The time for celebrating their playoff berth is over.
The LPC men’s soccer team is hard at work preparing for their first round postseason match.
The No. 12 ranked Hawks learned on Tuesday that they would have to head to Taft, California, a small city just outside of Bakersfield, for a showdown with the No. 5 ranked Taft College Cougars on Nov. 23.
“We’re ready,” Head Coach Larry Aguiar said. “The guys have been working hard in practice. They know what’s at stake.”
Taft had an overall record of 12-5-2, including an undefeated record in conference play.
Their squad was led by forward Rogelio Sustaita who was among the conference leaders in points with 22.
Although Taft has a great scorer, Aguiar is more concerned with their defense.
“They (Taft) didn’t give up a single goal in their final five games,” Aguiar said. “We have to find a way to break through their defense.”
One of those players who will be looking to find a way to score is midfielder Adrian Lopez. Road games are always tough; playoff road games are even more difficult. The environment tends to get a little more hostile for the away team. Despite all this, Lopez feels confident in the team’s ability.
“It doesn’t matter where we play,” Lopez said. “We’ve won on the road before. We can do it again.”
The way postseason soccer works is simple. You win, you move on to the next round. You lose and your season is over. With nearly a four-hour drive to Taft, the Hawks are hoping it will be a happy drive home.
“As long as we play unselfish and as a team, we can beat anybody,” Aguiar said.
While Taft features a stout defense and players who can score, LPC has some standouts of its own. One player to keep an eye on is goalkeeper Douglas Mcneill. The second-year player finished the season with a Goals Against Average of 1.2857.
That mark was among the leaders in the Coast Conference. If the Hawks want to avoid an early exit from the playoffs, they will need a strong showing from their goalkeeper.