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A tough assignment for the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls soccer team got quite a bit harder after a key starter went down prior to the start of Wednesday’s game.
Just minutes before the start of Los Alamos’ game at Rio Rancho, starting goalkeeper Elena Atencio twisted her ankle and had to sit out the contest.
That put the Hilltopper defense in a bind, and it showed.
Despite the best efforts of Los Alamos’ offense, which had one of its better games of the season, the defense gave up three goals in about 8 minutes’ time to fall 6-3 on the road.
Atencio, who has started in goal all season for the Hilltoppers, was scheduled to visit the doctor today. There was some swelling around the ankle Wednesday, but she is expected to recover in a few days’ time.
Filling in for Los Alamos in goal were Kaitlin Lemke in the first half and Katya Skurikhin, a call-up from the junior varsity, in the second half.
Despite the loss, Hilltopper head coach Jiri Kubicek said he was pleased with the team’s effort.
“The girls played super,” he said. “The whole team hustled. It was good to see. We put together a full 80 minutes.”
Kubicek, who said he is giving his team the day off today after a stretch of five games in seven days, was critical of the team’s efforts prior to last week, but felt the Hilltoppers have made progress, particularly in playing some tough competition.
Los Alamos (2-7) got a pair of goals form Catie McDonald, who now has scored 10 goals on the season.
McKenna Nadeua scored the other goal for Los Alamos, which actually led Rio Rancho in the early going and was tied 3-3 with the Rams midway through the second half.
Unfortunately, the defense, struggling with its communication efforts due to a new presence in the back, gave up the three quick Rio Rancho goals.
At 8-2, Rio Rancho has one of the best won-loss marks in Class 5A.
After its toughest stretch of the year, Los Alamos will be off until Wednesday when it opens District 2-4A play against Bernalillo.