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Today’s games between the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys and girls soccer teams and their counterparts from Santa Fe could go a long way to determining the outcome of this year’s District 2-4A races.
Both Los Alamos teams will take on the Demons at Sullivan Field. The Los Alamos-Santa Fe boys game is set for 4 p.m. and the girls game for 6 p.m.
While most years, neither of these games would be much more than a blip on the radar, that isn’t the case this season.
On the boys side, both Los Alamos and Santa Fe are very much alive for a shot at a district title. On the girls side, Los Alamos is well positioned for its seventh straight district crown but the deal isn’t closed just yet.
The Hilltopper girls (6-10 overall, 4-0 in 2-4A) can clinch with a win this afternoon over Santa Fe’s girls (10-5, 2-1), but had some trouble with the Demons in the teams’ first meeting Sept. 28.
In that game, Los Alamos earned a 3-1 victory over Santa Fe at Ivan Head Stadium despite being short-handed — starters Elena Atencio and Kristin Funsten were out and leading scorer Catie McDonald was slapped with a red card just before halftime for running into the Santa Fe goalkeeper on what appeared to be a routine play near the Demon goal.
Los Alamos should be at full strength tonight, but isn’t going in on the highest of notes. Los Alamos had a lackluster performance Saturday against Bernalillo, prompting a raised eyebrow from head coach Jiri Kubicek.
“We’d better play better (against Santa Fe) than we played today,” Kubicek said following Saturday’s 6-0 win at home. “Santa Fe is a much better team...We make it hard on ourselves. Some people got selfish. We have to work on some of the details and get everything under control. There’s some disagreement between the girls. That’s not good for soccer and not good for the team.”
Santa Fe, meanwhile, has won four straight contests, including a 6-0 win over Capital Oct. 8, a team that took the Hilltoppers to overtime before the Hilltoppers earned a 1-0 decision Oct. 5.
McDonald had three goals and an assist against Bernalillo. Funsten had a goal and an assist, while Emily Hopkins and Meghan McDonald also scored.
A win by Santa Fe today could conceivably put the Demons in the district lead, although the Demons would have to win by at least two goals or hope for a Capital upset of Los Alamos Oct. 22 if the Demons fall short of that two-goal margin.
In their first meeting, Julia Haagenstad had a pair of assists to lead the offensive effort.
For Los Alamos’ boys, Collin Stone had three goals and an assist to lead Los Alamos to a victory in a wild contest Sept. 28. Los Alamos came back from a 2-1 deficit in the first half to top Santa Fe 5-4.
The game ended up being a duel between two of the best offensive players in the district, Stone and Santa Fe’s Josue De Luna, who had two goals and one assist for the Demons.
Going into today’s game, boys the district race isn’t as cut and dried as in the case of the girls race.
Both Los Alamos and Santa Fe are chasing Capital (10-5, 3-0). The winner of today’s game will still have a shot at the district title. A loss for Los Alamos would dash its hopes considerably and a loss for Santa Fe would put the Demons out of contention.
The Hilltoppers (8-9, 3-1) earned their second win of the season over the Bernalillo Spartans Saturday at home, topping them 5-1.
William Steinkamp had a big showing for Los Alamos with a pair of goals and an assist. Brandon Hodges, Jairo Marquez and Eric Schmalz also scored, while Schmalz finished with an assist.