PHCC soccer sends seven to next level

May 7, 2014

The goal of any junior college sports program is to move its players to the next stage of their careers, and Patrick Henry Community College’s men’s soccer program already is fulfilling that goal.

Seven PHCC soccer players committed recently to play either at an NCAA or NAIA school, while one still is undecided.

Oscar Ulloa, Marvin Soyka, Lucas Prillaman, Bryan Martinez, Ambrose Lisowe, Nolan Hendrix, and Darien Martin have committed to play at the next level. Jesus Reyes is close to signing with Bluefield College head coach Enda Crehan said.

Three players are headed to Bluefield, while Prillaman is set to attend Division III Guilford, he added. Hendrix and Lisowe are off to Division II schools and Martinez is headed to D-III William Peace University in Raleigh, N.C.

It’s the first wave of transfers for Crehan, recently hired by PHCC. While he didn’t have much of a hand in the recruiting process of the players, as he was just hired two months ago, he said he did talk to the coaches from Bluefield and Guilford in hopes of helping establish those connections.

“It’s a great opportunity for them to keep playing and earn a degree,” Crehan said. “Some are getting academic and sports scholarships or other ways for them to continue their education. Hopefully, this will help put PHCC even more on the map when people see how many players are moving on.”

The Bluefield trio includes Ulloa, Soyka and Martin. Soyka, a first team all-Region X selection last season, hopes to add some stability in the back for the Rams, who gave up 25 goals in nine conference games last season. Ulloa, also a first team all-Region X selection, feels the school is a good fit to continue his education in dentistry. Soyka said he likes the school’s size.

“I liked that it was a small school and something I’ve been used to at Carlisle and PHCC,” Soyka said.

Crehan knew Guilford coach Jeff Bates from the days Crehan spent as an assistant at Averett University in Danville, he said. Prillaman also knows Bates from his time playing club soccer in the Greensboro area. He said the coach liked his ability on defense and pushed to bring him in from PHCC after playing the Patriots during the regular season.

Prillaman — who is looking to get his degree in accounting — didn’t even think he would continue to play soccer after high school. Now, he’s in a position to possibly start for a Division III program.

“I feel like I really progressed while I was at (PHCC). I made strides in the right direction like building confidence and improving my play,” Prillaman said. “It just helped me develop as a player and as a person.”

A unique aspect to Guilford’s schedule is that it faces William Peace and scrimmages both Bluefield and PHCC. Prillaman will not only face his former teammates at Bluefield, but Martinez as well. Martinez is hoping to help improve the team’s offense, which scored just five goals in 2013.

The international business major said the transition back home to the Raleigh area will be good for him.

“For most of us, we were coming from different states, and it was tough to adjust,” he said. “Later on, we became a close family, and I don’t think we’re as afraid (of) moving on. We know how to adjust, and know what to expect in getting used to a new environment.

“It’s going to be a different experience but fun to see (my teammates) again. It’s going to be tough playing against them because they are really good players,” Martinez added.

As for Lisowe and Hendrix, they will play at the Division II level. Lisowe closer to his home in Wisconsin at Upper Iowa University, and Hendrix at Newberry College in Newberry, S.C.

Lisowe said he was attracted to the school — which is six hours from his home — by a friend of his over the Christmas break. A week after returning to Virginia, he got a call from the Upper Iowa’s coach and then went for a visit. The outside defender and business or biology major said he liked what he saw of the campus.

“One of the reasons why I came down here from Wisconsin was to be able to grow from a high school senior and then maybe make the jump to playing Division I or II soccer,” he said. “I could’ve gone to a Division III school coming out of high school and be 30 minutes from home, but I wanted to get out see the world and meet new people.”

Hendrix also was enticed by a friend to look into Newberry. The nursing major said the friend played at the school and said the experience was a positive one. Hendrix noted that adjusting to the speed of the college game at PHCC should help in the transition to a Division II school.

“I’m going to take advantage of knowing the pace of the game and the quality of players I may face,” he said. “The players might be a little bigger, but the style of the game shouldn’t be much different.”

Crehan has a good foundation set for the coming years when it comes to pushing players on from the two-year junior college school. With a healthy first wave of transfers, Crehan said he hopes to see that number increase over the next few seasons.

Filed under: Men's Soccer