By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– The dynamic sibling duo of Ishmael and Jayden Esparza went on to lead the Eagles of Stayton to their 5-1 victory over Marshfield Tuesday evening at Stayton in the 4A Cumulative Week State Quarterfinals.
Coming out aggressive, Ishmael got the Eagles on the board first in the sixth. His older brother followed a minute later as Jayden scored two of his three goals in the opening half. Scoring in the 26th and 41st minute before Ishmael wrapped up Stayton’s scoring with his second-goal, brace-feat in the 47th minute.
“It felt good honestly knowing that I’m scoring with my brother, playing on top with my brother. It felt good with the team chemistry, it helps a lot,” said Ishmael Esparza.
“We were nervous at first, but after we got a few goals we felt good,” adds Jayden Esparza.
There was a feeling throughout the first half as the Eagles advanced to the Semi-Final round against Ontario, that they had left a few opportunities on the table. Their aggression set up scoring chances, but they couldn’t finish those opportunities despite jumping out to a 5-0 lead over a span of 41 minutes on Tuesday.
Nothing that some tuning up won’t help fix in Wednesday’s training session.
“We just have to practice finishing in practice. Just get those goals in and it’ll take us to the finals,” said the elder Esparza.
With the limits and restrictions on travel, the two teams will have to find a happy middle ground to get the game in between Stayton and the Tigers here in 48 hours. Traveling well will be as important as finishing their opportunities as the squad will look for their second-straight finals appearance and five in the past seven years.
“Just keeping the hype mentality, staying positive. Working together as a team like we did today against Marshfield,” said Ishmael Esparza. “It was big for me (today) being a freshman and starting out here on Varsity, scoring goals.”
Jacob Eastwood scored the lone goal for the Pirates, off a PK in the 56th minute as Marshfield finished the year 7-2-1.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald