The Mid-Isle Highlanders men’s soccer team took on the reigning league champions

The Mid-Isle Highlanders men’s soccer team took on the reigning league champions

Mid-Isle Highlanders beat reigning league champs

Mike Rankin reports the Highlanders beat the Penticton Pinnacles 5-1 in front of about 100 supporters in Ladysmith.

Local soccer fans were treated to a highly entertaining soccer match Saturday, May 24 at Forrest Field in Ladysmith.

Squaring off against last year’s Pacific Coast Soccer League (PCSL) champions, the Penticton Pinnacles, the Mid-Isle Highlanders men’s team dominated in a 5-1 victory, with goalkeeper Trevor White’s clean sheet broken only by a penalty kick strike in the game’s dying minutes.

After a fast-paced, physical start to the game, the Highlanders opened their account with a beautiful header by  Daragh Fitzgerald off of a booming corner kick.

Minutes later, Russell Lederer found time and space just outside the 18-yard box and launched a rocket into the top corner of the Penticton goal to give the Highlanders a 2-0 halftime lead.

But the second half belonged to Blaze Roberts, who scored three goals for the Highlanders for the hat trick, delighting the 90-100 supporters in attendance at Forrest Field.

Highlanders coach Bill Merriman stated after the game that he was “happy the boys played more like a team and showed that they’re starting to gel as a cohesive unit, which is great to see at the start of the season.”

Saturday’s win will move Mid-Isle up to the top of the PCSL standings in the season’s opening month. The PCSL season runs through May, June and July and also  includes teams from Victoria, Vancouver, Chilliwack and Kelowna.

The next Highlanders men’s game kicks off Saturday, June 7 at 2 p.m. at Merle Logan Field in Nanaimo against West Vancouver.

The Highlanders women’s team will play the following day at 2 p.m. against Fraser Valley.

The Highlanders PCSL squad consists of players in their late teens and early 20s coming from other local men’s teams such Cowichan, Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo United, and the Under-21 Highlanders of the Vancouver Island Soccer League.

The Highlanders’ next game in Ladysmith will be a women’s game Friday, June 20 at 7 p.m. at Forrest Field.

The men and women both take the field the next day, Saturday, June 21, with the women’s game starting at 2 p.m. and the men’s game beginning at 4:30 p.m.

More information about the Highlanders is online at www.midislehighlanders.com.

Pacific Coast Soccer League information can be found at www.pcsl.org