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LAHS girl's soccer loses tourney title after controversial call

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By Jose Corral

AZTEC — It wasn’t the ending that the Los Alamos girl’s soccer team wanted, but the Hilltoppers gained some assurance going forward from the season’s opening weekend.
After opening the 2016 season with two wins, Los Alamos lost to Aztec 1-0 in double overtime in the Aztec Tournament championship game Saturday.
Aztec was awarded a penalty kick halfway through the second overtime. And the Tigers’ Grace Olson converted the game-winning penalty kick.
Los Alamos coach Gary Ahlers disagreed with the official’s decision to award Aztec a penalty kick. Ahlers said both the central and assistant referees claimed that a Los Alamos player pushed an Aztec player after Los Alamos goalkeeper Anna Lemke made a play on the ball.      
“It happened to be that an official thought he saw something that didn’t happen,” Ahlers said. “He took 90-plus minutes of play out the window. You officiate the game, not determine it. This official determined the game by guessing on a play.”
Ahlers said he reviewed the film after the game and said he remained confused as to why the officials called a foul on one of his players.
“If you review the film you can clearly see that there was nothing there. No player was pushed down after the play. No such thing happened,” Ahlers said.
Los Alamos got into the championship game after defeating Bosque School 3-2 earlier on Saturday in dramatic fashion. With less than a minute left in regulation, the Hilltoppers’ Katie Hopkins headed a ball that was deflected by a Bosque defender into the Bobcats’ net to give Los Alamos the semifinal victory.
The Hilltoppers defeated Bloomfield 6-0 on Friday in the first round.
“We learned that we’re prepared for the season,” Ahlers said. “Our girls are in shape and we have a bench this year, which helped in those big games.”
Los Alamos hosted the Bosque Tuesday, while this paper was being sent to print.
“We’re going to be able to play much faster on Tuesday since we’re going to be at home,” Ahlers said. “We’re used to playing fast and we’re going to have to play like that.”
The Hilltoppers visit St. Pius at 4:30 p.m. next Tuesday.