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Girls’ soccer loses tight contest against Cleveland

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By Phil Scherer

In one of the toughest tests of the season to date, the Los Alamos High School girls’ soccer team did everything right except win. 

Facing Cleveland High School Saturday morning at Sullivan Field, the Hilltoppers played well, but gave up a goal in the final moments in a 2-1 loss. 

Despite the loss, head coach Ann Cernicek described the contest as her team’s “best game to date,” and for good reason. 

Early on, it appeared the Hilltoppers were better than the Storm. 

The team did a good job of possessing the ball, and kept dangerous opportunities away from goalkeeper Annika Fox throughout the early minutes. 

Much of the first half was played in the middle of the field, with neither team able to mount a meaningful attack on goal. 

The game was scoreless into the 34th minute, when Cleveland jumped on top on a beautiful goal by Madyson Barela. 

She took a hard shot that Fox had no chance to stop, and the Storm took a 1-0 lead. 

However, the Hilltoppers answered right back. Valerie Li made a great run down the right side of the field and found Vianey Terrazas near the goal. 

Terrazas took her shot, which barely evaded the goalkeeper, who left her net to contest the shot. 

The ball landed in the center of the net, evening the score 1-1 heading into halftime. 

In the second half, the Hilltoppers welcomed back starting goalkeeper Anna Lemke. 

In the first game of the Albuquerque Academy Tournament, Lemke re-injured her right knee, and the team feared it was serious. However, after missing only four games, Lemke returned to action, with a large brace covering her entire lower leg. 

Though she was not forced to make many difficult saves in the second half, she moved around well and did not appear to be limited. 

LAHS maintained good possession in the second half, and had dangerous chances to score throughout the half, but never converted. 

As the minutes ticked down in the second half, it appeared the game was headed toward overtime. But with less than two minutes remaining, Cleveland sent the home crowd home unhappy, as Alexis Nunez made a nice run down the left side of the field and unloaded a shot that Lemke had no chance of saving. 

The goal gave Cleveland a 2-1 lead, which was the final.

The Hilltoppers, now 6-4 this season, will return to action 10 a.m. Saturday on the road for a matchup with St. Pius, which has proven to be a tough team over the past several seasons. 

This season, however, St. Pius is struggling. The Sartans are 1-6-1, and have yet to win a game at home, going 0-5. 

The team has only scored seven goals this season, and have given up 20.