Co-op Highlanders all but secure first place in PCSL with 4-1 win over Fraser Valley Action
VICTORIA – Peninsula Co-op Highlanders all but clinched their first Pacific Coast Soccer League Title in club history with a 4-1 victory over Fraser Valley Action, July 8 at Trinity Western University. The win keeps the Highlanders undefeated in the PCSL and one step closer to claiming the league title.
If Vancouver is not able to win out their final three games or if Victoria is able to secure at least one point in their remaining games, the Highlanders will secure their first PCSL title in team history.
Victoria and Fraser Valley went into the half tied 1-1 with Katie Kraeutner providing the offence for the road team in the opening 45. A strong push by the Highlanders after the break resulted in Kraeutner’s second marker of the match and a second half brace by captain Liz Hansen to secure the 4-1 win.
“An absolutely fantastic performance as we were missing eight starters,” head coach Dave Dew commented. “The commitment to battle and fight was great, we even had two youth players from the reserves get into the match.”
The match started much like their first meeting of the season, a 3-2 Highlanders’ win on June 7, with both teams settling into the flow of the game. As the first half pressed on the Highlanders found themselves controlling possession in the offensive third.
Fraser Valley took a 1-0 lead in the 21st minute with a goal that was created against the run of play. The goal came of an absolute bullet of a shot that found its way top corner with the Highlanders’ keeper Tiffany O’Donnell having no chance on the shot.
Victoria replied midway through the first half off a Jaclyn Sawicki rush. The current University of Victoria Vike pushed the ball forward and made a quick cut back to teammate Kraeutner, who made no mistake and tied the game up 1-1 in the 33rd minute. The visiting team continued to apply pressure, but the score remained the same as the whistle blew to end the half.
The Highlanders came out hard in the second half to get the go ahead goal. Kraeutner placed a through-ball to midfielder Kiara Kilbey who then squared the ball to Hansen, who quickly deposited the ball into the back of the net for a 2-1 lead in the 49th minute. Hansen then recorded her second goal of the half in the 65th minute when she curled a free kick from 22 yards out around the wall of defenders and into the net.
Fraser Valley did not have an answer for the Highlanders’ attack as Kraeutner put the game away late, playing a through-ball to herself as she chipped the ball over the back line to Kilbey who was offside. Kilbey smartly left the ball and Kraeutner pounced on the ball before any Action defenders could react, slotting it home to make it a 4-1 game in the 83rd minute. The Highlanders played tight defense for the remainder of the half, cruising to their eighth win of the season and all but securing the league title.
“Our depth is the best in the league, without question,” added Dew. “A real credit to the development program that has been created on the female side of the club.”
Next up for the women is a road game against Kamloops Heat on Saturday, July 12 at McArthur Island. After that, the women will finish their PCSL season when they host Mid Isle Highlanders on Sunday, July 20 at Hampton Park. For more information, please visit www.highlandersfc.ca.