Blogs | Eric Benevides

Fall cleaning on a rainy Friday

With Mother Nature making the final days of summer miserable and pulling the plug on a lot of outdoor sporting events, here's a good chance to do a little fall cleaning in my office, not just at my desk, but in some notes that I have stashed away and scattered around my workspace ...

• Once again, a good percentage of the Rhode Island College women’s tennis team is from our readership, and leading the locals this fall are RIC’s second doubles team of senior Isabella Romeo of Greenville and junior Katherine Braganca of Pawtucket, which earned Second Team All-Little East Conference honors in doubles after posting a 12-3 record last year. Braganca is also playing third singles this season.

Three area freshmen are also on the roster. Former North Smithfield High standout Hailey Raskob is playing fifth singles, ex-Smithfield High star Emily Orticerio is playing first doubles, and Olivia Campanelli, who graduated this year from Ponaganset, is also a key part of the team.

A couple more local ties? The head coach is Adam Spring, who is a former Smithfield High coach and has taught at SHS for the past two decades, and his assistant is Campanelli’s sister, Olivia, who was an excellent player for RIC and the Chieftains.

• It may be a Massachusetts college, but there are a record 19 Rhode Island players on this year’s University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth (Mass.) football team. On the Corsairs’ roster are former St. Raphael Academy wide receiver Kevin Gonzalez, Lincoln High defensive lineman Tom Janicki, North Providence High offensive lineman Christian Sermos, and Shea defensive lineman Isaiah Ortiz.

• Thumbs up to Washington Redskins safety and Rhode Island native Will Blackmon for buying new adidas home jerseys for the Tolman High football team – the Tigers are going back to the future and wearing their ‘old school’ red colors instead of their black. Blackmon, who starred at Bishop Hendricken in the early 2000s, has a connection with the Tigers – his father, Wayne, is a first-year assistant on the coaching staff.

• Upset of the high school fall season? Cumberland’s five-set win over previously unbeaten (and defending state champion) Barrington in girls’ volleyball really dropped a lot of jaws around the state, especially since the Clippers (pictured) entered the match with a 1-4 record.

• While on the topic of girls’ volleyball, nearly a quarter of the head coaches in the state (10 out of 42) are brand new, including two local ones: Lincoln’s Kyle Medeiros and St. Raphael’s Eric Silveira.

• And former Ponaganset High All-State girls’ setter Taylor Stevens is now an assistant coach at Wheaton College. Stevens, who graduated from Stonehill College last spring, was also a standout for the Skyhawks and finished her collegiate career with 2,274.

• Former Mount Saint Charles cheerleader (and 2010 graduate) Brittany Dickie, who spent four seasons (2013-16) as a cheerleader for the New England Patriots, is now an assistant coach on the cheerleading staff.

• I’m not a fan of the Rhode Island Interscholastic League’s new website. And I know I’m not alone.

• All signs are pointing to the Ponaganset High football team playing its very first home game under its newly constructed lights on Friday, Oct. 13, at 7 p.m. when the Chieftains welcome the Juanita Sanchez/Wheeler/PCD co-op team to town.

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