By: Mark Harriman
BOSTON – It’s been a heck of a run up on Smith Hill for Bob Driscoll’s Providence College Athletics Department over the past two years.
With Nate Leaman’s Friars playing the Frozen Four Championship Game tonight at TD Garden versus Hockey East foe Boston University, (7:30pm puck drop/ESPN), PC will be aiming for its second national title in two years (Women’s Cross Country 2013) and its first in school history among the major sports.
Last December Men’s Soccer coach Craig Stewart guided his team to PC’s first-ever appearance in the College Cup, losing in the national semi-finals down in Cary, NC to UCLA 3-2 in double overtime on a heart-breaking own-goal.
In 2014 Ed Cooley and his Men’s Basketball team cut down the nets at Madison Square Garden and brought the Big East Tournament championship trophy back to Rhode Island for the second time (1994).
At the Big East Indoor Track and Field Championships in back February of this year, Emily Sisson broke the NCAA indoor record in the 5,000 meters (15:12.22) which was held by former Friar Kim Smith (15:14.18). Sisson followed up that success several weeks ago by taking the national championship in the same event at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Arkansas, leading the pack by a full eight seconds.
PC was ranked 20th in the 2014-15 Learfield Sports Division I Directors’ Cup standings for Fall Sports and 22nd for the Winter season. With one of the smallest enrollments in Division I sports (3,900 undergrad), PC has held its own in the Director’s Cup with the likes of power schools Stanford, UCLA, North Carolina , Penn State and Oregon.
The Friars also have the distinction of being one of only two schools in each of the last two years to send both the Men’s Hockey and Basketball programs to their respective NCAA tournaments. Last year Providence was joined by Wisconsin, while Harvard replaced the Badgers in 2015.