Aspen girls soccer hands Rams first loss; Basalt girls soccer falls to Vail Mountain
It’s the best worst nightmare a coach can ask for.
While Aspen High School’s John Gillies is excited to have an emerging star in Kelley Francis, he’s worried she may be doing too well.
“She’s a freshman. She’s going to come up against big girls and she’s going to get marked out of the game,” Gillies said. “We need to not rely on Kelley. But she’s always there. She is hungry. She loves soccer. It’s all she ever thinks about. And she’ll chase after anything.”
The young attacker has been relentless for the AHS girls soccer team through three games and especially stood out in Tuesday’s 4-1 win over previously undefeated Roaring Fork on the AHS turf. Francis scored all four goals for Aspen to give her seven on the season.
She opened the scoring with a goal midway through the first half and scored her second only a few minutes later to give AHS a 2-0 halftime lead. The Rams briefly got back into the game when Emily Broadhurst scored with about 28 minutes to play, but it didn’t take long for Francis and the Skiers to respond.
“She enjoys scoring goals,” Gillies said. “There is still a lot more she can do.”
Francis got her third with about 10 minutes to play and tacked on a fourth during stoppage time. Roaring Fork (3-1) entered the game with wins over Rifle, Delta and powerhouse Vail Mountain before running into the buzz saw that was Francis.
“When you are relying on a little freshman to score your goals and get you out of trouble, there is still work for the team to be done,” Gillies said. “Saying that, we’ve only just got girls at five practices because they’ve been doing everything else. As the season wears on after spring break, I’m sure it will get better.”
While the Skiers did get a few more players back Tuesday, they still lack any depth. Gillies hopes to have a relatively full bench after spring break.
Aspen (2-1) plays Thursday at Vail Mountain in its final game before the weeklong hiatus.
“The win is always good,” Gillies said. “But we are striving for the long season and the amount of energy they used on the field today, they didn’t need to use that much if they used their head a bit more. But the girls played well enough to score four goals.”
BASALT SOCCER LOSES TO VAIL MOUNTAIN
The Basalt High School girls soccer team’s hot start to the season came to an end Tuesday with a 5-3 home loss to Vail Mountain.
“They are a good team and they played well,” BHS coach Andrew Huntsman said of the Gore Rangers. “I thought my girls played well against them, but it just wasn’t their day. They played a really physical game that I don’t think we were prepared for yet. They kind of controlled that physical aspect of the game.”
Neither team scored in the second half after a wild first half that had eight combined goals. The Longhorns had trouble slowing Vail Mountain’s star attacker, Marley Chappel, who did most of the scoring for the visiting team.
Freshman Delaney Card had two of Basalt’s goals, while Sasha Brucker had the other. Through three games, Card has scored eight of the team’s 14 goals. Her older sister, 2017 BHS grad Callie Card, was also a soccer standout for the Longhorns.
“She plays different, but I think she is doing a good job,” Huntsman said of the younger Card. “With eight goals on a season in three games I’m very impressed with her play, but also excited to see how she develops and matures.”
Vail Mountain, the reigning league champions, improved to 1-1 on the season.
Basalt fell to 2-1 overall with wins over SkyView Academy and Alamosa to start the season. The Longhorns, who are ranked No. 10 in Class 3A in the CHSAANow.com poll this week, now are off for spring break. They’ll return April 6 with a game at Rangely followed by a game April 7 at Moffat County.
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The state track and field championship meet got underway Thursday at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood, with Basalt High School coming away with a couple of podiums.