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Awards times four: Blue Jay soccer squad receives honors

Three members of the 2021 Jamestown High School girls soccer team were named to the All-WDA team.

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Mandan's Madison Hertz (5) and Jamestown's Breanna Oettle (25) close in on the soccer ball Saturday, May 15, 2021, at Trapper Field. John M. Steiner / The Sun

The awards just kept coming for the Jamestown High School girls soccer team.

"We weren't picked to finish very high and my team knew that and they put in a lot of work and a lot of effort into every game," JHS head coach Brandi Harty said. "I hope that the success they had this season will carry over into the offseason so they can keep preparing for the 2022 season."

Three of Harty's 15-rostered varsity athletes -- Haley Nelson, Sara Sletto and Breanna Oettle -- were named WDA all-conference at the conclusion of last week's Class A state soccer tournament. Oettle was also named to the state all-tournament team, while Nelson earned first-team all-state honors.

"For Breanna to get picked for the state tournament team, that was a big deal," Harty said. "That means she stood out the most on our team during that tournament."

Oettle played in the midfield for the Jays, an area where players are involved in a lot of different play both offensively and defensively. The second-year varsity team member tallied three goals and an assist for four total season points across the Jays' 12 regular-season games.

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"She works very, very hard on both ends of the field and that's one reason why coaches were fully aware of who she was," Harty said.

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Mandan's Madison Hertz (5) and Jamestown's Breanna Oettle (25) close in on the soccer ball Saturday, May 15, 2021, at Trapper Field. John M. Steiner / The Sun

It would be hard for someone to know WDA soccer and not know who Haley Nelson is.

"Haley Nelson is a force to be reckoned with," Harty said. "That girl works so incredibly hard. She's so determined to be the best self that she can be every single time she steps out on the field. I know that when I put her in the game, she's going to give it 100 percent and I never have to question anything when it comes to Haley."

Nelson was the Jays' leading scorer with six total goals, tying six other athletes in the WDA, for the eighth-best scoring record in the region this season. Nelson, a junior winger for the Jays, scored the deciding goal in the team's state tournament qualifying game against Bismarck Legacy on May 27.

The junior also put up three assists for nine total season points.

The Jays went up against West Fargo Sheyenne in the opening round of the state tournament and while they came up empty at the end of 90 minutes, Mustang head coach Melendez-Soloaga gave some praise to the junior and Sletto for penetrating the Mustangs' defense on occasion.

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"She is going to put in the work for her teammates," Harty said of Nelson.

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Jamestown's Haley Nelson (15) celebrates her goal against Bismarck Legacy with teammates Peyton Waliser (6) and Breanna Oettle Thursday, May 27, 2021, during the WDA tournament at Saint Mary's Central High School. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Sletto took "doing anything" to a whole new level this season.

Sletto, a freshman midfielder and defender, was out for a period of time this spring due to COVID-19 protocols, forcing her to be on the outs when it came to practices and forcing her to watch her team compete from the roof of her car in the high school parking lot until she was cleared to take the field again.

"She has the desire to be a very fit and prepared soccer player so even when she wasn't able to practice with us, she was doing stuff on her own while she was in quarantine," Harty said. "It was great because she could just slide back into the team and we had no problems."

Sletto's effortless transition back into the Blue Jays' defense, resulted in a team-high of four assists. Sletto was also able to tabulate four scores of her own across the 11 games she started.

"She's done a nice job on set pieces and things like that so that's why she was able to lead our team in assists this year," Harty said. "She is very versatile in the way she plays and she's very aggressive and that helps us in the field."

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Sletto is the younger sister of Ben Sletto, a former all-stater for the Blue Jays and current University of Jamestown soccer player under head coach Tommy Nienhaus.

"Obviously having an older brother playing college soccer helps her see the process and what it takes to be a really good player," Harty said. "I do believe she gets advice from him and asks for his help in certain situations so, she has a little help at home too."

Harty has also done her part in developing Sletto and the other Jamestown High School soccer players -- a feat she was honored for at the end of the season. Harty was named the West Region coach of the year.

"I am very humbled by the award," Harty said. "I am just very honored that the (other coaches) picked me for this. I hope my team takes the season and sees it for what it was worth."

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Jamestown's Sara Sletto winds up for a kick against Minot Friday, May 21, 2021, at Rotary Field. John M. Steiner / The Sun

All-WDA Team

Bismarck Century – Ashlyn Davison, Camryn Harter

Bismarck High – Reece Vorachek, Peyton Neumiller, Emmery Schmitz, Brooke Burgard

Bismarck Legacy – Kennedy Johnson, Madison Lein

Bismarck St. Mary’s – Madison Schatz

Jamestown – Haley Nelson, Breanna Oettle, Sara Sletto

Mandan – Quinn Carter, Sydni Hoesel, Kylie Osborn, Madison Hertz, Sarah Burgum

Minot High – Lainey Sandberg, MaLiah Burke, Emerson Perrin, Morgan Perrin, Emme Miller

Senior Athlete of the Year: Kylie Osborn, Mandan

Coach of the Year: Brandi Harty, Jamestown

Related Topics: SOCCERPREP SPORTSJAMESTOWN BLUE JAYSBLUE JAYS SOCCER
Gerber is a sports writer for the Jamestown Sun.
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