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Topper boys, girls face Cleveland at Academy

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Soccer: Several top teams set to play this weekend

By Mike Cote

Just coming off a tough, grueling tournament, the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys soccer team will head straight into another one.
The Hilltopper boys and girls will both compete in the Albuquerque Academy Invitational. The tournament, hosted by Academy’s Chargers, will get going Thursday afternoon.
Both Los Alamos teams will take on the Cleveland Storm in the opening round of the tournament. The Academy Invitational continues through Saturday in Albuquerque.
Los Alamos’ boys (3-3) enter the tournament after finishing fourth at the Louie Cernicek Invitational this past weekend. That tournament, which the Hilltoppers hosted, included three of the four top teams in Class 4A.
Belen, ranked second in NMSoccer.com’s coaches poll last week, won the tournament, defeating the top-ranked Farmington Scorpions and the eighth-ranked Roswell Coyotes Saturday to claim the title.
Los Alamos needed a late goal to force overtime against Goddard in the first round, but lost to Roswell 2-1 in the semifinals before falling to Farmington 4-3 in the third-place game.
Playing three games in two days is tough enough, but the Hilltoppers then had to come back Monday to face the St. Michael’s Horsemen, a solid Class A-3A team.
Henry Steinkamp finished with a goal and an assist Monday to lead the Hilltoppers to a 3-1 win at Sullivan Field Monday.
It was a lot of soccer packed into a short time, but the Hilltoppers feel they’ll be ready by Thursday for the Storm.
“Physically, it takes its toll a little bit, but I thought we were in a lot better shape than other teams,” Los Alamos forward Ryan Maestas said after the Cernicek tournament.
The Hilltopper girls, meanwhile, should go into the tournament fresh. They last played Thursday, topping another team in the Academy tournament, Rio Rancho, by a final of 2-1 in overtime.
In that game, Amy Neal finished off the Rams with a goal in the 83rd minute.
Neal is currently tied for second in points (27) among all scorers in the state, regardless of classification.
Her teammate, Naomi Movshovich, is third in total points (16) in Class 4A and is second in 4A behind only Neal in assists (6).
In last week’s coaches poll, the Hilltopper girls (4-0) finished in the third position, one point behind St. Pius X.
The Storm girls team was sixth in the 5A rankings last week. On the season, they’ve defeated Hope Christian — another team set to appear at Academy — and Carlsbad, but only scored two goals in each game.
“I’m looking forward to it. It should be a good game,” Los Alamos head coach Jiri Kubicek said. “It’s another top 5A school. Hopefully, we’ll have a good showing.”
On the boys side, six of the eight entries are ranked in the top 10 in their classification, although Cleveland isn’t one of them.
Cleveland (1-3) has gotten out of the gate slowly this year, giving up 10 goals on the season while forging just three of its own.
Should Los Alamos’ boys win Thursday, they would face either Rio Rancho, which they beat in the season opener in a shootout, or Las Cruces, the seventh-ranked team in 5A.

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Albuquerque Academy Invite schedule

Boys

Thursday (all games at 2:30 p.m.)

Albuquerque Academy vs. Hope Christian
Sandia Prep vs. Oñate
Rio Rancho vs. Las Cruces
Los Alamos vs. Cleveland

Friday (all games at 2:30 p.m.

Academy-Hope winner vs. Sandia Prep-Oñate winner
Rio Rancho-Las Cruces winner vs. Los Alamos-Cleveland winner
Academy-Hope loser vs. Sandia Prep-Oñate loser
Rio Rancho-Las Cruces loser vs. Los Alamos-Cleveland loser

Saturday (all games at 8 a.m.)

Final round games

Girls

Thursday (all games at 4:30 p.m.)

Albuquerque Academy vs. Oñate
Hope Christian vs. Rio Rancho
Los Alamos vs. Cleveland
Las Cruces vs. Sandia Prep

Friday (all games at 4:30 p.m.)

Academy-Oñate winner vs. Hope-Rio Rancho winner
Los Alamos-Cleveland winner vs. Las Cruces-Sandia Prep winner
Academy Oñate loser vs. Hope-Rio Rancho loser
Los Alamos-Cleveland loser vs. Las Cruces-Sandia Prep loser

Saturday (all games at 10 a.m.)

Final round games