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Fernando Sanchez was nearly unstoppable in last weekend’s Louie Cernicek Invitational. It remains to be seen if the Roswell Coyotes can be stopped.
The Coyotes were the big winners in the Cernicek Invitational boys soccer tournament, hosted by the Los Alamos Hilltoppers.
The Hilltoppers got a first-hand look at Sanchez, who scored three goals and had two assists as the Coyotes routed the Hilltoppers in the final, 6-2, Saturday night at Sullivan Field.
It capped an impressive run in the tournament for Roswell (5-0), which crushed recent two-time Class 4A runner-up Belen in Friday’s first round, 10-0, then bounced a tough Farmington squad 2-1 in a shootout Saturday morning.
Los Alamos was looking to grab its second straight Cernicek win and third win in four years, but Roswell took control of the contest and, except for a stretch late in the first half, didn’t let up.
Roswell jumped out to a 4-0 lead after 22 minutes, moving the ball down the field virtually at-will.
It was then that the Hilltoppers finally got some offense going — they had just three shots, only one on frame, in the early minutes — with Collin Stone tallying a goal in the 24th minute. Eric Schmalz would follow up Stone’s goal with one of his own just five minutes later.
Schmalz, Brandon Hodges, who had an assist in the tournament championship game, and goalkeeper Chris Parker were named to the All-Tournament team.
Parker had a busy evening, finishing with a dozen saves against Roswell, which fired off 30 shots to Los Alamos’ 10.
Roswell, which has outscored its opponents 26-5 in the early part of 2013, is one of just three teams in 4A that is undefeated. Roswell is also getting some buzz about being one of the select few teams to beat in 4A this season.
The Coyotes showed off an impressive short passing game, particularly on the offensive third of the field, that proved very tough to counter.
Sanchez, a senior and the team’s primary weapon, already has 11 goals and 8 assists on the year (30 points). He was named the tournament’s Offensive Most Valuable Player, tallying three goals and four assists in the opening round shutout of Belen.
Teammate Victor Garcia has a none-too-shabby 15 points so far and had a goal and a pair of assists against Los Alamos.
For the Hilltoppers, they survived a first round scare, coming back from a goal down in the 79th minute to top Goddard 2-1 in a shootout Friday morning. Saturday, the Hilltoppers held off a late offensive surge by the Clovis Wildcats to win 3-2 and advance to the final.
Stone had a goal and an assist against Clovis (1-6). William Steinkamp, who scored the equalizer in the late going against Goddard, earned a goal in the 21st minute to put Los Alamos up 2-1.
Jairo Marquez scored what would prove to be the game-winner in the 44th minute off a rebound from a shot by Hodges. Clovis’ Darrien Whiting had both his team’s goals and got loose late near the goal as the Wildcats tried to tie the score late.
The two tournament victories for Los Alamos were the team’s firs two wins of the season.