Mid-Isle Highlanders three-peat as cup champs

The Mid-Isle Highlanders U21 men won the George Smith Cup on Sunday in Victoria, their third playoff championship in a row.

Call it a dynasty.

The Mid-Isle Highlanders U21 men won the George Smith Cup on Sunday in Victoria, their third playoff championship in a row.

The Nanaimo- and Ladysmith-based side defeated the Victoria Highlanders 4-2 in the Vancouver Island Soccer League’s U21 final, played at a soggy Royal Athletic Park.

Mid-Isle jumped to a 4-0 lead,  playing a high-pressure game, keeping the opposition pinned in its end and finishing scoring opportunities.

“We came out aggressive and put the game away early…” said Jordan de Graaf, who was chosen MVP. “It turned into a bit sloppy of a match toward the end, but overall it was a good performance for the boys.”

He scored the game’s first goal, Blaze Roberts tallied a pair and Russell Lederer was Mid-Isle’s other scorer. David Rankin was the winning goalkeeper.

De Graaf said the players are close on and off the pitch and have a lot of pride in representing the Mid-Isle Highlanders club that some of them have been part of since the start. So “it’s great” to win a third-straight title, he said.

“A bunch of us, this is our last year playing in this league, so it was good to be able to finish it off like that.”

The team will now turn its attention to April’s B.C. Soccer provincials.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com