HARRISONBURG, Va., Aug. 15, 2012 -- The James Madison men's soccer team tried out the University Park competition field for the first time Wednesday, when the Dukes played an intrasquad scrimmage under the lights.
The scrimmage was scheduled after a lightning storm forced JMU to cancel its Aug. 14 home exhibition against Maryland, Baltimore County.
The Dukes played for 75 minutes on the Bermuda grass of the University Park facility, which will be the new home for the JMU soccer programs for the 2012 fall season.
The 85-acre facility, located at the corner of Port Republic Road and Neff Avenue, includes a fully-lighted, irrigated soccer/lacrosse competition field. The playing field is circled by a competition track, which was installed by Beynon Sports. The competition facility has spectator seating for 1,500, a press box, a sound system and an LED scoreboard.
Adjacent to the competition field are two fully-lighted practice fields, one with an irrigated Patriot Bermuda grass surface and the other with a synthetic surface that is an Astroturf MT product. Areas for track and field throws competitions are also part of the facility.
The complex also includes areas for the university's student recreation program that includes a multipurpose synthetic turf, measuring 400' x 620', four tennis courts, a sand volleyball court and two basketball courts. All areas of the complex are lighted for night use.
In Wednesday's scrimmage two goals were scored, the first in the 33rd minute of play, when junior Markus Bjørkheim (Bergen, Norway/Fana Gymnas) controlled a ball that rebounded out from the penalty area. Bjørkheim knocked a low shot into the left corner of the goal from 25 yards out.
In the 54th minute, freshman Connor Coward (Centreville, Va./Centreville) scored on a hard, high, lofted shot from the right side of the field from about 28 yards out. Freshman goalkeeper Kyle Morton (West Chester, Pa./Henderson) made contact with the ball, but the momentum of the shot carried it into the goal.
The Dukes, coming off a NCAA round of 16 appearance in 2011, open the 2012 season on the road in a tournament at Virginia Tech on Aug. 24 and 26. JMU then plays its next five games at University Park, starting with the Fairfield Inn by Marriott Invitational on Aug. 31 and Sept. 2, a match against defending NCAA champion North Carolina on Sept. 11, and games vs. Hofstra on Sept. 15 and Virginia Commonwealth on Sept. 18.
JMU is also scheduled to play a scrimmage at Radford on Aug. 18 before regular-season play begins.