Warwick, R.I. – September 25, 2017: The CCRI Lady Knights volleyball team traveled to New Hampshire Institute of Technology on Saturday in Concord, NH to compete in the 2017 NHTI Lynx Invitational. In Pool play, the Lady Knights defeated Bunker Hill CC 3-0 and Word of Life Bible School 3-0. In the Playoffs, the Lady Knights defeated the host NHTI 3-0 then UMaine Machias 3-0 to go a perfect 12-0 for the second consecutive weekend to improve their overall record to 14-3 and extend their undefeated set streak to 24 sets!
In the 2017 NHTI Lynx Invite CCRI led off with a Region XXI match versus Bunker Hill Community College of Charlestown, MA. This game saw a few ups and downs as the Lady Knights warmed-up and started playing. With the theme of the day being “Stay Engaged” it was a little rough to start but CCRI made quick work of BHCC mostly at the service line with 13 aces over three sets. Tara Watters (West Warwick, RI) led the charge with eight aces, 15 digs, and four kills. The Lady Knights didn’t have much of an offensive opportunity as their aggressive serving kept the Bulldogs out of system the entire match with 88% serving efficiency and scoring on 64% of our serves alone.
The Lady Knights’ second match of the tournament was against the Word of Life Huskies. The Huskies were a scrappy defensive team and kept some rallies alive, but once again, CCRI’s control from the service line and fast offense kept the match firmly in hand. Angelis Perez (Central Falls, RI) and Emily Stengel (Cumberland, RI) each had seven aces and nine digs to both control our service line and back court! Ivelisse Serrano (Arecibo, PR) led the team in kills and hitting percentage with six kills (.556%) and also had two aces of her own. Tara Watters had another solid match with six kills, three aces, and eight digs.
This matchup was honestly a shock to Head coach Will Amaral who fully expected to see NHTI in the finals. An upset victory by Paul Smiths College over NHTI in pool play set this up for an earlier than anticipated battle. This first set was competitive with NHTI’s defensive picking up a lot of what CCRI threw at them but ultimately CCRI’s serving again took control of the match to cruise on to the finals! Tara Watters again led the match with five aces, eight kills, and 12 digs. Sam Elkas (Cumberland, RI) had an Ace of her own but when on serving runs the kept NHTI out of system resulting us scoring 80% from her serves. Elkas also added three kills and two blocks. Ivelisse Serrano had another strong outing with six kills, an Ace and 11 digs.
UMM has become a familiar opponent to Coach Amaral at this tournament. They are scrappy defender that never give up and usually have one or two solid hitters. This year was no different. Yet again, CCRI nullified UMM’s hitters with great serving and tenacious defense. Emily Stengel had a stellar final with seven aces and seven digs. Co-Captain Dahlia Rafael-Tirado (Providence, RI) led the offense with 26 assists and five aces of her own. Sam Elkas had another strong serving performance with five aces (74% scoring efficiency), six kills and a block. Roselyn Vasquez (Providence, RI) saved her strongest performance for the finals with six kills and three digs and Co-Captain Megan Johns (Oakland, RI) also added six kills.
Lady Knights’ freshmen Sam Elkas and Emily Stengel were honored after the tournament for their great performances. Elkas earned All-Tournament honors with 14 Kills, 10 Aces and four solo blocks for 28 total points. Stengel was a tour de force with 18 Aces and 38 Digs with 18 total points to earn Tournament Most Valuable Player honors.
After the tournament Coach Amaral commented: “Although not a great week of practice, which tends to happen at this time of year with the addition of a full course load, I was pleased with how aggressive and consistent our serving has been. All the serving work and situational volleyball in practice is paying off. We now lead all of NJCAA Division II with 241 Aces! We still need a lot of work and have a tough stretch of games coming up but I am confident if the girls want it, we will be headed back to Nationals this year.”
The next match for the Lady Knights will be this Tuesday the 26th when they will host the Bulldogs of Bunker Hill CC for a Region XXI showdown beginning at 6:00pm.
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The Community College of Rhode Island, New England’s largest comprehensive community college, enrolls nearly 16,000 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.