Warwick, R.I. – September 18, 2017: The CCRI Lady Knights volleyball team hosted five schools to the Flanagan Campus on Saturday the 16th for the 2017 CCRI Classic. The teams competing were: CCRI, Fashion Institute from Manhattan, NY, Nassau CC from Garden City, NY, Bunker Hill CC from Boston, MA, Northern Essex CC from Haverhill, MA and New Hampshire Tech from Concord, NH. After going 4-0 on the weekend, the Lady Knights' record has improved to 10-3.
The CCRI Lady Knights home opener started off with the first of many matches vs Northern Essex Community College this season. After defeating the NECC Knights in two commanding sets, the CCRI Lady Knights took their foot off the gas pedal to just squeak out set three 25-22. CCRI controlled the game with 21 aces and a serving efficiency of 91%! This kept NECC off balance and allowed CCRI to earn kills in easy transition plays. Emily Stengel (Cumberland, RI) led the team with nine aces while Shannon Moran (North Smithfield, RI) added four aces while Sam Elkas (Cumberland, RI) added five aces. Roselyn Vasquez (Providence, RI) continued to play well finishing the match with 10 kills and Co-Captain Setter Dahlia Rafael-Tirado (Providence, RI) finished with 27 assists and a block.
The second match for the Lady Knights in the Classic was against the Fashion Institute of Technology Tigers. The Tigers have always given the Knights a good match and this was no different. Once again, serving and defense kept the Tigers at bay however the Lady Knights made substantially more errors, 12 aces and 11 serving errors. The errors were made up with the relentless attack of Tara Watters (West Warwick, RI). Tara ended up with 17 of the Knights 33 kills hitting .400 in the match. That combined with a serving attack that kept the Tigers passing to a 1.91 (on a 3.0 scale) forced FIT into making a lot of errors helping CCRI to the overall No. 2 seed heading into playoffs.
After reseeding and a bye into the semifinals, CCRI would once again face FIT. Figuring FIT would make some adjustments, CCRI Head coach Will Amaral and Assistant Pat Chin made some adjustments of their own to help put the Knights on cruise control to the finals. Co-Captain Dahlia Rafael-Tirado “spread the wealth” on offense leading another relentless attack with 31 team kills where she amassed 29 assists. The Lady Knights also minimized their errors while still maintaining aggressive serving to finish with 16 team aces to only six errors and almost a 92% serving efficiency. Sam Elkas led all servers with six aces while adding six kills and two blocks. Angelis Perez (Central Falls, RI) had four aces and 12 digs while Tara Watters had another big game with eight kills, an ace, and 12 digs. Co-Captain Megan Johns (Oakland, RI) finished with seven kills and a block while Emily Stengel had four aces and 11 digs.
Nassau is becoming a familiar foe to the Lady Knights. These are always high-energy and tight matches. CCRI was not about to let someone beat them at their own tournament and was determined to be victorious. After winning the first set, the Lady Knights were down 9-2 in the second set when Nassau’s setter came up limp. She battled through the game but CCRI exploited Nassau’s weaknesses and came back to win in another dramatic display 27-25. Early in the third set, Nassau’s setter could not continue and they made a position switch where their other middle hitter took over setting duties. The girls knew that with Nassau’s reserve setting, Nassau’s middle attack was actually stronger and we had lost to them with this switch early in the Dragon Invite. They didn’t wait around, put their foot on the gas and pounded the Lions with aggressive serving and consistent attack. Primetime performer Roselyn Vasquez came alive in the finals, like she usually does and finished with 11 kills. Tara Watters backed her up with 12 kills, two aces, and 13 digs. Angelis Perez and Emily Stengel controlled the back court with 18 digs and nine digs respectively while also adding three aces for Perez and one ace for Stengel. Dahlia again finished with a strong showing of 30 assists, two aces, four digs, and a block.
Head Coach Will Amaral commented after winning the CCRI Classic: “Our CCRI home opener was FANtastic! We had an electric crowd all day and went a perfect 12-0 on the day. Our girls finished with 59 Aces, 223 digs, 123 kills, 117 assists, and 8 blocks!”
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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.