Girl power on boys pitch


Valley’s Ashkettle one of area’s soccer’s best

By Paul Boggs - pboggs@aimmediamidwest.com



Valley junior Lucie Ashkettle (3), a second-team all-Southeast District Division III boys soccer selection, is one of the top soccer players —both boys or girls —in not only Scioto County but all of Southeastern Ohio.

Valley junior Lucie Ashkettle (3), a second-team all-Southeast District Division III boys soccer selection, is one of the top soccer players —both boys or girls —in not only Scioto County but all of Southeastern Ohio.


Courtesy of Patrick Phillips of Glory Days Photography

Valley junior Lucie Ashkettle (3), a second-team all-Southeast District Division III boys soccer selection, is one of the top soccer players —both boys or girls —in not only Scioto County but all of Southeastern Ohio.


Courtesy of Patrick Phillips of Glory Days Photography

LUCASVILLE — Quite blunt, high school soccer has been an entirely unique experience for Valley’s Lucie Ashkettle.

But just think about it.

It’s highly likely that Southeastern Ohio hasn’t seen a soccer standout quite like Lucie.

And, although entirely subjective —one can easily state the case that Ashkettle is indeed the best girls soccer player, despite playing on a predominantly boys team, in all of Scioto County.

Maybe, just maybe, most of SEO as well.

Ashkettle completed her junior season this past fall —and after earning first-team all-Southeast District Division III GIRLS accolades as a sophomore, she made the BOYS all-Southeast District Division III list this season, as a second-teamer.

Thus, that kept her from making all-Ohio by not officially being a first-team honoree, but often times those lists are deemed meaningless — or even imaginary.

The truth is Ashkettle can flat out play —lighting up the boys pitch with girl power.

She was a shoe-in selection for the Southern Ohio Conference Division I first-team unit, as the Indians swept their way to their first league championship since 2002.

“I would say she is the most soccer-intelligent person on our team,” said Valley coach Jacob Perry, of Ashkettle. “Absolutely fantastic player. The way she sees the field and moves the ball. She is not somebody just out there on the field taking up space. She plays hard, goes after the ball, doesn’t back away, mixes it up. She is a very important part of our team. One of the best players on our team for sure, and one of the best girls players in all of the area.”

Ashkettle and her family moved to Lucasville from Lewis Center near Columbus some 13 years ago —to be closer to her mother Brandi’s family.

She started playing soccer for a youth program at the age of three, then competed with a club team —the Lewis Center-centric Classic Eagles at the age of seven.

She also plays for an all-girls club team based in Waverly —the Southern Ohio Chargers.

Her introduction to boys soccer, or even co-ed, came when she enrolled at Valley.

“When I moved to Lucasville I started playing on their youth teams in seventh and eighth grade. I had never played on a boys team or co-ed team until I moved here,” said Ashkettle. “I get a whole different experience of high school soccer than the usual high school girls soccer player does. I get to feel a different level of play and I think that’s unique.”

Of course, obviously, there is the highly-physical nature of the sport —and Ashkettle almost always in there amongst the boys battling for possession of the ball.

Never bashful about banging bodies, she has been knocked to the ground and even fouled hard a time or two — but she is well-aware that it comes with the territory.

“I think the level of physicality differs in a way you wouldn’t normally think about. When I’m playing with girls, I feel like I am here doing the same thing every other girl is doing. When I’m playing with boys, I almost feel like I have to prove that I’m not out there to fill a space. I am out there to play the game I know how to play and have to match their level of physical play no matter what,” said Ashkettle. “All in all, soccer is soccer, but there is quite the difference in the style of play. I just have to adjust.”

As a wing, Ashkettle scored 10 goals and registered seven assists as a junior —as the Indians excelled and advanced all the way to the Division III district championship tilt.

“Being on a league championship team definitely made a statement for us,” she said. “We knew we had all the tools to do it. It was just putting it all together in the end.”

Of their 19 total matches — they lost only at SOC II champion Minford, played Division II stronghold Unioto to a scoreless tie, and had an excellent opportunity at scoring a late goal to force overtime against Wheelersburg in the district final.

Ashkettle discussed the season, and thanked her coaches and teammates for “trusting” her.

“This year, more than ever, I feel like my teammates were very trusting in me. They know I’m a girl out there, yet they can still put their trust in me to make the right play and I thank them for that,” she said. “As for Coach Perry and Coach (Valley assistant coach Bryce) Romanello, which are former college players, I feel like I’m getting that learning from a college-level play perspective, which improves our whole team. The community has been nothing but supportive for me, the amount of love they give me is unreal, and I wouldn’t have the confidence to play the way I do without them. This season, I felt I had more of a presence and say as an upperclassman. I felt like our team had a lot of players with strengths of their own, and when you put us together, nothing could stop us.”

Indeed, Ashkettle’s mental approach to the sport separates her from most.

“The whole game for me is mental. It’s like thinking of a pass two plays ahead and seeing where the ball is going before it’s there. I think a lot of that soccer intelligence comes from my club team in Columbus,” she said. “A lot of what we worked on is increasing our soccer ‘IQ’ and thinking ahead. Individually, I want to continue to get stronger and gain muscle in the offseason, and improve my soccer technically and mentally.”

And, expect Ashkettle continuing to receive some scholarship offers —as she said she has already talked to “some (NCAA) Division III and II schools, and starting to talk to some D-Is.”

”I have been in contact with a few (colleges) so far, and went to a few ID camps this past summer to get some exposure,” she said.

Speaking of exposure, those college programs are in for a true treat with Ashkettle’s superb play —something Scioto County and Southeastern Ohio already knows all about.

Valley junior Lucie Ashkettle (3), a second-team all-Southeast District Division III boys soccer selection, is one of the top soccer players —both boys or girls —in not only Scioto County but all of Southeastern Ohio.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2021/12/web1_Lucie-Ashkettle-2.jpgValley junior Lucie Ashkettle (3), a second-team all-Southeast District Division III boys soccer selection, is one of the top soccer players —both boys or girls —in not only Scioto County but all of Southeastern Ohio. Courtesy of Patrick Phillips of Glory Days Photography

Valley junior Lucie Ashkettle (3), a second-team all-Southeast District Division III boys soccer selection, is one of the top soccer players —both boys or girls —in not only Scioto County but all of Southeastern Ohio.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2021/12/web1_Lucie-Ashkettle-1.jpgValley junior Lucie Ashkettle (3), a second-team all-Southeast District Division III boys soccer selection, is one of the top soccer players —both boys or girls —in not only Scioto County but all of Southeastern Ohio. Courtesy of Patrick Phillips of Glory Days Photography
Valley’s Ashkettle one of area’s soccer’s best

By Paul Boggs

pboggs@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at pboggs@aimmediamidwest.com, or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at pboggs@aimmediamidwest.com, or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved