Friars enemy No. 1
When it comes to finding UConn's top rival, look no further than Providence
Published: Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Updated: Monday, January 18, 2010 15:01
There is not really a definitive answer to the question about who is UConn's fiercest rival. Some would argue Syracuse because of the history in men's basketball, but outside of men's basketball and field hockey, the Orange are not scorned. Football has not really been in the Big East long enough to form a rivalry with anybody and smaller sports don't get enough publicity for rivalries to gain traction.
I thought about it and realized there is one team that is roundly hated by most sports on campus and that was made even more clear Saturday night. Providence College has been the bane of almost all sports, except for football, for quite some time and I think we should all set our sights on the Providence College Friars as our most hated rival.
Saturday night Providence derailed what had been one of the men's soccer teams' best runs in recent memory. The Huskies finished the season ranked first in the Big East Blue Division and had already beaten the Friars 4-0 earlier in the year. It looked as though they would advance to the semi finals for the first time since 2007. Providence did not let that happen.
It would be one thing if we were out played - we weren't. Instead, the Friars dropped everyone back on defense and were seemingly playing for penalty kicks. It was luck that got them the ball io the Husky side of the field for the first time in over 50 minutes and a freak bounce of Matt Marcin's left foot put the shot in literally the only spot where Husky keeper Josh Ford had no chance.
Seconds after the victory, my scorn only grew. The Providence bench stormed the field as if they'd just won the national championship instead of staying alive in the hunt for a bid in the NCAA tournament. Congratulations - you live to play another day.
Outrageous celebrations are not new to the Friars as A.J. Price noticed in 2008 after Providence beat the Huskies at home. Not a small feat - but not worth the disrespect that followed.
"Real disrespectful," Price said in March of that year. "They don't know how to win, and it showed. They were laughing, mocking. I usually have a lot of respect for other teams but they showed a lack of respect last game. They beat up on us and made a mockery of it."
They don't know how to win because, aside from playing us apparently, they don't. Providence seemingly has an endless history of downing the men's basketball team - regardless of how good they are. In 2008, the Friars downed UConn twice and if anybody remembers the hurt Ryan Gomes put on his home state's public university, it still stings. Last year the Huskies throughly beat Providence 94-61 - and it felt really good.
Women's hockey has been victimized by Providence in the past couple years, and despite it being her alma matter, head coach Heather Linstad was not afraid in 2008 to back up what Price said.
"I think A.J. Price said it best in the Hartford Courant," Linstad said on the eve of the Huskies match-up with Providence in the Hockey East tournament. "If you lose to them they don't let you forget it. They don't know how to win the right way."
Providence would go on to win 5-1, upsetting the Huskies. The trend would be repeated the next year, this time by a score of 3-0.
I think it's time that the campus can rally around a common hatred for an opponent. Providence has been a thorn in the side of UConn for far too long - follow the lead of Price and Linstad and grow to hate Providence.