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The Los Alamos Hilltopper boys soccer team just escaped the first round of the Louie Cernicek Invitational intact.
Los Alamos trailed for the bulk of the contest, in which it was favored, Friday morning at Sullivan Field. But it was the Goddard Rockets that got the lone goal of the first 78 minutes of regulation.
Then, with about 90 seconds to play, Hilltopper William Steinkamp booted in a loose ball in front of the Goddard net for the equalizer. After two scoreless overtime periods, the shootout took seven rounds before the last shooter, Hernan Lebensohn, buried his kick into the left side of the goal to give the Hilltoppers a 2-1 victory.
Los Alamos (1-1) will now advance to the semifinals of its home tournament, which is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday. The tournament championship game is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday.
It will have to feel somewhat fortunate to escape, however, as it misfired on several chances, including a pair of open goal chances, in regulation, and pushed a pair of shootout kicks way wide right.
However, in the shootout, Los Alamos goalkeeper Christopher Parker kept his team alive with four saves, including his top-shelf save against Goddard counterpart Miguel Robles for what would’ve been the clincher in the fifth round of kicks.
The Rockets (0-2) got a goal in the 33rd minute from midfielder Jadon Flores, who went just underneath the crossbar from 35 yards out to put them up 1-0. Despite outshooting the Rockets 7-0 in the second half before Steinkamp’s late equalizer, Los Alamos had nothing to show for its offensive efforts against the lanky, athletic Robles, who saved 5 shots.
Goddard got off just one shot after halftime, that coming in the 89th minute.