Warwick, R.I. – September 6, 2016: The CCRI Lady Knights volleyball team continued play in the Howard Community College Dragon Invite on Sunday in Columbia, MD. The Lady Knights faced Howard in first game which they lost in three before beating Baltimore City College in the quarter finals 3-1 and Harcum College 3-1 in semi-finals before falling to Howard CC in the finals 3-0. With the 2-2 record on the second day of the Dragon invite the Lady Knights begin the season 7-2, their best start since 2012.
Well it had to happen sometime. Losing is always hard and the Lady Knights were shocked at how hard Howard played against them. With powerful pin hitters and serving, the Lady Knights struggled to keep up. Coach Amaral commented “We played their game not ours. I still have full faith that the Lady Knights are going to bring it in the semis. We started off very slow, but in each game we played better and harder. I am still very proud of my Lady Knights and know this loss will only make us better!” Tri-Captain Amanda LaCroix (East Freetown, MA) finished with 10 kills and 14 digs. Melanie Diaz (New Bedford, MA) finished with 15 digs. Tri-Captain Haley Smith had five kills, with sophomore Carol Rodriguez (Pawtucket, RI) not too far behind with four kills.
CCRI made it to the Quarter Finals versus Baltimore City College. Coach Amaral commented “I was so proud of my girls for finishing pool play 2-1, coming out second in our pool. The girls were hungry to continue to win. I have to say I was a little nervous because the girls had just lost their first game of the season only a few hours before.” In the first game CCRI served BCC off the court. Game two, three and four, Baltimore fought hard, taking one game from the CCRI. Amaral added “It’s always good to see the girls taking losing with grace and be able to battle back for the overall win.” Tri-Captain Mackenzie Easterbrooks (Plainville, CT) had an ace and 30 digs. Carol Rodriguez had six kills, two blocks and four digs. Tri-Captain Amanda LaCroix finished with 10 kills, three aces and 25 digs. Megan Johns (Burrillville, RI) had six kills, three aces, four digs and a block. Tri-Captain Haley Smith (Cumberland, RI) had four kills and three blocks. Dahlia Tirado (Warwick, RI) finished with 26 assist, two aces and three digs. In addition, Angelis Perez (Central Falls, RI) had four aces and six digs and Melanie Diaz finished with the match with eight kills, 26 digs and three aces.
“It was on to the Semifinals, what a game! I couldn’t believe it!” Exclaimed Coach Amaral The battle between two teams was intense. Point for point the entire match till the very end. The girls left everything they had on the court. Defense is what won this game. The Lady Knights played smart and utilized free balls. Each coach jumped from their seat when we finally won this game. LaCroix finished with 19 kills, two aces and 26 digs. Easterbrooks had 46 digs. Diaz was close behind her with 34 digs, an ace and nine kills. Rodriguez finished with three kills, two digs and two very big blocks while Smith had four kills and four blocks.
CCRI makes it to the Finals versus the very potent Howard CC Dragons! Coach Amaral said
“This was a hard match. My girls had played three games in a row and were in this gym from 10 am. We just ran out of steam. Howard brought their ‘A’ game and we just couldn’t defend it. Even though this was a tough loss, I was still so proud of my girls and what they accomplished this weekend! We did better each game.” Easterbrooks finished with 16 digs, Diaz finished with 26 digs and a kill. LaCroix had eight kills and 14 digs. Rodriguez had a kill and Katrice Bridges (Providence, RI) also finished with a kill.
The next matches for the Lady Knights will be Saturday September 17th when they host the CCRI Classic beginning at 9:00am on the CCRI Flanagan Campus in Lincoln.
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.