LA offense comes up big in 2-4A win

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Boys soccer: Three quick goals to start gives ’Toppers the win over Demons

By Mike Cote

The last thing the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys soccer team wants to do this District 2-4A season is mess around with any of its opponents.
There was certainly no messing around Saturday.
Los Alamos scored twice in the first 10 minutes of its home contest and controlled the ball most of the way against Santa Fe.
Ryan Maestas picked up a hat trick early in the second half and Cooper Christensen added a goal and three assists as the Hilltoppers rolled to a 6-1 victory at Sullivan Field.
The win was the second in as many outings for the Hilltoppers in 2-4A play.
This season, Los Alamos (8-5) is gunning to reclaim the district title it lost to the Capital Jaguars in 2011, a team they will play this weekend.
However,  Los Alamos head coach Evan Gartz said at the beginning of the season that the Demons weren’t going to be a pushover, either.
But the Hilltoppers were able to feed off their hot start, scoring in the fourth, seventh and 19th minutes.
Maestas scored two of the three early goals, sandwiching Henry Steinkamp’s rip from the top of the penalty box for the second score of the contest.
Following the win, Maestas said the Hilltoppers were primed and ready to go long before Saturday’s 11 a.m. start time.
“We started off early this week. We knew it was a big game,” Maestas said. “Wednesday we practiced really hard...We knew it was strong opponent and we had to come out strong against them.”
Santa Fe (10-4 overall, 0-1 in district) actually has the most wins on the season of any of the four 2-4A teams and features one of the most prolific goal-scorers in 4A, Koa Forese.
Forese would score the lone goal for Santa Fe, but that came too late for the Demons to build upon it.
On the offensive end, the Hilltoppers wanted to avoid the strong interior defense of the Demons by going wide, a tactic that paid dividends.
“They play really compact,” Gartz said. “We knew a lot of our attacks needed to happen outside. We had some beautiful attacks for easy goals.”
Also scoring for the Hilltoppers was Collin Stone, going to the left post from 17 yards out in the 60th minute.
Gartz said Saturday’s game was among the most complete the Hilltoppers had played all season. The Hilltoppers have struggled with consistency, but leading up to a tough slate of games this week, not the least of which is Saturday’s tilt with the Jaguars (6-2), Gartz said he was glad to see the effort.