Highlanders play close game but end the year with a loss

It’s been a year full of soccer, soccer and more soccer for Qualicum Beach’s Ben Robson.

It’s been a year full of soccer, soccer and more soccer for VIU’s Ben Robson and he’s only about to start his second year at the University level.

Robson, an 18-year-old from Qualicum Beach, just finished up his season with the Mid Island Highlanders of the Pacific Coast Soccer League. The Highlanders, who are one of the six reserve mens teams in the league, finished in first place during their regular season, winning 10 out of their 12 games, losing just once and one game ending in a draw.

Robson, along with fellow KSS graduates Evan Stefanek, Darien Atkinson and Grade 11 student Daniel Doukakis, all suited up for the Highlanders this season and it’s something that Robson enjoys seeing happen.

“It’s great to be able to keep playing with these guys after high school is finished,” Robson said. “We’ve all played together at one point or another and to see them coming up to the next level is great.”

Robson will see Atkinson coming in to the fold at VIU next season to play with the Mariners. Once that season was finished, Robson moved on to play for Cowichan FC squad in division one of the Vancouver Island Soccer League.

“It keeps me busy, that’s for sure,” Robson said. “Once I’m finished at VIU, I keep playing with Cowichan in the VISL and then once that season’s finished and school is all done, I get to play for the Highlanders. So there’s lots going on during the year to keep me in shape, soccer wise, and it’s great.”

Robson and the Highlanders, who are coached by Ballenas teacher and soccer coach Larry Stefanek, ran in to the Victoria Highlanders team in the final. The last meeting between the two teams saw the Mid Isle squad destroy the Victoria side by a score of 8 – 2. Robson scored two goals in that one and it set the tone for their rematch in the finals.

“They’re a good team, they have a lot of good players,” Robson said. “We were feeling pretty good heading in to that final game though, winning the division and our last time out against them.”

The game was played with a bit of controversy as the Victoria team had brought in players who hadn’t played for them until the final week in the season, players that were also members of the Premier Men’s team, which is a league above the Reserves. It was a close game all the way through, with both teams looking for an edge but Robson and the Mid Isle Highlanders dropped a 1 – nil decision, bringing a heartbreaking end to their season.

“It was tough to go out that way, especially knowing that they brought those extra guys in,” Robson said.

“It’s tough to see it happen like that because you worked so hard all season to get there and to lose it like that was a hard one to take.”

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