Warwick, R.I. – September 19, 2016: On Sunday afternoon the Lady Knights volleyball advanced play-off round of the CCRI Volleyball Classic on the CCRI Flanagan Campus in Lincoln. The Lady Knights continued their perfect weekend by going 2-0 to raise their overall record to 12-2 while avenging their only defeat(s) of the season to Howard CC in a thrilling Championship match! In the semi-finals CCRI beat Harford 3-1 and in the finals they defeated Howard CC 3-1. The Lady Knights are now 12-2 overall and 1-0 in Region XXI play.
The Lady Knights found themselves in the same spot as they were in the Dragon Invitational ibn Columbia, MD a few weeks ago. Harford is a great team offensively and defensively. They really push the Lady Knights to work hard and as a unit. Head Coach Sam Amaral commented “When it comes to playing Harford, we had to play as a team not as individuals. After a few time outs and some time to settle in, the girls played hard and won the game in four.” Leading the way for the Lady Knights was Dahlia Rafael-Tirado (Warwick, RI) had 27 assists, a kill, two aces and 11 digs. Melanie Diaz (New Bedford, MA) had eight kills, two aces and 26 digs. Tri-Captain Mackenzie Easterbrooks (Plainville, MA) had an assist and 29 digs. Tri-Captain Amanda LaCroix (East Freetown, MA) had 11 kills, two aces, 29 digs and a block. Alexis Mirabile (Cranston, RI) had five kills, four digs and a block while Angelis Perez (Central Falls, RI) finished with 29 digs.
Howard Community College is the only team to beat CCRI this year. They are a very strong offensive team who make minimal mistakes. This was the one team that the Lady Knights wanted to play and really wanted to win. After losing the first game 16-25 the Lady Knights switched sides and huddled up. In the huddle Coach Amaral had great words of encouragement for her Lady Knights “I reminded them that this was THEIR house, THEIR time to shine, THEIR time to win! The only way they could do it is if they played like a team.” The coaches made the same adjustments as they did versus Delaware Tech and that along with the tremendous pride they always play with were a game changers. The Lady Knights pulled together and in Coach Amaral’s words “showed me the muscles” and went to win the match. She added “I couldn’t be more proud of my girls and how they played. This game they played for themselves and for my family.” She went on to thank her players “Thank you girls for your support, your strength and your encouragement during this time of grieving for my family. You reminded me again why I coach every year! I am so proud of the women you are and are becoming.”
Dahlia Rafael-Tirado had 30 assist, two aces and 13 digs. Melanie Diaz had seven kills, an ace and 27 digs. Tri-Captain Amanda LaCroix finished with four kills one ace and 17 digs. Alexis Mirabile had eight kills and seven very big blocks! Meghan Johns (Burrillville, RI) had three kills and three digs. Tri-Captain Hailey Smith (Cumberland, RI) had four kills and three digs.
Coach Amaral also added a comment on the CCRIs efforts at the net blocking “Our blocking even if it wasn’t for a point was another important reason we won. We made the other team think about how to hit the ball and avoid our big blocks. They slowed down while we sped up! Great job girls! The entire coaching staff is so very proud of you for earning the trophy on our home court!”
The next match for the Lady Knights will be this Thursday when they host the Lady Bulldogs of Bunker Hill CC from Boston, MA for a match at 7:00pm on the Flanagan Campus in Lincoln, RI.
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.