Howison Park (Va.) plays host to rare college match on Wednesday
By Charles Boehm
Usually, prospective NCAA student-athletes have to make a campus visit to watch college teams play. The tables were turned in Northern Virginia on Wednesday, however, as two leading NCAA Division III men’s soccer programs staged a match at Howison Homestead Park in Coles, Va., the home venue for Prince William Soccer, Inc.
National D3 powerhouse Salisbury State University (Md.) met Lynchburg College (Va.), a 2010 national championship finalist, on one of Howison’s three top-quality, artificial-turf fields and a compelling contest unfolded.
Ranked No. 12 in the nation at the time, the Salisbury Seagulls were heavily favored, and they controlled most of the possession and created more scoring chances. But Lynchburg defended stoutly and kept matter scoreless for all 90 minutes of regulation time, only for Seagulls midfielder Jake Perry, a junior from West Deptford, N.J., to slot home a cross for the gamewinner in the 100th minute.
The game was well-attended by the host club’s players, with PWSI staff eager to expose them to an up-close perspective on college soccer
“It went well. I thought our kids enjoyed it, to see the level of Division III, especially one of the top Division III schools in the country, Salisbury State,” PWSI technical director of coaching Ken Krieger told Soccer Wire afterwards.
“And of course, we have a couple local kids that played for Lynchburg – Tim Clancy and Zach Miller both played for our 93 Courage Red team back in the day when I was working with them. So that was fun to see those kids play a little bit.”
As it happens, Krieger was a roommate and classmate of Salisbury State head coach Gerry DiBartolo when the two attended college at Frostburg State (Md.). Earlier this year, when the Seagulls were searching for a way to arrange the game at a site more convenient to both teams, he reached out to PWSI.
“Lynchburg was not going to get on a bus and drive seven and a half hours to Salisbury, and Salisbury was not going to get on a bus and drive seven and a half hours to Lynchburg,” explained Krieger. “So Gerry DiBartolo thought it would be a great idea to meet someplace in between. They tried a few places and then contacted us, and we said by all means, come on over.
“With our club, it gives the older boys a really good opportunity to see a top-level Division III school and say, ‘You know what, Division III has got a good level, it’s not that far off from other places,’” he added. “I think it’s a big boost for our club just to have something like that be part of it. Just kind of fun, instead of the same old stuff that goes on with youth soccer.”
[ +Visit Lynchburg’s men’s soccer website here ]