Central defenders don't get a ton of cracks at goal scoring, and Jamestown High School's Ben Sletto wasn't about to squander his.
The Blue Jay senior captain stuck a direct free kick into the back of the net Saturday against Williston, part of a seven-goal eruption by the Jays on day 2 of the annual East/West Crossover at Rotary Field. Jamestown rolled 7-1 over the second-year Coyotes.
Sletto's freebie on top of the penalty box from roughly 20 yards sailed past the Williston keeper and in for the senior back's first career varsity goal.
"I know my coaches were yelling at me, but I just kinda looked up and the defense wasn't in place yet," Sletto said. "The left side of the net was wide open.
"It was awesome. I don't get a lot of opportunities to go forward."
Senior forward Jaden Christ, a proven scorer for Jamestown, found the back of the net early for a second straight day. Christ tallied in just the second minute to put the Jays ahead 1-0 after scoring in the 6th minute of Friday's 3-1 victory over Fargo Shanley.
Sletto's free kick followed, and back-to-back tallies by junior midfielder Bobjoe Sumo had Jamestown leading 4-0 at the break. Saturday's contest used 30-minute halves.
"He's really come on strong," JHS coach Mark Sherfy said of Sumo. "He's strong on the ball, an athletic kid and he wants to score. He played great today."
Sophomore back Cullin Bennett and senior mid Max Kupitz each tallied after the half, and Christ iced the game at 7-1 in the 59th minute. Williston cracked the scoreboard at 5-1 in the 57th.
Jamestown controlled possession throughout, giving the now 2-0-0 Jays the ability to dictate tempo and be more calculated with their attack.
"Being able to play as much as they did in the forward half of the field, that's a real confidence boost for them," Sherfy said. "It allows them to play a lot more calm and possessive style of soccer and they can last better through an entire match."
Sophomore goalkeeper Jay Kupitz was asked to make three saves -- all in the first half. Jamestown jumps into the West Region fire this Thursday at Bismarck High, the team ranked No. 1 in the conference preseason coaches' poll.
"I think we've played pretty well lately," Sletto said. "There's a couple things we need to clean up, but we're feeling pretty good."
The Blue Jays have started the season +8 in goal difference and matched last season's win total (2-11-1) in two days. Jamestown left the East/West Crossover last August with a pair of losses and 11 goals allowed.
"There's a lot we can clean up in the forward third," Sherfy said. "Despite the fact we scored seven there were a lot of opportunities that went by, and we're going to see a lot of matches this season where we're not going to see as many opportunities as we did today. We've got to be able to finish the ones that come to us."
Jamestown 7, Williston 1
JHS 4 3 -- 7
WHS 0 1 -- 1
1. J, Jaden Christ (unassisted), 2nd minute; 2. J, Ben Sletto, 22nd, free kick; 3. J, Bobjoe Sumo (Luca Flann), 23rd; 4. J, Sumo (Max Kupitz), 30th.
5. J, Cullin Bennett (unassisted), 48th; 6. W, Jovani 57th; 7. J, M. Kupitz (unassisted), 58th; 8. J, Christ (Brennan Gahner), 59th.
Goalkeeper saves: J, Jay Kupitz 3-0--3; W, Andrey 9-6--15.
Jamestown 3, Fargo Shanley 1.
West Fargo 2, Bismarck Century 0.
West Fargo 2, Minot 1.
Fargo Davies 1, Minot 0.
Bismarck Century 3, Fargo Davies 1.
Bismarck High 3, Fargo North 0.
G.F. Central 4, Mandan 0.
G.F. Red River 9, Williston 2.
Mandan 2, Fargo North 2.
Bismarck High 1, G.F. Red River 0.
Jamestown 7, Williston 1.