It took awhile, but the Independence High soccer team got a feel-good win over its arch rival -- and the Patriots also got a share of first place in the Southwestern 4A conference.
After 90 minutes of regulation and overtime soccer, Independence edged Butler in penalty kicks 1-1 (8-7) to create a three-way tie at the top of the conference with the Patriots, Bulldogs and Myers Park Mustangs.
Butler was hoping to avenge a 3-1 loss to the Patriots earlier this season and led in the game 1-0 until the 57th minute. That’s when David Martinez of Independence scored a beautiful goal in tight quarters to knot the match at 1-1.
Martinez settled the ball 15 yards in front of the Bulldogs’ goal with three Butler defenders in close proximity. Martinez dribbled and found a tight window to shoot, his hard blast finding the goal.
“As soon as I got the ball I looked up, took a touch and then buried it,” said Martinez. “I saw that little gap between the defenders and saw the corner (of the goal) and then put it in the corner.”
After Independence dominated the first 10 minutes of the match, Butler scored on its first shot in the 11th minute. Jordani Martinez’s corner kick found the foot of Ereck Rivas, whose shot deflected off a Patriots’ defender and ended up in the back of the Patriots’ net.
The bad bounce for Independence didn’t seem to rattle Patriots’ freshman goalkeeper Daniel Locklear.
“That’s soccer,” said Locklear. “Unlucky things like that happen and there’s no one to blame. I’m glad we were able to bounce back.”
The win was the Patriots’ seventh in their last eight games, and allowed Independence to sweep the two-game, regular-season series against the Bulldogs.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Independence coach Tyler Gibson. “Anytime Independence and Butler play it’s tooth and nail. I’m proud of how my guys showed up. We got down early but we responded well in the second half and found a way in penalty kicks.”
RECORDS: Independence (10-7) Butler (13-6)
THREE WHO MATTERED
Daniel Locklear, Independence: Freshman goalkeeper faced nine shots while making three saves and stopping two Butler penalty kicks in helping to give the Patriots the win.
Javier Chancay, Independence: Senior’s successful penalty kick in the ninth round secured the victory for the Patriots.
Sullivan Lewis, Butler: Senior goalkeeper faced 16 shots including four in the ten-minute overtime session and made eight saves while yielding only one goal in regulation, giving the Bulldogs a chance in win the match in penalty kicks.
THEY SAID IT
“It’s going to be fun. I’m glad to be in this position with three matches left. We had a tough non-conference schedule early and we got into conference play and had to figure some things out. Hopefully we can continue to win some games down the stretch.”
-- Independence coach Tyler Gibson discussing the current, late-season, three-way tie for first place in the Southwestern 4A.
▪ Independence coach Tyler Gibson and Butler coach Kyle Searles were college roommates at Belmont Abbey.
▪ Including Monday night’s game, Butler has had four of its games go to overtime and to penalty kicks this season. The Bulldogs are 3-1 in those games with Monday’s defeat being their first loss when going to PKs.
▪ Monday’s loss to the Patriots snapped Butler’s seven-game winning streak.
▪ In the junior varsity game Monday the Patriots defeated the Bulldogs 3-1.
Independence will play next at Garinger on Wednesday, while Butler will play at Hickory Ridge, also on Wednesday.
Myers Park 4, Hickory Ridge 1: Myers Park got two goals and an assist from Thomas Killein in the win. Mason Wood had a late penalty kick to seal the win.