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Boys soccer: ’Toppers score 7 times in 2nd half

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By The Staff

The Los Alamos Hilltopper boys soccer team kept up its winning ways in District 2AAAA Saturday by blanking the visiting Bernalillo Spartans.

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After an up-and-down first half Saturday, Los Alamos settled into its game, scoring seven times in the second half to rough up Bernalillo 8-0 at Sullivan Field.

“We got off to a slow start, but then we started passing the way we like to,” Hilltopper head coach Evan Gartz said. “We ripped them apart.”

The big victory over the Spartans (3-12 overall, 1-5 in 2AAAA), who are struggling this season, was Los Alamos’ sixth shutout victory of the district season. Los Alamos, which has won its last 17 straight district contests, a streak that dates back to 2007, outscored the Spartans 13-0 in the teams’ two meetings in 2009.

The Hilltoppers (12-5), despite the spotless 2AAAA resume, will probably still have to win its season finale against the Capital Jaguars to claim the district title.

The only loss on the district season for the Jaguars (14-2 overall, 6-1 in 2AAAA) was a 1-0 defeat at the hands of the Hilltoppers Oct. 6 in Los Alamos.

The two teams will square off Saturday at Capital for a game that will likely decide the district championship. Capital held off the Taos Tigers Saturday in their district contest 4-3 to keep pace with Los Alamos.

Saturday, Los Alamos’ David Wyman, who has had an outstanding 2AAAA season so far, scored three goals and picked up an assist to lead the Hilltoppers’ attack. Wyman was one of three Hilltoppers to finish with multiple goals on the game.

Along with Wyman, Davis Anson scored a pair of goals, as did Andy Thoma, who tacked on an assist on top of them. Neel Gupta earned the other goal on the day and was credited with a pair of assists.

Nic Castaño, Graham Delano, Matt Leslie and Paul Hemez also had assists for the Hilltoppers.

Gartz said he was very happy with what he saw Saturday, particularly on the heels of a 5-1 drubbing last Tuesday at St. Pius X.

“We wanted to work hard, get better possessions, quicker possessions,” he said. “St Pius made us vulnerable with those things…but 25 minutes (Saturday), we were playing some of the prettiest soccer we’d played all year.”

Los Alamos won’t have a lot of time to celebrate its victory, however. It will go right back to the pitch Tuesday for a nondistrict meeting against one of the most powerful programs in the state, the Class 5A La Cueva Bears.

The Bears have knocked the Hilltoppers around in recent meetings, outscoring them by a combined 12-0 in their last two outings. Gartz said he’s hoping to have a better showing than that when they meet Tuesday in Albuquerque.

“We want to keep it a close game,” he said. “We’re not going in there to lose. The last two years we’ve been doormats for them. We want to do better.”

The postseason starts Oct. 30, but Los Alamos will likely have a bye into the Nov. 5 quarterfinals.