An outstanding night offensively afforded Jamestown boys soccer coach Brandi Harty the opportunity to get a little creative hosting Mandan at Rotary Field.
Harty penciled senior defender Levi Korum into the No. 9 position against the Braves, and Korum's second goal of the match scored in the 72nd minute allowed the Blue Jays a chance to breathe en route to polishing off a 5-3 victory. Jamestown erupted with four unanswered goals in the first half and produced its largest offensive output of the season.
"I got the ball and I saw I had some space to run," Korum said of his final tally scored from the left side of the penalty box and assisted by Jarrett Zalumskis. "I just played it with my left foot and I saw that thing go in and I was real happy about it.
"Coach just wanted to try something new."
Korum capped Jamestown's 4-0 first half with a breakaway goal in the final two minutes. The senior has scored three times this fall, which leads the Blue Jays.
"When we finish I can finagle a little bit and give my defenders a chance to move forward and try in the attacking role, and that is one thing Levi does do well," Harty said. "He attacks at pace and that's what we needed."
Especially late against the Braves.
Mandan scored thrice in a span of 2 minutes, 42 seconds, capped by a Ratmir Spac header executed off a Mandan corner kick just 8:38 into half No. 2. The next 31 minutes and change all of a sudden seemed a bit daunting for the home team after Jamestown dominated the opening 40.
Changes after the half included a goalkeeper switch for Jamestown and a noticeable uptick in energy from the 2-8-0 Mandan side. Freshman Ryan Larson made three saves for the Jays in the second half after Jay Kupitz was retired with two first-half stops to rest a nagging minor leg injury.
"We got comfortable and unfortunately when you're comfortable and pressure comes at you, sometimes it doesn't result very well," Harty said. "Unfortunately for us nine minutes was what (Mandan) needed to make it a game."
But Jamestown buttoned up and used Korum's late release valve to improve to 4-6-0 on the season.
"I think we came in too confident and we just had to stay calm, cool and collected, so it took us a little bit to figure that out those nine minutes," Korum said of the second half. "But after that, we got back on track."
Mandan's night began roughly with an own goal deflecting off the right boot of sophomore back Simon Corral and over the Mandan goal line in the fifth minute. The Blue Jays' Cullin Bennett then buried a direct free kick in 22nd from the top of the box to score his first goal of 2020.
Jamestown's Ashton Stockert was awarded a penalty kick less than a minute later after being brought down in the box, and the sophomore mid's first goal of the fall had the Jays off to a quick 3-0 start. Jamestown's 4-1 victory over Williston on Aug. 22 had been the only other time the Jays tallied more than once in a single contest this season.
"They connect and they can attack, it's just that final product and tonight we finally saw it and it was contagious," Harty said. "That's what we're trying to get these guys to understand. Just that one goal gets everyone excited and I was thrilled for that first half."
But the peaks and valleys tend to lean extreme with young teams, which was evident in the second half. Jamestown will be aiming for more complete games on the road this Friday and Saturday at Minot and Williston while carrying more offensive swagger along with them on the trip.
Just four games remain to the regular season for Jamestown. The Blue Jays' final home match is scheduled for next Tuesday versus Bismarck Century.
"We keep preaching with these kids, a full 80 minutes of soccer is what we have to play," Harty said. "And, we've still gotta keep doing that because we've got two more games this week."
Jamestown 5, Mandan 3
MHS 0 3 -- 3
JHS 4 1 -- 5
First-half scoring: 1. J, Mandan own goal (Simon Corral), 5th minute; 2. J, Cullin Bennett (unassisted), direct free kick, 22nd; 3. J, Ashton Stockert (unassisted), penalty kick, 23rd; 4. J, Levi Korum (unassisted), breakaway, 38th.
Second-half scoring: 5. M, Austin Horn, 46th; 6. M, Andrew Catalano, 47th; 7. M, Ratmir Spac, 49th; 8. J, Korum (Jarrett Zalumskis), 72nd.
Goalkeeper saves: M, Pacey Dosch 1-0--1. J, Jay Kupitz 2-X--2, Ryan Larson X-3--3.
Yellow cards: M, Camden Reimers, 21st; Catalano, 39th. J, Brooks Roaldson, 72nd.
Records: Jamestown 4-6-0, 4-6-0 West Region. Mandan 2-8-0, 2-8-0.