After another successful regular season, the Las Positas women’s soccer team fell in the first round of the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) playoffs round for the second year in a row.
The Hawks finished 13-3-3 in the regular season, almost identical to their record last season, placing them at No. 6 in the CCCAA rankings and granting them a home field advantage heading into the playoffs.
In the inaugural round, Las Positas was set to host lower ranked No. 11 Hartnell Community College Panthers.
During the regular season, the Hawks were very sound defensively. They conceded just under one goal per game, thus allowing the offense to be able to focus solely on attacking opposing defenses.
As the season was ending, an unforeseen challenge arose, just as playoffs were around the corner.
The Camp Fire that broke out in Butte County, California, resulted in poor air quality throughout Northern California. Livermore was heavily affected, thus impacting the Hawks’ preparation mentally and physically. After having their final regular season game postponed twice, which resulted in a no contest, the Hawks were forced to surrender their home field advantage. Instead, having to go on the road to Salinas, California to play Hartnell in their home in the opening round of the playoffs.
To add to that, the fires prevented the team from practicing for a week because of poor air quality according to Head Coach Paul Sapsford.
Despite the air impeding their preparation process and the cancellation of their final game, the team’s confidence didn’t waver. They came out ready for battle, but fell just short. Despite a strong effort from Araceli Hinojosa and Sofia Escalante, who each scored a goal, the Hawks ended up losing at Hartnell 3-2.
After all was said and done, Sapsford reflected and expressed his dissatisfaction with the unfortunate turn of events for his team and how, despite fairly earning their advantage, the playoffs abruptly turned into an uphill battle for his team due to lack of available practice sessions.
“The air quality resulted in us not being able to play at home, despite us earning a home contest by virtue of our hard work and regular season record. But because of the air quality we had to play away,” Sapsford said “I think that was a key factor in the outcome. I think if we would have played at home we would have won the game.”