Girls soccer: Sandia Prep scores two quick goals, knocks off LA

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By The Staff

Thursday’s game against Sandia Prep was the first time Los Alamos’ girls soccer team had hit the pitch in almost three weeks.

The rust showed early.

The Hilltoppers struggled in the first half Thursday’s game against the Class A-AAA Sandia Prep Sundevils, going down 2-0 in just about 10 minutes. Though Los Alamos was able to battle back to tie the score early in the second half, Sandia Prep rallied for two more goals to win 4-2.

Thursday’s game was the teams’ opening round contest of the Albuquerque Academy Invitational. Los Alamos continued its tournament there today with a 3 p.m. meeting against Rio Rancho.

Los Alamos head coach Jiri Kubicek said he wasn’t terribly surprised his team struggled after a long layoff, but he was a little surprised in the way it struggled. Los Alamos had numerous lapses on defense, the Hilltoppers’ strength. Kubicek said he thought all four of the Sundevils’ goals were preventable.

“They were a little better organized than us,” he said. “We were frustrated and we couldn’t get much going. We struggled on defense…and that’s not usual for how our team is.”

Sandia Prep’s four goals were the first four goals scored on Los Alamos this season. Los Alamos (4-1) started out its 2009 campaign with four straight shutout games, including a lopsided 9-0 victory over Moriarty Aug. 25, its most recent contest.

The Hilltoppers tied the score with two straight goals to open the second half. Kelsey Neal was fouled in the penalty box and converted the ensuing kick to get Los Alamos on the board in the 42nd minute and Lindsay Benage scored off a corner kick just a few minutes afterward.

The Hilltopper offense was stagnant most of the game, however. It didn’t help that Hilltopper forward Saya Shimada turned her ankle in the opening minutes of the first half and had to sit for most of the rest of the way.

Kubicek said that Sandia Prep is a good team and can capitalize on mistakes.

“They’re big and they have fast people,” he said. “They had some good combinations.”

The Academy tournament continues through Saturday in Albuquerque.