The best season for LPC soccer since 1997.
That’s what the 2013 Hawks were able to achieve as they got back to the playoffs for the first time in over a decade.
Although they fell short of where they wanted to end up as they were eliminated in round two of the postseason, Head Coach Larry Aguiar says his team has nothing to be ashamed of.
“Would we have liked to have done better? Yes,” Aguiar said. “But these guys put in a lot of hard work throughout the season and I’m proud of them.”
The season officially came to an end on Nov. 26 in Salinas when the team was on the losing end of a 2-0 shutout to Hartnell College.
With the loss still fresh in their minds, returning players can’t wait for an opportunity of redemption next season.
Chief among those is Freshman Dennis Andrade who is wasting no time as he has already started training for next season.
“This ending has me motivated for next season,” Andrade said. “I want to be a leader on this team next year. I want to take my game to the next level.”
Making the playoffs was a surprise to many, but how they got there may have come as even more of a shock.
To say the team started off slow would be an understatement.
The Hawks lost four of their first five games and appeared to be on their way to another losing season.
However, this year’s squad refused to let that tradition continue.
“They became one big family,” Aguiar said. “Outside of soccer they were really bonding. I think that’s why they were so successful. They played as a team.”
Whatever the team did to spark a turnaround obviously worked.
The team proceeded to win their next six games in a row and only lost three times in their final 16 games, catapulting them into the playoffs.
Heading into their first playoff game on the road against fifth ranked Taft, the 12th ranked Hawks were huge underdogs.
Just making the playoffs would have been enough for some, but the Hawks were able to stun Taft College in penalty kicks.
“That was the highlight of the season,” Darren Sanchez said. “There’s no better feeling than winning in penalties.”
Looking ahead to next season, the Hawks will have a number of players returning looking to build on their newfound success.
The chemistry formed in 2013 will have to continue
into next season if they want to go back to the postseason. “Unselfish play is the key,” Aguiar said. “If they buy into playing as a team, we can get back there next season.”