Skip to Main ContentSearch Site

Knights gear up for weekend fall playoff tripleheader

Knights gear up for weekend fall playoff tripleheader

Regional supremacy is up for grabs as the Community College of Rhode Island’s fall varsity teams gear up for an exciting weekend playoff tripleheader.

The college’s volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer teams are in action Saturday and Sunday in their respective NJCAA Division III Region XXI tournaments.

Volleyball, the two-time defending regional champion, aims for its third consecutive title as the No. 3 seed in this year’s regional tournament Sunday at Northern Essex Community College. The fourth-seeded men’s soccer team advanced to the semifinals earlier this week with a win over No. 5 Springfield Tech in the quarterfinals at the college’s Lincoln Campus and now travels to top-seeded Northern Essex on Saturday at 1 pm for a semifinal showdown needing two more wins to defend its regional championship.

Women’s soccer, seeded first overall in Region XXI following a perfect 8-0 finish in league play, also begins its postseason run Saturday at noon in Lincoln when it hosts No. 4 seed Bunker Hill Community College in the regional semifinals. The women are aiming for their first regional title since 2014 and first trip to the NJCAA National Tournament since 2009.

Led by sophomore outside hitters Madison Dessert (Coventry, RI) and Kaylie Cabral (Tiverton, RI) and freshman setter Brea Alves (West Warwick, RI), volleyball enters this year’s tournament having won five consecutive matches and is one of four schools competing for the 2023 regional title. The road to the NJCAAs is more direct than in year’s past; when the Knights won the regional title in 2021 and 2022, they had to play the Region XV champion to win the Northeast District championship and the automatic bid in the NJCCAs. With the national tournament field expanding from 12 to 16 teams (12 automatic bids and four at-large selections), the Region XXI winner now earns the automatic bid as the Northeast representative, meaning CCRI would no longer have to play an additional district championship game to qualify if it survives this weekend’s regional tournament.

Standing in the way of a potential three-peat in the semifinal round is No. 2 seed Bunker Hill, which finished 14-2 overall and in league play and beat CCRI twice during the regular season. Should the Knights advance to the finals, which are scheduled for 3 pm Sunday, they would likely play top-seeded Northern Essex, which finished 21-0 overall and 15-0 in league play. Sunday's semifinal match between the Knights and Bulldogs is scheduled for 4 pm.

After an unprecedented run to the NJCAA D-III National Tournament in 2022, men’s soccer is two wins away from a return trip in 2023. The Knights, anchored by freshman forward Sebastian Velez (North Providence, RI), who scored twice in this week’s semifinal win over Springfield Tech and led the team in scoring during the regular season, finished 4-6-2 this year and will face top-seeded Northern Essex in Saturday’s 1 pm semifinal showdown. Northern Essex boasts a 7-0-1 record in league play this year, including a 4-0 win over CCRI on October 10. The Knights are hoping for a repeat of 2022 when they traveled to Bunker Hill for the regional semifinals and took down the Bulldogs, 1-0, to advance to the finals.

In only its third season since 2019 and second under head coach Jeff Patten, women’s soccer is poised for a deep playoff run behind the freshman duo of Tessa Cost (Greenville, RI) and Margeory Giron-Reyes (Providence, RI), who combined for 43 points during the regular season, and sophomores Catherine Beazley (Kingston, RI) and Bailey Patton (Charlestown, RI) anchoring the defense. Patton started all 11 games in net and posted a sensational 0.91 goals against average – ranked 14th in the nation – with six shutout victories.

The Knights breezed through league play during the regular season, outscoring their regional rivals by a combined 39-2 with six shutouts in eight games. CCRI opens the 2023 tournament at noon against the Bulldogs, followed by a 2 pm semifinal showdown between Quinsigamond and Holyoke, also at Lincoln. The regional championship is Sunday at noon in Lincoln.

Share on Social Media