By CHIP CIRILLO
Independence’s Kevin Pierce recorded three goals and two assists in Tuesday’s dominant win over Brentwood.
Kevin Pierce broke a school record for goals last year.
The Trevecca signee displayed his explosiveness again with a hat trick and two assists in Independence’s 7-1 rout of visiting Brentwood on Tuesday night.
Pierce scored twice early in the second half and completed the hat trick in the 76th minute.
“It was just one of those nights, I guess,” Pierce said. “It was my teammates, really, that helped me out because they put such good balls through the defense where I could just run on to it and make a play.”
|Independence’s Kevin Pierce had three goals and two assists against Brentwood.|
Pierce’s 27 goals last year as a junior set a single-season record at Independence (9-2-1, 3-1-1 District 11-AAA). He was named district offensive MVP and made the all-state team.
The senior striker has 15 goals this season.
All eight goals came in the second half after a scoreless first half.
Independence repeatedly broke through the Brentwood defense on breakaways.
“We’ve never lost like that, certainly seven in a half,” said Bruins coach Mike Purcell, whose team allowed the most goals in his 18 years as a head and assistant coach. “It happens every once in a while and I guess once every 18 years. Knock on wood, if it doesn’t happen again, I can live with that, but still…”
Chris Garcia and Pierce set the tone by scoring twice in 28 seconds, giving the Eagles a 2-0 lead in the 41st minute.
“It’s an unusual situation to give up two in a minute like that,” Purcell said. “I don’t think I’ve ever had a team do that. That’s not our normal modus operandi.”
Pierce’s second goal on a breakaway increased Independence’s lead to 3-0 in the 44th minute.
“We thought this was a statement game,” Eagles coach Josh Phillips said. “We were frustrated the last few weeks. We felt like we weren’t playing to our best.”
Micah McDowell’s breakaway goal on an assist from Garcia increased the Eagles’ lead to 4-0 in 56th minute
Independence’s last three goals came when Brentwood (6-3-4, 2-2-1) was shorthanded.
Bruins sweeper Malachi Frost was red-carded after taking down an Independence player on a breakaway in the 59th minute.
Frost, the team’s top defensive player, must sit out Thursday’s game against Ravenwood.
“He’s never been carded,” Purcell said. “Certainly not malicious. He was just trying to keep a goal from happening. He regrets that, I know.”
Independence goalkeeper Tyler Delgato lost his shutout bid when Cameron Williams’ header on a pass from Jackson Deming narrowed the gap to 4-1 in the 66th minute.
Clay Katzman, Pierce and Sean Spoletini scored the last three goals for the Eagles.
“We actually started playing as a team and passing to feet instead of just kicking the ball away and ended up generating seven goals,” Pierce said.
Brentwood has been held to one goal in each of its last four games.
Independence moved ahead of Brentwood in the battle for second place in the district. Brentwood, Independence and Ravenwood began the night tied for second behind Franklin, which has clinched the regular-season title.
“Hats off to Franklin,” Phillips said. “They got us last week and so they are the regular-season first place (team), but everything changes in the district tournament, right? We’re all level. We can still win the district tournament, win No. 1, win the plaque, get out to the region and that’s our goal now.”
Ravenwood at Brentwood, Thursday, 7 p.m.
McGavock at Independence, Thursday, 7 p.m.