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May 25 , 2014 ISN – The Peninsula Co-op Highlanders kicked off their 2014 Pacific Coast Soccer League season with a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps, May 25 at Simon Fraser University. Second half goals from Highlanders Katie Kraeutner, Sarah Douglas and Rebecca Sparkman sealed the deal for the Victoria squad, who move to 1-0-0 on the season.

Victoria struggled with the pace of their game early, as the team worked to familiarize themselves with both each other and the playing surface of SFU’s field. Neither the Highlanders nor the Whitecaps had anything to show at the end of 45 minutes, heading into the half in a 0-0 draw.

The Highlanders adjusted their pace and formation in the second half, and were rewarded early as University of Nebraska striker Kraeutner put Victoria up a goal after finishing a cross from teammate Liz Hansen in the 47th minute of play.

The Highlanders added to their lead less than 20 minutes later, with a Kraeutner free kick finding its way to Sparkman, who then slotted the ball into the back of the ‘Caps net in the 65th minute. Vancouver was unable to respond following the second goal and Victoria took advantage just three minutes later, with Sarah Douglas converting on a penalty kick that was awarded to her side after Kraeutner was pulled down inside the box.

Three goals in the second half would be all the Highlanders would need to claim their first victory of the season, as a goal from the Whitecaps in the 82nd proved to be too little too late.

“It was a great team effort and it showed up on the score sheet,” said Highlanders associate coach Marvin Diercks. “Katie showed up on the score sheet for us but she was in no way the only effective player today. It’s a great start for us to get three points.”

The Co-op Highlanders face the Mid Isle Highlanders in their home opener, May 31 at Hampton Park in the first of three-game home stand. Kick-off is set for 2:00 pm and admission is free.