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By @ArionArmeniakos

The nationally ranked Las Positas College men’s soccer team is in high spirits and raring to go. Straight into what could be a tricky 2018-19 season.

The Las Positas Hawks men’s soccer team finished last season ranked No. 16 in the nation by the United Soccer Coaches junior college, division three rankings. Just last month, the same organization released its preseason rankings, guess who was still No. 16? Las Positas College.

Being nationally ranked is quite the feat for the program. But the Hawks may have a hard time maintaining that status this season. The program lost a number of key players from last year’s roster that made it to the second round of the California Community College Athletic Association play-offs. Six of those departing players were good enough to receive individual honors.

That leaves a high bar for this year’s team to clear. A lot of that burden will fall on one of the returning top performers, Ali Amin’s shoulders, who got selected for the North Coast Second Team last season. It also means that coach Andrew Cumbo will need instant production from all of the newly recruited players.

“I like our team a lot,” Cumbo said. “The returning players have developed well in the offseason and we have a number of quality players joining us. We have a talented team and a lot of depth.”

Besides Amin adopting more of a leadership role, fellow returning sophomore players such as goalkeeper Kyle Rudd and midfielder Nathan Robinson will play a crucial role in helping the Hawks maintain their spot in the rankings.

Cumbo is also hoping his recruitment efforts will pay off having landed some highly rated players this off season.

One player who is joining the ranks of the Hawks men’s soccer team is Oscar Munoz. Munoz scored 57 goals in 82 games during his four years on the Freedom High School varsity team. Former Livermore High School soccer captain, Ian Slominski, is another newcomer that will need to deliver the goods from the get go this upcoming season.

The team will need to deliver soon, because the schedule is daunting. Going undefeated in conference play, as they did last season, will prove difficult. Four of the Hawks’ 13 conference games are against nationally ranked opposition: No. 11 West Valley, No. 12 Hartnell, No.18 Skyline and No. 20 San Francisco.

If the Hawks make the California Community College Athletics Association playoffs, it would be the third time for coach Cumbo in as many years.

Coach Cumbo declared, “We take things one day at a time, one game at a time. Each year we competed in the league and advanced to the playoffs. My first year was very successful, and our second year was even more successful. I think we have the talent and drive to have another positive year.”

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