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  • Prep boy's soccer: Academy ends LA’s season

    In a physical affair, Albuquerque Academy did enough to muscle Los Alamos out of the Class 5A state tournament.
    The Chargers defeated the Hilltoppers 4-1 on Friday in the semifinals at the Bernalillo Soccer Complex.
    “It was heartbreaking. The guys were just really devastated,” Los Alamos coach Ron Blue said. “We gave up too many set pieces outside the box. We put in so much energy and it just got really physical. There was weird kind of fouls called both ways.”
     The Chargers got on the board first, before Los Alamos senior Jonathan Coons equalized to make it 1-1 at halftime.
    Early in the second half, Los Alamos had two clear goal scoring opportunities that were cleared on the line by Academy defenders. A set-piece goal later in the second half gave Academy a 2-1 lead. And two minutes later, the Chargers added another goal to get some breathing room. Academy assured its second-consecutive state championship appearance with another goal late in the second half.    
    “They (Academy) saved two shots on the line, and we could’ve been up 2-1 at that point,” Blue said. “Once they went up one, you could just see our boy’s hearts drop. Before we could even make any adjustments, they caught us out of position on the weak side and put us under.”

  • LAHS volleyball advances to 2-5A title match, after come back win

    Being down two sets isn't going to faze the Los Alamos volleyball team anymore.

    The Hilltoppers came from behind to defeat Del Norte in five sets (13-25, 18-25, 25-13, 25-21, 15-11) in the District 2-5A semifinals on Thursday in Albuquerque. Los Alamos advanced to the district championship match where it will face Española Valley at 6 p.m. Saturday in Española.

    In the fifth set on Thursday, Los Alamos played its best set jumping out to a 5-1 lead. But, Del Norte cam back to tie the set 5-5, before the Hilltoppers took control and picked up a 12-7 lead after a thunderous Mackenzie Alexander kill and a serving ace from Sophia Salazar. Los Alamos then fended off a Knights come back attempt to seal the win.

    Los Alamos kept the match alive in the third set after settling down and getting a 13-6 lead to start the set. Behind a 9-4 run, the Hilltoppers went on to dominate the must-win set. In the fourth set, Los Alamos got off to a 11-7 lead, before Del Norte evened the set at 15-15, and took a 16-15 lead. The Hilltoppers tied the set at 20-20, before going on a 5-1 run to force the decisive set.

  • Toppers girl's soccer advances to semis after beating Goddard

    After opportunities started to go wide and the minutes began to go by, the Los Alamos girl's soccer team finally got the one it needed.

    The No. 4 Hilltoppers defeated fifth-seeded Goddard 1-0 on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Class 5A state tournament at the Bernalillo Soccer Complex. Los Alamos will face No. 1 St. Pius in the semifinals on Friday.

    "We just kept going and kept attacking," Los Alamos coach Gary Ahlers said. "The girls didn't stop and didn't get down. They were so excited."

    The Hilltoppers controlled possession and owned the majority of goal scoring opportunities leading up to the eventual game-winning goal. In the 76th minute, Alissia Haagenstad found some space and put away the goal for Los Alamos, from a Sienna Ahlers pass.

    In the first half, the Hilltoppers used their midfield to spread the ball around but didn't garner many threats towards the Rockets goal. But in the second, that possession turned into goal scoring opportunities. Then, it was all about getting past Goddard goalkeeper Averi Mann.  

    "We had the majority of possession but we just couldn't get a good shot off," Gary Ahlers said. "Their (Goddard) keeper was phenomenal. We couldn't get a clean run onto the goal."    

  • LAHS football hosts Capital in regular season finale

    Los Alamos head football coach Garett Williams said his team is mentally prepared for what could be a season-defining game.
    The Hilltoppers will host Capital at 7 p.m. tonight at Sullivan Field in the regular season finale for both teams.  
    “We’re prepared for this just like everything else,” Williams said. “We normally start with something to get these guys jacked up and try to get them focused. The way we practice and our preparation is still the same.”
    Los Alamos, which is 5-4 overall and 2-1 in District 2-5A, could be playing for its postseason life tonight. A win could potentially make the Hilltoppers one of 11 Class 5A teams with a winning record going into Saturday’s state selection show. A loss would make the Hilltoppers state playoffs case even more difficult.
    “They talk about it and they know about the importance of playing good,” Williams said. “Whether the (selection) committee sees it the way we want them to see it, we don’t have any control over that. All we can do is take care of us. We don’t want to change anything. We want these guys to be comfortable in what they’re doing.”

  • Prep volleyball: ’Toppers survive Capital in 5

    It was fitting that the Los Alamos volleyball team would survive a five-set scare with its season on the line.
    The Hilltoppers defeated Capital (19-25, 25-22, 25-23, 12-25, 15-9) on Tuesday at Griffith Gym to advance to the semifinals of the District 2-5A tournament. Los Alamos traveled to face Del Norte on Thursday (after the Monitor’s print deadline).
    “When it comes to the fifth game they just get a lot of reps,” Los Alamos coach Diana Stokes said. “They did some really good things. And the two games that Capital won... they were solid. It was just a matter of which team can stay up the longest.”
    Both teams began the final set tied 5-5. After a long stoppage from the officials, the Hilltoppers took a 10-7 lead. That lead was charged by freshman Natalie Gallegos who finished with four kills in the fifth set. An Elodie Thelliez kill sealed the win for Los Alamos. 

  • LA cross country set for state

    The Los Alamos girl’s cross country team will need to have its best performance of the season to extend its state title streak.
    The Hilltoppers travel to Rio Rancho on Saturday to compete in a meet where they’ve had loads of success - the Class 5A state meet. The Los Alamos girls will run at noon on the campus of Rio Rancho High School.
    The Hilltoppers go into the meet winning seven-consecutive state titles. But this year, Los Alamos has yet to finish first in a meet. Class 5A favorite Albuquerque Academy is likely the reason for that. The Hilltoppers have faced the Chargers in their last two meets and Academy got the best of Los Alamos both times.   
    Class 5A could very likely come down to both of these teams.
    Celeste Martinez and Carly Wall, who were the top two finishers in the District 2-5A meet, will look to lead the Chargers to their first state title since 2008.
    For Los Alamos, the return of junior Zoe Hemez has made the Hilltoppers a real danger to upset Academy on Saturday. Hemez adds more depth to a Los Alamos line up that was led by eighth-grader Lidia Appell for the majority of the season.

  • LAHS boy’s soccer tops Chaparral, advances to semis

    It was going to take a strong defensive effort and clinical finishing for the Los Alamos boy’s soccer team to upend No. 4 Chaparral.
    And that’s exactly what the fifth-seeded Hilltoppers did in their 1-0 Class 5A quarterfinal win against Chaparral on Thursday at a windy Bernalillo Soccer Complex. Los Alamos advanced to the semifinals where it will face No. 1 Albuquerque Academy at 10:30 a.m. Friday.

    "It was outstanding," Los Alamos coach Ron Blue said. "Defensively we were really good. We found space and found gaps. We didn't make mistakes. It was windy which made the game a bit sloppy. But I was proud of how we played."

  • Prep football: Last-second heave lifts Los Alamos over Española Valley

    A double-digit fourth-quarter lead wasn’t enough for Española Valley to quarrel with history.
    With seven seconds left in the game, Los Alamos trailed 34-29 until quarterback Nick Quartieri rolled out to his left found receiver Kevin Maresca for a 34-yard touchdown pass as time expired to give the Hilltoppers a 35-34 win against the Sundevils on Friday in Española.
    “It feels like a dream,” an elated Quartieri said. “We had a lot of emotions. We were just so pumped. I feel like crying right now. I’m just so happy... tears of joy.”
    The fourth-quarter comeback started when Quarteri and Maresca connected on a 29-yard touchdown pass to cut the Sundevils lead to 28-22 with 10:27 left to play.
    Española answered when its following drive was kept alive by a roughing the punter penalty called on Los Alamos. A 74-yard pass set up a one-yard Joerey Manzanares touchdown with 6:36 remaining to give Española a 34-22 lead. Quartieri ran for a 10-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 34-29 with 1:46 left. The final game-winning drive was set up after the Hilltoppers defense forced an Española three-and-out.

  • ’Toppers girl’s soccer set for quarterfinals

    Los Alamos girl’s soccer coach Gary Ahlers said he typically likes playing a first round game instead of having a bye.
    But this year is different.
    The fourth-seeded Hilltoppers, who have been plagued with a series of injuries, will face No. 5 Goddard at 2:30 p.m. Thursday in the Class 5A state tournament quarterfinals at the Bernalillo Soccer Complex in Bernalillo.
    “I don’t like to have a bye week but with the injuries we’ve had, it gave us some time,” Gary Ahlers said. “We have a full contention now.”
    Among the major injuries that Los Alamos suffered during the tail end of the season, was sophomore Katie Hopkins, who suffered a concussion on Oct. 8. Hopkins will start on Thursday but will likely be limited, according to Gary Ahlers.
    “She (Hopkins) is going to be available,” Gary Ahlers said. “(Monday) was the first day where she was able to do any type of physical contact. But come Thursday she’ll be good.”
    The Hilltoppers go into the contest with 14 days of rest and finished the regular season 15-5 overall and second in District 2-5A, behind No. 2 Albuquerque Academy.

  • LAHS cross country places 2nd in district

    The Los Alamos cross country teams fell short of the District 2-5A title on Friday at the Los Alamos Municipal Golf Course.
    Both Albuquerque Academy teams topped the Hilltoppers to claim the top spot in one of Class 5A’s toughest districts. The Los Alamos teams finished second, respectively. Both the Chargers and Hilltoppers received automatic bids to Saturday’s Class 5A state meet in Rio Rancho.  
    On the girl’s side, Academy’s Celeste Martinez and Carly Walll were the top two finishers.
    Zoe Hemez and Lidia Appell of Los Alamos were next two finishers. Hemez ran a 20:17, while Appell finished in 20:21.
    The next five were Academy runners, who rounded out the 21-point performance for the Chargers.
    Hannah Gartz, Marin Kelly and Paulina Burnside helped Los Alamos to its 40 points.
    Española Valley finished third as team, while Del Norte was fourth and Capital fifth in the girl’s meet.
    The Academy boys had the top three finishers in Jordan Lesansee, A.J. Kedge and Mark Harrington.
    Rafael Sanchez ran a 17:02 to place in fourth, while Chris Buntain finished in 10th with a time of 17:41. Josh Strevell rounded out the top three for Los Alamos with a 17:50 performance.