Aug. 31, 2011
It is crazy how fast the preseason goes. The team is already two games into the season and it feels like just yesterday that each player checked in on August 8th, some to begin a career at Providence College and some to start their last season as a player in Friartown. Nonetheless, they all showed up early to build the camaraderie and fortitude of a championship winning team.
Preseason is always a grueling experience. It is meant to physically and mentally challenge the players beyond what they will face in a game, so that in a game, they can make the right decision in not only the second but also the 82nd or 119th minute as well. The team came in fit, which was fantastic to see. Worrying about the fitness of a team can take away from molding a team together and beginning to discover what kind of identity this team will create this year.
The team was lucky enough to travel to St. John's University for their first preseason game. It was a good opportunity for the Friars to play a team that always has good quality and always plays at a very high tempo. Providence did not get the win as the game ended 0-0 but it was a good showing for much of the team and a good result away from home. That same week, the team had a double-header at home versus UMass on Friday and Franklin Pierce on Saturday. The Friars ended up on the wrong end of both these preseason games, but the entire team was able to put in a performance on their home field. It was a good chance for every player to show what they are capable of on the field and most did their part to solidify themselves in a spot on the team. After these three games in five days, the team got a week to get back after it in training and prepare for its season opener versus Northeastern University on August 26th. Providence created numerous chances but found themselves down 1-0. JJ Raley took a weak clearance and with two swift touches, volleyed a strike into the roof of the net from nearly 25 yards out. It was a brilliant goal that really fired up the team. The celebration did not last long though, as Northeastern scored the eventual game-winner just a few minutes later. The Friars were unfortunate to be on the wrong end of a game that they deserved to get three points out of. It was a quick turnaround for the team because of Hurricane Irene. Campus was completely closed down on Sunday, and Monday brought their first away match of the year versus Quinnipiac. The Friars went down 1-0 early in the game but were able to fight their way back to tie the game at one before half-time. Jimmy Petruccelli served a ball into the eighteen that Giuseppe Guerriero was able to get his head on and flick over the outstretched arms of the Quinnipiac goalie. The game remained deadlocked for the first half of the second half until a corner from Petruccelli found the head of the Wilder Arboleda. This put Providence up 2-1 and they would not relinquish that lead. It marked the Friars first win of the year.
It is always good to get a win on the road, especially in less than perfect circumstances. Adversity is a true test of character and the Friars were able to overcome it and find a way to get the result they wanted. Next up for the team, is the second annual Ocean State Classic. Providence took home the championship trophy last year and hopefully they can carry the momentum from this win into to tournament and put in some great performances. They will be playing Brown University in the first round on Friday at 12pm on Glay Field.
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