In triple-digit nightmare weather, the Las Positas College women’s soccer team persevered and struck a 5-0 blowout against Feather River College on Sept. 1. The season opener showed a reinvigorated team after their preseason 3-0 loss just two days earlier.
Las Positas played on home turf at the peak of Livermore’s heat wave, making this game possibly the most dangerous of the season. Despite this, Las Positas broke away with one goal in the first half and four in the second, allotting zero goals for Feather River. This can be attributed to their strong offense throughout the game.
With a 1-0 lead in the second half, Las Positas secured their victory in the first ten minutes. After an unsuccessful shot by Las Positas was deflected by Feather River’s defense, freshman Tiana LaFleur headed the ball past the hands of Feather River goalie Claryssah Ghidossi, bringing the score 2-0.
Tiffani Cheng, returning player and No. 2 goalscorer of the 2021-2022 season, set the tone for the game. Assisted by freshman Danielle Castro and sophomore Alyssa Sullivan, Cheng scored the first goal of the game off a breakaway in the second minute of the first half. Las Positas dominated in possession, with tradeoffs to River City dwindling in the second half.
“We tried to spread the field out, open up the game a little bit, make the midfield less congested,” Las Positas Coach Andrew Cumbo said regarding halftime strategy.
In the first half, Las Positas had issues with repositioning and widening the field. They improved vastly in the second half, especially in their aggression to win 1v1s. Fresh legs and cooler weather made a difference. Las Positas also made more use of goalie Ava Buckles, passing to her from the midline to tire out Feather River’s offense. Though the season is fresh, Las Positas could work on settling the ball more, which they showed hints of as the game progressed.
Las Positas’s goal-scoring rampage continued in the 54th minute by Castro’s goal square in the wide net, assisted by Cheng and sophomore Marissa Marquez. In the 66th minute, LaFleur scored again off an advance across midfield by sophomore Isabel Mello, with a flat fastball to the edge of River City’s goal.
The final goal of the game in the 74th minute was brought on by freshman Alyssa Fitting. Assisted by Irie O’Donnell, Fitting sent a flying ball into the upper corner of River City’s net, sealing the score at 5-0 with a picturesque shot.
Due to the extreme weather conditions—climaxing at 103 degrees Fahrenheit–the players were allotted two short water breaks each half. As the playing field was turf, the ground retains more heat than grass and is easier to slip on, bearing even more difficulty for the players. Three Feather River players were injured and one experienced heat-induced breathing difficulty.
“It was so hot in the beginning that we started off a little slow, but I think we got our momentum after that. There was a lot of good teamwork and combinations,” LaFleur said.
Feather River was granted a few corner-kick opportunities but never made a shot on goal. In its first game, Feather River lost to Sierra College 11-0, and its second game against Canada College 5-0. Las Positas may face tougher contenders in their games on Sept. 8 and 9 against Siskiyous College and Yuba College.
“While our conference is one of the toughest in the state, I’m not worried about any of them. “All of the teams are strong. Nothing is easy in our league.”Cumbo said.
Furthering his ideology, Cumbo said his roster of 24 players compete every week at practice to play the games. Over half the team are freshmen, but the playing roster of Las Positas first game was balanced between sophomores and freshmen. While last season Las Positas was held back by not having enough substitutes, they might have the opposite problem now.
Women’s soccer could be the sport to keep an eye on at Las Positas, given there are players still waiting on their claim to fame. Ava Buckles, for instance, has yet to prove her goalie prowess.In addition, freshmen like Tiana LaFleur might rise to be top goalscorers, much like former forward Caitlyn Garrison–who ranked No. 32 in the North-Coast Conference for most goals scored.
With a little less heat in the air, Las Positas has potential to raise temperatures on the field.
Lizzy Rager is the managing editor for The Express. Follow her @rager_lizzy