Olson lifts Aztec to tourney title in overtime

Karl Schneider

AZTEC — The Aztec and Los Alamos girls soccer teams needed more than 90 minutes to determine the championship of the Aztec Invitational tonight.

Aztec's Autumn Roundy heads the ball against Los Alamos on Aug. 20 at the Aztec Tiger Sports Complex.

After 80 minutes of regulation, the game remained scoreless. One overtime period wasn’t enough to end it. Then finally, in the twilight at the Aztec Tiger Sports Complex, junior Grace Olson delivered the elusive first goal to lift Aztec to a 1-0 victory.

The goal came a little more than one minute into the second overtime. Aztec’s Autumn Roundy broke through the Los Alamos defense, getting a one-on-one opportunity with the goalkeeper. The keeper came charging out to meet Roundy, sliding toward the ball to stop the threat. But at the last second, Roundy flicked the ball to her right and was taken out by the keeper to earn a penalty kick.

After a brief moment, Olson stepped up and placed the ball into the top of the net with a firm and confident shot, sending the Aztec bench onto the field to swarm Olson in celebration.

“Oh, my gosh. I was freaking out,” Olson said of the moment before taking the penalty. “My heart was racing, and all I could think about was that I had to get it for the team — that I had to make it.”

Aztec's Grace Olsen takes a free kick during a game against Los Alamos Lady  on Saturday at the Aztec Tiger Sports Complex.

Throughout the game, Aztec (3-2) and Los Alamos (2-1) traded blows, knocking each other around in a very physical game. Both sides threatened to break the scoreless tie in both halves of regulation, getting into the attacking third with some regularity. But clean shots on goal were rare.

“There were times when they had possession and times we had possession, and (Los Alamos is) going through some changes and learning some new things, and we are, as well,” Aztec coach Kelly Kelso said. “We’re pretty evenly matched teams, and those are the kinds of games we like to play.”

Aztec will have a week off to recover from the tournament and will play at Hope Christian (0-0) on Saturday.

Olson believes the win in Aztec’s home tournament will provide the team with a confidence boost moving through the rest of the season and into the state playoffs.

“I think this win will help (our confidence) a lot,” Olson said. “We haven’t won this tournament in forever, so this is a good start to help us moving forward to state, and hopefully win state, too.”

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.