The players and the coach are gathered a few meters in front of the bench. The excitement of a fresh start is palpable.
Around the field, everybody feels a slight tension in the air. But the feeling is good.
Then, among that circle of players, just a voice. It’s the coach, Andrew Cumbo, remarking the last tactical details before walking toward the technical area.
Players split on the pitch shouting to cheer up. For the first time after 15 months. The attitude is good.
Then, silence until the referee’s whistle.
The ball finally starts moving. The awaited moment finally takes place: The Hawks are back on the pitch.
March 11, 2020, was an important date on the calendar for soccer at LPC as it was the first seasonal game between Las Positas and Cabrillo.
“It was great to be back on the field. It’s great for the mental health and the physical health of the student-athletes to be competing again,” said Cumbo after the game.
The final result settled on 2-0 in favor of the guests, though it does not reflect the overall positive team performance.
“The team worked hard for 90. Our form was good considering the 15-month break,” said the coach analyzing the positive aspects of the game. Athletically speaking the team was good and well organized on the pitch. The constant support of the wingers was helpful both during the offensive and the defensive phase.
Both teams interpreted the game in the same manner and played at the same level. A significant part of the first half has been characterized by contrasts in the Middlefield and long passes on the flanks, calmly studying the opponent in order to find a winning pass.
Few episodes characterized the game.
During the first half, Cabrillo scored a goal when a high ball from the right side reached one of the players in the penalty box. Close-range conclusion. 1-0 for Cabrillo.
No blaming for the goalkeeper and no downcasting for the Hawks that started building up important offensive actions: they wanted the equalizer.
The Hawks almost found it with a good opportunity during the second half that the team missed capitalizing on. Central incursion and powerful shot that seemed to be directed into the back of the net. But Cabrillo’s goalkeeper managed a breath-taking save defending the result.
The referee’s decisions also influenced the results.
After an intense action, the Hawks finally capitalized the offensive action scoring the equalizer goal. But the decision of the referee is strict: Player in offside position and goal taken away.
Then, a contact in the Hawks’ penalty box was fateful for the team. The referee had no hesitation. He pointed to the penalty mark.
The player hit the ball. Even if the goalkeeper got the right angle, he only touched it. The shot was clinical. Back of the net. 2-0 for Cabrillo.
Triple whistle. The game is over, and the disappointment on players’ faces is evident.
Two goals taken away due to offside positions and a penalty against are tough to accept, especially after a positive choral performance.
“Referees are human, just like me and the players. We all make mistakes,” affirmed coach Cumbo while analyzing the penalty foul episode after the match.
Now it is up to the players to find continuity over the next games. An uphill start cannot be considered a failure because several factors influenced the team. The most important part was to start again after the long break. Then, the results will be just a consequence of hard work.
“We do a good job creating dangerous situations for the opposition. The players will improve finishing our opportunities to score goals. Overall it is what it is but I’m glad we played, and we are fortunate to be able to do something that we love, and something that grounds us,” concluded Cumbo.
Alessio Cavalca is a staff writer for The Express. Follow him @AlessioCavalca.