Highlanders’ reserves enjoy successful week in PCSL
VICTORIA – Victoria Highlanders’ reserve teams swept their Pacific Coast Soccer League matches over the week. The Highlanders men’s reserves took a 4-2 victory over West Vancouver FC on Thursday, July 17. Meanwhile, the Co-op Highlanders women’s reserves clinched their league title with a 2-1 win over Kelowna United on Saturday, July 19.
Men’s Reserves, July 17 vs. West Vancouver FC
The match pitted two clubs against each other that had just two points separating them in the table. Both teams started the game cautious as they settled into the rhythm of the match. As the first half wore on, both teams started to exchange more offensive rushes up the field. With playoff implications on the line, the first half ended in a scoreless draw as both teams looked to err on the side of caution rather than making a potentially crucial mistake.
The Highlanders came out flying in the second half as they received goals from Jyotish Khanna, Bryce Marinus, Callum Montgomery, and Evan Gray. Victoria went up 2-0 in the second half, holding what looked like a comfortable lead. WVFC mounted a comeback with a pair of strikes that tied the match up at two with just 20 minutes left. The determined Victoria squad pushed right back and recorded goals in the 75th and 85th minutes to put away the WVFC threat and secure the 4-2 victory.
Women’s Reserves, July 19 vs. Kelowna United
The Co-op Highlanders entered the match needing a win to clinch their league title. Both teams came out firing in the first half as they looked to set the offensive tone early. The Highlanders received goals from Ali Murtland and Claudia Wheler in the opening 20 minutes. Kelowna responded with a goal of their own to make it a 2-1 match at the half.
The second half saw the Highlanders tighten up defensively. Kelowna United was unable to get the same offensive chances that they were able to generate in the opening 45 minutes. While both teams had their scoring chances in the second half, the Highlanders were comfortable with playing a strong defensive strategy and not take any high risks. Stalwart defense and timely scoring secured the 2-1 win for the home club.
With the win, the Highlanders won their league title in the reserve division. With the Co-op Highlanders women’s first team claiming their first league title in club history earlier in the season, the Co-op Highlanders program is the first in PCSL history to have a Premier Women League Champion and Reserve Women League Champion in the same season.