The sun was going down on the green and yellow hills surrounding Las Positas, but not before it shined its light on the field at 3 p.m. on Veterans Day. Classes weren’t in session, but both LPC soccer teams were still playing on their home turf.
Hawks women’s soccer played their final regular season match on Friday, Nov. 11 against West Valley College of Saratoga, California. With a record of 8-6-3 and third in the conference below Cabrillo College and City College of San Francisco, the Hawks wanted to finish the season on a good note.
Prior to the game, LPC had a record consisting of two wins, three losses and three ties against conference teams and held a 2-2-2 record in their previous six games of the season. The visiting conference opponent Vikings had won five out of their previous 18 games, three out of nine against conference teams.
Head coach of LPC women’s soccer team, Andrew Cumbo, had a message for his team before gametime. “Play your hearts out, this is our last game. We only have one chance at this. Give it your all. Play for each other. Let’s have fun,” Cumbo said.
Right after kickoff, both teams began creating offensive chances in the first few minutes, but they couldn’t connect or finish. An early high kick by sophomore midfielder Isabel Mello toward her teammates didn’t connect with anyone and bounced out of bounds seven minutes in.
West Valley scored their first and only goal of the afternoon eleventh minutes into the game. After a pass from LPC sophomore defender Alyssa Sullivan to goalkeeper Ava Buckles, Miranda Marquez, who was nearby, followed the ball. Buckles was way out of her net and missed an attempt to stop the ball and Marquez had a wide open net to score early for the Vikings.
“It was a tough moment for the team and it showed a lot of our ability to handle adversity and to support each other. I know the player felt really bad and we tried to tell her ‘It’s okay. Let’s move on. These things happen. There’s still a lot of time and your team will pick you up,’” Cumbo said.
From that point forward, there were offensive chances for the Hawks trying to get on the board. A two-on-one opportunity with Mello and freshman forward Danielle Castro against a defender, but the ball was knocked away before the shot was taken.
West Valley’s Marquez had two more chances that were knocked away by LPC’s Buckles at about 25 minutes in.
LPC’s Mello took a shot from an impossible corner angle that was stopped by West Valley’s goalkeeper, who must’ve hit a bone while blocking it out. A loud clang was heard from the spectating visitors and families watching on the hills.
The Hawks managed to score their first goal of the night 29 minutes in, scored by sophomore defender Danielle Gettler, and assisted by Mello. The supportive audience watching from their vehicles were honking their horns for the first of many times in support of the Hawks.
“These moments happened to us a couple of times this year, so we’ve learned from that that we can come back from a mistake like that (West Valley goal),” Cumbo said.
West Valley had an opportunity off of a corner kick but that chance was just wide of the net. LPC followed up with two chances off of a corner kick 35 minutes in, but neither went into the net.
Freshman forward Alyssa Fitting ran through two Vikings defenders and kicked the ball into the right corner of the net. Hawks picked up a 2-1 lead 39 minutes in, just 10 minutes after their first goal.
While the clock was running, the players got a break after Kylie Love of West Valley went down after the ball made hard contact to her knee. Love managed to play on throughout the game.
During halftime, Cumbo told his driven team, “Play your game, score in the first five minutes.”
Just minutes into the second half, West Valley’s goalkeeper attempts to stop a ball with her hand but it rolls off into her own net. LPC’s Mello gets credit for the goal.
Six minutes later, Fitting stole the ball and passed it to Castro. Castro kicked the ball and it bounced off the crossbar. An awaiting Irie O’Donnell, a freshman midfielder, got the rebound on the other side, but it was caught in time by the Vikings goalkeeper.
Redemption was near for O’Donnell as she kicked the ball over the goalie. The ball flew just inside the top corner to make it 4-1 Hawks.
Sophomore forward Marisa Marquez of LPC missed an opportunity to shoot after the ball came bouncing from her right and rolled off her foot. Marquez attempted to give the Hawks a four-goal lead.
West Valley had an opportunity to score after one of their forwards was one-on-one with LPC’s Buckles, but the shot was front-and-center right into Buckles’ possession.
West Valley’s Miranda Marquez went down for the second time in the game with 24 minutes left to go in the game, but resumed play.
After a good passing play between teammates, LPC scored from an angle to West Valley’s goalkeeper’s left side with 20 minutes left to go. Mello gets her second goal of the night to make it 5-1 Hawks.
The dominance in time of possession fueled the Hawks’ confidence and ability to create multiple scoring opportunities. There were many instances where the crowd thought the Hawks would score and West Valley’s goalkeeper was lucky enough to block them.
“They came ready to play. You’re never perfect ever, on or off the field, but the commitment to the end goal is what matters the most. I’m proud of the commitment and the support they put in today,” Cumbo said.
The offensive scoring chances didn’t stop after a comfortable lead for the Hawks. Castro still set up a chance for Cheng in front but didn’t score with 17 minutes left.
A corner kick by LPC’s Cheng was headbutted by Sullivan but it went off the side of the net.
Cheng scored one minute later to top off the night and make it 6-1 for the Hawks. Cheng’s goal was assisted by freshman midfielder Tiana LaFleur.
Some of the Hawks starters were put on the sideline in the final minutes. The Hawks finish their season with a 9-6-4 record and 3-3-3 against conference teams. The Vikings take their 14th loss of the season and finish with a 5-14 record.
Gibran Beydoun is a copy editor for The Express. Follow him @Gibran580MSCM.