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LAHS soccer teams struggle against Albuquerque Academy

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By Phil Scherer

The two Los Alamos High School varsity soccer teams walked onto the campus of Albuquerque Academy hoping to assert themselves as state championship contenders. They walked away realizing they still have some work to do before reaching that level.

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Both teams fell by identical 3-1 scores to the Albuquerque Academy Chargers, as Academy controlled the play throughout the majority of both contests.

The Hilltopper boys struggled to get the offensive momentum moving in their direction, as they put seven shots on goal.

The team entered halftime down 1-0, and saw that deficit climb to 2-0 just minutes into the second half.

After struggling to get things going their way throughout the game, they found an opportunity as the contest wound down. Arthur Steinkamp, the Hilltoppers’ leading scorer, earned a penalty kick and converted. His goal brought LAHS to within one goal at 2-1.

The team’s momentum was short-lived, however, as Academy earned a penalty shot of its own immediately after Steinkamp’s. The team converted its opportunity and walked away as the 3-1 winners.

LAHS goalkeeper Cid Rice did all he could, making six saves, and keeping his team in the game to the very end.

The Hilltopper girls had a similar experience, facing an Academy team that was highly aggressive for long stretches of their game.

Throughout the first half, Academy was inches away from scoring many times, as forward Tessa Anderson missed three shots just over the net or just wide.

The Hilltoppers had trouble maintaining possession in the first half, as each time they would get the ball moving down the field, it was quickly cleared away by an Academy defender.

Despite the adversity, it was the Hilltoppers that got on the scoreboard first in the 33rd minute.

After breaking away from Academy defenders, Peyton Hobbs made a long pass across the field to Anna Rose Matuszak, who settled the ball on the left side of the field and took her shot.

It sailed right past the diving attempt of Academy goalkeeper Mikey Montoya and gave the Hilltoppers a 1-0 lead, which they would carry into the second half.

The Hilltoppers’ luck ran out in the second half, as Academy tied the score in the 54th minute, and took the lead three minutes later.

LAHS goalkeeper Ashley Atencio didn’t stand a chance on either of the goals, as Academy had multiple people down the field that were ready to tap the ball in, if it came to them.

Academy would extend its lead in the 65th minute, as its forwards once again snuck past the LAHS defense and shot the ball into an empty side of the net, as Atencio had committed to the other side of the goal. That goal gave Academy a 3-1 lead, and they would hold that lead to the end.

The boys now have a record of 11-5, while the girls record is 11-4-1.

Both teams are 1-1 in district play.

They will face another tough test on the road Saturday against Capital High School. The boys will play first at 3 p.m., and the girls will follow at 6 p.m.

These will be pivotal games for the Hilltoppers, as both teams will be looking to avoid falling to 1-2 in district play, which would greatly lessen their chances of advancing to the state championship tournament.