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Both the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys and girls soccer teams will have some down time before they get rolling in the Class 4A tournaments.
Los Alamos’ girls picked up the No. 2 seed in the upcoming girls soccer playoffs while Los Alamos’ boys earned the No. 3 seed in the 4A boys tournament. By virtue of their seeds, the Hilltoppers both get a bye into the quarterfinal round, which is scheduled for Nov. 8 in Albuquerque.
The Hilltopper girls will take on either Piedra Vista or Miyamura in the quarterfinals, while the Hilltopper boys will have either Santa Teresa or Los Lunas.
There were few major surprises in either the 4A boys and girls playoff brackets this year.
“I expected it,” Los Alamos boys head coach Evan Gartz said of his team’s top-four seed. “I wasn’t expecting Chaparral to get the No. 2 spot, but I didn’t expect to be in front of Farmington, either. Other than that, it was pretty close to what I thought it was going to be.”
Both the Albuquerque Academy Charger teams grabbed the No. 1 seeds in the two brackets.
While coach Jiri Kubicek thought Los Alamos’ girls had just as good an argument for the No. 1 seed as did the Chargers, whom they beat during the regular season, regular season victories didn’t seem to hold much sway in the rankings. The Hilltoppers took their worst loss of the season courtesy of the St. Pius X Sartans, but the Sartans fell to the No. 4 spot — the only 4A teams the Sartans lost to this season were Academy and third-seeded Aztec.
When asked what he thought about his team getting the No. 2 seed, Kubicek said, “not much. That’s what I thought. “What’s going to happen, happens. Besides, the side of the bracket we’re on is the one we wanted to be on.”
Wit the No. 2 seed, Los Alamos (17-3) won’t face either Academy or St. Pius until the championship game. It will have a potential semifinal match-up, however, with Aztec (19-2), which put together one of its best seasons in program history.
Since the major state reclassification of 2000, the Hilltoppers, Chargers and Sartans have all advanced to the semifinals every year and two of those three teams ended up meeting in the state title game. The Hilltoppers last won the title in 2003.
The Los Alamos boys (13-7) won the state championship in 2010, but did so as the No. 5 seed.
Gartz, who guided the 2010 title team, said it’s not a boon for the top-seeded teams to have the extra six days off — first-round games will be played Friday or Saturday.
“It’s a difficult thing to be entrenched in games and to learn from games, then have a layoff,” he said. “It put the top four teams at kind of a disadvantage. Athletically, I guess it’s good for the tournament. There’s lots of things we’re going to try to do to stay sharp.”
Here are the first two rounds of the boys and girls Class 4A soccer brackets:
(1 p.m. Saturday, home sites)
(9) Santa Teresa at (8) Belen
(12) Roswell at (5) Farmington
(11) Valencia at (6) Kirtland Central
(10) Piedra Vista at (7) Miyamura
(Nov. 8, APS Soccer Complex)
Santa Teresa-Belen winner vs. (1) Albuquerque Academy
Roswell-Farmington winner vs. (4) St. Pius X
Valencia-Kirtland Central winner vs. (3) Aztec
Piedra Vista-Miyamura winner vs. (2) Los Alamos
(Friday and Saturday, home sites)
(9) Artesia at (8) Capital, 1 p.m. Saturday
(12) Miyamura at (5) St. Pius X, 3 p.m. Saturday
(11) Santa Teresa at (6) Los Lunas, 4 p.m. Friday
(10) Santa Fe at (7) Roswell, 1 p.m. Saturday
(Nov. 8, APS Soccer Complex)
Artesia-Capital winner vs. (1) Albuquerque Academy
Miyamura-St. Pius winner vs. (4) Farmington
Santa Teresa-Los Lunas winner vs. (3) Los Alamos
Santa Fe-Roswell winner vs. (2) Chaparral