For the first time in school history, the Community College of Rhode Island’s men’s soccer team reached the NJCAA National Tournament after winning the Region XXI title last …
For the first time in school history, the Community College of Rhode Island’s men’s soccer team reached the NJCAA National Tournament after winning the Region XXI title last month.
Although the Knights came up short at nationals, they enjoyed a big run in 2022 and became the most successful team in program history.
“All year we’ve been on them. We saw glimpses of what they were able to do but it was just staying consistent. We’d see eight, 10 minutes of unbelievable play but then they would just shut it off. I think toward the end of the season and then when we were one and done, that is what turned it on for them,” said CCRI coach Gabe Toro, who was also named the NJCAA Northeast District Coach of the Year.
Matt Gibeau agreed with Toro, feeling that he and his teammates turned it on when the lights were their brightest.
“Being in the playoffs, you need to have another gear that switches on and that is what happened with all of us. That switch flipped and it all kind of happened at once,” said Gibeau.
The Knights finished the regular season with the No. 3 seed for its regional playoff run. CCRI rolled in the postseason and beat Holyoke in the district championship, 5-1. CCRI entered the national tournament with a 7-6-1 overall record.
The entire CCRI roster is made up of Rhode Islanders, and members of the team feel that this season’s success shows that the local soccer scene is on the rise.
“(Rhode Island) soccer is growing, the talent is getting better, and it shows that CCRI can do it and be as good as anyone else,” said Gibeau.
Toro added: “It shows that the development in the state is getting better. A lot of these guys come from different academies and they know each other. They’ve competed against each other in those AAU type levels and we’re seeing the end product here.”
Sophomore Jake Petrucci was also thrilled to make history with a group of guys that he has become close with this fall.
“We knew that we wanted to come down here, impact the school and make history. We have a bunch of talent on this team and it all connected,” Petrucci said. “When the team came together, we had a lot of late players come in. We were a family instantly and now we’re somebody to be reckoned with.”
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