The CCRI women’s soccer team advanced to the District E Championship game to play No. 11 ranked (NJCAA Division I poll) Mustangs of Monroe College from New Rochelle, NY on Sunday at the CCRI soccer complex in Lincoln. The Lady Knights lost to the Mustangs 2-1. With the loss the Lady Knights' season comes to an end with an impressive 11-7-1 record. With the victory the Mustangs advance to the NJCAA Division I Women's Soccer National Championship Tournament to be held November 19-24th at Eastern Florida State College in Melbourne, FL.
As the first half of play began both teams were pushing hard as the play went back and forth. But just five minutes into the half the Mustang’s midfielder Ana Rodriques scored on a header off of a free kick that was awarded right outside the 18 yard box giving Monroe a 1-0 lead. CCRI was awarded a free kick from about 22 yards out. Freshman midfielder Stepheny Perez (Providence, RI) scored on a beautiful “rocket” shot that went directly in the Monroe goal up high but the goal was unfortunately called back by the referee because the kick was ruled an indirect kick and not a direct kick. Both teams battled back and forth throughout the half until Monroe’s forward Taylor O’Leary scored on a sliding effort in front of the CCRI goal giving the Mustangs a commanding 2-0 half time lead with nine minutes remaining in the half.
As the second half of play began both teams battled hard with each having some scoring opportunities. About halfway through the second half CCRI pressured the Monroe defense. With a scramble in front of the Mustang’s goal, freshman midfielder Carla Porras (Narragansett, RI) scored cutting the Monroe lead in half at 2-1. Sophomore forward Melissa Richards (Coventry, RI) assisted on the goal. Both defensive corps were up for the task throughout. However, CCRI never gave up and kept pressuring the Mustangs goal with some real quality scoring chances. Play continued to go back and forth but the Lady Knights just couldn’t get the equalizer with time running out on the clock. The Mustangs prevailed with the final score 2-1.
Head Coach Dennis Grassini commented after the game: “Coach Bannan and I are so proud of our team. They made a very respectable showing this weekend in defeating the nationally ranked No. 14 Monroe Community College on Saturday to get to the District Championship game and taking the No. 10 ranked team in the nation right down to the wire in the final. Losing one of our Captain’s, Paige Oram (Burrillville, RI), to injury in the first half and for the rest of the game hurt us a bit as well. However, our team never gave up once this weekend! Our Tri-Captain goalkeeper Alex Place (East Greenwich, RI) played outstanding this weekend and our other Tri-Captain Betti Worth (Manchester, England) did an outstanding job of 'man marking' and shutting down one of the Mustang’s best player. Our team has nothing to be ashamed of. They left everything they had on the field and as a coach you cannot ask for anything more than that."
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.