• Boys soccer squeaks by in 1st round vs. Rockets

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper boys soccer team just escaped the first round of the Louie Cernicek Invitational intact.
    Los Alamos trailed for the bulk of the contest, in which it was favored, Friday morning at Sullivan Field. But it was the Goddard Rockets that got the lone goal of the first 78 minutes of regulation.
    Then, with about 90 seconds to play, Hilltopper William Steinkamp booted in a loose ball in front of the Goddard net for the equalizer. After two scoreless overtime periods, the shootout took seven rounds before the last shooter, Hernan Lebensohn, buried his kick into the left side of the goal to give the Hilltoppers a 2-1 victory.
    Los Alamos (1-1) will now advance to the semifinals of its home tournament, which is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday. The tournament championship game is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday.
    It will have to feel somewhat fortunate to escape, however, as it misfired on several chances, including a pair of open goal chances, in regulation, and pushed a pair of shootout kicks way wide right.
    However, in the shootout, Los Alamos goalkeeper Christopher Parker kept his team alive with four saves, including his top-shelf save against Goddard counterpart Miguel Robles for what would’ve been the clincher in the fifth round of kicks.

  • 'Toppers, Sartans meet in opener

    If the Los Alamos Hilltopper volleyball team doesn’t have a home away from home picked out yet, it might as well do so now.

    Los Alamos will be on the road quite a bit in 2013, particularly in the early season, starting with Tuesday’s season opener against its bitter rival.

    The new-look Hilltoppers are preparing to make their debut on the road against the St. Pius X Sartans. And there is some history there.

    St. Pius, one of the premier squads in Class 4A, has knocked Los Alamos out of the state playoffs each of the past five years, including in its last match of 2012.

    The Hilltoppers are hoping to reverse that trend starting this season. And they’re hoping to do it with a different lineup than the one that has carried them deep into the playoffs for three straight years.

    Among the new faces around the Hilltoppers is head coach Robin Reynolds. Reynolds, a former C team coach with the program, said he’s learned quite a bit in his first preseason with the team and is sure that will continue as 2013 progresses.

  • Hilltoppers, Scorpions top Cernicek Invite lineup

    The two most recent winners of the Louie Cernicek Invitational tournament could be on a collision course in the 2013 model.
    Los Alamos’ boys soccer team will host the 17th annual Louie Cernicek Invitational, which starts Friday. Along with Los Alamos, which won it all last season, several solid schools will also participate this weekend.
    Among the favorites of the tournament is Farmington, which has enjoyed its best run of success in school history in the last few years. Farmington, which won the 2009 and 2011 state championship and finished as the runner-up in Class 4A last season, is on the opposite side of the eight-team tournament bracket as the Hilltoppers and may be the team to beat on the bottom half.
    Farmington, however, won’t be able to rely on the services of Jeremy Klepac, one of the most dangerous offensive players in 4A in the previous two seasons who scored what appeared to be the game-winner in last year’s Cernicek championship contest — beating a trio of Hilltopper defenders to do so — until Ben Stewart came through with the equalizer deep in stoppage time to force overtime and ultimately help the Hilltoppers to a 2-1 victory in the first OT period.

  • Friday Night Lights

    The good news for the Los Alamos Hilltopper football team is the learning curve on either side of the ball isn’t going to be very steep.
    Los Alamos opens its 2013 season Friday night and has several veterans on its roster heading into opening night when the Hilltoppers head down the hill to take on the Pojoaque Valley Elks.
    The only big loss on the offensive side of the ball is bruising fullback Arnoldo Ortiz, a three-year starter in the Hilltopper backfield. Beyond that, the skill position players are back, along with some athletic newcomers.
    Los Alamos head coach Garett Williams knows his team and his team knows their jobs.
    “We’re way ahead of where we’d normally be at this time of year,” said Williams. “Before, it would’ve taken three or four games to hit our stride. But these guys, with the experience they have, we’re looking good right now.”
    Friday’s game could be an interesting test. Pojoaque Valley was humbled 55-14 in the 2012 opener at Sullivan Field, but the Elks have upgraded on the offensive line — three players are at or near the 300-pound mark — and have promising athletes in the backfield.
    That game could be the first of a salty nondistrict season for the Hilltoppers.

  • Bosque tops LA in shootout

    The Bosque School Bobcats made it a boy-girl sweep over the Los Alamos Hilltoppers in a soccer doubleheader Tuesday in Albuquerque.
    Los Alamos’ girls soccer team scored its first goal of the season in the second half to force overtime against Bosque’s Bobcats.
    After two scoreless overtime periods, Bosque prevailed in a shootout 6-5 to take a 2-1 victory.
    It was Los Alamos’ second loss to start 2013, although assistant coach Paul Criscuolo, filling in for absent head coach Jiri Kubicek, said he saw better performance from the Hilltoppers against Bosque than he saw in Saturday’s debut loss.
    “We had some good improvements from the Farmington game,” said Criscuolo, who is a longtime assistant under Kubicek. “The girls were more physical, they passed the ball better. We still have things to work out. We have a new lineup and we’re trying to create a better energy level.”
    Los Alamos, which was shut out 2-0 at home against Farmington, got some better offensive movement against Bosque, a quality small school.
    Los Alamos actually outshot Bosque by a healthy 23-7 margin for the contest, although Criscuolo said only 10 of those shots were on goal.

  • LA boys fall in first game of year to Bosque School

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper boys soccer team had some defensive issues in the first half of its season opener Tuesday.
    Los Alamos allowed a pair of goals to the Bosque School Bobcats in Tuesday’s game in Albuquerque.
    Things got a little better in the second half for Los Alamos, but it would still end up on the short end of the contest, 2-1.
    Bosque was set up with its first big chance of the game on a Los Alamos handball in the first half. Then, Los Alamos didn’t properly set up its wall on the ensuing free kick, occurring just outside its penalty box, and the Bobcats took advantage.
    The Bobcats (1-0), who made the state championship contest in Class A-3A last season, took advantage of another defensive communication later in the half for their second goal.
    The Hilltoppers regrouped after halftime, however, and looked much better in the second half, although they would only find the goal once.
    “The biggest thing was improvement,” Los Alamos head coach Evan Gartz said. “In the first half, our lack of experience was huge. With only having four or five guys with real varsity experience, it showed, especially in the first half.”
    The Hilltoppers debuted several new players Tuesday after losing many key starters to graduation, particularly in the midfield.

  • Just Starting Out

    Los Alamos’ Collin Stone, seen here in a 2012 game against Albuquerque Academy, and the rest of the Hilltoppers open their season today against a tough Class A-3A school, Bosque, this afternoon. They open at home Friday morning.

  • Boys, girls XC places 6 in the top 10 at La Cueva scrimmage

    Colin Hemez was the top finisher in the boys side of the Los Alamos Hilltopper cross country team at Saturday’s scrimmage in Albuquerque.
    As they have for the last several seasons, the Hilltoppers ran against the La Cueva Bears in a preseason scrimmage. The Bears are among the better Class 5A teams in the state, but the Hilltoppers had a very strong showing on both the boys and the girls side.
    Los Alamos officially opens its season Sept. 7 at the University of New Mexico Invitational.
    The Hilltoppers sent 30 girls and 35 boys to Saturday’s scrimmage.
    Hemez, a senior and one of Los Alamos’ top returners this season, finished in 16 minutes, 52 seconds, more than a minute ahead of the Hilltoppers’ next-best finisher, Connor Bailey.
    Los Alamos placed six runners in the top 10 on the boys side against La Cueva.
    On the girls side, Sophia Galvez led six runners who also made the top 10 in the two-team competition. Galvez is just starting her sophomore year but had a strong freshman debut in track and field during the spring.
    Saturday, she finished in a time of 20:21.
    Returner Mikayla Pulliam was just 13 seconds behind Galvez and Amanda Mercer was 24 seconds behind Pulliam to crack the top five.

  • On Schedule 08-25-13


    Football: St. Pius X at Los Alamos, JV, 4:30 p.m.


    Girls soccer: Los Alamos at Bosque School, varsity, 3:30 p.m.

    Boys soccer: Los Alamos at Bosque School, varsity, 5:30 p.m.


    Girls soccer: Moriarty at Los Alamos, varsity, 4 p.m.

    Boys soccer: Los Alamos at Cleveland, JV, 4 p.m.


    Boys soccer: Los Alamos vs. Goddard at Louie Cernicek Invite, 8:30 a.m.

    Football: Los Alamos at Pojoaque Valley, varsity, 7 p.m.


    Boys soccer: Los Alamos at Louie Cernicek Invite, TBA.

    Cross country: LAMS at Peñasco Middle School, boys and girls seventh and eighth grade, 8 a.m.

  • LA drops season opener to Farmington

    It was an inauspicious start to the 2013 season for the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls soccer team Saturday.
    Los Alamos debuted at home against another Class 4A squad, the Farmington Scorpions, but it was the Scorpions that settled into their game before the Hilltoppers.

    Farmington forward Hannah Kelley scored at the end of both halves, breaking the scoreless tie in the 37th minute, then putting away a freebee goal late in the game as her team won 2-0 at Sullivan Field.

    It was the first game of a tough early season schedule for the Hilltoppers. Hilltopper head coach Jiri Kubicek knew he’d get to see quickly what his team’s deficiencies are and had some notes for his squad after its opener.

    “Better communication, better support, better team effort,” said Kubicek. “We didn’t see much of that effort today. You have to be more in control. We just didn’t do that.”

    Both teams featured a high percentage of sophomores on their opening day rosters, but the Scorpions were largely sophomores with just a sprinkling of upperclassmen mixed in.

    But the Scorpions looked like the more seasoned team.

    Their defense slowed down Los Alamos’ main scoring threat, Catie McDonald, who only had a couple of good looks throughout.