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Today is the day the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys and girls soccer teams will learn their playoff fates.
The New Mexico Activities Association’s soccer seeding and selection committee will meet to determine the postseason brackets for the upcoming state tournament. Tournament brackets are scheduled to come out at 5 p.m. today.
Heading into Saturday, the final day of the soccer regular season for soccer across the state, the Hilltopper boys were still unsure if they would win the District 2-4A championship and grab the district’s automatic bid into the playoffs.
While Los Alamos’ boys are a safe bet for an at-large bid this season, after posting a 10-10 season record and going 7-4 against Class 4A schools, the difference between going in as the District 2 champ and an at-large pick could be huge.
Capital, which needed to beat Santa Fe by two goals and keep Santa Fe down to a low number of goals Saturday in order to win the district title, was ranked third in the MaxPrep.com poll released Tuesday.
That poll holds a lot of sway when teams are being seeded for the state tournament, but if Los Alamos (10-10) does end up with the district championship, it would, by rule, have to be seeded ahead of Capital in the playoffs — Capital (11-6) was likely a top-four team before its 2-1 loss to Los Alamos Tuesday.
Following his team’s win over Capital, Los Alamos head coach Evan Gartz said he liked his chances for the Hilltoppers to be in the top seven overall, which would give them a home game in the first round of the playoffs.
The postseason’s opening round will be this weekend. Seeds 5-8 will host games against seeds 9-12 Friday and Saturday with the winners advancing to the quarterfinals Nov. 7.
In those same rankings last week, Los Alamos finished ninth in 4A, but the rankings were released before the Hilltoppers’ victory over the Jaguars.
On the girls side, the Hilltoppers (10-11) won their final six games of the regular season and earned their seventh consecutive 2-4A title.
Los Alamos went 8-4 against 4A foes, however, those losses all came to top-tier squads St. Pius X, Albuquerque Academy and Farmington.
Those three teams will be in the mix for top-four consideration, along with Aztec, which Los Alamos didn’t face this year.
Los Alamos likely won’t be seeded better than No. 5, although it probably won’t drop any lower than No. 7, either.
In the final MaxPreps rankings, the Hilltoppers were sixth. All three of the 4A teams that beat them this year were ranked higher, along with Aztec and Belen.
One of Los Alamos’ biggest wins of the season came late when it shut out Piedra Vista 4-0 at Sullivan Field.
St. Pius, which has a head-to-head victory over Aztec this year, has a good argument for the No. 1 overall girls seed. Academy and Roswell, two very good squads, are almost certain to go 1-2 in some order at the top of the boys bracket.
Last year’s 4A boys championship was won by the Chaparral Lobos — the Lobos have been up-and-down this year and don’t figure to be a huge factor in this year’s playoffs — while Academy’s Chargers won their fifth consecutive girls championship.
Los Alamos’ girls last won the state title in 2003 and the boys won in 2010, ending a 24-year championship drought.