by Jake Scearbo ’17
While everyone was gallivanting around the Caribbean and beyond last week, the Providence College Men’s Lacrosse Team was on campus in the midst of their season. On Saturday, March 4, the Friars took on Sacred Heart University at Chapey Field in their first of two games over the break. In a hard fought tilt, the Friars fell to the Pioneers 10-8. The Friars were paced in the first half by goals from Brendan Kearns ’19 and from defenseman Jarrod Neumann ’17. The score was 5-4 Pioneers. The third quarter was the downfall for the Friars in this game where they were outscored 3-0.
The offense was clicking in the fourth quarter with goals from Connor Byrne ’18, Tim Hinrichs ’20, Sean Leahey ’20, and Kearns, but the Sacred Heart lead proved insurmountable. Head Coach Chris Gabrielli was disappointed after the tough loss but was encouraged by his defense. The Pioneers have a high powered offense and average over 11 goals per game. Gabrielli liked how “in settled situations we stayed on task, caused a lot of turnovers and got the ball on the ground.” Sacred Heart exposed the Friars in unsettled and man-down situations; these are two takeaways that the team will work on leading up to its matchup with High Point University.
In the second game over Spring Break, the Friars earned a dominating 17-8 victory on their home field to push their record to 4-2 on the season. All season the defense has led the Friars, but in this game the offense was the story. Nick Hatzipetrakos ’19 led the offense with five goals and three assists and Leahey had his best game in his freshman season with a hat trick. Kearns added two goals and an assist and Keenan Assaraf ’17 also tickled the twine twice.
This game was far from over at halftime with the Friars nursing a 6-3 lead. The momentum shift came when faceoff man Alex George ’19 won the opening faceoff in the second half and scored an unassisted goal. George was on fire in this game winning 20-25 at the faceoff X and picking up 14 groundballs. Gabrielli said the key to his offense’s success against a great goaltender was George. “The very first faceoff he goes down and almost scores goal and set the tone from there and he was dominant at the faceoff X. We haven’t had dominance there and he gave us extra possessions.” After George’s first goal of the season, the Friars ripped off five straight goals and put the game out of reach. Despite being overshadowed by some huge offensive performances, the defense was solid like they have been all season.
This game against High Point indicates the young guns on offense are starting to figure out their place on the team. After six games, the freshmen and sophomores have enough experience and confidence to lead this team once the Big East Schedule begins in April. The Friars play next against Hofstra University on March 18 on the road.