Rob Bialy during the Big East semi-final game against Creighton. PC went on to win the Big East tournament in November. Now he and the team are in North Carolina for their NCAA Final Four matchup against UCLA Friday. Photo credit: Friars.com
The Providence College Men’s Soccer team flew down to North Carolina Tuesday, in advance of the biggest game the team – any PC men’s soccer team – has ever played: against UCLA in the NCAA Final Four. Rob Bialy of East Greenwich is a member of the team. A former EGHS star (Class of 2011), he signed with PC while still a junior.
Bialy picked PC in part because he knew his parents – Cindy and Bruce –could see him play.
“It means a lot to me that my parents can come and watch,” he said. “They’ve gotten to see a lot of me this season, which is awesome.”
Playing sports in college is a lot of work, said Bialy. It means taking homework on the road, sometimes taking tests at a hotel, trying to fit it all in. This year, the season’s gone so late, it’s running into finals.
Bialy’s lucky, though, because he’s already got a job lined up for after graduation, taking some of the pressure off. An accounting major, he’ll go to work for O’Connor & Drew, an accounting firm out of Massachusetts.
Playing in the Final Four, that is beyond what Bialy had imagined.
“It’s just crazy,” Bialy said. “We knew we’d make the NCAA tournament but … once we started winning, now we feel we really can do anything. Anything’s possible.”
It’s new territory for the PC Soccer program. The best the team’s done before this year was the Round of 32 – which they made in both 2011 and 2013.
With a lot of seasoned players, the team was expected to do well this year, said Bialy. They knew it was a special year when they won the Big East championship – a first in program history. They’d made it to the Big East final last year and lost so victory this year was especially sweet.
Then, it was on to the NCAA tournament, where they were seeded number 11. They beat Dartmouth, UC Irvine and, last weekend, Michigan State. They play number 2 seed UCLA Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Cary, N.C.
Going up against UCLA will be hard, said Bialy, but PC’s ready.
“It’s going to be a good game.”
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