Warwick, R.I. – November 18, 2014: the Lady Knights' soccer season recently ended and they received some great news with seven players being named to the All-region XXI team. The All-region members included: Co-Captain Stepheny Perez (Providence, RI), Ashley LeClair (Westerly, RI), Carla Porras (Narragansett, RI), Co-Captain Lauren Cattani (Cranston, RI), Selena Canales (Cranston, RI), Jennifer Kilburn (Norton, MA), and Meghan Rousseau (Richmond, RI).
Stepheny Perez earns All-Region XXI honors for the second year in 2014 she was the top scorer for the Lady Knights with a team-high 10 goals was tied for the team-high with four assists for a total of 24 points. Last year she was tied for second on the team in scoring with seven goals and 12 assists for 26 total points giving her 17 goals and 16 assists for her career. Perez was the primary taker of corner kicks and set pieces for the Lady Knights and many of her services led to scoring opportunities for her and her teammates. With a combination of ball handling ability and a super strong leg she was always a scoring threat for CCRI from anywhere on the pitch. Head Coach Dennis Grassini commented on his dynamic playmaker: "Stepheny gave us fantastic free kicks for the past two seasons. Her corner kicks were second to none and her other free kicks were just deadly giving our team some important goals along the way. She will be difficult to replace."
Ashley LeClair is another two-time All-Region XXI honoree. LeClair was second on the Lady Knights in scoring with nine goals and two assist for 20 total points. She was another offensive weapon who could score in bunches like in her final home game as a Lady Knights' player where she scored all four of CCRI's goals in a 4-0- defeat of Regional foe Bunker Hill Community College. In her freshmen campaign she tallied five goals and one assist for 11 total points for a career total of 14 goals and three assists for 31 total points in 26 games. Coach Grassini added about his talented forward and midfielder: "Ashley has been a solid forward/midfielder for our program for the last two years scoring some very timely goals. She has great speed and finishes well. In two seasons with our program she scored 14 goals and assisted on three others for a total of 31 points in 26 games."
Carla Porras was the third of five two-time All-Region XXI honorees on the 2014 Lady Knights' squad. Porras may be the most dynamic ball handler on CCRI always able to weave in and out of defenders and opposing midfielders which often caused opposing team's defensive schemes to breakdown. Carla scored four goals with two assist for 10 total points as a sophomore which does not seem like a lot but many of the times she broke down the opponent's defense it led to the pass or situation that led to many of CCRI's scoring opportunities. As a freshman she was more of a pure scorer as she led the Lady Knights with 10 goals and seven assists to lead the 2013 squad with 27 points. As a sophomore Porras grew and became more of a play maker which made the team better as a whole. Coach Grassini added: "Carla is truly a talented player who gave our team a lot of excitement. Her foot skills are great and her passing ability is awesome. By far she is one of the best players in the region."
Co-Captain Lauren Cattani, another two-time All-Region XXI honoree, was a critical piece to the Lady Knights' defense over her two years at CCRI. Cattani is a tremendous leader who offered stability and balance to the Lady Knights' back line and helped lead the Lady Knights to 14 shutouts while she was a player at CCRI which is no easy task with the talented schedule they play year in and year out. She also added a goal as a sophomore showing she was not just a one dimensional defender because she could and did make plays on CCRI set pieces when they would occasionally bring defenders up the field. Coach Grassini added: "A team co-captain this season, she helped solidify our defense. She was truly a team leader this season helping to 'mold' our freshmen. She is a tough player who gave our team great backfield leadership."
Selena Canales was another multi-talented two-time All-Region XXI honoree. As a sophomore the Lady Knights used Canales' talent to solidify the defensive area. A converted midfielder and forward she showed that her skill set can translate anywhere on the field she was a top scorer in 2013 with 12 goals and two assists this year she did not score as a defender but made tremendous impact by helping thwart scoring opportunities against CCRI which helped them win many games. Coach Grassini added: "This season Selena was converted to a defender and she did a remarkable job. Last season as a forward she scored 12 goals and 2 assists for 26 points in just 17 games. She was a solid defender this season helping our very stingy defensive corps."
Freshman goalkeeper Jennifer Kilburn joins a growing list of outstanding CCRI keepers. Under the tutelage of goalkeeping guru and Associate Head Coach Kathy Bannan, a great keeper in her own right, Kilburn flourished as a freshman. In fact she was so good that she was named NJCAA Division I National Goalkeeper of the Week for the week of September 29th-October 5th. During that week she allowed just one goal in three victories for the Lady Knights. On October 1st she led the Lady Knights past Springfield Tech where she earned her fourth shutout of the year with an 8-0 victory. From their Kilburn recorded another critical shutout versus Mercer County Community College in a 0-0 double overtime thriller to earn her fifth shutout of the year and she capped her week with a 2-1 victory over a very formidable Essex County College squad. For the season Kilburn had an impeccable 1.28 Goals Against Average allowing just 21 goals in 16 games and 1,471:14 minutes in net while making a remarkable 134 saves making as one of the best seasons ever for CCRI. Grassini commented about Kilburn: "Jennifer is by far one of the best goalkeepers we have seen this season. She is a gamer! She worked hard and played every minute of every game this season giving up only 21 goals in 16 games for a 1.28 GAA. We look for even greater things from her next season."
The last but certainly not the least member of the Lady Knights All-Region XXI honorees was freshman Meghan Rousseau. Rousseau was another key cog in the CCRI defensive corps. Meghan is a phenomenal athlete with lightning fast speed that she used to close the gap on fleet footed attackers of the CCRI goal. There was never a ball or player that she could not track down which is one of the reasons she was often charged with marking the most dynamic players on opposing teams. Coach Grassini added about is talented freshman defender: "Whenever we needed an opponent 'man marked' Meghan was right there for us. Playing in a very unnatural position as a defender she was just outstanding shutting down our opponents top players all season long. She never came out of a game this season. We look for great things from her next season!"
With about two thirds of the Lady Knights squad poised to0 return for their sophomore campaigns the outlooks is very good for the Lady Knights in the 2015 season. Like every year the CCRI coaching staff will look to add more pieces to an already talented squad with the hope and goal of returning to the NJCAA Division I National Tournament in mid-November.
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.