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For the third time in a calendar year, the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys soccer team met the Roswell Coyotes.
And for the third time, the Coyotes prevailed.
The Coyotes, who won the Class 4A state championship in 2013, topping the Hilltoppers in the semifinals en route to the crown, showed off their potent attack Saturday in the semifinals of the Louie Cernicek Invitational.
However, Los Alamos goalkeeper Chris Parker was up to the task for most the meeting.
The two teams went into overtime, but in the second overtime period, Roswell’s Chris Mesquita crushed a left-footer just inside the far post to give his team a 2-1 win and get the Coyotes to their second straight Cernicek tournament final.
Saturday evening’s tournament championship game hadn’t been completed as of press time.
The Coyotes won the Cernicek tournament in 2013, topping Los Alamos 6-2 in the championship.
Los Alamos had a 1-man advantage for much of the contest. At the 26-minute mark, Roswell forward Anthony Valadez was slapped with a red card for running over Parker near the goal mouth, negating an apparent Coyote goal.
About 12 minutes later, however, Roswell, which was able to move the ball deep into Los Alamos territory throughout the game, had the ball inside the Hilltopper penalty box again when Los Alamos was whistled for a handball. Mesquita drilled the ensuing penalty kick past Parker — who guessed left but Mesquita kicked to the exact spot Parker had just vacated — to give his team a 1-0 edge.
Deep in extra time in the first half, Los Alamos got on the board with a goal by Joe Singleton. Singleton picked up a rebound on the right side of the goal and went to the far post for the equalizer.
The goal by Singleton — just the second goal of the season in three games for the Hilltoppers — came on only the second shot Los Alamos got off in the half. For the game, Roswell had a 19-9 shot advantage.
Parker ended up with 10 saves before Mesquita’s winner in the 88th minute.
The Cernicek tournament is the big home tournament of the year for the Hilltoppers, yet it’s almost unusual for the home team to come out the victor. Los Alamos has only won the Cernicek three times since 2004, the last win coming in 2012.
To advance to Saturday morning’s semifinal, the Hilltoppers dropped the Coyote’s cross-town rivals, the Goddard Rockets, Friday.
In the Hilltoppers’ tournament opener, Eric Burnside scored in the 7th minute. That would be the only score of the contest as Los Alamos prevailed 1-0.