Grand Valley’s Ashlynn Speakman leads the state in soccer goal scoring, credits teammates for her success
Citizen Telegram Sports Editor
PARACHUTE — Ashlynn Speakman totally scoffs at the presumption that because of all of the goals she’s scored this year, she carries the Grand Valley High School girls soccer team.
The way Speakman sees it, the Cardinals carry her.
“In every game I’ve scored in, I had to get the ball from somewhere,” the senior striker said. “I just happen to be the person with composure in front of the net. People are creating opportunities for me, and that’s the reason why it’s picked up.”
Those teammates have created an awful lot of scoring opportunities for Speakman who, through Tuesday, was Colorado’s top goal scorer in every classification. Her production has also helped Grand Valley (10-2-0 overall) win a school-record nine consecutive games following Tuesday’s 6-0 victory over Vail Mountain, and Grand Valley has a chance to enter the Class 3A state playoffs with 12 consecutive wins.
That might not be happening if it wasn’t for the goal-scoring production of Speakman, whose 27 goals through Tuesday’s game were tops in Colorado. Aurora Hinkley freshman Teaggan Ilela had matched Speakman’s goal-scoring total at 26 through Saturday’s games, but Speakman scored a goal in Tuesday’s victory.
Speakman’s performance this year is building on the performance she turned in during her junior season, when the 30 goals she scored were ranked fourth among goal scorers in Colorado. And according to statistics provided by maxpreps.com, Speakman was in a four-way tie for 15th place on the national goal-scoring list after this past weekend.
Ask Speakman about reaching those kind of numbers, though, and she’ll be the first to tell you how she could care less.
“She’s really humble,” said first-year Grand Valley head coach Scott Gregory, who served as an assistant coach for two seasons prior to taking over for Eric Sarno this year. “She really doesn’t care about accolades. She does a good job with numbers, but she doesn’t hunt for numbers.”
Case in point: Gregory said Speakman could easily have five more goals this season, but chose not to score them. She said she turned away a scoring opportunity against Vail Christian earlier this month, choosing to bring the ball back out of the goal box off a rebounded shot rather than punching it into the net. During the Cardinals’ 8-0 victory over Aspen on April 19, she gave up a penalty kick opportunity to give someone else a chance to score.
“I know that I can score,” said Speakman, who played club soccer in Glenwood Springs this past summer and is seriously looking at playing soccer at Fort Lewis College in Durango this coming fall. “But if it’s an easier team, I think it’s important to get other people involved. Against Vail Christian, I could have tapped it in, but I sent it out so that someone could get a shot from outside the [18-yard line]. I think it’s important for everyone to score, or at least have the opportunity.”
The 5-foot-1 Speakman isn’t the only one having a big year for the Cardinals. Junior Kyra Chenoweth has 15 goals (along with a team-high 15 assists) this season to go with the 10 goals scored by senior Lauren Paskett, with each providing an extra legitimate scoring threat aside from Speakman. Seven other players have also found the net for Grand Valley which, despite its success, did not receive a single vote in the CHSAAnow.com Class 3A girls soccer poll released on April 21.
That doesn’t seem to bother anyone on the Cardinals roster, who are more focused on what lies ahead rather than what people think of them.
“We win a game, but then we move on to the next one,” Paskett said. “We’ll definitely have to come together and play as a team in the playoffs.”
Speakman fully expects that, too, and she’s not afraid of stepping out of her role as a goal scorer, if that’s what it takes for the team to be successful. When she played club soccer, Speakman was more of a ball distributor rather than a goal scorer, a role she embraced. Gregory said she isn’t afraid to step back on defense when needed, either.
Speakman readily admitted that she’ll take on any role in college she’s given, “even if it’s getting water for everyone,” she laughed. In the meantime, she hopes to do whatever she can to help her current team out for however long Grand Valley’s season lasts.
And Speakman’s attitude not only personifies herself, but her teammates.
“We need to stay humble and hungry as a team,” she said.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Newly hired Rifle Police Officer Kalob Foreman refers to the feeling as getting “Monday-morning quarterbacked to death.”