Highlanders earn sixth straight victory

The Mid-Isle FC Highlanders can control the way their soccer season goes.

The Mid-Isle FC Highlanders can control the way their soccer season goes.

The Pacific Coast Soccer League reserve side, representing Nanaimo and Ladysmith, won again at the end of June and has now won six straight.

“We’ve had a great start,” said Daragh Fitzgerald, Highlanders player. “We’re getting towards our peak at the right time.”

Mid-Isle shut out Chilliwack FC by a 3-0 score June 28 at Nanaimo’s Merle Logan Field. The game was 1-0 at half, too close for the coaches’ comfort.

“We had the play, but we weren’t finishing those opportunities and you never know,” said Bill Merriman, the team’s coach.

Chilliwack is a physical opponent that Mid-Isle needed to figure out as the match progressed.

“Because they are a big, strong team, in the air we basically had no chance…” said Merriman. “Our biggest thing was we were playing the ball on the ground and getting through them.”

Dan Cato, Renan Rebelatto and Russell Lederer scored, Jordan De Graaf assisted on all three goals and Scott Brown posted the shutout.

Mid-Isle’s record gives the side some breathing room in the table, but the players can’t let up. Four of their last five are on the road, including two against a good Victoria Highlanders team and  back-to-back games in the Interior to close out the schedule.

“It’s basically up to us,” Merriman said. “It’s going to come down to that, whether we trip up or whether we keep on the roll we’re on.”

Fitzgerald said even with the team’s first-place record, guys are committed to practice and are training hard.

“Nobody wants to spend the whole summer training two nights a week and playing every weekend and throw it away just out of complacency in the last couple of weeks,” he said.