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If success were determined by wins, it would be hard to deem the Hawks a success story. They’ve lost the first 14 games of this season. That came on the heels of a 3-18 record last season, the first season since the program was stopped in 2020. Winning is simply not part of their program at the moment. 

But there are lessons in losses—victory being stacked up—that have nothing to do with the final scores. The women’s volleyball program is building something—the foundation of love for the game and the chance to grow as teammates. 

The women’s volleyball program started in 2018. Five years ago, led by coach Tracee Byrd, the Hawks won their first five games with a team that was assembled in a few weeks. They finished that inaugural season 10-8. They didn’t find as much success the following season, finishing 8-14. Then the pandemic wiped out the program.

But after two seasons with no team, Las Positas hired Jamie Hadenfeldt to take over the program in August 2022. The Hawks’ first game was two weeks later. The task is to build. Four players have been with Hadenfeldt on this journey: Chaney, Rachel Tuazon, C.J. Hernandez, and Stefanni Santos. 

Spend any time around this team, and it would be impossible to tell the women’s volleyball team lose practically every time they take the court. Their spirits are up, and their camaraderie is obvious. They can see the progress they’ve made already.

Sophomore outside hitter Melanie Chaney said, “I think we have more potential this year than last year.” “This season we have women with more experience, and we have more of a basis for the program and overall as a team playing higher-level volleyball.”

They won their first set in their sixth game, beating West Hills 25-9 in the opening set before losing the match in five sets. They won their first game at Skyline last October, sweeping in three sets. Their last win? Four games later at Contra Costa.

They’ve lost all of the 16 matches they’ve played since. But they did manage a moment of significance this season against their biggest rival: San Francisco. 

Five nights before the game, the Rams hosted the Hawks and blew out the visitors. San Francisco won in straight sets, by at least 12 points in each set. But when San Francisco came to Livermore on Sept. 27, the set was a blueprint for what was possible for the program. Working as a team, their energy, hustle, and communication were all there. Some of the women even got emotional after the game.

“That game was big for us. That felt amazing. It was so much fun. Coming from an outside perspective, there was so much drive to win. We were taking it slow, but we were determined to win that first set, and we actually did it,” Santos said.  

With two games left in the season, they finish their volleyball tenures at Las Positas knowing they accomplished the job of getting the program going again. They have experienced growth in both unity and personal development. They’ve poured the cement on which future Hawks can build.

“We are still working on getting something started and building the program. Those four returning players are kind of our core and have helped us get started. The team is still a work in progress; they are in the building stage. From last year to this year, the program has already grown, and we continue to hope that things keep growing,” Coach Hadenfeldt said. 

Overall, the team thinks their play can significantly improve in several areas, including fostering greater ambition and a heightened focus on the game itself. Sustaining effective communication, maintaining a competitive edge, actively listening to one another, and cherishing the enjoyment of the game are essential. 

“The team needs to have a strong will to win and work together as a team,” Santos said.

Isabella Guerrero is a staff writer for The Express. Follow her @belllaaguerrero on X.

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