The Seniors’ Tribune was created to provide senior student athletes and spirit squad members at Providence College the opportunity to write a ‘Letter To Friartown’, to share a glimpse of their college experience, amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The idea was inspired by The Players’ Tribune, which provides professional athletes with the platform to connect directly with their fans, in their own words, to authentically discuss personal experiences, causes that are important to them, intimate details of their life in triumph and defeat – on and off the field of play.

For the Senior’s Tribune – Providence College edition, letters have been and will continue to be collected and added to a dedicated page. The collection of letters will be shared using the Athletic Department social media platforms and sport specific platforms. The effort was launched to give seniors an outlet for expression and to assist them in drawing closure to their academic and athletic careers, in what has been an unsettling time. It also is a way to bring the community together, while sharing memories and personal stories related to their time at Providence College.

Check back often, as The Seniors' Tribune site will be updated as new letters are received

We present to you, The Seniors’ Tribune – Providence College edition.

Letters are organized alphabetically by last name. Skip to a student athlete by clicking on a letter below.

A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, OP, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z


My collegiate career was far from normal and took many unexpected turns, but I am forever grateful that it ended in Friartown. When I was presented with the opportunity to play for Providence College, I did not hesitate. I knew in my heart that it was the right place for me to end my college career. Having played at other schools across the country, I can personally tell you that the men’s soccer staff, as well as the entire Providence Athletic Department, is the best in the country. I am blessed to have represented this program and could not have asked for a better final year.

Over the past few months, I have had plenty of time to reflect on the past season. Without a doubt, coming to Friartown was the best decision I ever made. This past season was not only special because of our success on the field, but the bonds I created with so many of my teammates and others involved with the program. We had a historic season and showed the country that Providence is a top program in college soccer. From playing in the BIG EAST Final and NCAA Tournament games, Providence provided me an opportunity to play in big games alongside my teammates. Despite not winning a trophy, I will never forget these moments.

My favorite memory had to be the Penn State game in the Second Round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament. After going down 2-0 in the first five minutes of the second half, we regathered ourselves and came back to win it 3-2 in overtime. The win highlighted the mentality and perseverance of our team; we never gave up and most importantly, we believed in each other. I will never forget the feeling of celebrating after the game with all my teammates, as well as the families that traveled many hours for the game. My roommate Trevor Davock, as well as one of my childhood best-friends, scored the game-winning goal and I will never forget that special moment celebrating with him and the rest of the guys.

Even though my time in Friartown was short, my life has been forever impacted by Providence College. This past year has been the best year of my life and I owe that to Friartown. Not only did it help me further my soccer career, but I walked away with friendships and memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. It was an absolute honor to represent this College and to forever be a Friar.

Austin Aviza #1

Men’s Soccer / Medway, Mass.

Letter to Friartown,

Leaving Boston College was never intended, and it wasn’t easy. Although, after my senior year I knew it was time for a change. I had become comfortable in my surroundings and I really was looking for a new environment to ignite my passion for the game that had gone missing. Losing takes a toll on you – so after a couple losing seasons and a pair of ankle surgeries at BC, I was spent. When I was offered the opportunity to come to Providence College for my fifth year of eligibility I jumped at the opportunity. Providence had a proven track record of success and I was eager to win again!

Now, with the season over and a chance to reflect, coming to Friartown to compete for championships was everything for me. This past season was historic for the program. We tied the program record with 16 wins, made it to the BIG EAST Final, and went to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament. Although my trophy cabinet is still a little dusty, the opportunity to compete in these big games was everything to me. In doing so, I fell in love with the game again and found that passion for sport that I was missing.

My favorite memory from the past season was playing Penn State in the Second Round of the NCAA tournament. After a scoreless first half, we fell behind 2-0 within the first five minutes of the second half. In true program fashion, the lads never quit and we rallied from behind to win, 3-2, in overtime. I was proud to score the game winning goal in overtime sending us to the Sweet 16. A moment I will never forget.

While I only had the pleasure of being a Friar for my final year, I walk away with friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.

My heart goes out to the winter and spring athletes that were not able to compete for similar championships these past couple months. I was particularly looking forward to following PC men’s basketball as they were about to make a deep run in March Madness. However, dealing with adversity is something all Friar athletes have experienced within their athletic careers. We can’t let it define us. Whether it be anger or disappointment we need to press on – in sports and in life.

Trevor Davock #11

Men’s Soccer / Medway, Mass.

To Friartown:

“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

I keep wanting to believe that this isn’t real, it couldn’t be, this is just one big dream… or in this case a nightmare. I ask myself: is my senior year really over? Am I really never going to wake up at 9am on a Sunday morning to walk to Ray for breakfast with my best friends ever again? And the reality is: yes. It’s heartbreaking to accept that we did not get to celebrate all of our accomplishments nor reflect on the memories we’ve made in the last 3.75 years in Friartown, during the final months of our senior year, but I keep reminding myself of all that we did get to experience and how forever grateful I am for that.

Growing up my parents always said to me, “dreamin’ bigger than the town you live in,” So, four years ago I took a leap of faith and hopped on a train out of small-town, rural Pennsylvania, moved 6 hours away from my home and my family, and I haven’t looked back since. I often find myself thinking back on my time at Providence College, while looking through the thousands of pictures/videos I’ve taken over the years, and each time it reminds me of why choosing this school was the best decision I have ever made. It has led me to meet my best friends (both on and off the field) who never waivered in their dedication to the team or each other. It has allowed me to reinvent myself in ways I could never have imagined with the support of people who helped me step outside of my comfort zone, while pushing me to be the best version of myself. And it has taught me that nothing in life is ever guaranteed, so to appreciate what’s in front of you, and to embrace all of life’s uncertainties.

My coaches instilled in us that all you can ever do is “control the controllables”, and throughout my entire college career I tried to live by that idea. From embracing my role on the team over four years, being prepared for an interview, and even now, handling life in a global pandemic. As division one athletes were taught to embrace adversity. We are taught that adversity is the key to our growth and enables us to learn and build our own character. If I could go back and do it all over again, including ….honestly especially the running tests- there wouldn’t even be a question. For the last 12+ years of my life I have been surrounded by people with the same ambitions as me and people who wanted to see me succeed just as much as they wanted to themselves. It has been all I know. But I am slowly coming to grasp that not everything lasts forever and that while my career here as a PC student athlete has come to a close, I will always be able to say that I am forever apart of this crazy Friar family and that I got to fight alongside 20 of my best friends day in and day out for 4 amazing years.

There will never be enough words to describe the impact Providence College has on your life. There is a definitive culture that centers around supporting one another, that stems from the common goals of the Professors, Athletic Department, Administration, and students alike. The level of “Friar Family” runs far beyond the walls of Providence College, as anytime I travel in any Providence gear, I can be sure that I’ll hear a “Go Friars” from someone. It shows that long after we leave this campus, the feeling that this place has and the connections that we made here, will last a lifetime. It’s a sense of pride and belonging that you get from being a part of something much bigger than yourself. It comes with this feeling that you wish you could cling to a moment or memory forever but knowing that you have to keep pushing forward. If it were possible, I would never leave this place or these people, but I know that my life as a student athlete here has prepared me for any obstacle life throws my way. So how do you say goodbye to something that’s been all you know for the last four years of your life? You don’t. Because I have the greatest thing that Providence College could have ever given me: a second family, a Friar Family. I’ll love you forever Friartown and the class of 2020.

And with that #GoFriars.

Madison Deeds #22

Field Hockey / Topton, Pa.

A Letter to Friartown,

Coming to Providence College was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. Although I wasn’t able to finish out my 4 years, I am so thankful for the time that I had at PC. When I first got to PC as a freshman, I would have never expected to enjoy my time as much as I did. I have grown as a person and learned so much about myself. Although there were some ups and downs in my journey, it all made me into the person I am today.

Being a student-athlete at PC was an incredible experience and I was honored to put on the Friar jersey to represent my school. I started playing hockey when I was 6 years old, and as I got older my dream was to get a scholarship to play Division I hockey in the NCAA. PC allowed me to live my dream. My hockey career as a Friar was better than I could have ever imagined. I was named Hockey East Rookie of the Year my freshman year and a Second Team All-Star my senior year. Both of which were surreal and I’m blessed to have received those honors. Being part of a team in college is something that only athletes will understand. That bond that you share with your teammates is like no other. I will never forget singing Sweet Caroline on the bus after a road sweep or the prank wars in the hotels. Not to mention that truly special feeling after a big win, to come into the dressing room and sing your win song.

The last game I played as a Friar is something I will never forget. Many tears were shed as I sat in my locker room stall for hours after the game. This was one of the hardest moments of my life. The reason I was so distraught was because the time I spent as a Friar was so incredibly special that I couldn’t come to terms with the fact that it was over. They said 4 years will go fast but no one can truly comprehend that until the moment hits.

From freshman year, 2nd floor of McVinny (I swear I only took the elevator when there was no one else there), to senior year DiTrag 502 and everything in between. I’ll never forget the early morning spring training, followed by the rush to 8:30 class after the heaviest sled pushes you could imagine. Those 2-hour long chats in Ray, or the thrill of rollerblading down Eaton street followed by mozzarella sticks from Golden Crust. I know no one will forget the Civ lectures that felt like an eternity, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. There are so many memories, big and small, that I have PC to thank for.

I was fortunate enough to meet so many amazing people here at PC, each with their own unique story to tell. The sense of community and togetherness that you feel at PC is what makes it so special and so different from any other school. Being part of the Friar Family is something that you will carry with you for the rest of your life. I have so many memories to look back on, and so many friendships that I will hold dear to my heart. I want to thank my teammates, coaches, and all the athletic staff for helping me achieve my goals as a hockey player. I also want to thank all my teachers and other staff members for giving me the best education. And finally, I want to thank Providence College and everyone who is a part of the Friar family, for giving me a second home, one that will never be forgotten. Once a Friar, always a Friar.

Thank you, PC. I’ll be back soon...


Whitney Dove #7

Women’s Ice Hockey / Port Moody, British Columbia

A Letter to Friartown,

I have always been someone that loves home, and I’ll admit that I wasn’t someone that was very excited to leave home to go to college. Freshman year, I looked at all of the orientation leaders and thought to myself that there’s no way anyone could possibly be this happy and love it here that much. Well Friartown, 4 years later, you have proven me wrong. I truly cannot imagine my life without this place.

I don’t know how to explain to someone what being a part of Friartown and Providence Athletics is like, but I can say that being on the softball team here was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I will always be grateful for the days out on the field in 60-degree weather, or the feeling I would get after a big win or the night before a big game. I will always be grateful for the endless laughs that I have had with my team, and the fact that I got to do what I’ve loved for so long with the people that I love, and in the place that I love. I will forever be grateful for the support that I have received from every person in Friartown. I always knew that playing softball in college would be special but playing softball in Friartown was more than I could’ve ever imagined.

Friartown, you taught me about overcoming adversity. You taught me about kindness and humility. You taught me about friendship. You taught me that saying hi to someone can go a long way. You taught me about family and how the Friar Family will be there for you no matter what.

Friartown, you have truly changed me for the better and I am so grateful for every experience that I have had and for every person that I have met in my time here. To every night in Meagher/McVinney, or Bedford, or Ditrag, where I made the greatest friends I will ever have. To every 4:30 Ray, where I have had some of the best laughs and memories. To every 10pm mass, where I truly felt like I was home. I cannot thank you enough for helping the freshman girl 4 years ago, who cried leaving home, find a new one.

They say you are “Forever a Friar” and I will forever be grateful for that.

Annie Flego

Softball / Little Silver, N.J.

“Out in an 8, back in a 10”.

Some famous words spoken by Coach John O’Neill of the Providence College Swimming and Diving team during any of our practices. When we’d rehearse race strategy, before every 50, 100, 200 that we did getting ready to race, he would yell those words across the pool deck. Freshmen year, these words were just a simple task in the pool: race the first half in an 8 and come back the second half in a 10 – give it your absolute all. Now four years later, it has become my philosophy of life.

Like many student-athletes, over my four years as a swimmer at PC, I experienced physical, mental, and emotional challenges within my sport. Freshmen year is the adjustment. It was a huge adjustment for me switching from 7-9 pm practices in high school to now needing to practice at 6am nearly every day of the week. Doubles were something I had never known, yet here I was as a freshman and needed to tackle these head on. I was lucky and very fortunate that one of my teammates was also my roommate freshmen year. We would roll over at the sound of our alarm, quickly brush our teeth, and pray the McVinney elevator did not take long so we could make it to practice or lift on time. And, as repetition and practice make perfect, by the end of freshmen year I was used to and adjusted to the schedule. Early mornings and doubles were no longer overwhelming. I loved my teammates, loved every bit of swimming I possibly could, and was more than excited for what the next 3 years held for me.

Then, right before sophomore year began, I tore my labrum getting ready for lift and had to redshirt that year. I was devastated because I felt like a “veteran” now. I knew how to handle the early mornings, travel meets, doubles, and more. I knew what I had to do to be successful, but yet I was now thrown a curveball and had to change my plan for sophomore year. It was mentally and emotionally tough to be on the sidelines watching your teammates succeed, reach best times, and be able to do the thing you loved. Swimming was my identity, and now I did not have it. I was determined to still remain as a part of the team as I could. I was the #1 cheerleader at every meet and would extend myself to any of my teammates whenever and wherever I could. Many days were tough. Whether I was physically in pain from rehabbing my shoulder in sports med, or mentally drained from trying to get better without seeing progress, I had good days and bad. My coach, John, was a rock for me during this time. The athletic trainers in sports med were beyond helpful and supportive during this time making sure my rehab and recovery was always taken care of. During this time, I would constantly think, “out in an 8, back in a 10” – I could still give more and keep going.

Junior year came, and I coin this year my “comeback year”. After taking a whole year off from swimming, as unnatural as it felt to do some of the weird movements that swimming requires, it was also so natural to me. The pool was my home and happy place. I felt like me again. After a very adjusted swimming schedule to mitigate the pain in my shoulder, John and I worked together to try to maximize as much pool time as I could to try to reach the goal of finishing the season. I will always remember my first race back at the BC pool that year. I was about to take off for my 100-yard breaststroke, and standing on the blocks, I looked at the opposite end of the pool to see all 45 of my other teammates at the end ready to cheer me on. After finishing that race and crying of happiness, I was determined to make this year one I wouldn’t forget. After a rather serious illness that year, I was nervous going into my championship meet at BIG EAST, that after 2 years of waiting to see results, I wouldn’t. However, like John always said “out in an 8, back in a 10”. Now this race strategy was no longer a race strategy, but pushing me through all I had done to realize this was the last half. I had the meet of my life: dropping seconds in my races, going best times, and even breaking a school record. To say I was overjoyed would be an understatement. I wish I could bottle that feeling of happiness forever. I was confident. All the hard work, patience, tears, rehab had paid off for me. I was confident now I truly knew what to do for senior year to have my best season yet.

“Out in an 8, back in a 10” –

“You just have to get through this. You’ll find out soon what it is” was one of my last thoughts before going under anesthesia for the biopsy of the tumor that found out in my hip the summer going into my senior year. I realized despite everything before, all of that was an 8. This was my 10. I needed to be ready to give everything I had mentally to this. It was a benign tumor. The cry of joy that flooded over me that day was another day I will never forget. SO many scenarios had ran through my head, and I was ready to face any challenge head on like I had been taught on the team. You always have more to give and I was ready. Thank God, I did not have to undergo chemo or radiation, I just had surgery to remove a rather large portion of muscle where the tumor resided in my hip. It was removed, I had to use a walker and crutches for almost 2 months. It was not easy, but I was grateful. I met with Coach John, and we discussed retirement. I, too stubborn, said no. I was going to rehab my hip, swim, qualify for BIG EAST, and end my four years of swimming, swimming my last race like all the other seniors. And I did just that. I went a second personal best at BIG EAST. I did not expect that time and I truly don’t think anyone did either. It was now finished. 17 years of my life came to an end.

Looking back, swimming became much more than a sport to me. The words John engrained in our heads, I realized were not only an approach to a racing strategy, but were the approach I needed to adopt to life. When things are hard, when you are struggling, and when you really just want to give up, keep going. Always, come “back in a 10”. Be absolutely sure that when things become rough that you can know in your heart you gave it a 10. I can look back at my journey in swimming at PC, that I most definitely came back in a 10. While it may not be the perfect 10 I wanted, life does not guarantee anything. I am forever grateful to have been a Friar and swam for John O’Neill on the PC swim team. It was an honor and I will always take great pride into what this sport and Friartown taught me. I will never give up and will forever be a Friar.

Amanda Gaccione

Swimming & Diving / Secaucus, N.J.

A Letter to Friartown,

Playing professional soccer has been a dream for me from the time I first touched a ball. When teachers asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up, the answer was always the same. I wanted to play the game I loved. The game became serious for me when I started playing with the Oakwood Soccer Club in Connecticut. Coaches Kevin Bacher and Dave Farrell taught me how important preparation, diet, and commitment were to reaching goals in life. Playing academy soccer meant training 4 days a week, missing out on playing for my high school, and going to bed early on Friday nights. They, along with Wethersfield High School teacher John Sand, taught me how to focus on my schoolwork and made me realize that I could make it at a school with high academic standards. They all helped me flip the switch and to understand what I might achieve. Most importantly my mom and dad taught me that faith and perseverance could take me wherever I wanted to go. They told me it would not come easily and that I would have to work for it. They made a lot of sacrifices. They made the commitment to take me to practices and games all over the East Coast. My parents provided rides and sat in the stands for hours through practices and as I played game after game. All this led me to Providence College.

As a 13-year old, I met Coach Craig Stewart at a U.S. National Market Training. I was really impressed by his knowledge and the way he carried himself. I told myself that I would really like to play for a guy like him. In my junior year of high school, I was contacted by many universities. PC had just competed in the College Cup and I had conversations with Coach Stewart and John Mark Andrade describing what the school had to offer. The academics, the community, and a top-notch soccer program were the selling points which made my decision easy.

In July of 2016, I arrived on campus as a 17-year old freshman eager to work hard. I was a part of the Friar Foundation program, which allowed me to get started on my credits early. Dorm life, classrooms, and training were welcome experiences. That summer was definitely a period of adjustment and I was glad to have academy teammates Nick, Chops, and Vigs to help me with my transition. The coaching staff tested me and challenged me to empty my tank. They taught me preparation and mental toughness. It was then that I experienced my first Coach White workout. One of his favorite quotes was “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax”. The mentorship of teammates like Nick Sailor, Julian Gressel, and Mark Jecewiz was so important in getting us through those first days.

My favorite memories as a player are many. From scoring my first goal on an assist from Julian, to chasing down Trevor Davock after his OT goal at Penn State sent us to the Sweet Sixteen. The feeling of coming back from down 4-1 to beat No. 1-ranked Maryland in the NCAA Tournament and especially scoring the game winner at Creighton to advance to the Elite Eight in 2016 are moments I will always cherish. All of these experiences have led me to my dream of becoming a professional soccer player. The early bedtimes, the 6am lifts, the hours in the library have prepared me. All the meetings with coaches and teammates and battling through the ups and downs of 4 college soccer seasons have allowed me to be the person I want to be. This February I signed my first professional contract with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and look forward to embarking on my career. I am very grateful.

Through it all, my teammates became my brothers, who will be in my life long after my time here in Providence. We lived together, we ate together, we went to class together. We trained together and we fought together. For that I will always be thankful. Providence College gave me a way of reaching my dreams and earning a valuable degree. Providence gave me memories, friends, and a Friar Family that I will love forever. Friartown will always hold a special place in my heart. Friartown is a part of me and who I am.

Friar family forever,

Danny Griffin #10

Men’s Soccer / Wethersfield, Conn.

Dear Friartown,

First and foremost, I want to thank everyone in Friartown for their love and support throughout the journey of my college basketball career. Every time I put the Friars’ jersey on, there was a sense of empowerment along with a sense of pride and adrenaline. To know that we play for one of the most competitive schools in the country - the team has a different type of swag. The walk and the talk are a little different and for good reason.

Anyone who knows me personally, knows there are a couple of things that are a given: I am a hard worker and I am consistent with my efforts. Not to say that I was always perfect, but after coming off of the injury I had… there was a different fire within me. My motivation was at an all-time high because the game was taken away from me. I pushed myself to my limits and made sure I did everything needed to get back onto the court. The best part about it, though, was that I didn’t do this alone. I had support from my fellow Friars, Coach White and Coach Battle, who made sure I was still locked in on my goal from start to finish. Because of my support and mindset, there was no doubt that I would get back onto the court. The way my support system held me to higher standards and helped me get back on my feet, I felt I owed it to them, as well as myself, to get back to doing what brings me the most joy. I realized that if there are sacrifices that they can make to help me, how could I not do it for myself?

To have that moment of stepping back onto the court and looking up from the Friar logo on the floor to the crowd above, I can only think of one word… surreal. I knew I was going to step onto a court again, but I wasn’t sure in what condition exactly or if I would have restrictions and what not. But to be standing on my own two feet and being able to perform at the level I did…. Surreal.

Throughout this season, there were plenty of times when the outside noise was trying to break the barrier and get into our heads. As a team, we refused to let that happen. We knew how good we were from the start, we just had to put it all together. By the time things started looking up, we were full throttle and there was no one capable of getting in our way to stop us. If there’s one thing I will miss the most about the team, it is the comradery that was in the air every day. My teammates have my back and I have theirs without question. To not see them every day is an adjustment.

We also had our fans to help. I truly believe Providence College has one of, if not the most, energetic and electrifying crowds in America. There were some games that I believe the crowd got us over the hump and gave us the boost we needed to pull out our wins. We all know how important home games are, but the crowd took some of the pressure off of us by doing what they do best.

Overall, it was a fun and joyful ride and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to be my teammates. We faced the ultimate adversity when we first received the news that we were not going to finish our time in New York [BIG EAST Tournament], let alone the NCAA Tournament. There was a wave of emotions that hit me all at once, so I didn’t really know how to feel. I was heartbroken. I cried in my hotel room because I would never get the opportunity to put on a Friars’ uniform again. At the same time, I was also angry because in my eyes there was so much more basketball left for us to play. Ultimately, I realized that what was spreading throughout the United States was of more importance than sports.

There are so many people at PC I’d like to thank; there are not enough words to show my true appreciation. From the time I first stepped on campus, to the time I had to leave, there was always someone that became a part of my circle. I will keep it short, but I do not want others to think I have forgotten about them. I want to thank Marissa Mezzanotte, Dr. McCadden, Dr. Moore, Dr. Holley, all of the deans and everyone that helped me academically. I want to thank John Rock and Kenneth White for always making sure I was in the right state of mind mentally as well as physically (“MY GUYS”). Finally, I wanted to thank all of the coaching staff, especially Coach Cooley, for giving me the opportunity to play the game I love at the highest level, but more importantly, helping me grow into the man I strive to become.

Thank You, Friartown, for everything you’ve given me and helped me with. The support shown to me throughout my journey has been incredible. Providence College will always have a special place in my heart, and I will never forget the lessons that were taught to me.


Emmitt Holt #15

Men’s Basketball / Rochester, N.Y.

Letter to Friartown,

When I was 17 and touring colleges, I remember asking my mom if we could just skip Providence College. We arranged a meeting with coach John O’Neill on the last morning of our New England college tour, and I already met with about six or so coaches over the course of 3 days. I was exhausted, and before adding it to the list I had never heard of PC before. Why did I want to check out this random school in Rhode Island?

“Can I please just email the coach that my plans changed? It’s not like I’ll even go there.” My mom’s response was: “you never know, CJ.”

This was not the first time nor the last time that my mother was right.

The next thing I know, I’m walking into Slavin Atrium on my way to Taylor Natatorium, my mom going on about how cool it is that there are “real trees indoors!” with the famed “this is it” feeling blooming inside.

The rest is history.

I now understand why every single alum I’ve ever met said, “I went to PC, I loved it.” From my freshmen orientation through my senior year, that phrase has never wavered. I remember walking through the North End in Boston with my dad after spending the day picking my classes at PC Freshmen orientation. At the time we were still Boston people, clear from our choice to dine in the North End over Fed Hill, but we made sure to raid the PC Bookstore before leaving. I was wearing my new PC t-shirt, my dad his new Friars hat, when a random guy walking by us called out, “Go Friars!” It was like a domino effect, because we met five more PC alums before we hit Mike’s Pastry for dessert that night, all who said “best four years of my life.”

3.75 years later, I’ve joined the club. PC will always hold a special place in my heart, and I’ll always be grateful to be a part of the Friar Family.

CJ McCartin

Swimming & Diving / Coral Springs, Fla.

Why I Play(ed) Lacrosse

“Isn’t it obvious… For the girls.”

This is a classic line from when Ralph Cox was asked why he wanted to play College Hockey in the movie Miracle. However, it's not far off from my roots for lacrosse. In middle school when deciding between lacrosse and baseball, the real reason I went with lacrosse was because it was the biggest sport in my town. There was a social acceptance associated with lacrosse. I looked up to the guys on the varsity team and everyone respected them. I wanted to follow in their footsteps.

Freshman year of high school, my purpose changed. My 3 best friends made varsity while I was left behind on JV. I tried to not let it get to me, but it sucked. As they started to get recruited by top tier schools, I was playing wall ball and trying not to get left behind. Now, I wanted to prove people wrong.

By the time I was a senior, my purpose changed again. I saw we were now leading a team of impressionable kids who looked up to us. We were all already committed to play in college (thank you Gabs) and it was my first real experience with what it meant to be a leader. This experience taught me that your actions have real consequences. It taught me what it means to have an impact on a team.

Freshman year as a Friar, lacrosse represented a whole new challenge. Everyone was incredibly skilled, practice and workouts were hard, coaches actually yelled at you, and both of my roommates were 6'4" so I felt like the short kid all the time. It was my first real adversity that I thought would break me. I questioned if I could make it through the wringer. But, I had seniors like Jimmy Cunningham and Austin Goltz to look up to. I saw the brotherhood and connection the seniors felt and how the program had transformed them. From these guys, I knew I’d be a stronger person for sticking with it.

Now, as a senior, I finally realize the true purpose of lacrosse in my life. It’s taught me brotherhood, toughness, failure, work ethic, success, and thick skin, to name a few. Lacrosse has taught me what it feels like to have 15 years of experience spent mastering a craft. I’ve also realized what it’s meant to be a Friar. It’s being part of a recruiting class where no single recruit is going to win you a championship. It’s having a couple of guys believe in you even though most people don’t -- and knowing that’s more important and powerful in the long run. It’s spending so much time with your teammates that no one understands how you guys aren't sick of each other yet. It’s saving the season every Sunday. It's bringing an underdog mentality with you into every game. It's taking pride in the blue-collar work that got you to where you are, and practicing humility so that you can continue to grow and improve. It's having support from the people who matter.

Lacrosse is fun. It’s scoring goals and cellying. It's watching your teammate finally earn playing time after 3 years of hard work and breaking someone’s arm for a ground ball. It's upsetting the teams that no one thinks you can beat. No one except for you guys. I take pride in being a member of Providence Lacrosse because of who our team is and the chip on our shoulder mentality that’s become our identity. We play to win, we play for the Friars, we play for the coaches, and we play for each other.

When reflecting about why I started playing lacrosse, "for the girls" seemed to represent a type of social acceptance. I wanted to gain recognition and fit in. As a young kid without a sense of identity, following the pack was the natural course of action. This is just the truth of the matter. However, now I can see how this starting point has led to something much greater. The more you play, the more emotion you put in, the more you start to see how the journey is really about the relationships you make along the way. The guys who sweat and bleed next to you every day. The guys who cut their vacations short and wake up with you at 5am. These are the guys that will have your back no matter what.

I've had a lot of time to reflect with this Coronavirus pandemic, and I think if Ralph Cox had really thought about his words, he would have chosen them differently. So, you may ask, what would his response have been?

Isn't it obvious... For the guys.

Kevin McCordic #10

Men’s Lacrosse / Medfield, Mass.

I am grateful that my hockey career ended on a loss.

I know what you are thinking, that sounds crazy.

This is why. My teammates and I have worked so hard day in and day out. We woke up early to workout, ran to class in our lift gear, stayed up late finishing assignments for classes, hopped on busses for hours on end, and all for what?

In my mind, it was all for that very moment. When the final buzzer sounds. To my fellow senior athletes, that final buzzer is something we never wanted to hear. But what that final buzzer taught me is to be appreciative, and proud of what I have accomplished, as well as my teammates. The final buzzer allowed me to reflect on my time as an athlete. It allowed me to give my teammates a tight hug, pull off my jersey for the last time, sit in my equipment for a little longer in the locker room and walk out of the rink with my head held high knowing what hockey has given me and more importantly, what Providence College has given me.

I say this because some of my peers, those winter and spring athletes whose seasons were cut short, they didn't get to hear "the final buzzer". To those athletes, I am sorry. I can't imagine having my season get cut short, let alone our time at Providence College. Although our athletic careers all ended differently, we will always have something in common.


Yes, we all went to school at Providence College, but that isn't entirely what I mean. What I mean is we are a part of the Friar family. Reflecting on my time at Providence this is what I will remember forever.

I was a high school sophomore on my first tour of Providence College. I went home later that day and the deciding factor for me wasn't the hockey facilities or the program at all (ok, well Schneider Arena is pretty nice too). What makes Providence College special is the people. Walking around campus had a light to it that I've never experienced, and I hope everyone can carry that with them.

Class of 2020, we have our love for Friartown in common. From the moment we stepped on campus I know I speak for all of us when I say this place is special. My coaches, teammates, and the athletic department brought me so many positive memories. I am grateful for every smile, every early morning, every victory, every loss, and every meeting or email ending with "Go Friars".

Friartown, thank you for everything - every memory I have is making being home a little more bearable, but also incredibly hard at the same time. Class of 2020, I hope positive memories like these bring a smile to your face and remind you how lucky we are to call Friartown home.

Yes, I am going to say it now... Go Friars!

Kathleen McHugh #8

Women’s Ice Hockey / Billerica, Mass.


Coming all the way from Minnesota to go to school and play ice hockey at Providence College felt surreal and I was excited to begin a four-year adventure on the East Coast. What I wasn’t thinking about was how the relationships I’d build and the experiences I would have during these four years would shape me and continue to be a part of who I am moving forward.

When I first came across PC not only did I not know what a Friar was, but also I was clearly a mid-westerner. Having no idea what states New England was comprised of, I was puzzled when my coach asked me how I was liking New England on my first visit out. Nonetheless, some months later I was cheering on the Patriots to their first of two super bowls won during my time in New England. Safe to say, even from the beginning it was a quick transition to belonging among my teammates and classmates as well as coaches and professors, and eventually the entirety of Friartown.

Being a Division 1 athlete wasn't easy. There were tough losses. There were times when putting all my effort in didn’t feel like it was any use when I looked at my playing time. There were big exams to study for, but bigger games on the weekend, which meant longer practices in preparation. There was battling back from cancer treatment, where at times it became difficult to imagine a time where I could contribute to my team on the ice ever again. And as much as I don’t want this to define my athletic career at PC, I can’t thank the support of my teammates and the school enough.

But, for every tough loss, there were 20-some teammates by your side ready to take down the next team, or the next season. There were big time wins against Boston College (literally no better team to get a win against). And there was bus ride karaoke, skating on outdoor rinks, and Ciara’s buff-chick dip at the team potluck.

Yet, the greatest thing about being a student-athlete at such a competitive level is the bonds you formed with teammates. The crazy amount of time spent together working toward a common goal, builds relationships I would have never known otherwise. Even the teammates I’m not as close with or didn’t spend as many years with are still people that I feel connected to and enjoy hearing from at any time. I learned from the upperclassman in my first years at PC and did my best to be a source of guidance and support as I became one of them myself. And, every year leading up to this, it’s hard to say goodbye to the senior class. And now as a senior, it’s time to say goodbye to a career in hockey, my time at university, and my teammates, the people who make finishing the final spring of my college career remotely so heart-breaking. It won’t be missing the events or wearing the graduation gown at commencement in May that makes me feel like I’ve lost something important. It’s the lost time with the people I’ve been so lucky to have as friends and teammates at PC. Reflecting has made me really grateful to have these people in my life.

I’m excited and looking forward to what life brings me next. I know my memories as an athlete at Providence College will last a lifetime. Thank you Friartown.

Clare Minnerath #31

Women’s Ice Hockey / Sartell, Minn.

“Just a letter to Friartown...keep it simple”

I thought it would be easy to write about the best four years of my life; this seemed like a “simple” task. Now that I’m on my fifth rewrite, I guess I’m realizing it’s more complicated than that. There’s just too many people to thank, memories to acknowledge. But I also guess that’s what makes Providence College so special.

My field hockey coaches were there for me at my highest highs, and more importantly my lowest lows. They trained me to be a better player and are still constantly challenging me to step out of my comfort zone to be the best version of myself, as they do with all of their players. They instilled in me the “DASH” mantra, and everyday still inspires me to lead a more meaningful, wholesome lifestyle. Our team Chaplain Father Michael was also a great addition to our team and was a constant symbol of faith during our greatest wins and hardest losses.

Coach Anderson in the weight room believed in me when I doubted myself. He pushed me past my limits in the weight room so that I could perform better on the field. He encouraged me to stick up for myself and taught me to never take any ‘bs’ from anyone. Coach White humbled us and put things into perspective, whether we asked him to or not. The fear of him also scared me into discipline, but he really did give me some of the most important life lessons that helped shape my mindset for the rest of college and probably for life.

Now my teammates –– the girls who battled, laughed, cried and celebrated with me. The girls who inspired me to keep going even when my mind and body told me I couldn’t. Every early morning, late night, difficult workout and challenging practice were fun with you. We weren’t just teammates, we were sisters. Cliché I know, but we’d really do anything for one other despite being so vastly different from each other. You made those tough spring seasons and pre-seasons worth it, so that we could compete for championships together in the fall. I’ll forever cherish the memories in the locker room pregame, the hot tub recap sessions after games, the late nights in the library, exploring restaurants, the trips to Spain, the Grand Canyon, LBI and Florida, and blowing money we didn’t have. I don’t have any regrets and I hope you all feel the same.

Friartown gave me purpose to play and was something I was proud to represent on the field. It gave me my roommates, who I could cheer on at their softball and volleyball games, and who came to all my games freshman through senior year and cheered for me. It gave me a home away from home for four years.

I had the privilege to work in the Sports Info and Marketing Office and got to appreciate all of the behind the scenes work for every team. This gave me a whole new respect for the hard work that was put into every video, graphic and schedule that they released - and the countless hours each one took.

So Friartown, thank you for all that you have given me. I am so grateful to receive a college education. Providence provided me with this, and allowed me to pursue my dreams of playing field hockey, while also supporting my faith. I guess the “simple” way to sum it up is to say: I will cherish my lifelong friends, meaningful lessons and forever memories for the rest of my life, and I will always be proud to call myself a Friar.

Go Friars.

Mary O’Reilly #18

Field Hockey / Longmeadow, Mass.

Hello Friartown,

Putting that jersey on every game gave me chills. I got so excited walking into the locker room and seeing my jersey hanging. It felt like I was going to play for something more than just a conference or non-conference game. It felt like every game was a championship game when I put that Friar jersey on.

The transition from UMass to Providence wasn’t an easy one. I hit a few speed bumps individually and we hit some as a team. As the season went on, we had to just play ball and not think too much about who was doing what. As for myself, I just had to get into my own head and remind myself to be who I was brought here to be and that is what happened.

Seeing our team come together was a beautiful sight. I say this because we were supposed to be that team earlier on in the season, but anything can happen. We turned it around at the right time though and, man, were we just getting started. It took some time, but we got it together. Once everything clicked for us as a team, I felt like no one in the country was going to beat us in the post season.

After hearing that the BIG EAST Conference tournament was canceled, I went back to my room and I cried. I couldn’t believe that I wasn’t going to get a chance to play at MSG. I really thought we had a chance at winning the BIG EAST Championship.

Playing at the Dunk’ will be an all-time memory. That fan base was one-of-a-kind. We wouldn’t have won some of those games if it weren’t for the fans. Let’s not forget how crazy it got in the second half and the opposite team is at the foul line. Even though they just wanted the free Chick-fil-A, it definitely felt good hearing how loud it could get in the Dunk’.

Fans, you guys were amazing, and I thank you guys for that.

My most memorable moment in my career as a Friar was my clutch shot against Nova - step back, one dribble left, spin move, Gillespie goes down, BANG. As a team, it was when we all were excited for Tommy when he hit his first college three. I still think about that and smile.

I will miss is the “Take 3s” before practice. Those sandwiches always came in clutch if you were late. Mostly though, I will miss my teammates. Obviously, the time we shared was unmatched. Those guys will forever be my brothers. So, I just want to say thank you to my teammates and my coaching staff.

My experience at Providence College meant a lot to me. Not just because of the basketball, but the fans as well. Even the ones who doubted us in the beginning - you guys made me feel like I was a Friar for four years. I will never forget my time here in Friartown.

PIP ;)

Luwane Pipkins #12

Men’s Basketball / Chicago, Ill.

Letter To Friartown,

Growing up, in Rhode Island, with family that attended Providence College, I was constantly on campus or at the Dunk for basketball games. It always had a special place in my heart. When it came time for me to decide where I wanted to go to school, PC was the easy winner. No other school that I visited gave me the same feeling that I had when I stepped onto Providence’s campus. Having the opportunity to represent Providence College, on the tennis court, was the icing on the cake.

Putting my college experience, as a student-athlete, into words is difficult. Each day brought me new experiences, challenges, relationships and memories that will, not doubt, be with me for the rest of my life. Every year, I was blessed with opportunity to play the sport I love alongside a group of girls that became family. It is a feeling I will greatly miss.

During my time at Providence College, I was no doubt pushed to my limits, but looking back it makes all of the sweat, early mornings and late nights worth it. The van rides, well-deserved victories, tough losses and countless laughs have molded me into the person I am today. Providence College Athletics has given me a chapter of my life that has not only taught me the importance of hard-work and resilience but the power of teamwork and friendship.

On the court was business, pushing each other to be better than we were the day before. Off the court: the spring break trips, carpool karaoke, team dinners at Flatbread, plane ride shenanigans, pre-match dance parties and seeing the top of the pull-up bar, for the first time, added to the special moments and experiences that will never be forgotten.

It is surreal to believe on March 12, 2020, I put on my Providence College uniform for the last time. I had my last pre-match warmup, and I spun my racquet, on behalf of Providence College and my team, for the last time. Having your senior year cut short, after 3.5 years of hard-work and excitement for your last season, was and still is truly heartbreaking. These past few weeks, without my friends, teammates or tennis hasn’t been easy. It’s hard having to cross out all of the game day dates in my planner. But, being surrounded by my team, during this time, who have all been so supportive, day in and day out, makes the situation a little easier to handle. I know that the relationships that I have built with my teammates and my classmates will last forever and for that I am so thankful. One thing that gives me some closure is knowing that Friartown will always be home.

There are countless individuals to thank for their dedication and constant support. These people made my college experience not only possible but even more rewarding. To all of the strength and conditioning coaches, Coach White, Coach Nat, and Coach Anderson, the trainers, especially Sid and Rock, those working behind the scenes in the Athletic Department, and most importantly Marko and Coach: thank you for everything; for constantly being there to make me a better person, to help and support me, and to push me to be the best version of myself. It has truly been an “educational journey” and my time in Friartown has taught me many priceless lessons. Finally, thank you to my family and friends, for not only giving me this opportunity but supporting me every single step of the way. Being a part of the Friar Family is something that I will be forever grateful for.


Natalie Pitocco

Tennis / Warwick, R.I.

Dear Friartown,

One of my favorite questions to bring up at some point with friends is how they found themselves at Providence College. For some, it is a simple transactional answer, while for others it may be a deep family connection or higher aspiration. What I find enjoyable in this question is learning of the different pathways and unique life moments that brought individuals to a shared experience at Providence College. It makes me appreciate the singularities that can have an unbeknownst impact on the lives of others.

I still think back to my own discovery of Providence College right after junior year of high school (circa June 2015). I cringe a bit whenever I think about it, but I remember looking at photos of the 2014 NCAA Cross Country Championship on Letsrun.com. What stuck out to me when seeing the pictures of Shane Quinn and Ben Connor on the All-American podium was not the great racing by the Friars, but how cool the New Balance uniforms looked. Yes, I know that is ridiculous, but hey when you are in high school you have different priorities…so I guess good job New Balance marketing?

Sure enough, my next thought was “what the heck is Providence College?” Being from Buffalo, New York, I had no exposure to who the Friars were (although I would later learn that Buffalonians still have a strong admiration for Ernie D despite Buffalo not having the NBA team Buffalo Braves since 1978 – classic Buffalo people). I then found myself looking into the school to discover that men’s basketball and hockey were competitive, men’s soccer had just made the College Cup and the men’s and women’s cross country programs were renowned in the NCAA. As a high school student with a high level of school spirit, I was drawn to the success and competitive drive of Providence College Athletics.

Further poking around helped me discover that the school aligned with what I was looking for in terms of it being a small, liberal arts school away from home. I subsequently took a dream shot with one of the cross country questionnaires not expecting to hear anything back. Surprisingly, in June of that year, Coach Tim [Brock] reached out to me via email. Some summer emails (which I believe are still saved on my old Yahoo personal email?) led to a summer unofficial visit, which led to a fall official visit and…boom by November I had committed to Providence College. It still provides a strange feeling to me when I think back to the sheer unpredictability of what would lie ahead.

I reflect on what led me to Providence College Athletics because in many ways being at the school brought me a whole new sense of self-reflection. Being in a new environment facilitated my appreciation of where I came from as well as what I was representing. As a student-athlete, you come to realize what has made you who you are, whether it be pain, success, failure or growth. My time with Providence College helped me realize a lifelong vocation to become the best version of myself.

Providence College for me was very much a fresh start. I viewed it as a “new beginning” to put low points in the past, primarily the past summer transitioning from high school senior year to freshman year of college. This summer was marked by burn out from an eating disorder I had junior and senior year of high school, injury from a meniscus bucket handle tear that barred me from running for three months, depression from not having my traditional decompression activity of running, binge drinking from using it as my new decompression activity and means of coping with injury, and alienated relationship with my parents from the sum total of all these struggles (although they were not truthfully aware of all this).

It was a slippery slope that had me unfulfilled and dissatisfied with who I was. The worst part of it all was that it was hidden in plain sight. I was still my affable and cordial self, but, in terms of self-worth, I felt adrift. At a time when there was supposed to be great joy in entering a new phase of academics and athletics, everything was murky to me. I felt lost. I had immense difficulty in understanding who I was trying to be and what I wanted to be.

Thankfully, in my first semester at Providence College, I found myself blessed to have a teammate, Andrew Doherty, who I could be vulnerable with going on record about my personal struggles. Not to mention, the rest of the Athletics Department who gave me a sense of belonging as a part of something larger than myself. Having my prior struggles validated shifted my perspective from feeling invisible to feeling invincible.

By having coaches who emphasized the importance of recovery and consistent training blocks, I realized that I no longer needed to abuse my body to make it fit the “skinny” runner archetype. There were other means to setting myself up for peak performance. It was also senior and fifth-year teammates, such Hugh Armstrong, Steve Robertson and Julian Oakley, who lead by example in fully committing themselves to training that showed me what to emulate.

I will never forget watching Steve toil an entire spring semester on the Alter G day-in and day-out before winning the BIG EAST 10k in his final race. Even after finishing the race when I congratulated him, Steven was more disappointed than elated since he had missed the NCAA East Regional qualifying time by a few seconds. “Damn,” I thought “that is the mentality I want in my time at Providence.”

It was from moments like these that I honed-in on a mindset of turning tragedy to triumph; to use personal struggle as motivation. Those first two months in the training room rehabbing my meniscus could now be perceived as the time where I was able to make friends beyond the team and reapply my energy from running for new means of bettering myself. I still joke with my great friend Meg Onyundo on how we first met doing rehab exercises in the training room.

In all honesty, things did not suddenly switch from night to day. It still took me until junior year spring break to tell my parents for the first time about my eating disorder. The point of bringing this personal struggle up is that partaking in a four-year journey through Providence College gradually activated me into understanding how to grow from it. Along the way it has taught me the value of active listening since one must learn from the people around you and discover the importance of empathy to better understand your own identity.

Alongside active listening, being journey-oriented is the other valuable skill in having a fulfilling four years at Providence College. As student-athletes, we oftentimes view our semesters through wins and losses or GPA, so being able to see the bigger picture of our efforts rekindles the drive to continue along. If you are a student-athlete reading this, please know that some of my best memories came in Helen Bert Lounge late nights, Ray dining hall “sessions”, watching fellow Friars sporting events and training room banter. These are the little pieces that compose the larger mosaic of a meaningful Friar experience.

Some other quick advice (which I will keep concise): be self-deprecating, feel the fire in the speeches given by Bob Driscoll, learn the names of EVERY trainer (plus the sports med student-helpers too – good opportunities for dates), meet people beyond your team, be grateful for the grind and leave Providence Athletics better than when you arrived. If you take anything out of reading this far, the only thing I ask is that you surround yourself with people who make you a better person in some way.

I am forever grateful and honored to have the opportunity to be a student-athlete at Providence College. My time as a Friar with the cross country and track team has taught me invaluable lessons that continue to assist me in working to become the best version of myself. Whether it be long term goal setting, buying into holistic training, doing what others are not doing, or being the last one to leave practice to know you are doing something right. These lessons remain with me.

I reflect back to those initial interactions with Providence College on occasion. What sticks out the most is the unforeseen journey it would take me on. Everyone has a different journey when they enter Providence College. However, our shared experience is what coops us into learning from each other. Do not drift through your time at Providence College but be cognizant of the impact you may have on others as a teammate. Appreciate what a tremendous opportunity and privilege it is to be where you are. Doing so will provide you an awareness to never forget where you came from nor the sacrifices others made to support you in your journey. Providence College Athletics is a fantastic place and I am humbled to be a small part in its larger story.

Peter Rindfuss

Men's Cross Country/Track, Hamburg, N.Y.

Dear Friartown,

Thank you isn’t sufficient for everything you have done for me, for my team, for my friends and for the rest of the Friar Family we are given when we step onto campus.

I honestly stumbled upon you after a lot of Googling. I initially didn’t choose you, I attended another university after high school to continue my athletic and academic career. However, I like to think you chose me, you just took your time. I made a hard decision to transfer after my first semester of freshmen year and start over AGAIN. Providence College was one of seven schools I applied to before I told my coaching staff and teammates I was leaving. I was accepted in October 2016, a month before my season ended and two months before I stepped on campus.

Providence College was one of two final schools I was choosing between. The first school being a three-hour drive from home, while Providence is a twenty-four-hour drive from home.

Ever since I understood what collegiate athletics was, I knew I wanted to be involved. When I touched a volleyball for the first time around 8 years old, all I said was “I want to be a Division I volleyball player.” I didn’t really know what that meant, but there was no changing my mind. This dream was a fast reality when I committed to my first Division I school as a sophomore in high school. However, this dream was coming to a fast close when I almost made the decision to stop playing upon my transfer. I lost some love for the game. I lost some desire to fight for my dream after my experience. I told myself if I did not find the school that gave me the best combination of everything I wanted in a college outside of athletics, I would change my dream and be a regular student. I will never forget where I was when I thought about the feeling of never putting on a jersey again and never scoring a big point surrounded by my team. At that moment, I knew there was no way I was done. That day I emailed Margot again to tell her I already applied and had been accepted to PC. Margot answered my second email. I took a shot in the dark and nailed it.

Just like that, one response and my lifelong dream was back on track. I spoke to Margot on a Sunday morning, I flew from Kansas City to Boston that Sunday night, and I was on campus Monday morning. It was finals week, my (future) teammates were not impressed with my timing. However, each one made it a point to meet me. Actually, one teammate, who soon became my direct roommate and best friend, spent the entire day with me.

I found my love for the game again at Providence College. I found my love for the struggle and the process again with my teammates, Margot, all four assistant coaches – Eddy, Keith, Destiny, and Richie, our lift coaches – Coach White, Coach Nat and Coach Anderson, the training room staff and every member of the PC Athletic Department. The atmosphere I stumbled upon at Providence College is out of a storybook. I realized it when I was in the moment, but I truly appreciated it when it was over. At the end of my athletic career, I felt closure knowing I gave everything I could. I knew I would miss the game, practices, workouts, maybe not the 5:30 am alarm or three-a-days as much, but I would do it all again in a heartbeat just to be back at Providence College.

This past semester, senior year spring, was the semester my friends and I dreamt of for years. It is the only semester, as fall athletes, to really embrace all that Providence College is - the people, the atmosphere, the athletics and more. The Class of 2020 was having the time of our lives without a thought of the G-word. However, the G-word is now fast approaching. While I got a strong feeling of closure to my athletic career, I did not with my collegiate experience and some of my closest friends didn’t get either. My heart breaks for the Class of 2020; we will be stronger together for what happened. This past month has been everything except for easy, but it has given me a lot of time to reflect.

Providence College was nothing I thought I wanted. It was too far, it was freezing cold, people “aren’t as friendly” in the Northeast, it was too small and the list goes on for why initially I didn’t think PC was for me. Jokes on me. Providence College was everything I wanted and needed in my college experience. Providence College gave me my best friends. It gave me a chance to become independent and decide who I wanted to be. I was 1,586 miles from the house I grew up in, but I found somewhere that I will always call Home. I understand now why people are diehard fans for their alma mater, why people want their own kids to attend the same school they did and why Friar Family is more than just a phrase.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart,

God bless, Go Friars!

Addison Root #2

Volleyball / Wichita, Kan.

Letter to Friartown,

To attempt to put into words what soccer means to me, requires traveling back in time, navigating through all the life-changing memories that this sport has provided me with. It means grabbing the old VCR tapes and playing them on and on until we begin to grasp how deeply rooted this sport is in my life.

Ever since I can remember, I have known I was a little different than all the other kids I knew. Back in the day, it was common practice for kids to bring to school their favorite toys to play with their friends during school breaks. For most kids, that usually meant Pokemon cards, LEGO’s or even marbles. However, for me, since kindergarten all the way to middle school, my toy of choice remained unchanged. Every morning, before getting dressed for school, I would make sure my soccer ball was all packed up and ready to go to school with me. As a matter of fact, to be completely sincere, I have never looked at the soccer ball as just an ordinary toy. Personally, I have always thought of it as my best friend. Therefore, attempting to accurately describe its determinacy in my life would always result in an understatement. Freedom, empowerment and wholesomeness are some of the feelings that come to mind when I have the soccer ball at my feet. Since those days, to even attempt to think of a future without soccer would be like one of those scary nightmares you desperately want to wake up from, but you are in so deep, you are so far gone, that you just cannot help yourself.

On September 17th, 2015, I found myself living one of those nightmares I dreaded so deeply. At the time, I felt a mixture of both hopelessness and frustration about how my life had turned out. Even worse, I was struggling to appreciate all the good things I still had in my life. I had just left the soccer club I had played for in the previous seven years, I was on my first semester as a college student living alone in Lisbon and had no perspective of a future that would allow me to pursue a superior education while continuing to follow my dreams of playing soccer. However, on that day, my life would change forever – I just didn’t know it yet…

On that day, I heard about Providence College for the very first time. I remember getting a text message from Providence College’s Men’s Soccer Assistant Coach, John Mark Andrade, about an opportunity to further my education while continuing to play soccer in the United States. Initially, I thought it was some kind of scam and was debating on not even taking his phone call, as I had never heard of college sports before. However, I ended up taking his call and, 15 minutes later…, I decided to give it a shot. I had nothing to lose at that point, and, if it turned out to be nothing, then I would continue pursuing my degree at the university I attended at the time.

Fast forward through almost four months of endless bureaucracy and convincing myself and my parents that moving 3,281 miles away from my nest was the best move for me, and there I was! On January 10th, 2016, I stepped foot on the Providence College campus for the very first time. To be completely honest, I was totally clueless about what kind of facilities, culture, or even the weather I was going to find when I arrived in Providence. So I packed up as much stuff as I could and showed up with the puffiest overcoat I could find at home, a nice button-down shirt, jeans, hiking boots (!!) and the warmest gloves I had. Little did I know that a couple weeks later, I would be done with dressing smart and would convert to the “American way” – sneakers, sweatpants and a nice, warm sweater…

Anyway, from the moment I stepped foot on campus for the first time, I could feel that my life was about to change forever.

My very first week – it was syllabus week – provided a good opportunity to meet all the guys on the team, the coaching staff, make new friends and get used to the overwhelmingly different environment. It was all fun and games then, but the real test came the following week. On the second week, we began our spring training and that was, hands down, by far, the hardest week I have ever endured. In that first week of training alone, we did three 6:00 am lifts with Coach as well as fitness tests on the field! After our last session of the week – running 3 miles in under 18 minutes on the treadmill, on Saturday morning – I recall laying in my bed, too exhausted to sleep, looking back on my first week of training and wondering if I had joined the soccer team or the American Navy SEALS. At that point, during my reflection, I realized that this life-changing experience I was living would teach me valuable lessons that I would take with me for the rest of my life.

From the team lifts with Coach White, when I was down on the ground and my teammates’ support pushed me to get the extra rep in, I learned about camaraderie and perseverance. From waking up at 5:30 am to be on time for an early morning workout and looking at guys like Julian Gressel, Dominik Machado, Nick Sailor or Colin Miller, always with a smile on their faces, pumping up everyone around them and constantly ready to go, I learned about discipline and determination. From being down 4-1 at No. 1 ranked and undefeated Maryland, with 30 minutes left to play in the game and rally back to win 5-4, I learned about relentless underdog mentality. And, from all the people I have crossed paths with throughout my time at Providence College – including all of my fellow students and faculty members – I have learned about FAMILY and gratefulness!

When I first came to Providence as a freshmen, I had no idea what to expect and I didn’t know if things were going to work out for me, so I had to take a leap of faith and trust, that, in the end, everything would work out. Taking that leap of faith turned out to be the best thing I have ever done! Here, I was blessed with the opportunity to play soccer under the best coaching staff in all of college soccer, in the best athletic facilities in the nation and make friendship bonds that will last a lifetime. In fact, as an international student-athlete, being away from home, my teammates became my brothers and Friartown became my family. I sincerely believe Friartown is a special place! So now, if anyone asks me what makes Friartown better than all the other schools across the country, I will tell them about our motto. “Us. We. Together. Family. Friars.” We care for each other, we fight for each other, and never, absolutely NEVER, leave one of our own behind. And this is what makes Providence College truly special.

As always, GO FRIARS!

Joao Serrano #5

Men’s Soccer / Evora, Portugal

To my incoming freshman self,

Hey kid. It’s an exciting time in your life. A blank slate, new opportunities, new challenges, new team, new school, new coaches. Gonna be a little different then your little Jersey beach town bubble - but you’re ready.

You’re ready to bust you’re ass down that field to touch the line first, to rep one more squat out when Coach Anderson or Coach White says “Gimme one more for Diane,” you’re ready for double sessions in 100 degree heat, you’re ready to win games, and most of all you’re ready for the feeling you get when you first put your jersey on that reads “Providence.” It’s what you’ve been waiting for and preparing for and dreaming of during all those long drives to camps and practices with mom.

But I’m here to tell you what you’re not ready for, what you never expected, and ultimately what will change your life. First off, there will be 6 other girls that will join you in your four-year journey on PCFH who will become your best friends - more like sisters. You’ll laugh, cry, win, and lose together. During preseason, you will tour the athletic department and meet what you will think are really weird, chaotic, off the walls, people on the second floor who say they are the coolest people ever and the best office to work for. Believe them. Those crazy people in the sports information and marketing office will help you find your passion beyond field hockey.

Along with the entire athletic department, they will believe in you, and guide you for a career in sports and also be your biggest fans. You will constantly hear the words “Friar Family.” Don’t take it for granted because the relationships and bonds you will create on campus will last a lifetime. Also, the guys walking around in white robes, yes I know they look a little funny at first but you will build incredible friendships with some of the Friars who will open you to new ideas and get you out of your comfort zone.

Most important, you will face adversity head on. Don’t run from it, don’t think you are above it, don’t blame yourself or other people for it. Understand that the challenges you face, on the field and off, will allow you to grow into someone you never knew was inside of you. You will become someone that 20 girls will look for when they need encouragement to run one more sprint, confide in when they are struggling with school, volunteer when coach asks for a dance off, be the spark plug before a playoff game, believe in them even when you don’t always believe in yourself.

The person and leader you will become in the next four years is attributed to the experiences you will have at Friartown and the people that surround you, especially those whose names are Coach, Lisa, Kellie and Bert. Which brings me to my last piece of advice for you. Don’t take either for granted ever. Always appreciate your teammates, coaches, staff and the game because you never know when it will all be over. Take in every moment and thank Mom, Dad, Bran, Pop Jake, Mum and Pop Mary for getting you to where you are today. And get used to saying Go Friars.

What I’d give to be in your shoes again.

Madison Skeie #24

Field Hockey / West Creek, N.J.

Dear Friartown,

While this period has been one of the most difficult of my life, it has given me ample time to reflect on all that Providence College has given me. I wish to share a piece of this with you.

Those who know me can attest to the fact that I’m a planned-out person and always have been. As I began my volleyball recruiting process, I made a game plan... a set of three goals to help me obtain all I wanted to accomplish. Step one- find a place to play. Step two- find the court. Step three- make an impact.

My high school was not known for pumping out many elite athletes. Few moved on to the collegiate level. After four losing seasons of high school volleyball and an unremarkable club experience, paired with two concussions and a fractured L5 vertebrae, I had yielded very little film to share with coaches and had even fewer college prospects. I aspired to play at the highest level possible, but there reached a point when even my own parents suggested looking outside of division one.

I stumbled upon a small, private catholic, division one college in a state I couldn’t find on the map. After a week of email correspondence with the head coach, I was on campus and committed two weeks later. Step one- check.

I began preparing for step two before I even got to PC. To improve my skills and compete for court time, I tried out for a more competitive club team. In a sport dominated by athletes a foot taller and twice as strong, the mantra “What I lack in size, I make up in heart” became the fighting chance for my 5’1 stature.

My first year at PC, I brought my positive attitude, court IQ, and strong work ethic, but it was clear I had many skills that needed more development. Preseason of my sophomore year, I suffered my third diagnosed concussion. At the end of my sophomore season, I strapped on my new concussion headband and headed back to the court. I worked my ass off and played the best volleyball of my life. Filled with confidence and positivity, I was ready to bring step two to fruition my junior season.

On the third day of my third preseason, I suffered another concussion. With my future health and wellbeing in mind, this was career-ending.

After four diagnosed concussions and a number of suspected undiagnosed, I found myself a washed-up, medically retired college-athlete with two years of eligibility left unused. Adding insult to injury, quite literally, I had ended at PCVB still a second-string player. Without access to the court, it felt as if step three was now impossible, that I wouldn’t be able to make my impact.

Maybe my perception of “making a difference” was skewed; maybe this was just the lesson I needed, a blessing in disguise. I learned that the old cliché “tough times bring out the best in people” couldn’t be truer. Accepting it was okay to feel down, I knew I couldn’t be forever. I had two years left to complete step three and make my difference. And that’s exactly what I set out to do.

Here are some of the things I learned. Someone has to be second string. In my two years on the court, I had the chance to challenge the first string and push them to be their best. In doing so, I made the program more successful. I discovered the great distinguishing factor between being the best and being your best. Finally, I learned through bettering myself, I can better others.

Making a difference means taking the net down at the end of practice so that my teammates can stretch. Making a difference means watching hours of film to analyze video and explain defensive moves to the active players. Making a difference can also be as simple as making someone smile, asking how their day is going, or offering a hug. Pumping up balls, taking stats, sharing laughs, and yes- getting pelted with line drives all made a difference. During this time of reflection, I’ve realized that I did complete steps two and three. I impacted the court in my own way. I made a difference.

The culmination of these life experiences has allowed me to realize a great reward- my life’s passion and purpose. I’ve recognized a new sense of fulfillment that derives from investing time and effort into growing others; it is this sense of fulfillment that I will pursue, outside of athletics, as I intertwine my passion for improving the lives of others into my career as a healthcare provider. Applying all that I have experienced at Providence, I hope to be a caregiver that strengthens others physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

While I didn’t achieve what I originally expected, I did so much more. If you ask me about my time at Providence, I might say it was the best time of my life, or the most difficult, or the most fulfilling. When my accolades were read aloud to the crowd on senior night, I felt content, but they didn’t share the stats that truly mattered most to me. As I listened to my career digs and service aces from the few matches I played, I reflected on the number of career smiles shared, friendships grown, and the number of lives I’ve improved. It is these intangible statistics that make me so proud of my work here in Friartown.

Thank you Friartown for all of these lessons, friends, and memories that will be lifelong.


Jessica Spontak #5

Volleyball / Lombard, Ill.

Dear Class of 2024,

Welcome to Friartown! You are about to embark on the best four years of your life and make memories that will truly last a lifetime. I know that sounds cliché because everyone always says, “college is the best four years of your life,” but after this semester, I realized they were right.

As a graduating senior, I was looking forward to spending my last semester with my teammates, friends, and classmates. Unfortunately, that did not happen due to the Coronavirus. I am writing this letter to you because I wish someone would have written one to me as a freshman.

Over these next four years, you will make lasting memories and call Friartown your home. Don’t take the little moments for granted and cherish every second you can. From long bus rides to games, layovers at airports or late nights at hotels, cherish these moments with your teammates, as this is where the memories are made. Not only will your teammates become your family, but the entire athletic department will become your Friar Family.

Over the past four years, my team has become my family and Providence has become my home. My teammates are some of my best friends and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them. Say hi to everyone you pass by, introduce yourself to new faces and thank those who work tirelessly behind the scenes for you. I can say without a doubt in my mind, every single person in the athletic department has your back no matter what. On my first visit to Providence College as a sophomore in high school, I was able to sit down and speak with Coach Cooley, Jill LaPoint and Bob Driscoll and they all told me the same thing. Each one of them told me if I came to Providence College, I would not only have a family in my team, but the entire athletic department would become my family and would help me in any way they could to succeed. Every person in Friartown wants to see you succeed and will help in any way they can – never take that for granted.

In order to succeed, you need to seize every opportunity and try new things. College is a time to grow and learn more about yourself. Find a club to join, volunteer at a local school or go to the events on campus. The volleyball team goes to Bingo Night every Thursday and we have for the past four years. These events are hosted by groups around campus and are a great way to meet new people! Introduce yourself to new classmates, sit with another team at Ray for dinner. One of my biggest regrets of my college career is not getting to know my fellow math majors. I was so wrapped up in the world of sports, that I never took the initiative to meet new people outside of sports. So, I challenge you. Introduce yourself to everyone and make friends outside of sports and outside of your team.

Most importantly, don’t forget about you and your well-being. Sports have always been such a big part of our lives that we tend to put everything else on the back burner. Focus on academics and getting to know your teachers, as they will be some of your biggest supporters. Take time for yourself to focus on your mental health and well-being. Plan a time to call home and check in with your family. Most importantly, cherish every single second you have in Friartown. Having my senior year cut short was one of the worst things I could have imagined happening and it made me regret not cherishing my time on campus while I was there. I would give anything to be back in Friartown, but I am trying to remain positive and embrace what I have. To you, Class of 2024, cherish every moment, never take any moment for granted, and be grateful for everything you are given.

Welcome to our family and, as always, Go Friars!

Cayla Veverka #12

Volleyball / Collegeville, Pa.

Thank You Friartown

From the moment I stepped on the Providence College campus, I knew that my life would change forever. I was determined to soak in the experience of it all, but at the same time my main focus was to make a definitive impact. You see, I am a Canadian, who always wanted to play the game built on discipline, teamwork, cohesion and synergy. It was never really about me scoring a thousand points a game. What meant the most to me was leaving a legacy as a unit and I was determined to do so. Just being able to put that Friar jersey on and represent all the amazing things it stands for was empowering for me, game after game. The bond I was able to build with my brothers was unbreakable because of all the ups and downs we were able to withstand over the past four years. Playing in front of sold out crowds, both home and away was exhilarating and challenging at times. Those late-night trips, finding patience when we were frustrated, pushing harder in the gym, even when we didn’t have it, only made the wins at the end of it sweeter. I learned so much about myself and how to relate to others on this life changing journey, that I feel indebted to the process and all those that contributed my growth.

The memories are countless and embedded in my psyche because I lived them out on the court, internalizing all the emotions. One of my fondest memories was our journey to the BIG EAST Championship, my sophomore year. Playing three-straight overtime games, with the odds against us and pulling through, brought us all closer together and silenced a lot of our doubters. It really allowed me to personally take that momentum and the perseverance that accompanied that path, into my senior year.

With a bad start, we were counted out by everyone - and I mean everyone. Twitter became a hotbed of negativity and the Friar fans were hopping off the bandwagon left and right. But we were still invested and believed we had much more in the tank. Why you may ask? Funny enough, I’ve always remembered times in my life when things just didn’t seem to be going my way. One thing I know for sure is that if I maintain a positive mindset, be supportive, keep communications flowing, work really hard and keep smiling, change for the better will come. And so, it did, as we went on to beat some of the best teams, not only in the conference, but in the country. We rallied back from the bottom to a place that many thought was unattainable.

So, we’re sitting on the bus, getting ready for the climax of our season. We were pumped, emotions were flying high, anticipation was in the air and then the reality set in. Everything we had hoped for wasn’t going to take place! Was this really happening? The disappointment, heartbreak and anger made it all surreal.

“So, what now,” we all asked. This was beyond anything we could imagine. Maybe we would be taken out by Villanova, Xavier or even Seton Hall, but COVID? Corona was never on the scouting report. Now here we all are in a state of limbo, waiting for the unknown, restless and agitated but trying our best to take it all in stride.

Being at home and beginning to embrace a new sense of normal, reflecting on all that was and all that could possibly be, I have to say, I’m thankful. I was blessed to play the game I love and mature on all fronts in the process. There were so many amazing people on this ride that helped mold me, nurture me, develop me and embrace me for who I am, and I have to give thanks.

Thank you to Ed Cooley for recognizing the best in me and for challenging me to be the best player I could possibly be. Thank you to Coach Battle for recruiting me and for your constant words of wisdom. Thank you to Coach Blaney for teaching me to be more disciplined and for pushing the buttons that motivated me to excel. Thank you to Coach Thomas for keeping it real from the start.. you always had my back. Thank you to Coach Kurbec for always keeping us on track and keeping things flowing seamlessly. Thank you to Coach White for showing me exactly who I could become if I worked hard enough, and for just caring. Thank you to Rock and Chris for putting up with me and helping me to heal all my unusual injuries over the past four years. I’m still in one piece. Thank you to Marissa and Jaime for all the work you guys put in to keep me on track scholastically and for your words of encouragement during many tough times. Thank you to the managers for not only being there for me as a player but as a person too. Thank you Bob Driscoll and Father Shanley for the opportunity and the belief in the program and the players. It is greatly appreciated. A big thank you to all my teammates throughout the years, it’s been an absolute pleasure to play alongside each and every one of you and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for us all.

And finally, I would like to thank the Friartown Family for their dedicated support and for giving me memories that I won’t ever forget. Go Friars!!!

Kalif Young #13

Men’s Basketball / Vaughan, Ontario, Canada

Dear Friartown,

I guess any way you look at it, I was in a seven-year relationship with Providence College. The summer of 2013, I walked into Coach Leaman’s office only to see him unravel a blueprint of what was about to be the renovation of Schneider Arena. For some reason, that piece of paper still sticks in my mind today. I don’t know if it marked the beginning of my ties with PC or it was the excitement of possibly playing in a newly renovated building, but from that point forward I knew I wanted to be a part of building something special.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing, undergoing three shoulder surgeries and having seven different assistant coaches from commitment to graduation definitely poses its challenges. I can say without any regret that I gave everything I could to this school, program and teammates. The program will continue to build something special.

The season coming to an end right before you start playing your most meaningful games is heartbreaking. It goes without saying what every athlete puts into their sport, craft, dream. Honestly, a lot of it is indescribable due to so much effort and emotion put in, much of the time when no one is watching. It didn’t hit me for the first few days. Physically having your bag packed to go play Boston College and then watching as every league in the world gets canceled didn’t provide much closure at the time. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I would be alright. There’s always going to be an end, but I remember what happened along the way more than anything. There are so many stories I could share and some that I can’t. All of that overwhelmingly topples the ending we faced and I’m grateful for that.

Going on that Frozen Four run with the boys my junior year has to be the most fun I’d ever had in my life. Being able to knock off Minnesota State and Cornell at the Dunk’ in front of the home crowd has to be the greatest feeling I’ve had. I remember the locker room down 3-0 in between periods and still feeling the energy to come back. Wilks scoring back door and spinning around in his celly, then skating to us banging his glove against his head along with the whole bench. Going to Ireland for a week over Thanksgiving break to play Maine and Clarkson. I wouldn’t have been given the chance to experience Dublin, Belfast and what all of Ireland had. It’s moments like those that I’ll remember far more than what was taken from us. I’ve been so blessed in my time at PC to have the experiences I’ve had with my team and my classmates. Kasper, Vimal, Kav, Brys, Dewey, Wilks, Zieks, Carly, three NCAA appearances, one Frozen Four, a Hockey East Championship Game, four Mayor’s Cups, Ireland, Vegas and so many more memories. Through it all, I made my best friends that I’ll have for life.

Regardless of what my future holds, I know that my time here has provided me with the tools to be a great hockey player, but also a great teammate and friend. The values instilled by Providence are a standard and combination for success and I will never forget what it did for me.

Spenser Young #21

Men’s Hockey / Brentwood, N.H.

Dear Friartown,

It is Saturday, March 7th, and I am walking off the field along with the rest of the Providence College men’s lacrosse team after a great win against a New England opponent. It was one of those rare times when all the pieces to my family unit – my parents, brother and sister – were able to come together as one. We chatted about how great of a start the team was off to; 5-1 and serious contenders for the BIG EAST Tournament. One of my truly great memories.

The days that ensued would produce some of my worst.

It’s almost impossible to describe the emotions we experienced that following week. Seeing the NESCAC cancel their teams’ seasons on Tuesday. Watching as the Ivy League followed suit the next day. By Thursday morning, as we were walking into the locker room for practice, we learned that the Patriot League had done the same, and a certain reality set in that the outlook for the remainder of our season wasn’t all that good. We were in the middle of practice that day when Coach Gabrielli delivered the news.

Senior year, cancelled. We were so devastated that we simply didn’t want to leave the field.

Almost a month removed from the events that transpired that first week or so in March, it’s clear that the BIG EAST Conference and the NCAA made the correct decisions. It is critical that we do our part to flatten the curve and do whatever we can to support the healthcare workers who are and always have been true American heroes. Playing collegiate sports would have obviously gone against the Nation’s best interests. But I’d be lying if I said it was hard to not play the victim. I’ve played the sport of lacrosse for my entire life, and it has given me everything. It is the reason that I’m a Friar, it’s the reason that I have such an amazing group of friends and family and it’s the reason that I am the man that I have become. To have that taken away during my senior year, while we were playing our best lacrosse, hit me harder than I ever would have imagined. Countless tears were shed in our locker room, just as I’m sure they were in countless athletic facilities across the country.

It has been the most difficult month of my life, but slowly and surely, we continue to move forward. This group of men loved each other dearly and without compromise. We were vulnerable with one another when it mattered most. And while, “play every day like it’s your last” most certainly came to fruition for this senior class, I like to believe that one day, looking back, we will be able to say that we were better and stronger men for it. My brothers and I have been through it all, but I can tell you right now that looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Providence College has given me the opportunity to learn more about myself than I knew was possible and has given me relationships that will remain. I came to Friartown almost four years ago to win championships, but looking back, I won so much more.

As Always, Go Friars!

Ryan Zimmerman #12

Men’s Lacrosse / Syracuse, N.Y.