LA faces Academy in state semifinal

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By Mike Cote

Conventional wisdom would say the low seed in a tournament has the shortest shelf-life.

Generally, that thinking holds up well. But the lowest seed in the Class AAAA boys state soccer tournament isn't going anywhere without a fight.

The Los Alamos Hilltoppers, the low man on the totem pole heading into the AAAA state semifinals, has already proven that, bumping off the third-ranked Roswell Coyotes in Pool C play last week.

Los Alamos earned a bruising 4-2 victory over Roswell to advance to Thursday's semifinal against the second-seeded Albuquerque Academy Chargers.

The Hilltoppers didn't particularly feel like they'd pulled off an upset over the Coyotes.

"The last two weeks of the season, we started playing like a really good soccer team," Hilltopper head coach Evan Gartz said. "We came in as a sixth-seed, and we deserved to be a sixth-seed."

Los Alamos (14-8) struggled through the middle of its schedule in 2007, but won when it had two, including what amounted to elimination games against Taos and Capital in the last two weekends of the regular season to earn the District 2AAAA runner-up slot and advance to state.

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