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Just in case the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls soccer team was asking itself exactly where it stacks up among the best in the country, it will get that question answered as thoroughly as is possible.
The Hilltoppers will host the No. 1 team in the United States Thursday night when it takes on the Strongsville, Ohio, Mustangs. The Mustangs, the defending Ohio state champions, will visit Sullivan Field at 6 p.m. Thursday.
Strongsville is an affluent suburb, about 10 miles southwest of Cleveland, and Strongsville High School is the most decorated public school girls soccer program in the history of Ohio, having won four state championships including the 2011 crown.
So far this season, Strongsville is a spotless 12-0 and has allowed just four goals, two of those coming in its most recent outing, a 3-2 win over Brecksville-Broadview Heights, Ohio, on Friday.
Los Alamos head coach Jiri Kubicek said the Mustangs called him over the offseason saying they were taking a swing through northern New Mexico and were looking for teams to play. The Hilltoppers and the Taos Tigers agreed to face off against the Mustangs – Taos plays Strongsville Saturday at Taos Eco Park.
The Mustangs go on annual trips as part of their “Mustangs National Tour,” something they’ve been doing since 2005. In the eight years the Mustangs have been traveling the country, they’ve played in places such as San Francisco, Portland, Ore., Memphis, Tenn., and even Bangor, Maine.
This is Strongsville’s second trip to a Four Corners state, having played at Salt Lake City and Park City, Utah, in 2010.
In 19 games it has played against teams across the country since 2005, Strongsville is 14-2-3.
The Mustangs have three players, Paige Amodio, Alexis Manoa and Melissa Shoff, that have verbally committed to playing college soccer in the fall of 2013 and three more, Kelly Novak, Nicolette Griesinger and Lizzie Ehrnfelt, who have committed to college squads for 2014 – five of those six commitments were to Division-I schools.
For the Hilltoppers, they are currently ranked No. 1 in Class 4A and No. 2 among all teams in New Mexico.
Los Alamos is 12-2 on the regular season and is playing as well as any team in the state, but suffered a blow Saturday when up-and-coming star Catie McDonald ran directly into a goalpost on a routine scoring chance. McDonald was groggy after the incident and had to be taken off Sullivan Field by ambulance.