The Las Positas College women’s soccer team got a lot out of an abbreviated season.
As one of the state’s few teams competing during Spring 1, the Hawks allowed just one goal en route to a 4-1 record. Head coach Andy Cumbo was thrilled with how the defending Coast Conference-North Division champs executed on the field during a complicated time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The team did great,” Cumbo said. “It was a lot of new players compared to 2019, but the strength of the team was their overall fitness level, their morale and just their fight, their competitiveness.”
Center backs Hailey Hahlbeck, a Granada graduate, and Makenna Diaz of Tracy were standouts along with midfielder Isabel Mello of Livermore, who played virtually every minute of the season. Ashley Arno of California High was another impact player. A talented competitor and team captain, Hahlbeck epitomized the Hawks’ drive on the field.
“She is super athletic,” Cumbo said. “She’s a very good soccer player, and her strength is her ability to break up plays. She reads the game well and, physically, she’s tough as nails.”
The Hawks split 1-0 games against City College of San Francisco and also bested Cabrillo twice and West Valley once by 1-0 scores.
“It was a very short season, but we were all so happy to still be able to have any games at all,” Hahlbeck said. “Personally, I had taken some time off beforehand, so to get back out there on the field was so much fun.”
Hahlbeck agreed that the intensity was heightened in the first game, which was a 1-0 win over Cabrillo on March 11, because the Hawks didn’t have much time together in practice.
“I think we were all eager to win,” she said.
Of her heady field presence, Hahlbeck had to rely on reading the game growing up in club soccer because she wasn’t always being the fastest player.
“Reading the game is important and helps a lot, for sure,” she said.
Las Positas freshman goalkeeper Kennessey Irvin, a Castro Valley High graduate, was great this spring, according to Cumbo, who noted how she came up big in a dramatic 1-0 win at City College of San Francisco in the season finale. Mello, a holding midfielder, was also good at breaking up plays by the opponent and creating chances on the attack.
The Las Positas men’s team only played one regulation game due to COVID-19 protocol and procedures, but the Hawks were a polished group.
“We’ve got a strong men’s team, and they were fortunate that in the limited time they did play, it was a positive experience,” Cumbo said.