LA to open state tourney play Friday

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By The Staff

Christmas may have come a little early for the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys soccer team this season.

Not only are the Hilltoppers riding high, going into the Class AAAA state tournament having won four straight and five out of six, not only did the Hilltoppers win a do-or-possibly-die game against the Capital Jaguars in convincing fashion, they drew a favorable pool to start their march toward a state title.

Los Alamos, the sixth seed in the postseason, opens World Play competition Friday when it faces the 11th-seeded Goddard Rockets. That game and Los Alamos' Saturday date with the third-seeded Roswell Coyotes are set for 2 p.m. at Santa Ana Pueblo Farmers Insurance Soccer Complex.

The Hilltoppers (12-8) are optimistic about their chances to get out of Pool C and advance to next week's semifinal round.

"If we play our game, we'll be fine. We'll make it to the semis," Hilltopper head coach Evan Gartz said. "We're on a crash-course to play (Albuquerque) Academy, but I'll worry about that then."

Goddard (5-12) has struggled for the bulk of the season, but particularly in the last five games of the regular season, dropping all of them and scoring just four goals in those five losses while allowing 22 goals in that same stretch.

In the 2007 regular season, the Rockets were shut out six times and gave up four goals or more six times.

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