Reserve women complete Highlanders’ opening day sweep

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Reserve women complete Highlanders’ opening day sweep

(Photo credit: Highlanders’ Communications)

PENTICTON – Pensinsula Co-op Highlanders women’s reserves held on for a 4-3 win over Kelowna United in their 2014 Pacific Coast Soccer League Challenge Cup semi-final match on Saturday, July 26. The Highlanders will now face Penticton Pinnacles for the Bill Gillespie Challenge Cup on Sunday, July 27 at 11:00 a.m.

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The women received a hat trick from Brianna Wright and the game winner off the foot of Natalie Cavallin. Meanwhile, Tilly Hadley made a several key stops to pick up the win in net.

“It was a real good team effort overall by everybody,” commented Co-op Highlanders’ head coach Dave Dew. “The kids really had to step it up because Kelowna added some quality senior players to their team. And we proved once again that every time the kids face adversity they rise to the occasion and pull through. That’s what they’ve done all year and that’s what I look forward to them doing tomorrow.”

The Highlanders wasted no time in setting the offensive pace as Wright converted a diagonal ball from Ashley Volk in the sixth minute for the early 1-0 lead. It took Victoria six minutes to double their lead as Wright broke in alone on a Kiana Cowger through ball and slotted it past the keeper in the 12th minute.

United started to push back and were successful in cutting the lead in half when their shot from the left side beat Hadley in the 21st minute. Kelowna almost tied the match up at two in the 26th minute, but the header rang off the crossbar. The first half ended with the Highlanders’ keeper making a pair of big stops to keep the Highlanders up 2-1 after 45 minutes.

Kelowna was quick to tie the game in the second half as a quick strike inside the box made it a 2-2 game in the 50th minute.

The Highlanders started to push back and controlled possession of the ball after United tied it up. Wright finished her hat trick in the 61st minute when she made no mistake on a Sam Vestner diagonal ball in the box for the 3-2 lead. Victoria looked to have pulled ahead by two in the 71st minute, but the goal was called back on the offside.

Kelowna answered back and tied the game at three in the 75th minute when the United forward chipped it over the keeper and into the open goal.

Coming in as a substitute, Cavallin took a feed from Wright before wiring it home in the 76th minute for the 4-3 lead. Strong defensive play by the Highlanders prevented any last minute heroics from Kelowna despite five additional minutes of added time.

The women will now face Penticton Pinnacles on Sunday, July 27 after Penticton claimed a 2-0 victory over West Vancouver FC. Both regular season matches between these teams ended in 1-0 victories for Victoria. Kick-off is set for 11:00 a.m. at Kings Park. For recaps on all this weekend’s Challenge Cup matches that include the Highlanders women’s first team and men’s reserve squads, please visit www.highlandersfc.ca.

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