The Jamestown High School boys soccer team has a wealth of experience and head coach Mark Sherfy said the Jays' 2019 season is going to depend on how well they use it.
Sherfy said the Jays have 15 varsity returners on the 19-man roster and are looking forward to what the experienced high school soccer players will accomplish in the West Region this season.
"I am excited with what I see out of the guys so far this year," Sherfy said. "They're putting in the effort and looking like they're ready to compete. They're capable of quite a lot honestly. It's a group of guys that -- if they gel and they bring together all of the talent and athleticism that they've got, the potential is very high."
The Jays went 2-11-1 last fall, missing an opportunity to qualify for the state tournament after losing to fourth-seeded Minot on October 6 in the conference tournament. Sherfy said inconsistent play on both sides of the ball was part of the reason JHS placed fifth in the division last season.
"We didn't have as successful of a season as we would have liked last year," Sherfy said. "We really struggled to find the back of the net. The fundamental thing you've got to do to win a match is score goals and that was one of our weaknesses last year. Defensively we broke down and a couple of times and gave up way more goals than we should have."
Sherfy said recording a losing season last year was disappointing, but added hs is hoping for a strong effort from his squad beginning with the East-West Crossover on Friday at Jamestown's Rotary and Heil soccer fields. The Blue Jays play Fargo Shanely at 3:30 p.m. on Friday and Williston at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. The Jays' junior varsity plays Dickinson at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Heading up the roster are senior captains Luca Flann and Ben Sletto. An all-region selection, Flann, assumed the No. 6, or defensive midfielder, position for the Jays last season and Sletto anchored Jamestown's offensive.
"Luca is really an anchor in the midfield for us," Sherfy said. "He played a defensive midfielder role last year and we're hoping to get him more forward and more involved in our attack. He's just a really strong leader and has a kind of calming personality ... he's somebody who's really easy to build a team around.
"Sletto plays the center-back role for us and he's another kid who's very experienced in the game," Sherfy said. "He's really competitive and really wants to win. The energy that he brings to the game is something that we hope the rest of the team can tap into."
With the help of experienced athletes, Sherfy expects his 2019 team to rank higher than the WDA's coaches poll predicted, which pegged the Jays in sixth of seven teams. The coach added being listed as an underdog is not an unfavorable position.
"Other coaches are not looking for us to be one of the stronger teams in the region," Sherfy said. "That says to me that other teams might think there's not such a challenge in playing us and that's not such a bad place to be -- to step on the field and maybe surprise some people."
East-West Soccer Crossover
Friday, Aug. 16
Bismarck Century vs. West Fargo, 2 p.m., Heil Field.
Minot vs. Fargo Davies, 2 p.m., Rotary Field.
Jamestown vs. Fargo Shanley, 3:30 p.m., Rotary Field.
Bismarck Century vs. Fargo Davies, 5 p.m., Heil Field.
Minot vs. West Fargo, 5 p.m., Rotary Field.
Saturday, Aug. 17
Bismarck vs. Fargo North, 11 a.m., Heil Field.
Mandan vs. Grand Forks Central, 11 a.m., Rotary Field.
Williston vs. GF Red River, Heil Field, 12:30 p.m.
Jamestown JV vs. Dickinson, Rotary Field, 12:30 p.m.
Bismarck vs. GF Red River, 2 p.m., Heil Field.
Mandan vs. Fargo North, 2 p.m., Rotary Field.
Jamestown vs. Williston, 3:30 p.m., Rotary Field.