Warwick, R.I. – March 30, 2015: The CCRI men’s club volleyball team traveled to Fairfield University in Fairfield, CT to compete in the New England Collegiate Volleyball League (NECVL) Division II Championships. The Knights entered the Championships ranked No. 7 out of the 23 in Division II but performed well to finish in Third Place after an excellent weekend of play.
On Saturday they started-off against Fairfield University and came out strong winning 25-23, 20-25and 15-7. Fairfield finished the weekend ranked No. 1 with their only loss coming to the Knights! After a forfeit by Holy Cross, CCRI took on New Haven. The Knights took the first set 25-21, but then dropped the next two to take the loss against New Haven. The Knights repeated themselves against Assumption by taking the first match then losing the next two to fall to Assumption and ending day one of the tournament ranked eighth.
The first game on Sunday was against Bryant University, who is one of the Knights intrastate rivals and a team they compete against every year. With the other schools watching and several coaches actively recruiting the players, CCRI played loud, positive and aggressive winning and eventually taking a hard fought match: 25-18, 19-25 and 15-13. That win advanced the Knights to the four team Winners’ Bracket. The Knights took on a tough Marist team in their winner’s bracket game. The Knights opponent came out strong and the Knights couldn’t recover, falling to Marist in the first two sets.
Freshman Jake Johnson (Warwick, RI) and Jakeem Gonzalez (New Bedford, MA) were rewarded for their stellar weekends by making the All-Tournament Team. Johnson had four aces, 23 kills and 53 blocks over the weekend, while Gonzales had 27 points earned and seven aces. Derek Lewis (Boston, MA) added a team high 48 kills and Shawn Mulso (Scituate, RI) led the team with 79 blocks.
Head Coach Anne Marie Balboni commented after the big performance by the Knights: “CCRI is Third in New England! The team really finished a strong year with a strong performance and it helped them end the year at number three in rankings, which is very impressive considering the size and caliber of the schools they finished around. I could not be more proud of them as a team and I am also very happy that Jake (Johnson) and Jakeem (Gonzalez) were recognized by earring All-Tournament honors. I also am happy that many of our players are being recruited for volleyball to advance their careers at other four-year-institutions.”
The Community College of Rhode Island, New England’s largest comprehensive community college, enrolls nearly 18,000 students in credit courses and thousands more in non-credit and job training classes. Its athletic program boasts 12 varsity programs and an academic support program for all student-athletes.