The Los Alamos Boy’s Varsity Soccer team took great strides of success this season but fell short in the end.
The Toppers had many highs and lows this season and deserved all of their successes. They started off their farewell state tournament Oct. 29 at Los Alalmos High School with a bang at home against the Goddard Rockets. In the first 20 minutes, both teams fought hard to keep a clean sheet, but in the 22nd minute, Levon Wiggins struck first with a volley goal off of a rebound by the Goddard keeper. The Toppers seemed strong but conceded their first goal of the tournament off of a header from a free kick that was given to the Rockets.
Although times looked bleak, the Toppers attacked quick and scored at the start of the first half thanks to Christopher Blue. This lead to good things for the Toppers as Jonathan Coons and Arthur Steinkamp scored another two goals in the second half and two assists by Andreas Runde. The Toppers attacking 3-5-2 formation led them to a 4-1 victory.
After the game Blue said, “We really improved in the second half and I believe we have a good chance at winning state.”
The Toppers travelled to Bernalillo for the second game of the tournament on the morning of Nov. 3, against Chaparral. The game was played under rough conditions in 50° temperatures and high winds. The Toppers had great fan turnout in the small stands and looked psyched before the game, giving off good energy. The first half was tough with both teams trading chance for chance though the Toppers looked a bit more dominant.
In the second half, Steinkamp scored with an assist by Daniel Castano. At this point the Toppers switched to a more defensive formation to fend off the opposition. The Toppers finished the game winning 1-0.
Shining after their first two victories, the Toppers met their district rivals, Albuquerque Academy, Nov. 4 for the semi-final in more poor weather conditions but with a strong fanbase. Game tensions were high, but the Toppers looked as though they were ready to do battle. Unfortunately the Toppers conceded a goal early in the first half but did not let the early score affect them. Soon after, Coons capitalized off of a defensive mistake from the Knights leveling the match 1-1. The teams both fought hard not letting a single ball go by, yet there were many close and arguable calls made by the referee.
During the half the Toppers seemed hopeful and looked ready to win despite the poor conditions. The half started off with the Toppers yet again using their attacking formation. Both teams traded chance for chance and save for save. Topper’s goalkeeper Seth Hailey helped dramatically saving multiple shots from the Knights. Runde had a big chance to score but missed a sitter from close up. Yet again in the second referee calls were controversial. The Toppers kept fighting, but eventually Academy caught up with them scoring a goal to make it 2-1. The Toppers never hung their heads but shortly conceded two more goals in the half. Academy won a penalty. Hailey leaped for a spectacular save in the bottom right corner. The game ended with an Academy win at 4-1.
All players were emotional after the game especially the seniors since it was the final game for most of them. Things are looking bright for the Toppers despite their loss.
After the game, promising junior Tristian Semelsberger said, “It was a very successful season and we hope for a lot of the same next year even though we are losing lots of key players I believe we can make up for it with lots of hard work and good practice.”
Let’s hope the Toppers can improve and bring home some silverware next year.