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SANTA FE – If the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys soccer team wants to repeat as District 2-4A champs, it’s going to have to make a comeback to do so.
And it’s going to have to come back against a tough competitor.
Los Alamos slipped into second place in the 2-4A race Saturday. It was nipped in a big district contest by the Capital Jaguars at Jaguar Field.
Capital’s Jason Alarcon, the most dominant offensive presence in the district and one of the tops in the state, scored the lone goal of the game at the 24-minute mark. Alarcon corralled a long through-ball and beat Los Alamos goalkeeper Chris Parker to the corner.
Alarcon’s chip shot over Parker and into the net was enough to give the Jaguars a 1-0 victory.
It’s been a wild ride for the Jaguars so far in 2013. They had to forfeit four wins early in the season because they’d used ineligible players in those contests.
“We’ve had a lot of adversity this season,” Capital head coach Eugene Doyle said. “A lot of things haven’t gone our way, but we play one half at a time, one game at a time and try not to focus on what’s happened in the past.”
Even with some key players out, the Jaguars responded well. They’ve lost just one contest on the field this year and are now atop the 2-4A standings.
Doyle said despite sitting atop the standings, his team was hardly in the driver’s seat, though, with two games coming up against arch-rival Santa Fe – the first of which is tonight – and the rematch on the Hill Oct. 22.
Los Alamos will have a full seven days off after playing three games in five days last week. It will play the Bernalillo Spartans Saturday in Bernalillo to start the second half of the district season.
Following Alarcon’s goal, Los Alamos rotated fullback Skylar Veenis over to mark him and Veenis was up to the difficult task.
From that point on in the half, Alarcon’s looks at the Hilltopper goal largely evaporated and Capital (8-5 overall, 2-0 in 2-4A) had to look elsewhere for offense.
Hilltopper head coach Evan Gartz said he should’ve marked Alarcon with Veenis earlier than he did when it became clear in the first half the Jaguars were going to run all their offense his way.
Capital dominated the first 40 minutes Saturday. It got off nine shots to none for Los Alamos and got to the vast majority of the 50-50 balls in the midfield.
The tune was very different for the Hilltoppers (7-9 overall, 2-1 in district) in a big upset win last Thursday over La Cueva.
“It’s frustrating to see that,” Gartz said following Saturday’s game. “In that game, we had heart. Today, we didn’t have it. “We couldn’t do anything offensively today.”
The start of the second half was a little bit better for the Hilltoppers, as they got off their first two shots of the game and put together most of their best runs at the Jaguar goal.
Unfortunately for the Hilltoppers, that rally was short-lived.
The Hilltoppers finished the contest with just three shots, only one of which was on-goal and was easily picked up by Jaguar goalkeeper Rene Arroyo.