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LA's split decision: Boys win, girls lose against St. Pius X in soccer

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By John Severance

 

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If you were 30 seconds late to Saturday night’s boys soccer game between Los Alamos and St. Pius X at Sullivan Field, you missed all the scoring.

The Hilltoppers struck just 21 seconds into the game with a goal from Alexi Ortega and held on for a 1-0 victory.

“We struck early and sometimes that wakes up the other team,” Los Alamos coach Evan Gartz said. “They came after us but we had possession most of the game though. We had quality chances and we had more than they did. I am really happy.”

For those who missed the goal, this is how Gartz described it.

“We took it down the right flank, beat two outside defenders and we had guys diving in,” Gartz said. “And Brian Maestas put it in.”

One could excuse Gartz for the mistake,  though, because he was excited after he was later corrected that it was Ortega who scored the goal.

With the win, Los Alamos improved to 3-1 and St. Pius X fell to 3-1 as well.

“Once you go against a quality opponent, it is always big,” Gartz said. “We wanted a test at the beginning of the season. This will make Pius hungry when we see them again. But we will be ready for them.”

St. Pius coach Ron Allen gave all the credit to the Toppers.

“It is always like this,” Allen said. “I have been coming up here for 28 years and it never really chances. The Toppers fight hard for the turf every single game. Evan has done a great job with his squad. They caught us on their heels with that first goal.”

LA outshot St. Pius 12-6 and Pius held a 4-3 advantage in corner kicks.

LA girls struggle

Los Alamos girls soccer coach Jiri Kubicek believes his team came in overconfident.

And that proved costly. 

St. Pius X, which has knocked the Lady Toppers out of post-season in the past four seasons and started six freshmen and sophomores Saturday, controlled every aspect of the game en route to the surprisingly easy 4-0 victory.

“We came in overconfident,” Kubicek said. “They were hungrier, they were more aggressive. These are things we can fix. We will be there at the end. Don’t worry about it.”

St. Pius X got three goals from sophomore Samantha Afonso and freshman Tatiana Sarracino made several spectacular saves.

Sartans coach David Sullivan could not stop smiling after the game. He was especially pleased about the way his girls played. 

But he had another reason why he was so stoked.

“Tonight was my 300th win. My name is David Sullivan and I got my 300th win at Sullivan Field against Los Alamos. As a coach, it does not get much better than that. And that means no disrespect for Los Alamos. We came in tonight with a purpose and on a mission.”

The reason for the Toppers overconfidence?

They had beaten Bosque School, which had handled Pius 3-0 earlier this year. In addition, the Toppers had outscored their three previous opponents 19-1.

Kubicek knows this loss will help his team in the long run.

“You want to win the game but we took them lightly,” Kubicek said. “We will be ready in the playoffs.”

The Toppers had a couple of decent chances.

Catie McDonald put a shot off the post in the first half. And Amy Neal, who was double teamed most of the night, got loose a couple of times but was stymied by the Pius goalie.

“That number 14, Amy Neal, is a  heck of a player,” Sullivan said. “She did not get the opportunity that she normally gets and we did a good job of keeping her from getting those opportunities.”