Kropf’s two goals lift Aspen girls over Grand Valley |

Kropf’s two goals lift Aspen girls over Grand Valley

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

ASPEN, Colorado – Aspen needed a spark after dropping consecutive games to 3A Western Slope foes Basalt and Coal Ridge.

For that, they turned to a precocious freshman.

Much like she has all season, Keile Kropf proved capable of carrying the Skiers. She scored twice on a frigid Tuesday afternoon against previously unbeaten Grand Valley to propel the Skiers to a 3-0 victory over the Cardinals in their final match before spring break.

Kropf has scored eight of Aspen’s 14 goals in the first four games – including two in Monday’s 4-2 loss on the road against Coal Ridge.

“Keile’s a great player. She’s definitely an asset. She’s playing well against girls four years older,” Skiers head coach John Gillies said.

“We were very tired, very lethargic. [Against Coal Ridge] they all worked their hearts out. It felt great to get something today.”

While they lacked their typical high energy and aggressiveness, the Skiers did control much of the possession during a sloppy first half. It rarely linked more than a few passes together, but Aspen did generate an abundance of shots on goal. During a two-minute stretch, Anna Stevens failed to convert on two such prime chances; she had an open look sail mere feet wide of the far post, then sidestepped a defender and had a powerful blast thwarted by a diving save.

Kropf was on point in the 30th minute, however. She chased down and controlled a well-placed through-ball on a run up the far sideline, then lined a shot into the far corner.

She struck again in the 56th minute. Kropf somehow managed to slip past two defenders, then was well positioned in front of the net for an easy tap-in following an accurate pass.

“I’ve watched the girls. Once they get scored on and don’t retaliate with a score right away, it becomes a mental game,” Grand Valley head coach Kelly Clark said. “That happens a lot when you’ve got a young team … but we’ve come a long way.”

The Skiers all but put this match out of reach with a goal in the 75th minute; junior Hayley Kremer booted a cross that deflected off a Cardinals defender and into the net.

“That was just one player being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” conceded Clark, whose squad hosts Basalt at 4 p.m. Thursday. “I’m happy with the effort they put in. They kept trying.”

Added Gillies: “I felt like they needed this … to help build their confidence back up.”

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