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Toppers, Coyotes meet in Cernicek finale

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By Mike Cote

 The Los Alamos Hilltopper boys soccer team will have a chance to defend its Louie Cernicek championship tonight.

The Hilltoppers scored a pair of goals in the first half and held off a late comeback attempt by the Clovis Wildcats to win 3-2 in the semifinal round of their home tournament this morning.

Los Alamos (2-1), which got by a feisty Goddard team in a shootout in Friday’s first round, will face the Roswell Coyotes for the tournament title. Game time is 6 p.m. at Sullivan Field.

Roswell bounced Farmington, one of the tournament favorites, in a shootout in Saturday’s early game, taking that contest 2-1.

Against Clovis, Collin Stone had a goal in the eighth minute off a short diagonal pass from Eric Schmalz who beat Wildcat goalkeeper James Smart in a 1-on-1 chance to put the Hilltoppers up 1-0.

Stone would assist William Steinkamp on a rebound and putback midway through the first half to give Los Alamos a 2-1 edge shortly after Clovis’ Darrien Whiting converted to tie the score.

Another putback by Jairo Marquez — Brandon Hodges took the initial shot — put Los Alamos up 2-1, but Whiting struck again on a corner kick header at the 71-minute mark. Clovis got off two other decent shots in regulation but wouldn’t come up with the equalizer.