By C.J. Peterson @CJPETERSON51
The Las Positas Hawks took a step towards reaching the top of that mountain when they beat the undefeated Chabot Gladiators at home on Friday, Sept. 30, 2016 with a final score of 2-0.
Heading into the inter-district matchup, the Hawks entered the game with a 5-3-2 record on the season.
One of the three captains for the Hawks, Marco Neves, ranked 5th in the state among community college center forwards in California. He began the day with 12 goals scored on the year.
The Hawks began the game very aggressive taking a significantly higher amount of shots on goal compared to Chabot.
They were unable to cash in on the opportunities presented towards them however, as several shots sailed above the goal or bent wide preventing the Hawks from taking an early lead against the Gladiators.
The game also started very chippy. Several fouls called against both schools resulted in extended instances of stoppage time.
Slide tackles, tripping, and kicking penalties also raised tempers in the first half transforming the game from a simple regular season game, to a physical grudge match in which neither team was willing to back down from.
When asked about potential history and bad blood between two schools, Las Positas head coach Andrew Cumbo said, “I don’t think there was any history. I think our guys were motivated to play them, they’ve been undefeated. I think they only gave up three goals all season. Our guys were up for the game.”
Chippiness would turn out to be a common theme for the game as the slow paced, defensive match revolved around the physicality of both teams.
The first goal of the game wound come from Marco Neves, who was awarded a penalty kick in the 32’ of the first half after being tripped inside of the goal area.
The Hawks would end the half leading 1-0 as they looked to finish the game strong.
Cumbo told the team, “Keep your composure. There had been a lot of tackles and talking, and my thing was our objective was to win the game and we’ll do it as long we stay focussed on keeping our composure.”
Coming out of the half, the approach from Las Positas changed as their once aggressive demeanor morphed into a more defensive mentality stacking their players behind the midfield mark.
“I wasn’t too worried about them generating too much in the second half unless we made mistakes in our half. So we tried to press them in the second half and the objective was to try to steal a pass or two and maybe we get a goal,” said coach Cumbo about his second half approach.
The amount of shots taken on goal by Chabot grew exponentially which left the game in the hands of the Hawks goal keeper Julio Naranjo.
Several saves and blocks would prevent Chabot from scoring at all and would allow Las Positas to retain the 1-0 lead throughout the second half.
Ten minutes of stoppage time added on to the second half would give Chabot one last chance to make something happen.
But they would not be able to capitalize on the opportunity.
A last minute goal scored by Antonio Jiminez would seal the victory for the Hawks as the game ended with a final score of 2-0.
After the game, in regards to beating the previously undefeated Gladiator team, Marco Neves said, “Just with the animosity that was going on during the game, just to get that win, it was even better that they were undefeated, we just have to keep that riding for the rest of the season.”
Looking forward, the Las Positas Hawks have a divisional matchup against Cabrillo College from Aptos, Calif. on Friday, Oct. 7, 2016.
If the Hawks hope to continue the ascension to the top of the mountain that is the California Community College Athletic Association, they will need to continue their winning ways and secure their own division.