Girls soccer: LA can’t get much going against Rams

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By Mike Cote

The Los Alamos Hilltopper girls soccer team always tries to schedule as many tough contests as it can during its nondistrict season trying to learn as much about itself and its potential weaknesses prior to district and the postseason.
But even if it didn’t have that benefit in 2010, it wouldn’t be that hard to see where it will need to improve.
Once again, Los Alamos struggled offensively Wednesday against the Rio Rancho Rams. While the defensive effort improved over a 5-1 drubbing it took in its first meeting with the Rams earlier this month, Los Alamos still couldn’t get enough going on the other end, falling 2-1 at Sullivan Field.
The Hilltoppers have been looking all season so far for a good combination at its top third to find more consistent chances on offense, but the consistent offense it seeks has so far remained elusive.
“We didn’t have many chances,” Hilltopper head coach Jiri Kubicek said. “We had a few, but we were kind of slow.”
Wednesday’s game plodded along much of the time, with neither the Hilltoppers (3-6) or the Rams having many good looks. The Rams outshot the Hilltoppers 8-1 in the first half, but even then, most of the Rams’ shots were low quality and two of the three that were on-goal were swallowed up fairly easily by Los Alamos goalkeeper Bryce Theesfeld.
Coordinated attacks on Los Alamos’ end of the field were few and far between, particularly in the first half. Los Alamos managed good penetration only once, in the second minute of the contest, while its passing game was spotty at best.
The Rams scored midway through the second half, then again with about 10 minutes remaining in regulation. The Hilltoppers finally broke into the scoring column with Emily Funsten tallying off a corner kick in the 75th minute, but the team could never find the equalizer.
Los Alamos has lost six of its last seven contests, scoring a total of three goals in those defeats.
Friday, Los Alamos has a big match scheduled against arch-rival Albuquerque Academy, which is currently the No. 1-ranked team in Class AAAA. Kubicek said Academy is big, physical and likes to push the ball up the field in a hurry.
Los Alamos, however, will have recent history on its side. Los Alamos topped Academy during both their regular season meetings in 2008 and 2009, although the Chargers bounced back from both losses to top the Hilltoppers in the state championship game at the end of each season.