The Independence soccer team would pick-up a huge win against conference opponent East Mecklenburg 4-2 early during the week. This was a huge win for the Patriots who are trying to keep pace with the leaders for a playoff spot.
During the match that started out sunny and 73 degrees it appeared the Eagles who won the last match 2-1 had the upper hand. However, as the temperature cooled off, the Patriots became hot just when they needed too.
The two teams sparred off pushing the ball up and down the field with a lot of play at midfield as both teams tried to set-up designed plays to apply pressure up their opponents defense. Therefore, the first 15 minutes belonged to the Eagles who would score on an excellent goal by senior Chrisitan Shako Etambalako to take a 1-0 lead.
But from this point forward the Patriots controlled the time of possession and would take 7 shots with 5 shots on goal. They just could not get the ball into the net as the Eagles goalkeeper made some good saves including a hard smash by Jonny Mwembya who hit a rocket that almost knocked the goalkeeper off his feet into the net, but he somehow held on to the ball planted in his chest.
Meanwhile, the Eagles only managed 4 shots with one shot on goal that was the only score in the first half. They held a slim 1-0 lead going into the intermission.
In the second half, with the temperature now 63 degrees and dropping revived the Patriots who bounced back and perfectly executed coach Tyler Gibson’s plan of attack and strategy.
To tie the game, midfielder Ryan Howe would score his first of three goals in the second half at 47:00 minutes when he would direct a rebound off the goalkeeper into the net with a nice header. Then midway through the half senior Sundio Reh would obtain a pass and weave his way through the defense, find an open seam and slam home a shot by the beaten goalkeeper for the score giving the Pats a 2-1 lead.
The teams battled back and forth trying to matriculate the ball downfield, however, with 6:00 minutes remaining in the game, the Patriots Ryan Howe would get his second goal of the contest on a breakaway using some nifty footwork to pass two defenders and blast a shot past a diving goal keeper for the score, giving the Pats a comfortable 3-1 advantage.
Then suddenly with only 3:00 minutes remaining in the contest, another breakaway would occur on an errant pass by the Eagles, Howe would score once again giving the Pats a commanding edge over the Eagles 4-1. The visitors would counter and score with 2:00 minutes remaining in the match to keep the score closer, but really with no chance of mounting a serious comeback.
Howe, a junior would achieve his first varsity hat trick scoring 3 goals in one game during his soccer career at Independence.
The Patriots are now 8-7 on the season, and 6-3 in the conference with an important conference game coming up against Porter Ridge.