C.J. Peterson @CJPETERSON
At the end of their season, the Hawks women’s soccer team was left seeing red.
Their anger wasn’t from the 4-0 loss to Diablo Valley College, but they did feel robbed, their dream season unfairly hampered by the loss of one of their star players.
In their previous playoff win on Saturday, Nov. 19 against Sierra College, Mildreth Gil received what head coach Paul Sapsford referred to as a “diabolical” red card that disqualified her from the remainder of the game as well as Tuesday’s match.
“I got (the red card) for nothing.” Gil said, in reference to the first red card received in her soccer career. “It was the first one of my life.”
League rules state that a player who receives a red card during any point of competition is disqualified for the remainder of that contest, as well as the following game the player is intended to compete in.
According to Sapsford, the head of referees, Steve Larson had cleared Gil to compete the morning the game was scheduled to be played, but because word of the clearance did not travel to the league’s commissioner in time, Gil’s penalty was in fact enforced.
The second game of the Lady Hawks championship quest began with this adversity as well as controversy when the team was notified they would be left without Gil minutes before kickoff.
“I’ve been involved in soccer for over 35 years, and this was the worst decision I’ve seen in those 35 years of playing and coaching,” Sapsford said.
“It makes (the league) look so unorganized,” added Gil.
The loss of Gil allowed DVC’s offense to be active early and often, scoring three of the team’s four goals in the first half of play. In addition to the loss of the team’s defensive anchor in Gil, freshman midfielder Alaina Medellin was inactive for the playoff matchup due to a concussion suffered against Sierra College on Saturday.
During Saturday’s game, Medellin received what Sapsford believes was a “deliberate” elbow to the face resulting in a concussion and possible cheek fracture. The play warranted no action from officials but the team felt the ramifications in the absence of their star offensive player. The normally high-octane Lady Hawks offense, which scored program record 73 goals this season, was unable to net even one ball this afternoon. The mixture of the unfortunate circumstances would turn out to be a perfect recipe for disaster to an otherwise storybook season for the Lady Hawks as their triumphant run came to a screeching halt.
In a heartfelt speech given by Sapsford after the conclusion of the match, he reminded his team of their hard fought journey and resiliency that got them this far on a championship run.
“I told them to keep putting forth 100 percent effort, regardless of the situation,” Sapsford said. “If you never give up, you’ll get good benefits from it.”