PREP BOYS' SOCCER: Trojans tame TigersWORTHINGTON — Although Diego Esquivel usually takes the majority of the corner kicks for the Worthington boys’ soccer team, during the Trojans’ Section 2A tournament opener against Marshall on Monday he felt what it was like to be on the other side of the kick.
WORTHINGTON — Although Diego Esquivel usually takes the majority of the corner kicks for the Worthington boys’ soccer team, during the Trojans’ Section 2A tournament opener against Marshall on Monday he felt what it was like to be on the other side of the kick.
Esquivel scored two headed goals on corner kicks by Hugo Monterroso and recorded his first ever hat trick to lead No. 4 WHS to a comfortable 7-1 against the No. 13 Tigers and into the second round of the section tournament.
“This is the first one for me in the seven years that I’ve been playing,” Esquivel said of his hat trick. “It feels good, both this feeling and because we won and move onto the next game in sections. It feels pretty good.”
Neither team was able to take control of the game for the first 20 minutes, though the Trojans were able to mount some strong goal-scoring chances.
Abdissa Tibesso came close to giving Worthington the lead just past the 20-minute mark, but MHS goalkeeper Danny West was able to deflect his shot wide, leaving WHS with a corner kick.
Monterroso crossed the corner kick perfectly to the head of Esquivel, who headed the ball past West to give the Trojans a 1-0 lead.
Worthington scored again only 26 seconds later on a breakaway goal from midfield by Omot Okello (assist by Esquivel) to take a firm command of the contest. WHS added yet another goal on another header by Esquivel off of a cross from Monterroso with 7:18 remaining in the half.
The play began with a corner kick by Monterroso, but West and a trio of Tiger defenders managed to clear the ball away from the goal. However, the ball came back to the feet of Monterroso on the right side, who hit a cross that Esquivel headed with just enough force to go over the goal line.
“I think it just happened naturally,” Esquivel said of his chemistry with Monterroso during corner kicks in the game. “We never practiced them, I always took them. I just told him, ‘First pole, middle,’ and he just puts them there and I go for it.”
Monterroso connected with Esquivel on two further corner kicks in the match, but both efforts fell short of finding the net.
With five minutes left before halftime Worthington, subbed out starting goalkeeper Ricardo Maldonado to get some experience for reserve goalkeeper Kody Honius.
Honius had a slight mental lapse late in the half when he picked up a back pass from a teammate — something that is against the rules in soccer — leading to an indirect free kick for Marshall inside the WHS penalty area.
The Tigers’ Trevor Johnson received the ball on a tap from a teammate on the free kick and converted for a goal with 37 seconds left in the half to cut the lead to 3-1 entering halftime.
Despite the two-goal lead and a total of 12 shots on goal in the first half, Worthington head coach Vilath Lovan felt that his team needed to be showing a better ability to convert on goal-scoring chances to prepare for the much tougher opponents ahead in the tournament.
“Once we pushed them back into defense we had a lot of opportunities to score,” Lovan said. “We didn’t do too good in the first 15, 20 minutes — we had so many chances and we didn’t score. It’s going to hurt us. I told the kids, ‘The next game is going to be tougher and if you have a chance to score, you’d better do it or the other team will do it. It’s just a one-shot game if you get to the next game, the team’s are getting tougher and tougher.’”
The Trojans didn’t have many scoring problems in the second half, tacking on four more goals on another 12 shots on goal.
Esquivel completed his hat trick 3:47 into the second half, dribbling past three Marshall defenders and unleashing a shot that beat West high and to his right.
Jared Kinley added a score 1:09 later by receiving a long, high pass from Oo Aye Sit in midfield, holding off two defenders and scoring on a beautifully executed shot to the bottom left-hand corner of the net.
Esquivel unleashed a shot 19:46 into the half that appeared headed just inside the left-hand post, but West was able to get his fingertips on the ball and deflected it just wide.
The Trojans made the score 6-1 26:13 into the second half on a long, floating shot by Htoo Clay from around 30 yards out that snuck inside the left-hand post and then scored their final goal with 24 seconds left in the game when Kinley chased down a bouncing pass forward by Esquivel and converted into the right side of the net.
MHS’ best chance for another goal came with 1:11 remaining on the clock, but Ramiro Fernandez made an excellent goal-line save to assist Honius — who came back in for Maldonado for the final 14 minutes of the game.
Esquivel said that the Trojans’ ability to get goals from multiple players on Monday will serve as a confidence booster for the rest of the playoffs.
“I think it’s good so we can get our confidence up so we can motivate ourselves to score more goals and take opportunities that we have and not waste them,” Esquivel said.
Worthington will host No. 5 Willmar on Thursday in the second round. Willmar defeated No. 12 Hutchinson by an 8-0 score on Monday.
“I think it’s going to be a tough game,” Lovan said. “Right now we’re hurt on defense. I’m missing, like, three or four defenders. I just played whoever volunteered to play right now… I know it’s pretty scary for me right now. It’s a do-or-die game.”
The winner of Thursday’s game will then face either No. 1 Fairmont or No. 8 Mankato Loyola on Oct. 18, with the match to be hosted by the high seed.
Marshall 1 0 — 1
Worthington 3 4 — 7