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Hornets looking to sting soccer competition

May 31, 2020

first_img BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer The Holmdel High School soccer team has been surprisingly competitive with a starting lineup that often includes three sophomores and three freshmen, and coach John Nacarlo believes his squad can still qualify for the state playoffs. Thus far the Hornets are 2-4-1, with victories against Freehold Borough and Red Bank Catholic and a tie with Raritan. Holmdel has also lost a pair of onegoal games to Manasquan and Raritan, respectively. This is a rebuilding year for Nacarlo, whose team went 15- 4-1 a year ago and won the Shore Conference Class A Central crown as well as the NJSIAA North II Group III championship. Fourteen players from that team graduated last June. “The effort is always there, and as a whole they’re starting to play more and more like a team,” the coach said. “For several of our guys, they’re still adjusting to the speed of the game at the varsity level. They still need to play quicker, but they’re coming along. And I’ve seen a lot of good things lately, so we’ve still got our eyes on the state tournament.” Teams must have a .500 or better record at the end of play Oct. 12 to qualify. Holmdel has seven games remaining until the cut-off. Holmdel has played especially well on defense, permitting just 12 opposition goals. On the flip side, however, the Hornets have not generated quite enough offense, scoring only six goals in seven games. “Our defense is primarily made up of upperclassmen, and this knowledge and game experience has paid off for us,” Nacarlo said. “On the bright side, we’re beginning to generate more scoring opportunities; we just have to put the ball in the net.” Nacarlo’s defense is spearheaded by stopper Jason Yi, fullback Paul Wojieszek, and sophomore Eric Shirvanian, another fullback. Freshman Dan Marino has played well in goal, recording a shutout against Freehold Borough. Junior Alex Henry also sees time in goal for the Hornets. Chad Myers, junior Patrick Nizza, sophomore sweeper Patrick Strickland and freshmen Sean Davis and Rishi Desai are the midfielders. Sophomores Ashwin Kambhamporti and freshman Matt Sawaged come off the bench. Meanwhile, junior John Bjurling is Holmdel’s top scorer with four goals to his credit. He is joined up front by Guilherme Borges, sophomore Michael Vastardis, and freshmen Dan Metzger and Andrew Zheng. Zheng also doubles as a fullback when needed. “With every passing game, I’m seeing improvement,” Nacarlo said. “We’re definitely heading in the right direction and we’ll get our share of wins. I really believe our team can make it into the state tournament.” Holmdel boys running out of time to make state tournament last_img

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