Girls soccer: Speakman’s hat trick lifts Grand Valley over Roaring Fork
PARACHUTE — Ashlynn Speakman practically scored her last goal of the match by accident. Not that she’s complaining, mind you.
“Yeah,” the Grand Valley High School senior said with a shrug and a smile. “I meant to do that. Kind of.”
Speakman’s goal in the 79th minute came when she deflected a corner kick into the net off the hands of exhausted Roaring Fork goalkeeper Maddie Nieslanik. It not only capped the scoring for the Cardinals, but it gave Speakman her third goal of the Class 3A Western Slope League match in a 6-0 victory at the Grand Valley High School soccer field.
“Ashlynn just had a great, great game today,” first-year Grand Valley coach Scott Gregory said.
That went all the way around for the Cardinals (2-2-0 overall, 1-1-0 3A WSL), who resoundingly rebounded from Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to league leader Coal Ridge. They did that thanks to a consistent offensive attack and a defensive effort that prevented the Rams (4-1-0, 0-1-0) from getting many scoring opportunities. Grand Valley outshot Roaring Fork 25-4.
“Offensively, we improved greatly,” said Speakman, who was able to take only two shots on goal in Tuesday’s game against the Titans. “It seemed like against Coal Ridge we were really hesitant. Today, we were very aggressive and played to feet much better.”
Lauren Paskett had a pair of assists, Kyra Chenoweth added two goals and Randi Sheridan also found the net for the Cardinals. Grand Valley’s defensive back line set up a lot of those scoring chances, with Paskett taking long outlet passes down the sidelines to set up two of Grand Valley’s scores.
“They played with a lot more confidence today,” Gregory said. “We’d had plenty of opportunities in other games, but we had trouble finishing. It wasn’t about driving the ball into the back of the net, but hitting it accurately. And those centering passes helped set that up.”
The Rams hadn’t played since a three-match stretch in three days prior to spring break last week, with their final coming in a 9-1 victory on March 20 in Carbondale. Roaring Fork had outscored its previous three opponents 11-1; the Rams won by forfeit over Vail Mountain in a game scheduled for March 14.
But even with the lopsided outcome, Roaring Fork coach Heather Fox wasn’t surprised by the final score.
“Not with the way we played,” Fox said. “Still, they earned every one of their goals.”
Fox also said the way the Rams could rebound from the loss — like Grand Valley rebounded from its loss to Coal Ridge — was by “being upset about it now, and coming back to practice [today] and working really hard.” Roaring Fork plays three games next week, starting April 8 at Vail Christian.
Speakman put the Cardinals up to stay in the 10th minute when Paskett’s centering pass from the right sideline went over the heads of the Rams’ defenders straight to Speakman, whose shot from the left side of the box to the upper-right corner of the net gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead. Roaring Fork nearly responded in the 13th minute, though, when Emily Fisher zig-zagged through the Grand Valley defense and got a shot off from 10 yards away that sailed just wide right of the net.
Paskett set up Speakman again in the 30th minute, but Roaring Fork’s defense converged on the Grand Valley senior and knocked the ball away. It bounced right to Sheridan, however, and the Cardinals senior knocked it into the net for a 2-0 Grand Valley edge at halftime.
Speakman added another goal in the 46th minute. Chenoweth scored consecutive goals in the 60th and 76th minutes, with the latter coming off a throw in from Haydon Metcalf. Speakman capped the scoring — and her hat trick — 3 minutes later.
Grand Valley continues league play on Saturday when it goes to Carbondale to play Colorado Rocky Mountain School.
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