Toppers lose in shootout to Hawks

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Girls soccer: LA’s 7-game winning streak snapped

By The Staff

For the past two games, the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls soccer team has played uneven ball.
While it was somewhat understandable Saturday against Santa Fe, which was completely overmatched by Los Alamos, it wasn’t Tuesday afternoon against the Volcano Vista Hawks.
The Hilltoppers started off the contest well, scoring about 25 minutes in to take a 1-0 lead, but the Hilltoppers couldn’t keep their intensity up. The Hawks controlled play for most of the second half and tied the score at the 48-minute mark.
The Hawks would go on to win in a shootout, 2-1.
“It was kind of sluggish,” Hilltopper head coach Jiri Kubicek said. “We had some breakaways. We had some good chances to get goals. Our seniors need to step it up. We had some good things, but some of it looked like the Santa Fe game.”
Tuesday’s loss snapped Los Alamos’ seven-game win streak.
Los Alamos (10-2) got some offense going in the overtime periods, setting itself up with a few good looks.
In the shootout phase, Los Alamos couldn’t convert on its first two chances — one was blocked by Hawk goalkeeper Jovana Canales and the other sailed over the crossbar, while Volcano Vista converted on two of its first three chances to go up 2-0.
Catie McDonald hit a ball just underneath the crossbar to cut the Hawk advantage to 2-1, then Los Alamos goalkeeper Bryce Theesfeld blocked the ensuing Volcano Vista attempt by Sarah Lucero — Theesfeld actually blocked Lucero twice but Lucero was awarded a second kick by the officials following an initial block.
Theesfeld has given up just four goals in the Hilltoppers’ last eight games. This season, her goals-against average is .715.
Following Chandler Art’s conversion, Volcano Vista made good on its last attempt to go up 3-2 and Los Alamos’ final attempt was blocked.
The Hilltoppers’ goal in regulation was scored by Leslie Guarello off an assist from Jordan Ahlers. Kubicek said Ahlers had one of the best outings of her career in the loss.
Tuesday’s game was one of two nondistrict contests the Hilltoppers have scheduled this week. The other is Thursday at home against La Cueva (8-2), the No. 4 team in the state.