It wasn't easy, but it probably wouldn't mean as much if it was.
Indian Land sophomore Sergio Esparrago, an attacker on the Indian Land High School Warriors soccer team, broke the school's all-time single season scoring record last Friday night, firing a shot past Greenville Tech goalkeeper Jim Hensen for his 27th goal of the season.
The score was the difference-maker in an extremely hard-fought, 1-0 victory that pushed the Warriors' record to 15-0, leaving the team with only one match at Ninety Six standing between them and an undefeated season.
Esparrago was relentlessly double and triple teamed by Greenville Tech defenders and had at least five tantalizingly close opportunities to knock in the record-breaking goal before the game winning shot finally came in the 19th minute of the second half.
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"I haven't even been thinking about the record. I didn't even know I had tied it until after (the previous night's match against Buford)," Esparrago said. "I was surprised but it felt pretty good."
Esparrago has turned up the heat late in the season, scoring three or more goals in five of the team's previous six matches going into the Greenville Tech match.
This year, the 16-year-old has enjoyed success on the field in not only his first season at Indian Land, but also his first year of playing soccer in the United States.
Esparrago moved to South Carolina last year - his mother took a job with the Lancaster County School District - after growing up in San Jose, Costa Rica.
"I started playing really early, probably when I was about two years old," Esparrago said. "I've always really enjoyed it. It's one of my favorite things to do - to give the fans a show, to make them happy. I'm just the type of person that loves winning."
Esparrago continued playing in intramural tournaments, school teams, and even a youth program of Brujas Futbol Club, a professional Costa Rican soccer team, before moving to the United States.
"I'm so happy because I have more opportunities here, more opportunities to grow in soccer," he said.
Esparrago said he wants to play college soccer and may even try to make an MLS team or the U.S. national team one day.
For now, however, he is focused on the Warriors' season.
"It's been a goal all year to go undefeated. I want to help this team win, definitely, and take them into the playoffs," he said. "We are all leaders on this team. Everyone supports everyone else. We all do our part."
Esparrago's niche on the team became obvious early in the season, according to Head Coach Adam Cole.
"We've been fortunate to have him. This year he has been the total package - speed up top and somebody that can finish," Cole said. "He's made a huge difference and really increases the tempo."
Cole said the attention that Esparrago receives from opposing defenses, sometimes drawing two or even three defenders at a time, helps open up the field for the rest of the attackers.
"He likes the challenge anyway. He responds pretty well," Cole said.
This marks the second straight season that the scoring record has been set.
Last year, Anthony Sweatt set the record of 26, which stood until Esparrago's goal Friday night.
After the season-ending match at Ninety Six, the team will prepare for what they hope will be a long playoff run.
"Hopefully, we'll go into it with the mentality that we don't know how to lose," Cole said.
"Hopefully, nothing changes."