Speedy Cardinals soar past Aspen Skiers
ASPEN — How fast?
Break out the radar gun.
The Grand Valley High School girls soccer team showcased its aggressive, high-speed attack Saturday on the turf field at Aspen High School. The Cardinals, with intimidating speed up front, sliced through the Skiers for an 8-0 victory in a Class 3A Western Slope League match.
Ashlynn Speakman scored four goals, teammate Lauren Paskett scored twice, and the Grand Valley girls improved to 9-2-0 overall, 5-1-0 in conference play.
“I want to give a shoutout to our goalie for saving that PK in the first minute of the game,” said Speakman, who scored the hat trick plus one against the Skiers. “That play and our defense gave our offense confidence.”
Aspen nearly shocked the Cardinals in the opening sequence of play when the Skiers drew a foul in the penalty area in front of the Grand Valley goal.
Aspen’s Logan McNamee lined up the PK and took the shot.
But Grand Valley’s Erin Schuckers made the save — one that woke up the Cardinals, according to Speakman.
“Throughout the season, we’ve been working on our through balls and our crosses,” said Speakman, who assisted on Paskett’s opening goal in the sixth minute of the match.
With speedster Randi Sheridan forcing play up the left sideline, Grand Valley scored again in the 19th minute — Speakman’s first goal. Sheridan’s cross to Paskett produced Grand Valley’s third goal and a 3-0 halftime lead.
“We had them scared there in the first few minutes,” Aspen coach John Gillies said. “We moved the ball … they were worried.”
But a short roster hit by illness and injury soon left the Skiers behind.
Grand Valley scored five goals in the second half.
“The four [girls] we play up front all have really good speed,” Grand Valley coach Scott Gregory said. “Getting into those gaps of the defense is something I’ve been harping on all season. The last four games or so, they seem to start to find those holes.”
Kyra Chenoweth and Hanna Cornelius also scored for Grand Valley. Chenoweth also provided a corner-kick assist on a header goal by Speakman (her 25th of the season).
“Kyra plays an excellent ball in from the outside,” Gregory said. “And Ashlynn [Speakman] is not afraid to stick her neck in there and head the ball home … that was a really pretty goal.”
The Grand Valley coach said the Cardinals are reaping the benefits of playing together for a long time. That helps them appreciate the special wins, he said.
“We’ve had some tough times on this field [in Aspen], so it feels really nice to come away with a win,” Gregory said.
The Skiers, who were outshot 27-6, nearly converted on a pair of second-half opportunities. Melody Lemke had a shot, McNamee added another, and Shannon Waititi and Julia Ely also pushed play into Grand Valley zone.
But the Cardinals answered with their stingy defense and the shutout. The Skiers (4-4-1 overall, 3-2-0 in league) were coming off a big 7-0 win at Rangely earlier this week.
Aspen will host undefeated Coal Ridge (11-0-0) on Tuesday afternoon.
The Titans are ranked No. 4 in Class 3A by chsaanow.com.
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