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'A TRUE STRIKER' Jamestown's Rudnick voted first team all-state

Jamestown's Peyton Rudnick eyes up a move against Bismarck Legacy at Rotary Soccer Field in 2018. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Jamestown High School's Peyton Rudnick proved she is a leader in 2018.

Stepping into the void where a wealth of upperclassmen once stood, the junior soccer forward led a young Blue Jay team to a surprising 5-8-0 season under new Jamestown girls head soccer coach Brandi Harty. Rudnick was one of 12 athletes named to the North Dakota girls soccer all-state first team Monday, as voted on by the state's coaches.

Rudnick was voted to the all-state second team as a sophomore in 2017.

"She's a true striker," Harty said. "Peyton really does have a higher level of play when she gets the ball at her feet."

Rudnick, who was either slotted in at left wing or would float in Jamestown's two-forward formation, scored eight of Jamestown's 10 goals this past season. Not exactly an easy feat, considering Rudnick consistently weathered the best shot opposing defenses had to offer all spring.

Just one season ago, Rudnick tallied 11 goals and four assists on a team that included eight senior starters and won a program record 15 matches. That fact wasn't lost on the state's coaches in 2018.

"The coaches recognized her talent very early in the season, and that's one thing Peyton did very well," Harty said. "No matter how many girls were out on her she always found a way to play a key role on our team.

"In every game she was a threat. For her to do what she did this year is a huge accomplishment."

The Blue Jays, picked sixth of seven teams in the West Region preseason coaches' poll, wound up competing to the West's fourth-best record (5-7-0) and ended the season falling to Mandan in a conference tournament state-qualifying match.

Rudnick has totaled 28 goals and seven assists in her varsity career, according to stats compiled by The Jamestown Sun. Harty said the incoming Blue Jay senior is playing with the Dakota Fusion FC women's soccer team this summer, alongside former teammates and current Northern State University players Emily Reiten and Haley Hillstrom.

Dakota Fusion FC is a locally owned, semi-professional soccer club based in Fargo.

"Peyton's had a very impressive career so far," Harty said. "I'm excited for her to play this summer and to see what she can bring to the team next year."

North Dakota Girls Soccer All-State Teams

First team

Fargo Davies—Breanna Nelson, Megan Barnick; West Fargo Sheyenne—Madison Urlaub, Brooke Boyer; Fargo Shanley—Tabby Kelsch; West Fargo—Emmy Burtsfield; Bismarck St. Mary's—Abby Koop, Lizzy Preszler; Jamestown—Peyton Rudnick; Minot—Allison Lepp; Bismarck Century—Kate Weigum; Bismarck High—Elle Hill.

Second team

GF Central—Payton Stanich; Fargo Davies—Annie Mund, Brooke Bergen; Fargo North—Abby Naseth, Elise Bakke; Fargo South—Graysen Myers; Minot—MaLiah Burke, Becca Kostenko; Mandan—Liz Geiger; Bismarck Legacy—Brooke Binegar; Bismarck Century—Rowyn Schollmeyer; Bismarck High—Rachel Burgard.

Michael Savaloja

Hometown: Churchs Ferry, N.D.; College: North Dakota

A recipient of the NDHSCA Award of Merit, Savaloja has been reporting sports for The Sun since 2008.

Follow on Twitter: @MichaelSavaloja

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