Whitman senior Andrew Keszler had to travel over 190 miles to play a soccer match last weekend.

Due to the recent sniper attacks, the Whitman boys' soccer team had not been able to practice or play for the past two weeks. But, last Thursday, the Vikings learned they were able to play their originally scheduled game against St. Benedict's in Newark, NJ.

So as football and field hockey teams from Northern Virginia headed south to play their games, Keszler and his teammates happily trekked north to play.

"That was a lot of fun," Keszler said. "We got the chance to get outside, which we hadn't done for quite a while."

Whitman lost the game, 2-0, to the perennial national power on Saturday but got some valuable game experience despite the defeat. It also found time for some much-needed outdoor practice on Friday afternoon.

St. Benedict's (15-1) finished last season tied for the No. 1 ranking by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. Before having its 130-game undefeated streak snapped on Oct. 6, St. Benedict's had outscored its opponents, 80-1.

Undoubtedly, St. Benedict's was the toughest test Whitman (4-4-1) has faced this season and was good preparation for the upcoming Maryland 4A West Region tournament, in which it drew the No. 5 seed.

"It was a lot of fun to get to play a team of that caliber," Keszler said. "We got a lot out of it and you can always take away something."

The Vikings were rusty in the first half due to their prolonged inactivity and allowed both goals in the first 40 minutes.

In the second half, however, Whitman created some offensive chances of its own and played relatively even.

"They had us back on our heels for a bit," Whitman Coach Dave Greene said. "We hadn't seen any speed of play, much less that fast, so it took us a while to get used to it. But we had some chances in the second half and I thought it easily could've been a tie game."

To round out the soccer-filled weekend, some members of the team saw South Carolina play Rutgers on Saturday night before they returned to Montgomery County.

"It was definitely a lot of fun," Keszler said. "It was a great way to spend a three-day weekend."