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LA boys top Capital, have a shot at claiming 2-4A crown

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By Mike Cote

Break out the calculators.

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After scoring two quick goals in the first half, the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys soccer team was able to withstand a barrage of shots from the Capital Jaguars Tuesday afternoon at Sullivan Field.

Los Alamos forward Collin Stone knocked in a pair of goals, one in the seventh minute and the other in the 19th minute, to give Los Alamos a quick 2-0 edge in a huge District 2-4A game.

Capital dominated play for the rest of the game, but would only come up with one goal as the Hilltoppers earned a 2-1 victory.

With the Hilltoppers’ win, they are now statistically knotted up with the Jaguars at the top of the district standings. Now, the Hilltoppers must await the outcome of the Capital-Santa Fe season finale Saturday to see if they or the Jaguars pick up this year’s district crown.

Stone said his team knew going into Tuesday’s contest it would be a knock-down, drag-out battle, as it almost invariably is when the Hilltoppers (10-10 overall, 5-1 in 2-4A) and Jaguars square off.

“Mostly, they’re good at possessing the ball up top,” said Stone of the Jaguars. “The best defense is a good offense. That’s what they were going for.”

However, the Jaguars’ high-octane offense wasn’t enough to overcome the 2-goal edge Stone provided Los Alamos with.

The Jaguars’ lone goal came in the 25th minute on a direct kick from Luis Rios-Olivas about five yards from the top of Los Alamos’ penalty box. Rios-Olivas drilled his shot just over a huge wall containing both Hilltoppers and Jaguars (11-6 overall, 4-1 in 2-4A) and past goalkeeper Chris Parker, who, because of the sheer amount of bodies in front of him, had limited vision on the play and little time to react to the line drive attempt.

The scenario for determining the 2-4A title is a complicated one.

Los Alamos currently owns the goal differential tiebreaker over Capital, but Capital can even that tiebreaker if it beats Santa Fe (10-9 overall, 2-3 in district) by two goals, unless the game is a high-scoring affair, in which case the third tiebreaker, goal-against in district, comes into play and Los Alamos might be able to hold on to that tiebreaker.

The importance of winning the district for Los Alamos would be found in the seeding for the postseason — the Hilltoppers and Jaguars are virtual locks for the postseason regardless of who prevails in the district race.

Should the Hilltoppers win the district, they would, by rule, have to be seeded higher than Capital, which is currently third in the MaxPreps power rankings among Class 4A teams and would likely be considered for a top-four seed and a first-round bye should it prevail in 2-4A.

The Jaguars had won nine consecutive games going into Tuesday, but the Hilltoppers, who took it on the chin in a 4-0 defeat at Piedra Vista Saturday, got a big showing from their defense.

Parker finished with 10 saves in the contest, three of them diving saves on excellent Jaguar looks. He had 6 saves in the second half as the Hilltoppers were outshot 10-3.

Fullback Skyler Veenis was charged, as he was in the teams’ first meeting Oct. 5, with marking Capital’s leading scorer, Jason Alarcon. And again Veenis was up to the task, with Alarcon’s scoring chances limited to just a couple of runs in the first half.

 

Girls soccer

 

Los Alamos 10, Capital 0

 

The Hilltopper girls played flat as a pancake in their first outing against the Capital Jaguars earlier this month, but from the get-go Tuesday the Hilltoppers made it clear it wasn’t going to be a repeat performance.

Los Alamos needed just a little over nine minutes to equal the number of goals it scored against Capital Oct. 5, when the Jaguars (8-8 overall, 2-3 in 2-4A) pushed the Hilltoppers to overtime before the Hilltopper escaped with a 1-0 victory.

Los Alamos’ Catie McDonald, the second leading goal scorer in Class 4A, earned five goals, four in the first half, as the Hilltoppers blasted the Jaguars.

The Hilltoppers, who had clinched the district title last week, will close out their regular season Thursday at St. Michael’s.

McDonald’s haul of five goals put her at 29 for the season, only three behind Belen’s
Alexis Begay.

Also scoring goals Tuesday were Julia Haagenstad, Kristin Funsten, Emily Hopkins, Chandler Art and Stephanie Blair. Funsten and Abby Schmalz both earned two assists in the contest, while Art had one assist.