CCRI hosted the Tri-State Invitational Cross Country Meet on Saturday at the cross country courses on the CCRI Flanagan Campus in Lincoln. The Lady Knights did not have any competitors in the race, while the Knights’ men’s team did run as a team and finished seventh out of 10 teams with 157 points.
The Knights were led by David Palkovic (Middletown) who ran a strong race, placing second by the narrow margin of .45 seconds. Palkovic ran the second fastest time of his career – 27 minutes, 25.86 seconds. In the final 300 meters, Palkovic and John Green from Wheaton College were in an all-out sprint to see who would win, with both exchanging the lead until Green had one final push with about 20 meters left to narrowly edge Palkovic at the finish line.
The second runner for the Knights was Britton Laney (Pascoag) in a personal-best time of 31:23.91 to place 31st. Laney was followed by Isaiah Hector (Warwick), who placed 35th in a time of 31:46.65, his best time of the season. Daniel Duquette (North Attleboro, Mass.) placed 40th in a time of 31:51.79, while Joseph Gareri (Uxbridge, Mass.) rounded out the Knights’ effort with a 65th-place finish in a time of 37:08.96.
The next meet for the Knights will be Oct. 18, when they travel to Emmanuel College to compete in the Emmanuel Saints Invite beginning at 4 p.m.
Knights’ soccer drops two
The CCRI men’s soccer team traveled to West Windsor, New Jersey on Sunday to play Mercer Community College in their second game of the weekend and fell 2-0. CCRI lost on Saturday to Monroe College. With the losses, the Knights’ record drops to 2-8 on the season.
After the loss to Monroe, the Knights’ coaching staff encouraged the team to let the ball do the running against Mercer and to utilize each other to become a more dangerous team.
The Knights’ game plan paid dividends, as the team delivered a solid first half defensively led by Andrew Grenier (Greenville), Adam Couto (Plainfield, Conn.), Jean Arenas (Cranston) and Christopher Quinn (Cranston). The game was scoreless at the half.
Robert Gallucci (Coventry) made some impressive one-on-one saves to keep the Knights’ in the game, before Mercer was finally able to find the back of the net near the midway point of the second half to make it a 1-0 game.
The Knights fought hard and sustained offensive pressure late in the game, with their best offensive chance coming on a Quinn cross that Junior Robert (Providence) headed just inches wide of the net.
However, Mercer put the game out of reach with about two minutes left, scoring for the 2-0 lead.
“I felt that many players increased their soccer knowledge and learned how to be competitive through adversity and tough conditions,” head coach Gabe Toro said. “Most of my guys have heart, determination, and grit and those who did not before this weekend, have it now.”
Against Monroe, the Knights lost 6-0. They knew what they were up against coming into the game, as Monroe had scored a combined 39 goals in its previous three games to go along with an overall record of 8-0-2. To make things worse, the Knights were again fighting off injuries and could only keep Monroe off of the scoreboard for the first 30 minutes.
“Luis Navas and Rob Gallucci in particular had good games for us,” Toro said. “Andrew Grenier and Adam Couto also did well playing on the back line for us, but eventually we had some breakdowns and Monroe was able to capitalize on their opportunities.”
Lady Knights go 0-2 in weekend set
The CCRI women’s soccer game played a pair of games over the weekend and lost both, falling to nationally-ranked Navarro College on Saturday and losing to Monroe Community College on Sunday. CCRI is now 6-6-1.
Against Monroe, CCRI thought it had broken a scoreless tie on a header by Paige Oram, but a foul call negated the goal. With less than 10 minutes remaining in the half, Monroe’s Samantha Greenhager was sent in alone for a breakaway goal assisted by Katie Knell, giving the Tribunes a 1-0 advantage at the half.
In the second half Monroe pressed the Lady Knights right away. That strategy worked for Monroe as, in the third minute of play, Sabrina DeBellis scored on a perfectly-placed shot low and into the corner of the CCRI goal on another pass from Katie Knell. With the score 2-0, the teams battled back and forth until Monroe scored again with under three minutes left in the match. Lady Tribune Alexis Dalberth scored on yet another assist from Knell, her third assist on the day.
“We only played one quality half today and you are not going to beat quality teams with that kind of an effort,” head coach Dennis Grassini said. “Monroe is our rival and we need to play better than we did today to come out on top.”
Against Navarro, a team from Corsicana, Texas, and the No. 4 ranked team in the NJCAA, the Lady Knights played well most of the way before a late burst led to a 5-1 loss.
The Lady Knights played the Bulldogs even through most of the first half of play until the 37th minute, when Navarro broke the ice on a goal by Natalia Torres and took a 1-0 lead into halftime break.
As the second half began the Lady Knights came out with the same spark and determination as they tried to get the equalizer. In the second minute of play, Lady Knights’ defender Taylor Lopes (Cumberland) served a ball up into the Navarro defensive third of the field. After a scramble in front of the net sophomore midfielder Melissa Richards (Coventry) scored on a pass from freshman forward Carla Porras (Narragansett) knotting the score at 1-1.
However, just nine minutes later, Navarro forward and leading scorer Trudi Carter scored to give the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead. CCRI fought back hard only trailing by a goal, but 20 minutes later Navarro’s Carter scored again, giving Navarro a 3-1 advantage. A short time later the Lady Knights put themselves in a deeper hole when they gave up a goal to Melina Prado with just under 10 minutes left in the contest. Finally, with four minutes remaining Torres scored her second goal of the game making the final score 5-1.
“Despite the final score we are proud of what our team accomplished today against a very good top five team,” Grassini said. “We had our chances and stayed with them for two thirds of the match. We out corner kicked them 5-0 but unfortunately we didn’t make the most of our opportunities today. You can’t play just 60 minutes out of a 90 minute game and expect to come out on top of a team like Navarro.”