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From fall to spring, Knights enjoy success both on and off the field in 2022–23

From fall to spring, Knights enjoy success both on and off the field in 2022–23

Ushering in a new era of Athletics, the Community College of Rhode Island enjoyed another successful academic year on and off the playing field in 2022–23.

Spurred by the hashtag #InWithTheNew, the Knights exceled across three seasons, earning three NJCAA Division III Region XXI championships, two NJCAA National Tournament appearances, two All-Americans, 30 All-Region XXI selections, three Region XXI Coach of the Year recipients, and 43 student-athletes who qualified for the NJCAA Region XXI Honor Roll.

Led by Region XXI Coach of the Year Patrick Chin and sophomore co-captains Madison Capwell and Kelsey Conway (Coventry, RI), the women’s volleyball team finished 11-1 – their best win percentage since the 1991 season – won its second consecutive Region XXI title, and came within one win of a trip to the nationals. CCRI opened the season 6-0, which was its best start since 2006, and finished with one loss for just the third time in program history. Capwell, one of our for All-Region XXI selections for volleyball, finished No. 1 in the nation in service aces per set.

The men’s soccer team reached new heights under Region XXI Coach of the Year Gabe Toro. After a slow start in September, the Knights regained their 2022 form and won five of their final seven, which includes three consecutive wins in the Region XXI Tournament to capture their first regional title since 2001 and qualify for the D-III National Tournament for the first time in program history. Four Knights earned All-Region honors, including sophomore Roy Barrios (Pawtucket, RI), who was a Second Team NJCAA All-American after leading the Knights with 24 points and finishing among the top 30 in the nation in goals, points, and shots.

Women’s soccer returned to the pitch for the first time since 2019 under the guidance of new head coach Jeff Patten after losing two seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Patten rebuilt the program from the ground up, fielding a roster of all freshmen in 2023 as the Knights finished 4-4-1 and earned the No. 2 seed in the Region XXI Tournament. The Knights won all four games by shutout, anchored by goalkeeper Bailey Patton (Charlestown, RI), who was one of six All-Region selections for the Knights.

CCRI’s winning ways continued in the winter with the women’s basketball team earning its second consecutive Region XXI title and second consecutive trip to the D-III National Tournament under Region XXI Coach of the Year Doug Haynes. The Knights finished 19-6 overall and 9-0 in regional play and were ranked as high as No. 4 in the national during the regular season before finishing seventh overall. CCRI earned the No. 6 seed in the NJCAAs and won its opening round game to advance to the national tournament quarterfinals. Five players earned All-Region honors, highlighted by sophomore center Maggie Schwab (North Kingstown, RI), who led the nation in shooting percentage and was a Second Team NJCAA All-American.

The 2022–23 season marked a new era for men’s basketball, beginning during the offseason with longtime coach Rick Harris leaving the program. Former assistant and Providence College standout Marcus Douthit took over as the Knights’ new head coach and was immediately tasked with rebuilding a team that lost its top two players (Mitchel Noresca and Theo Jadotte) from the 2021-22 season. The Knights started slow, but reached their peak in February, winning 10 of their final 16 to finish 14-15 overall and earn the No. 8 seed in the Region XXI Tournament. Led by sophomore guard RJ Pina (Rumford, RI), a First Team All-Region XXI selection and one of two all-region players this season, the Knights finished 11th in the national in three-point field goal percentage and 16th in total points.

As the calendar shifted to the spring season, the Knights showed progress on the diamond as the baseball and softball programs improved dramatically from the previous season.

Softball began 2023 with a new home, moving to Brayton Park in Cranston, RI, for all its home games. After finding their rhythm during their spring trip to Myrtle Beach, the Knights hit the ground running in the northeast and ended the regular season with a 12-game winning streak to qualify for the Region XV Tournament. CCRI exceled offensively, finishing No. 1 in the nation in batting average and on-base percentage, fourth in slugging percentage and 18th in runs scored. The Knights posted a 15-7 overall record, led by freshman catcher Ashley Klingberg (Coventry, RI) and sophomore shortstop Lucie Willett (Charlestown, RI). Klingberg finished sixth in the nation in batting average (.600), seventh in on-base percentage (.626), and sixth in triples (7) while Willett led the Knights with four home runs in addition to batting .536 and driving in 30 runs in 20 games.

After winning only 10 games in 2022, the baseball team more than doubled its win total this year, finishing 24-15 overall and 18-3 in regional play. The Knights boasted win streaks of eight, five, and six games during the regular season and earned the No. 2 seed in the Region XXI Tournament in addition to handing eventual champion Northern Essex its only loss in league play. The pitching staff posted eight shutouts, which ranked fourth in the nation, and also ranked among the top 20 in the nation in batting average (.355), on-base percentage (.449), and slugging percentage (.502). Overall, eight Knights earned All-Region XXI honors in 2023 and four won Region XXI gold gloves. Freshmen Sam Laurie (Narragansett, RI), Sean Gallagher (Warwick, RI) and sophomores Caleb Harris (Cranston, RI) and Zak Thomas (North Providence, RI) were First Team selections.

In the classroom, 43 student-athletes qualified for the NJCAA Region XXI Honor Roll in the fall and spring semesters, which means they posted a 3.20 or higher GPA for the semester.

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