by Jake Scearbo ’17
The Providence College Men’s Lacrosse Team secured a huge victory over University of Vermont with an 8-6 win on their home field. Brendan Kearns ’19 and Nick Hatzipetrakos ’19 both recorded hat tricks and paced the Friars offensively in their win. The defense was stout, only allowing six goals to a Vermont squad, which had scored 13 or more goals in their first three games. This win marks a third straight victory for the lacrosse team after dropping their opener to Boston University.
The Friars got out to a sluggish start in this game, falling down 3-1 after the first quarter of play. Midfielder Joseph McHale ’19 scored the lone Friar goal in this opening frame. Slow starts can affect teams by forcing them out of their initial game plan but the Friars rode their defense and kept plugging away on the offensive end. Offensive stars like Kearns and Hatzipetrakos normally get all the glory but the defense should be credited for this victory. It is early in the season, but the Friars defense has only allowed six goals per game on average, which is the third best in all of the NCAA. Holding opposing offenses to such low numbers is a huge plus for the PC defense.
The offense caught fire in the second quarter with three straight goals from Kearns to take a 4-3 lead over the Catamounts. McHale was credited with the assist on Kearns’ first goal and Tim Hinrichs ’20 assisted on the second goal of the quarter. Kearns’ unassisted third goal gave him his fourth straight hat trick to open this season and with 13 goals overall, he is in the top 20 in the nation for goals per game. The Friars took the 4-3 lead into halftime.
Hatzipetrakos opened up the second half with two consecutive goals to push the Friars lead to three. The Friars defense was stout in the third quarter until the 44 second mark where Catamounts’’18 attackman Cam Milligan netted the first second half goal to push the score to 6-4. The fourth quarter was dominated by both defenses until Hatzipetrakos completed his hat trick with 3:54 left in the game, which proved to be the game-winning goal.
“I am so proud of our team’s effort today,” said Head Coach Chris Gabrielli. “We found energy after coming out flat, guided by our leadership in the ground ball department.” Defense is predicated on controlling possession when the ball is on the ground and the Friars defense edged Vermont in the ground balls, 25-23. The man-down defense was also spectacular, not allowing a single goal on six man up opportunities for the Catamounts. Goalie Tate Boyce ’19 was steady in the net for the Friars and made eight saves. The Friars may have found a winning formula with a strong defense, goaltending, and timely goals by their young and talented attackmen. Look for the defense to lead this team to a Top 25 ranking and continued success this season. The Friars play Sacred Heart University at home for their next game on March 4.