Not just another reunion for Peay and Amani-Dove

DAVIDSON, N.C. — DAVIDSON, N.C. -- The rivalry between Clint Peay and Hamisi Amani-Dove dates to their days playing high school soccer in Howard County. Today's confrontation between the two friends carries considerably more consequence than when Peay's Oakland Mills Scorpions took on Amani-Dove's Wilde Lake Wildecats because it will take place in the NCAA Division I men's soccer tournament semifinals.

Today at Davidson College's Richardson Field, it will be Peay's Virginia (20-3-1) taking on Amani-Dove's Rutgers (14-9-3) in one semifinal at 2 p.m. UCLA (18-4) will play Indiana (22-2) at 4:30, with the victors battling in Sunday's 1:30 p.m. championship match.


"I've known him since 10th grade, a long time," said Amani-Dove, a junior midfielder who played with Peay on the Columbia Diplomats, the 1989 under-16 Maryland Cup champion, as well as on the state Olympic development team.

"We were basically rivals in high school. We're pretty good friends. He lives about 10 minutes from me. We hang out every once in a while. It was a pretty intense rivalry down the years, with Oakland Mills a little stronger. Once his class left was when Wilde Lake started to dominate."


Peay's teams always have seemed to have the upper hand. Peay is a year older than Amani-Dove, and his Oakland Mills squads won state championships in his sophomore and senior seasons.

A sweeper with no inhibitions about advancing to the offensive end, Peay, along with three other Virginia seniors, is bidding for an unprecedented NCAA achievement. The Cavaliers stand two triumphs away from a fourth consecutive NCAA title.

"We have a great relationship. We hang out. He's a great guy, on the field and off." Peay said of Amani-Dove. "I respect him. I think he respects me back. We come from the same backgrounds."

Both players have fought nagging injuries this season -- Amani-Dove a strained heel, Peay a bad hamstring -- to star for their teams. Both yesterday pronounced themselves fit.

Virginia coach Bruce Arena said his squad's early season doldrums may have been directly related to Peay's absence. Once the U.S. under-23 national team player returned to the lineup, the Cavaliers returned to championship caliber.

"Once he was back in form and he got his confidence and got our team organized in the back, it ostensibly gave our goalkeeper a lot more confidence and it allowed our team the ability to attack," said Arena, who hopes the Cavaliers can take their fifth crown in six years.

"Before, we were a little reluctant to go forward."

Subsequently, Virginia established a school season record with 83 goals.


Amani-Dove, in his first trip to the Final Four, sparks the Scarlet Knights with his play-making and scoring.

"You can tell his value to the team. When he was struggling early in the season with his fitness, we were struggling," said Rutgers coach Bob Reasso, whose team was 8-9-3 before winning the Atlantic 10 tournament.