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There wasn’t a lot of celebration following Saturday afternoon’s girls soccer game, despite the Hilltoppers’ clinching their fourth-straight district championship.
Los Alamos is well aware that there are bigger fish to fry.
Saturday at Sullivan Field, Los Alamos scored four goals in the second half to break open the District 2AAAA contest against the visiting Bernalillo Spartans. Shaina Riciputi scored twice in the second half as the Hilltoppers dominated the Spartans, winning 6-0.
The victory sealed the 2009 district title for the Hilltoppers, who have outscored their 2AAAA opponents by a combined 48-0 in six games.
Los Alamos was the hands-down favorite to win its fourth-straight 2AAAA title — it hasn’t lost or even really been challenged in a district game since 2005 — which it all but assured itself of with its 8-0 victory a week earlier at Taos. Taos was considered the only team in the district with even a flicker of hope to top Los Alamos this season, but Los Alamos easily dispatched the Tigers (13-5 overall, 5-2 in 2AAAA) in the teams’ two meetings.
Riciputi, one of the most dangerous players in Class AAAA regardless of what position she’s playing, earned two assists along with her two goals Saturday. She helped out both Amelia Weaver and Shannon Blair on their first-half goals to get Los Alamos rolling.
Riciputi had bookend goals in the second half, scoring her first at the 42-minute mark, making the score 3-0, and in the 60th minute to give the Hilltoppers a 6-0 edge.
While Hilltopper head coach Jiri Kubicek said he would’ve liked to see his team get off to a faster start than it did Saturday, he thought his troops were probably going into the contest a little fatigued.
Although Los Alamos hadn’t played a formal game in a week, it scheduled a pair of scrimmages against the Hilltopper junior varsity and C team boys in an effort to ramp-up its competition with the state AAAA playoffs looming.
These scrimmages against the boys have become a regular part of the Hilltopper girls’ season.
Kubicek said his team played very well in the two contests, but the meeting with the JV boys took a lot out of his players, which might have accounted for the slow first half.
“We’re doing good, but we need to win these games,” Kubicek said. “It doesn’t have to be 10-0 every game, but we need to play good soccer.”
The Hilltoppers are now less than two weeks away from the start of the Class AAAA postseason. They can make a good case that they deserve the top seed in the tournament and are virtually guaranteed of a top four seed.
The top four teams in the state, Los Alamos, St. Pius X, Albuquerque Academy and Volcano Vista, will very likely all be alive and kicking when the state semifinals roll around. Los Alamos wants to be as battle-ready as it can be heading into the semis, which will be played Nov. 6.
Amy Neal and Saya Shimada scored the other two goals for the Hilltoppers in Saturday’s second half. Shimada, who is still trying to get back to full strength after an ankle injury earlier this season, finished with a pair of assists, while Neal had one.
Kelsey Neal and Weaver both picked up assists as well.
The Hilltoppers will have a busy final week of the regular season, playing four games in five days, including nondistrict contests against two very good programs, Class 5A La Cueva and Class A-3A St. Michael’s.