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The Los Alamos Hilltopper girls soccer team played even with the Sandia Matadors for virtually the entire way Thursday afternoon.
But with time winding down in regulation, Sandia’s Jassara Baca scored on a corner kick to give the Matadors a 1-0 victory in Albuquerque.
The corner kick came in low and got lost in front of the goal before Baca got it into the net.
“One little mistake on defense and we lost the game,” Hilltopper head coach Jiri Kubicek said. “That was the difference. We played well for 80 minutes except for those last few seconds.”
Sandia (7-3), a respected Class 5A program, kept Hilltopper goalkeeper Kaitlin Lemke busy much of the afternoon, taking 12 shots-on-goal. Lemke was up to the challenge, making 11 saves before the Matadors broke through with the final goal.
Thursday’s contest was a nondistrict tilt for the Hilltoppers (3-8), who opened 2-4A play the day before with a 10-0 win over Bernalillo, picking up that win in about 60 minutes of play.
Against Sandia, however, Los Alamos managed just thee shots-on-goal, all of which were picked up by Sara Gold, who earned the shutout.
Lemke, who is in goal for the Hilltoppers while starter Elena Atencio is recovering from a twisted ankle, actually earned the shutout over Bernalillo Wednesday and helped keep the Hilltoppers in Thursday’s game.
Kubicek said he was impressed with Lemke’s performance, particularly against the Matadors’ plan of trying to go top-shelf with their shot attempts — she is only listed at 5 feet, 4 inches tall.
Los Alamos has three other very challenging games in a row, the most important of which is Saturday against the Santa Fe Demons. The Demons (6-4) are considered the only team in District 2-4A with any realistic shot of taking the Hilltoppers down in the district race this season.
Kubicek said if Los Alamos can control Santa Fe’s front third, his team should be OK to pick up its second district win.
Following Saturday’s game, the Hilltoppers have nondistrict games scheduled against both against Volcano Vista, at home Tuesday, and La Cueva, in Albuquerque Thursday.