Co-op Highlanders capture victory in penultimate match-up of PCSL season
VICTORIA – Peninsula Co-op Highlanders clinched their first Pacific Coast Soccer League Title in club history with a 1-0 win over Kamloops Heat, July 12 at McArthur Island. The win keeps the Highlanders undefeated in the PCSL and pushes their record to a very impressive 9-0-0.
Missing six regulars form their starting lineup, the Highlanders brought up 17-year-olds Katie Carrothers and Alynn Dagg from the reserve team to provide more depth. The move helped as Victoria and Kamloops finished a tightly contested first half in a scoreless draw. The Highlanders came out strong in the second half and were rewarded for their efforts with a goal from midfielder Sachi Swift to secure the hard fought 1-0 victory.
“It was another great display of the depth and work rate within our club,” Highlanders’ head coach Dave Dew commented.
Kamloops started strong as they looked to make a statement after dropping the previous meeting between these clubs, a Highlanders 3-1 home win on July 6. The Heat used their home field to their advantage as the temperatures reached a high of 37 degrees. As the half wore on, both teams played tighter defensive and were comfortable in allowing their goalkeepers to make the saves when needed.
Although there were a few offensive chances for both teams during the opening 45 minutes, the match remained scoreless heading into the half.
The Co-op Highlanders came out attacking in the second half and made a hard push at the Kamloops’ backline. Victoria came close in the opening 10 minutes of the second half with a handful of scoring chances that could have easily put the road team up 2-0. Finally, in the 68th minute, Sachi Swift finally broke through and netted her second goal of the season for a 1-0 lead.
Kamloops went for it and applied heavy offensive pressure in the final 15 minutes. The Heat missed a couple of glorious opportunities to tie the game and Highlanders’ keeper Steph Parker made a spectacular reaction save with five minutes left to keep her team up by one.
University of Alberta forward Kristen Livingstone had a chance to put the visiting team up by two in the dying moments, but her sharp angle shot rattled off the woodwork and out of danger. Parker picked up the clean sheet as the Highlanders clinched their first PCSL Title in team history with a 1-0 win.
“A real team performance with everyone getting through tough, hot conditions,” added Dew. “Excellent preparation for the playoffs.”
The women will wrap up their PCSL regular season when they host Mid Isle Highlanders on Sunday, July 20th at Hampton Park. Kick-off for that match is set for 2:00 p.m. For more information, please visit www.highlandersfc.ca.