Malibu High’s Kletter a scoring machine for girls soccer squad 

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The Malibu High girls soccer team after playing against Santa Paula on Wed, Jan. 24. Photo by Devon Meyers.

Junior midfielder leads Sharks with 13 goals and has recorded three hat tricks

Malibu High Sharks girls soccer player Jessa Kletter booted in three of the Sharks’ four goals during their 16-game 2022-23 campaign.

What a difference a year makes. 

Heading into Malibu’s match against Fillmore on Tuesday, Kletter had tallied 13 goals this season, including three contests in which she completed a hat trick (three goals). 

The junior midfielder, who also has three assists, is surprised with how often shots taken from her cleats have found the back of opponents’ nets. 

“I’m happy for that,” Kletter said. “Heading into each game, I’m thinking about what I want to do on the field. I’m always thinking about getting more goals. That is important as an attacking midfielder.”

She credited Malibu High’s taking on a offensive formation on the pitch, as opposed to the defensive shape of a year ago, for her and the team’s increased scoring.

“That has allowed us to get more goals,” she said.

Malibu head coach Leado Shyrane said Kletter’s goal-scoring prowess and passing make her “the full package.” She was a skilled player as a ninth- and 10th-grader, but there is more swagger to game this season, he said.

“She’s more confident,” Shyrane stated. “She’s more of a leader. Her first two years, she was really talented, but this year, she has really risen with her goal scoring. She really believes she can do it.”

Kletter surpassed last year’s season total in goals in the Sharks’ first two contests. The 16-year-old put in two scores in Malibu’s season-opening 4-2 loss to Buckley on Nov. 14. Kletter then recorded her first hat trick two days later, leading the Sharks to a 3-2 triumph over Beacon Hill. 

Her second hat trick was in Malibu’s 5-3 loss to Viewpoint on Nov. 28. Kletter scored three goals in Malibu’s 6-2 victory over Nordoff on Dec. 15, which she believes is her best performance of the season. Kletter scored two goals after maneuvering around defenders. The third score came on a free kick. 

Despite Kletter’s high-scoring foot, Shyrane said her best game was a matchup in which she didn’t score at all — a 1-0 loss to Carpinteria on Dec. 6.

“She took over,” he remembered. “She did everything, but score. They couldn’t handle her. She was beating players and getting shots off.” 

Kletter, a soccer player since she was 4, isn’t the fastest player on the pitch, but she said she is very technical and really knows the game. 

The Sharks began the week with a 3-12-1 record.  

The team, Shyrane said, has competed well all season. 

“The games we’ve lost, there has only been one game where we were totally blown out, and that was because we had two or three injuries,” he said. “The girls are competing in every game, which is great.” 

Shyrane said the Sharks’ win over Nordhoff was their best game so far. The coach said his team’s matches against Carpinteria, which also include a 1-1 tie on Jan. 12, were well-played also. 

“One thing I’m really proud of is their work ethic,” Shyrane stated. “Our work ethic, our athleticism — they give everything on the field. As a coach, that is hard to coach. You have to want it. They give it everything they have.” 

The team’s roster includes freshmen Victoria Heseker, Bridget Shanahan, Lauren Florendo, and sophomores Amelia Coppola, Ava Niccol, Carmen Brunel, Dayana Molina, Kaia Ryan, and Maizee Marderosian. Juniors Payton Pollack, Sasha Mendez, Caiden Ovsiowitz, Kylie Epstein, Malia Mosshart, and Molly O’Neill are also on the roster. Seniors Samantha Rogers and Charlie Clarke are team captains along with Kletter. 

Shyrane noted Clarke is playing out of position at goalkeeper this season but has excelled. 

“She has been superb,” he said. 

Kletter said Malibu is improving. 

“When we are playing are best soccer, we are playing as unit and keeping our shape,” she said. “We play well when we are pressing together and communicating.” 

The Sharks suffered losses at Nordhoff (2-1) on Wednesday, Jan. 24, and at Santa Paula (5-0) on Friday, Jan. 26. The squad hosted Fillmore on Monday and closed with a Senior Night contest against Channel Islands on Wednesday. 

Channel Islands defeated Malibu 9-1 on Jan. 10. Kletter was hoping for payback. 

“We are looking forward to playing them again,” she said. “They are probably coming in expecting to easily beat us again, but I think it is going to be a much harder game.” 

Shyrane said before Wednesday’s game he wants Malibu to kick to win and score. 

“I want us to get the points back on the teams we lost to,” he said. “We lost 1-0 to Carp. We played them again, and we were winning 1-0 to the very last minute and they equalized, but we got some points back off of them.”

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Photo by Devon Meyers.