May 28, 2017

Men’s Lacrosse Growing Despite Losses

Nicholas Crenshaw ’20/The Cowl

by Jake Scearbo ’17

It has been a wild week for the Providence College Men’s Lacrosse team with a total of three games that started with a victory over Marquette on April 15. That victory propelled the Friars into the national rankings, where they were 20th overall according to Inside Lacrosse.      It is incredible that a small school with around 4,000 students is nationally ranked in lacrosse. Head Coach Chris Gabrielli has done an exceptional job recruiting and developing young talent. The Friars were riding this national attention into two key matchups against Brown and the University of Denver.

In front of a rowdy crowd, the Friars dropped a double overtime heartbreaker against cross-town rival Brown. The tension at Chapey Field was palpable as both team’s jockeyed back and forth all game long. This loss ended a five-game winning streak and brought the team’s record to 9-4 overall. Austin Goltz ’17 and Brendan Kearns ’19 opened up the scoring in the first quarter. The Friars then ripped off five straight goals to take a 7-3 lead over the Bears just before halftime. Brown responded with a man-up goal just before halftime and a second goal during the non-releasable penalty just after the start of the second half, to bring the score to a 7-5 Friars advantage.

During a hectic third quarter of play, goals were scored by Ian Grey’18, Joseph McHale ’19, and Goltz. Goltz scored his first career hat trick with this quarter tally.  He ended with four goals in this game and was a threat every time he touched the ball. This goal put the Friars up 11-9 early in the final quarter. Brown then went on a three-goal run throughout the fourth quarter to take a 12-11 lead with 1:56 left in the game. It was the Bears’ first lead since the first quarter. Sean Leahey ’20 scored the biggest goal of his freshman season to tie up this incredible game with less than one minute to go.

The four minutes of first overtime were scoreless. Brown attackman Jack Kniffin buried the game-winner on a beautiful assist from All-American Dylan Molloy. Big East defensive Player of the

Week Jarrod Neumann ’17 and Molloy were battling this entire game in a grudge match of two great players. Molloy ended with a hat trick, but Neumann was still excellent in defending the physical Brown attackman. Despite the tough loss, the young Friars learned what it takes to beat a great conference team in late April.

There was no rest for the weary, as the Friars had to travel to Denver to play the No. 3 University of Denver Pioneers. In an incredibly tough matchup against a talented team, the Friars fell to Denver 12-2. The Friars’ record is now 9-5 on the season and 3-1 in Big East play. The Pioneers were only up one-to-nothing after the first quarter on a goal from Austin French. Denver scored five unanswered goals in the second quarter to secure a commanding six-to-nothing halftime lead.

Conner Byrne ’18 and Ryan Nawrocki ’20 scored the two Friar goals. While this game was not the result the team was looking for after the Brown loss, the Friars actually experienced the talent and speed of a top five team. The Friars will have to tighten up their defense in preparation for the Big East tournament and a possible rematch with Denver.

The Friars have one game left in the regular season against Villanova next Saturday, where the team will honor its seniors. After this game, the team will prepare for the Big East tournament, which will be played at Providence College. The lacrosse team has had a great season so far but will need to improve on its all-around game to have success in postseason play.       

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