The CCRI women’s soccer team opened the season this past weekend with a road trip to Maryland. The Lady Knights lost 2-0 to the College of Southern Maryland on Saturday and fell 3-2 to Harford Community College on Sunday.
The Hawks from Southern Maryland came out strong and hard right from the opening kickoff on Saturday and dominated most of the play. Goalkeeper and tri-captain Alex Place (East Greenwich) kept the Hawks at bay by making some spectacular saves, including one on a penalty kick. The game was scoreless at halftime.
In the second half, the Hawks came out strong once again continuously slicing through the Lady Knights’ defense and creating multiple quality scoring chances. Place came up big to keep the game tied, but the Hawks finally broke the ice when they scored on a breakaway in the 23rd minute of the second half. Just two minutes later, the Hawks scored again for a commanding 2-0 advantage. CCRI responded with its best pressure of the game, but the Hawks held on.
“They had us back on our heels right from the start today and we were totally out of sync defensively,” head coach Dennis Grassini said. “They are no doubt a very deep and talented team. We just couldn’t seem to generate any offensive chances until the last 20 minutes of the match. Alex Place was just tremendous in goal for us today. Betti Worth was also outstanding today but the Hawks were the better team.”
The Lady Knights had little time to rest as they headed to Bel Air, Md., on Sunday to take on the Fighting Owls of Harford. CCRI was the aggressor in the early going, but Harford took a 1-0 lead in the 33rd minute of play. Four minutes later Harford’s Evie Powell scored on a breakaway, making the score 2-0.
The Lady Knights battled back, and just a couple of minutes later CCRI tri-captain Betti Worth (Manchester, England) scored on a header from a corner kick served by Jessica Hammond (Warwick), putting the Lady Knights back within a goal.
However, the Owls kept pressing and in the 25th minute of play they scored again, making the score 3-1 on a goal from Korey Carroll. Ten minutes later, the Lady Knights once again closed the gap on a breakaway goal by freshman forward Stepheny Perez (Providence) as she was sent in alone on a pass from sophomore tri-captain Paige Oram (Burrillville). The teams went into the Halftime break with the score 3-2.
In the second half, Place made several big saves to keep Harford off the board. With just 20 seconds left, CCRI was awarded a penalty shot with the opportunity to tie the game, but the kick went low and wide of the goal.
“Defensively we need to make lots of corrections as we gave up much too many scoring opportunities,” Grassini said. “Without the spectacular play of Alex Place the score could have been much different today. Losing our first two matches of the season is something we are just not used to doing. Hopefully we can learn from this weekend and move forward.”
The next game for the Lady Knights will be Saturday, when they travel to New Rochelle, N.Y., to play the Mustangs of Monroe College at 3 p.m.