The current leading goal scorer for the University of Jamestown women's soccer team normally doesn't miss an opportunity to motivate on game day.
Whether she's picking up a teammate or questioning a foul, Claire Struble's talent has backed up her competitive spirit with four goals over the Jimmies' last three games.
Struble didn't find the back of the net Saturday in UJ's 1-0 victory over visiting College of Saint Mary, but the junior center forward -- who tallied a hat trick in UJ's 3-0 win at Dakota Wesleyan last Wednesday -- was the first to congratulate sophomore captain midfielder, Kamryn Fiscus, on breaking the scoreless contest at the Jimmie turf in the 62nd minute.
"I feel like I talk way too much; more than I should, probably," Struble laughed. "I know I should probably keep it quieter, but I just have a big personality.
"I feel like it gets everyone more involved a little bit."
It's also what the Jimmies needed Saturday.
The home team shrugged off a ho-hum first half by largely dominating the second 45 minutes. Shots were tied at 7-7 at the break before the Jimmies organized to outshoot the Flames 11-2 down the stretch.
Struble has tallied six goals for the now 7-3 Jimmies, and is tied with Fiscus in game-winning goals at three, which heading into the weekend was good enough for seventh in the NAIA. The Murrieta, California, product missed the 2019 season after tearing her left ACL for a second time since high school, but she's up to seven goals and three assists tallied since 2018 for UJ women's soccer and head coach Nick Becker.
The Flames fell to 2-5-1 overall.
"I think the first half was a little rough and we weren't communicating as much as we should have been. But once we pick up the talking ... everything picks up," Struble said. "Then we just start playing like a family and as a team and it's easier when we start communicating."
Becker would agree. The coach said the Jimmies largely struggled to connect on attacking runs throughout, something that improved as the afternoon wore on.
"We weren't getting to the end line, we weren't making the right runs, and in the second half at least we had a couple girls that tried to make the runs," Becker said. "We knew we would get in on them quite a bit, we just didn't execute. So that game I felt like could've had more goals in it."
Fiscus has put up five goals and four assists in 10 matches, finding Struble for two of her three tallies Wednesday against the Tigers.
"They understand what we're doing and they work well together," Becker said. "Kamryn creates a lot of opportunities, but she's not just creating for Claire. Claire just happens to be the only one finishing right now."
Saturday's clean sheet was UJ's third straight for junior goalkeeper Alex Nowka and the Jimmie backs. Nowka turned away all five of the Flames' shots on goal and is up to 42 saves on the season with a save percentage of .840.
"We finally got most of our backline healthy again with no COVID and no injuries," Becker said. "So I think that helps with more consistency, but at the same time Alex is playing really well and stepping up into her role."
The Jimmies, who sat fifth in the Great Plains Athletic Conference standings prior to Saturday's 5 p.m. matches, play three of four conference matches at home to close fall competition. UJ hosts Mount Marty (1-3, 1-4 GPAC) on Wednesday before traveling to conference-leading Briar Cliff (5-0-1, 5-0) on Halloween.
Jimmies will then host Morningside (3-1-1, 2-1-1) on Nov. 7 and Presentation College (0-7-2, 0-5-2) on Nov. 11.
"We've gotta work as a team and keep pushing," Struble said. "I think it pays off at the end, how hard we work and how much we talk to each other on the field."
University of Jamestown 1, College of Saint Mary 0
SM 0 0 -- 0
UJ 0 1 -- 1
UJ, Kamryn Fiscus 61:16.
Goalkeeper saves: SM, Gabby Felker 8. UJ, Alex Nowka 5.
Fouls: SM, 2. UJ, 6.
Yellow cards: None.
Records: Jamestown 7-3, 5-3 GPA. Saint Mary 2-5-1, 2-5-1.