The Victoria Highlanders Second Team, competing out of the Pacific Coast Soccer League, wrapped up their 2019 PCSL season with a 5-0 win at home against Khalsa Sporting Club. With the win, the club finished the year with a 9-2-3 record and captured the George Cambidge Memorial League Cup as the Men’s Premier Division league champions. This is the first PCSL league cup win for a Victoria-based team since 2008 when Victoria United won their second straight title.
“The way we ended the season was excellent. We had an undefeated run for a bit, but in a matter of eight days we lost three games. To bounce back after that with two big wins this weekend against teams battling for the playoffs just goes to show the resolve that this team has,” stated Highlanders Second Team head coach Nico Craveiro. “It was important to get back on the winning track especially heading into the playoffs. We wanted to win the league and the boys rallied around that.”
The Highlanders were led by a potent offence that scored 40 goals, second only to Vancouver’s 41, in 14 games played. Leading the charge was Patrick Nelson who scored a league-high 10 goals to capture the PCSL Golden Boot. The UVic Vikes’ very own Ian Whibley also finished in the top-five in league scoring, finishing in fourth-place, with seven goals on the campaign. Aboubacar Cisse rounded out the top-ten with four goals.
While the offence was one of the league’s best, the defense was even better. The Highlanders gave up a league-low 13 goals in 14 games played. Ryan Ashlee, chipping in with three goals as well, and Chris Merriman led the way on the backline for the Victoria side.
“At the beginning of the year we were looking at winning the league or winning the final four and we now have the chance to do both,” added Craveiro. “The boys are buzzing right now and want to add to their league win. I look forward to seeing how this weekend plays out. We are all very excited to be able to head into the playoffs knowing that we are the home team. Anything can happen on any day, so we have to make sure we have the right mind set and that we aren’t getting too comfortable heading into this weekend. We just need to play the way we know we can and take the game to the other teams and I think we will be successful.”
Next up for the Highlanders is the PCSL Sheila Anderson Memorial Challenge Cup. The event will be hosted at UVic’s Centennial Stadium with the Semi-Finals on Saturday, July 27th and the 2019 Challenge Cup Finals being held on Sunday, July 28th (1:30 p.m. kickoff). The Highlanders will play Okanagan FC in the second semi-finals matchup on the 27th with a 4:30 p.m. kickoff. FC Tigers Vancouver will take on Surrey United in the first match up of the day on Saturday with a 2:30 p.m. kickoff.