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Jamestown girls soccer squad wants to compete, get back to State

Mar. 29—JAMESTOWN — Jamestown High School girls soccer coach Colton Altringer is looking to make a trip to the Class A State Soccer Tournament an annual thing.

"Maybe it was a fluke that we went to State my first year as head coach — but these girls desperately want to get back to the state tournament and do something," Altringer said. "They are really hoping to get back and compete and win games."

The Blue Jays began practices on March 25 and weather permitting will open the season on April 6, hosting Bismarck High. The game is scheduled to kick off at 4:30 p.m. at Jamestown's Rotary Field.

Rotary Field will be the Jays' main game field this spring. No games have been scheduled to be played in the Nelson Bubble on the University of Jamestown campus. The Jays also have the option to use the Erstad turf field on the JHS campus if Rotary Field is overly saturated by rain or snow.

"The girls are really excited about this because they haven't played a game (at Rotary Field) in almost three years," Altringer said.

"From a coaching standpoint, one of my biggest things this year is trying to figure out how we are going to fill gaps and replace key players from last year," Altinger said. "There is going to be a big void on our team this year."

The Jays lost four major contributors, Breanna Oettle, Hannah Sjostrom, Emma Hillerud and Brenna Hatch to graduation. In total, five seniors graduated in 2023.

"Besides what they did on the field and their technical ability, their senior leadership and experience helped them do very well, Altringer said. "They were a huge calming force for us. When things weren't going well or people were getting frustrated, I knew I could at least rely on those four to help us in a lot of ways.

"I am looking for the same things from this year's seniors that I got from the seniors last year," he said.

Of the 29 athletes who came out for the soccer season, three, Reese Christ, Olivia Sorlie and Sara Sletto, are seniors who have been on the varsity roster for at least four years.

Sorlie has been the Jays' primary goalkeeper for the last three years. The senior netminder was one of two Blue Jay athletes to be named to last year's All-WDA team. Two years ago, Sorlie picked up Second Team All-State honors making 147 saves and pitching four shutouts across her 15 games played.

"Last year she had a lot of success for us — keeping us in games with some big moments and some key saves," Altringer said of Sorlie. "Her ability to play with her feet allows us to keep the ball as long as possible. If we are in a bad position or a bind, we trust Olivia enough to use her feet so we can play out of it instead of just kicking it away and hoping for the best."

Sletto is another athlete the Jays have full trust in.

"Sara is one of our guiding forces, especially on the defensive side," Altringer said. "I know if something does break down or I need someone to clean up messes in the back line, she's always going to be there. Her individual success does lead to a lot of our overall success. It doesn't matter if it is volleyball, football or soccer — that kid is going to give everything she's got."

Sletto has been playing varsity soccer for the Jays for five years. Altringer said the senior will likely be lined up at centreback again this season along with sophomore Haley Attleson.

"(Haley) and Sara were paired together last year as centrebacks and as the year went on those two really found a way to work together and balance one another out," Altringer said. "Sara is going to be very aggressive and win the ball quickly, and Haley does a very good job of complementing her and covering that space for Sara when she does step out to attack."

While Sletto and Attleson work to keep the ball out of the Jays' defensive third, Christ and Briella Martin will be tasked with attacking opponents' goals.

"Reese is a person who can be almost an Ace in the Hole," Altringer said. "She's a very quiet individual — not like Sara or (Olivia) who are very vocal — but I think she can be a non-vocal leader. Reese works extremely hard. She's very passionate about what she does.

"Last year she played a key role in our success," he said. "This year, I am looking for her to take that next step and gain that success that she will need if she does go on to play college soccer."

Eighth grader Briella Martin is another name that could contribute to the Jays' overall goal-scoring. Martin was responsible for scoring the overtime goal that sent the Jays back to the 2023 Class A State Tournament.

"The majority of our girls are younger," Altringer said. "Many people might argue that is a negative but I think it is a positive. We get to give our girls more chances to find moments of success. A big part of our success is going to rely on those younger girls. If they take that next step in confidence and skillset I honestly think we are going to have a very good year.

"We have a good complement of older more experienced players and athletes who are newer but are right on the edge of having a breakout season for us," he said. "If those dominos fall the right way, I think the sky is the limit for this team."