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Prep soccer: Topper girls eliminated in semis

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By The Staff

Two quick goals gave Los Alamos hope, but Grace Romero eventually sealed the Hilltoppers season.

The fourth-seeded Hilltoppers lost to No. 1 St. Pius 3-2 on Friday in the Class 5A state tournament semifinals.

With eight minutes left to play, Romero found herself behind the Los Alamos defense and tucked away the shot to the near post to send the Sartans to their fourth-consecutive state championship appearance.

After St. Pius opened the scoring in the first half and added another goal in the 48th minute, the Hilltoppers came roaring back. Los Alamos sophomore Katie Hopkins cut the Sartans lead with a 30-yard shot that skidded past the St. Pius goalkeeper in the 56th minute.

And four minutes later, Abby Schmalz put in a free kick towards the far post where Alissia Haagenstad was there to equalize for the Hilltoppers. Los Alamos kept attempting for another equalizer after Romero's goal, but to no avail. 

St. Pius went on to lose in overtime in the championship game against Albuquerque Academy.

Los Alamos finished the season at 16-6 overall, marking the second-consecutive season with 16 wins for second-year coach Gary Ahlers.