Soccer: Aspen girls dominate in opening win
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN – The Skiers girls soccer team’s first real test of the season comes Thursday against rival Basalt.
If its performance in Saturday’s season opener against Vail Christian is any indication, Aspen will be ready. The Skiers dispatched the Saints in convincing fashion. Freshman Keile Kropf led the charge with four goals, Anna Stevens connected twice and three others pitched in with scores in a 9-0 win.
“This was certainly a nice game to start the season,” Aspen head coach John Gillies said. “We’ve got a lot of hungry, young girls.”
The Skiers, who have just one senior (Lauren Anderson) on the roster, played like battle-tested veterans from the outset on an overcast Saturday afternoon. They pelted the Vail Christian net with shots from all angles in the early going.
Anderson converted on a perfect cross from Annie Graber in the ninth minute to kick off the scoring.
After more than 10 minutes highlighted by near misses, Jonelle Berklund extended the lead; she shook a defender on a run up the left side and slipped a liner past the Vail Christian goalkeeper.
The Skiers scored twice more in the next two minutes to pull ahead, 4-0. Both came from Kropf, who flicked a touch shot over the hands of the keeper, then showcased her strength with a boot from the top of the box.
She was just getting started. After Anna Stevens scored while falling to the turf in the opening minute of the second half, Kropf struck twice more – on a well-placed grounder in 54th minute, then on a powerful blast with about 10 minutes to play that flew right through the hands of the Saints keeper.
“She’s very dedicated to the sport and a very talented girl,” Gillies said. “The first season is usually disappointing for [freshmen]. She seems to have adapted pretty well already.
“We’ve got quite a good, young team. Ideally, we’re building for next year, but we’re getting there.”
Stevens, a sophomore, scored for a second time in the 77th minute, then junior Hayley Kremer connected on a penalty kick to finish off the rout.
Next up for Aspen is a home date with the Longhorns. In two regular-season meetings last year, the two sides battled to a 2-2 draw and Basalt pulled out a one-goal, overtime victory.
The Longhorns blanked Roaring Fork, 3-0, in their opener Thursday.
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.