of the best in the country.
Early on in his tenure as A.D., Driscoll made mistakes. He said he was inheriting a college with athletic facilities the quality of a “bad high school.” The “big time” programs of the school: basketball and ice hockey, were struggling and not winning to the extent that is now expected of them. As one of his first head coaching hires, Driscoll hired Tim Army to be the head coach of the men’s ice hockey team. Army had a long and extensive resume prior to being hired as a head coach for the Friars, which included time spent as an assistant coach with at PC in the 1980s. After leaving Friartown the first time, Army would have experience coaching at the NHL and AHL level, including a three-year stint as head coach of the Portland Pirates in the AHL. Army was hired in 2005 and only lasted six seasons with the Friars, with his highest single-season winning percentage being 0.514 his first season. After that, Army never posted a single-season winning percentage over 0.500. Another bad hire was Keno Davis, who was hired in 2008. Davis was out of town by 2011. Davis was hired after being named the College Basketball Coach of the Year by the Associated Press because of his success as head coach of the men’s basketball program at Drake University. Davis went 46-50 during his few seasons in Friartown. When asked about these hires during his retirement press conference, Driscoll said, “Those weren’t bad hires. They were good coaches; it just didn’t work out here.”
The failures of both Tim Army and Keno Davis may have been enough to get Driscoll fired at other schools, but then-president of the College, Rev. Brian Shanley O.P., kept faith in Driscoll. His next two hires, Ed Cooley and Nate Leaman, turned out to be home runs. Cooley brought the men’s basketball program back to the NCAA tournament and currently has the Friars at No. 11 in the nation. Leaman has two Frozen Four appearances under his belt, including one national championship in 2015 with the men’s ice hockey team. That championship was the first by a men’s team in the College’s history. During his press conference, Driscoll mentioned how Friartown has been turned into a destination job no one wants to leave. Driscoll affirmed: “I promise you: Ed had the University of Michigan job. I was there. We sat down and talked about it. He wanted to stay here.” He also said, “He can go anywhere in the country and chose to stay here.”
Driscoll has had several other impacts outside of his coaching hires. Driscoll was responsible for the underground parking garage with tennis courts on top, an idea he said he got from similar structures at Berkeley. He also rebuilt the soccer field and, in the process, relocated the softball field. He has upgraded the fundraising program to provide the different teams here with the amenities top Division 1 programs enjoy, such as the world-class Ruane Friar Development Center and renovations to Schneider Arena. Of course, Driscoll helped lead the Friars through the creation of the new Big East and aided in the building of the conference as it is today.
Driscoll has said he is retiring not only because it feels right but because he cannot provide the longevity that new president Rev. Kenneth Sicard O.P. will need it from him. He also wants to spend more time with his wife. “She has given so much of her energy to me and now it’s time I give all my energy to her,” said Driscoll. He also noted his competitive spirit and drive, things he picked up playing hockey at Ithaca College, and a desire to build a program and coach young men as the reasons he wanted to be an A.D. Driscoll noted how he had had “life coaches” his whole life, and all he has ever wanted to do was coach and teach other people.
In his press conference, Driscoll thanked his “teammates,” identifying them as the reasons for his success. He hinted at an internal hiring when he said, “When you have a successful organization, you want to hire the team members that have been already working to make it so successful.” A few days later, Steve Napolillo was announced as the new A.D. Napolillo was one of Driscoll’s first hires and has worked closely with him for quite some time. He is equipped to take over as he has a list of uncompleted plans of Driscoll’s, an idea of how things should be running here, and will have continued mentoring from Driscoll himself.
At Napolillo’s first press conference, President Rev. Kenneth Sicard O.P. noted that he had done his due diligence and had been discussing Driscoll’s replacement for months. He said that he feared screwing up the momentum that the program had built by bringing in an outside candidate and how he wanted to reward the talent they had internally. Driscoll said, “Nobody loves Providence College more than Steve [Napolillo]” and talked about the overwhelmingly positive reaction from the whole athletics department when they were told about his hire. Napolillo further exclaimed his gratitude and love for this school when he began to speak. From the sounds of things, Napolillo will be a great A.D. for Providence College. He will have big shoes to fill and we look forward to seeing how he will do it. To Bob Driscoll: thank you for everything and enjoy retirement.
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.
Swim and Dive Update
Big East Championships Approaching
Leo Hainline ’22
The Providence College Swimming and Diving team took on the University of Connecticut on Saturday, Feb. 5 in a dual meet, the final chance to clock in official times ahead of the Big East Championships occurring later this month.
PC’s men’s and women’s teams raced under different circumstances, given that UConn has recently cut their men’s program. Many on the men’s team utilized this meet as an opportunity to receive more practice under race-like conditions, although they were racing against the clock rather than an opponent. As for the women, this meet gave them the opportunity to swim in events needed to qualify for the Big East Championships scheduled for Feb. 23-26. For some of the seniors, this meet was their final time competing for the Friars.
The implications of the UConn meet varied for the individual swimmers across the Friars’ program, but those who needed these races to qualify for the Big East “suited up,” a swimming term referring to wearing a technical race suit to increase performance, and swam with the pressure of knowing these races could conclude their individual seasons or collegiate careers. Mike Hawkins ’22 and Elizabeth Murray ’23 both delivered big performances this past weekend and qualified for Big East due to their times.
Angela Brillantes ’22, one of the swimmers who will be competing in the coming weeks in East Meadow, NY, is confident that this past weekend has provided a good prelude to the Big East for the Friars: “After last year’s huge wins, the expectations are definitely pretty high and I think we’re in a good position to do some great things. The energy from this weekend was insane, watching the entire team support swimmers trying to qualify or finish up their careers. The energy levels and emotion were crazy, seeing everyone step up for each other this weekend, and it’s exciting to think that it’ll just be a million times crazier at Big East.”
Over the next coming weeks, the Friars will be fully focused on ensuring that they are in the best condition for their biggest meet of the season. Unlike over winter break, during which the teams trained twice a day to build up their conditioning and speed, the swimmers will lighten their schedules so their bodies are fully rested ahead for late February.
Last year, the Friars impressed at the Big East Championships, setting a total of 21 program records. Coach John O’Neill won Big East Coach of the Year: his first time receiving the honor. Justin Viotto ’22 won the 200 Fly with a school record of 1:48:23, and Kevin Hood ’23 also set a school record in his first-place finish in the 100 Breaststroke, with a time of 55:52. These student-athletes constitute two of the three Big East Champions in program history.
Both Viotto and Hood, as well as the entire Friars program, will hope to both replicate and expand on the success that they enjoyed in the 2021 Championships. With many returning swimmers who contributed to the Friars’ success during the previous season in the meet, do not be surprised if the team claims multiple accolades at the Big East Championships.
Women’s Basketball Winter Recap
Young Friar Squad Battled Tested
Leo Hainline ’22
The Providence College Women’s Basketball team returned to winning ways with an overtime win against Georgetown University. The Friars pulled away in the extra period, thanks to a 9-0 run during the final minute and a half to seal the victory. Kylee Sheppard ’25 led the way with 21 points, including seven of the team’s 15 in overtime. This was the Friars’ first win at McDonough Arena, snapping a 16-game losing streak at that venue.
The first half was controlled mostly by the Friars. PC held an eight-point lead at halftime, partly due to the shooting of Lauren Sampson ’23, who hit back-to-back threes in the second quarter, and Alyssa Geary ’22 who led the team with nine points at the break.
Georgetown crawled back into the game after the PC offense stagnated at the end of the third quarter, going scoreless for the final four and a half minutes. The game was closely contested throughout the fourth, but the Friars seemed to seize control following late scores from Janai Crooms ’23 and Sheppard. However, Georgetown managed to bank in a deep three-pointer with just seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.
The Hoyas took the initial lead during the extra period and held a one-point advantage with a little over two minutes remaining, but the Friars, particularly Sheppard, rose to the occasion and got multiple stops defensively while also converting on the offensive end. Sheppard knocked down five of her six free throws in the final 40 seconds, putting the game out of reach.
Three Friars scored in double-digits—Sheppard, Geary, and Crooms—and they combined for 48 of the team’s 66 total points. Mary Baskerville ’22 was a force defensively, providing six steals and six blocked shots. The senior center also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.
The win in Washington D.C. returns the Friars to .500, with a 9-9 overall record. PC is 4-5 in conference play and had dropped their previous two games against Seton Hall University and Villanova University. The loss against the Wildcats was the team’s first on the road this season, but the recent win against Georgetown elevates their away record to 4-1. Over winter break, PC went 2-4, with their two wins coming against Xavier University and St. John’s University.
Much of the Friars’ roster is composed of freshmen, while their leading scorer, Crooms, is a transfer from Michigan State University. While Baskerville and Geary are certainly the senior leaders, they are surrounded by a squad of players who are mostly amid their first season wearing black and white. This dynamic, although it may, in part, explain some of the team’s inconsistencies and struggles, is one that can improve and it may suggest a strong final stretch of the season. Sheppard has filled the point guard role exceptionally well and is a confident facilitator. Her recent play has been vital for PC’s success, as seen in their game against the Hoyas. Crooms has also established herself as an instrumental part of PC’s lineup through her playmaking ability. Leading the team in points and assists, but also in turnovers, her efficiency and decision-making is an x-factor. As these two players, in addition to the likes of Emily Archibald ’25, Olivia Olsen ’25, Audrey Koch ’25, Meghan Huerter ’25, and Nariah Scott ’25, continue to become accustomed to Friar basketball, the cohesion and efficiency of the team should improve.
In early December, PC fell to the Hoyas at home 55-47, and getting revenge on the road is an excellent way to propel them into a challenging week ahead. The Friars will travel to Omaha, NE to face Creighton University on Friday, Jan. 28. Creighton sits towards the top of the Big East with a 9-2 conference record. The Blue Jays however are coming off a loss to Villanova, a team the Friars split their season series with.
PC then has a short turnaround and returns home to take on legendary coach Geno Auriemma’s University of Connecticut at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Sunday, Jan. 30. The Huskies are ranked tenth in the nation, but they are still without Paige Bueckers ’24, who is recovering from a November surgery to repair an anterior tibial plateau fracture and torn lateral meniscus. Bueckers won the national Player of the Year award last season and became the first freshman in women’s college basketball to ever receive that honor. UConn remains a strong squad without her presence, and the Huskies are undefeated thus far in Big East play. Last season, the Friars only matched up once against UConn, in a game away from home and in front of an empty arena. PC started out the game strong on that occasion, leading 7-1 initially and only trailing by a point after the first quarter. UConn ultimately took control and won the game handily. The matchup scheduled in Providence was canceled due to COVID-19 related issues in 2020/21, so this will be the program’s first game at home against the Huskies since they returned to their rightful home in the Big East. If the Friars pull off the upset in front of a home crowd at the Dunk, it will certainly be the highlight of the team’s season and the careers of some of the players.
Women’s Soccer Recap
Reflecting on the Friars End to the Season
Stephen Foster ’22
The Providence College Women’s Soccer Team finished their season in heartbreaking fashion this Sunday, Oct. 31, suffering a disappointing 2-1 overtime loss to St. John’s University in the first round of the Big East Tournament. Amber Birchwell ’21 scored the lone goal to force OT for the Friars. Despite outshooting St. John’s 16-3 in the contest, the team let up the game-winning goal to the Red Storm within the first 25 seconds of the extended period. PC Women’s Soccer finishes the season with a 10-6-3 record, and a 5-4-2 record in the Big East competition.
For the 2022 season, the Friars will be hurt by the loss of fifth-years Amber Birchwell ’21, Hannah McNulty ’21, and Jana Braun ’21, as well as graduate student Christina Rodgers ’21.
Birchwell finished second in total points (two points per goal, one point per assist) on the season with 13 points, composed of four goals and a team-leading five assists. She has started in 82 of her 86 games played for women’s soccer over her five years in Friartown.
McNulty finished fifth in total points on the season with eight points, including two goals, and tied for second on the team in assists with four. Similar to Birchwell, McNulty has been an integral part of the Friars lineup for the entirety of her five years at PC. She started 72 of her 89 games in her college career.
Braun was a significant part of PC’s midfield this season, starting 14 of 19 games with 1,111 total minutes. Her returning teammates will miss her skills in advancing the soccer ball down the field and distributing to her teammates.
Rodgers was a defensive anchor for the team this season, playing in a team high 1,808 minutes and starting every game. She did the same in the 2020 season, playing all 1,140 minutes across all 12 games. Rodgers started in 82 of 88 games for the Friars across her five years on the team. Her defensive presence on the back line will be greatly missed next season.
Although the women’s soccer team will be hurt by the loss of their graduating players, there is a silver lining in the performance of several underclassmen who stepped up this season and will continue to improve for the 2022 season.
The Friars were led in points by Meg Hughes ’24, who scored nine goals and tied for second in assists with four. This is her second season in a row leading in scoring, as she led the team in goals and assists in 2021. She looks to continue her pattern of dominating offense for her junior season, as well as stepping into a leadership role.
Continuing on the offensive side, Gillian Kenney ’25 impressed in her freshman debut. She started in 10 of 19 games and recorded the third most points, finishing tied for second in both goals and assists with four in each category. She has much room to grow in the offseason and could become the spark the Friars need in 2022. Kyla Gallagher ’24 also contributed to the bottom line, adding in four goals and two assists for 10 total points, which is good for fourth on the team.
The defensive line relied on the skills of Alexis Rothmann ’23 and Chloe Ortolano ’23 to keep the opposing offense out of the net. They will be seniors next year and likely will be called upon to lead the Friars with their experience. Sophomore midfielder Avery Snead ’24 is also a name to remember for next season as she looks to take a step forward in her responsibilities. In addition, goalkeeper Emma Bodmer ’24 thrived in her second season this year, picking up three Big East weekly awards.
Providence College Women’s Soccer may have ended their season without a Big East Tournament victory in 2021, but they have high hopes for next season with a mix of proven and promising returning players set to fill the minutes vacated by those who close the door on their admirable college soccer careers.
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.
Women’s Soccer Update
Friars Picking Up Key Wins
Ben Bilotti ’23
The Providence College Women’s Soccer team is having a very nice season so far. Since the start of the season, the team has improved their record to 6-3-1. This amounts to a winning percentage of .650. The team has been especially successful at home, winning five of their six games.
The Friars’ most recent win came against the Creighton University Blue Jays. This marked Providence’s first win in Big East Conference play. The Friars won the match with a score of 1-0.
Kyla Gallagher ’23 scored the winning goal in the 94 minute of the match. Goalkeeper Emma Bodmer ’24 earned her third shutout of the season. In the match she had four saves. Creighton’s goalkeeper Keelan Terrell had four saves of her own. However, the one goal against would ultimately decide the match and send the Friars home victorious.
Creighton University is currently 6-5-2 on the season and in preseason play looked to be one of the top teams in the Conference. However, in Conference play this season, the Blue Jays are 0-3-1. The Blue Jays’ lone tie in conference play came against Georgetown University, who is currently sitting on top of the standings with a record of 2-0-2.
Providence College took on #23 Georgetown University on Sunday, Oct. 3, drawing 1-1. They did well to silence Hoya junior Gia Vicari, who entered the game having seven goals coming on 11 shots on goal. The Hoyas also had a talented goalkeeper Allie Auger, who has 34 saves and only seven goals against. Friar forward Gillian Kenney ’25 was able to slide one past Auger in the second half to equalize against the Hoyas, only nine minutes after Georgetown took the lead in the second half. The game would end level and was not a bad result on the road against a talented opponent.
The Friars have one of the top goalkeepers in the Big East in Emma Bodmer. Bodmer was named to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll on Monday, Sept. 27. For the week Bodmer posted a save percentage of .889. Opponents averaged fewer than one goal against the junior, averaging a 0.48 goal against percentage. In one week, she had eight saves and only one goal allowed. While Bodner has three shutouts in the short season, her shutout against Creighton University was her first individual shutout performance.
This season, Bodmer has a save percentage of .793. She has made 46 saves: only allowing 12 goals in 10 games played. While Georgetown goalkeeper, Allie Auger, has allowed fewer goals against, Bodmer has 12 more saves on the season.
Bodmer has been a very big part of the Friars’ success. She is averaging 1.19 goals against. So far, the sophomore has only allowed more than one goal against twice. The only time this occurred was against No. 5-ranked Wisconsin and No. 22-ranked Rutgers. It’s safe to say when the Friars score two or more goals, they achieve a win with Bodmer in net.
Meg Hughes ’24 and Kyla Gallagher ’24 have been another crucial key to Providence’s success. Hughes has six goals and two assists on the season. Her best performance came against Monmouth University on Sept. 5,, where she led the charge with two goals. The Friars won the match 3-1. Gillian Kenney ’25 also scored her first collegiate goal that match. Gallagher has four goals, and one assist on the season so far. The sophomore’s best performance of the season came against Creighton when she scored the game-winning goal late in the game. Gallagher and Hughes are Providence’s leading goal-scorers thus far.
Providence heads to Villanova, PA to take on the Villanova University Wildcats on Thursday, Oct. 7. In conference play this season, Villanova has come up short with a record of 0-3. The Friars will most certainly look to capitalize and gain some ground in the Big East standings.
After their matchup with the Villanova Wildcats, the Friars will take on Marquette at home on Oct. 10. Then they head to Indianapolis to take on the Butler Bulldogs. Both Butler and Marquette currently sit atop the Friars in the standings. Butler is tied for first along with Georgetown and St. John’s, who all have a conference record of 2-0-2. Marquette sits one place ahead of the Friars with a record of 2-1.
These will be two tough matchups for the Friars. However, do not count them out. Although the team is currently 1-1 in conference play, they showed early that they are a competitive team and are never out of a match.
After their two matches against Marquette and Butler, Providence travels to Queens, NY to take on a tough opponent in first place, St. John’s University. St. John’s looks like they are one of the top teams in the Big East. Like Providence, they play extremely well at home with an overall record of 3-0-2.
The top of the Big East is strong with heavily competitive teams. Strength of schedule does not favor the Providence Friars in the middle of their season. Over their next five matches, the Friars will go up against four of the top teams in the conference. However, the Friars have proven they are a strong and capable squad.
Be sure to mark your calendars for Oct. 21 when the Friars will be playing their Pink Out Game against the University of Connecticut.