Story and Photos By Jai Rakic – ISN
Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Peninsula Co-Op Highlanders played host to the LA Strikers last night at Royal Athletic Park, going down 2-1 in a tightly fought match.
After a tough road-trip through California, that saw the Highlanders concede 17 goals and lose all three of their away matches, the Peninsula Co-op side was eager to step up in front of their home crowd and prove that they belong in the competitive USL W-league.
But things didn’t quite go as planned as the Highlanders conceded an early goal in the seventh minute. LA Strikers midfielder Hannah Beard put her team in front with a strong finish, blasting the ball past the Highlanders keeper with a solid first-time shot.
Nina Anderson looks on, as her Highlanders team-mate fights to keep possession of the ball (Photo by Jai Rakic – ISN)
After a less than ideal start, the Highlanders re-grouped and had a couple of great scoring chances, but failed to capitalise on their opportunities. The half-time whistle sounded with the score 1-0 in favour of the visiting LA Strikers.
The second half began and the Highlanders took control of the game as they tried to find an equaliser. Peninsula Co-op’s, Lindsey Hoetzal, almost levelled the game in the 50th minute, after her long shot was narrowly denied by the inner goal post.
Only minutes later the Highlanders would find their equaliser. Elizabeth Hansen took full advantage of a free-kick, just outside the LA box, and with a great strike levelled the scores at 1-1.
A Highlanders player, gets up to make a header (Photo by Jai Rakic – ISN)
Unfortunately for the Highlanders, the score didn’t stay level for long. In the 71st minute, LA’s Chelsea Cline put her side back in the lead. A long free-kick bounced over the head of the Highlanders goalkeeper and found it’s way into the back of the net making the score 2-1. There were no more goals in the match as the LA Strikers came out on top.
This was the Highlanders ninth straight loss of the season and saw them fall to the bottom of the USL W-league’s Western Division. The Peninsula Co-op side was a little unfortunate not to come away with a point and showed some encouraging signs.
The Highlanders next game is this Wednesday night when they take on Santa Clarita at Royal Athletic Park.