Kelley Francis sets scoring record, Aspen girls soccer beats Roaring Fork for WSL title
Was Kelley Francis aware of the record? Naturally.
Was there any doubt she would break it again? None.
The sophomore standout’s second goal on Thursday did the trick, securing a 3-1 win for the Aspen High School girls soccer team over Roaring Fork (6-6) on the AHS turf. It was her 33rd goal of the season, a new single-season record.
“You can see it in her eyes,” AHS coach John Gillies said of Francis. “No doubt next year she’ll beat this record, and the year after that she’ll beat that record. That girl is that hungry. She wants nothing more than to break records.”
Francis, the speedy, little redhead who rarely comes off the field, scored 32 goals as a freshman, which broke the previous school record of 29. That record was set by Jennifer Worcester back in the early ‘90s.
This season, Francis has scored a goal in every game outside of the season opener, a 4-0 loss at Class 5A Grand Junction. She has scored at least two goals in eight straight games, and has three or more goals on seven occasions, including a five-goal performance on Tuesday against Grand Valley.
“It felt pretty good,” Francis said of scoring her second goal against the Rams. “As a team we really want to make it all the way to the finals, and for myself I’ve wanted to break the record and I want to break it every year.”
Unlike the past five games, where AHS outscored its opponents by a collective 42-1, Roaring Fork made the Skiers earn this one. The Rams had played only the day before, a 2-1 loss at Basalt, but had few issues keeping up with Francis and Aspen.
Francis broke the ice in the 16th minute, a pass from freshman Jenny Ellis allowing Francis to sneak past the Fork goalkeeper for a relatively easy tap in and a 1-0 lead. The rest of the half belonged mostly to the Rams.
AHS goalie Ella Trane had a stellar save with less than five minutes to play in the first half, but Roaring Fork finally scored in stoppage time to make it 1-1 at halftime.
“About halfway through the first half Roaring Fork started coming back and we got a little frazzled,” Francis said. “But then we said we really wanted this and we came out strong in the second half.”
Aspen’s game-winner came barely four minutes into the second half when Ellis got loose and scored her fourth goal of the season. About nine minutes later, Francis got her second of the game and reset the AHS record book.
“They weren’t really bothering us at all; we just panicked,” Gillies said. “Other than that it was under control. The second half was fine. They realized they didn’t need to panic. No one has beaten us on this field in two years. No one is going to do it this year.”
On top of Francis setting the scoring mark, the win capped off a perfect 7-0 run through the Class 3A Western Slope League for the Skiers. They also won the WSL title last spring en route to the state semifinals, but did have an early-season overtime loss to Coal Ridge. The last time AHS got through league play without a loss was 2012, although it did have a tie that season (against Coal Ridge).
Aspen, ranked No. 4 in 3A, now is 11-2 overall and still undefeated since spring break. The Skiers are off until Thursday when they play at a tough Middle Park. The regular-season finale will be a day later when AHS hosts Basalt.
“It feels pretty amazing. We’ve worked pretty hard in practice and we just want to keep going,” Francis said of the league title. “We’ve really found our dynamic and we’ve really become a team.”
Aspen boys lacrosse falls at Grand Junction
The Aspen High School boys lacrosse team lost 13-8 at Grand Junction on Thursday. The Tigers improved to 10-1 overall and a perfect 8-0 in league play.
The loss dropped Aspen to 6-5 overall and 3-3 in league play. Right on the playoff bubble, Aspen will play again Friday at Telluride.
The AHS girls play at home on Saturday morning for senior day.
Skiers players were told that Aspen High School hockey isn’t playing varsity for the 2022-23 season. Reasons included a lack of seniors and consternation over experience.