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A loss to the Albuquerque Academy Chargers always stings, but it’s a lack of effort that will really stick in the craw of the Los Alamos Hillltopper boys soccer team.
Los Alamos couldn’t get over the hump during Friday’s contest at Academy, the fifth-ranked team in the state. Academy scored a 72nd-minute goal on a crossing pass that got through the defense to the uncovered left flank as it grabbed a 1-0 victory.
It was the second loss for Los Alamos against Academy this season. Los Alamos was hoping to redeem itself in Friday’s game after taking a 3-2 loss Sept. 10.
But Friday, Los Alamos simply got beat.
“I never thought I’d say this, but we got outworked,” Hilltopper head coach Evan Gartz said.
Gartz, who prides himself that his teams are in better physical condition and put in more effort than its opponents couldn’t say either one after the loss. Los Alamos (4-7), which is playing one of the toughest schedules in Class 4A this year, if not the toughest, has now dropped four straight contests.
The Hilltoppers’ struggles aren’t coming at the best possible time, either. The Hilltoppers open District 2-4A play Tuesday against Bernalillo, which might be starting to come into its own after years of languishing at or near the bottom of the district.
District 2-4A is no longer the walk in the park for Los Alamos that it had been in the past. Also in the district is eighth-ranked Capital, which has given Los Alamos plenty of trouble in recent years.
The Hilltoppers are, of course, the defending Class 4A champs, but have just a 1-5 record against 4A competition this season.
Los Alamos is aware things need to turn around in a hurry and is hoping the loss to Academy is a wake-up call.
“That was disappointing to see,” Gartz said. “Academy is very well coached, it’s a very good team. In the first half they killed us on 50-50 balls. In the second half we got a little better. We challenged everything but we didn’t get done what we wanted to.”