HOLMDEL, N.J. - Saturday afternoon’s huge Shore Conference showdown with Christian Brothers Academy was the game the Holmdel High School boys soccer team was waiting most to play in the regular season said Hornets head coach John Nacarlo. Facing their toughest test yet this fall, the Hornets were up for the challenge, keeping their unbeaten streak alive this season with a “total team effort” 3-1 over CBA to improve their undefeated mark to 11-0.
“CBA is a great opponent. They’re always a well coached team,” Nacarlo said. “We’re able to knock in a couple opportunities we had into the back of the net and stepped up defensively to stop their attack to get the win.”
A “big fight” feel was exactly there to begin the contest as each team came out aggressive to start the game. Both teams though couldn’t find the back of the net however, as both goaltenders were on their A-game.
Holmdel goalie Jack Murray was the money in a scoreless first half for the Hornets, picking up three saves to keep the Colts off the board.
CBA’s Eric Wnorowski was also steady for the Colts, knocking away two Hornet scoring opportunities.
Holmdel finally broke through to break the scoreless tie with 8:16 left to play in the first. Off a brilliant feed by Eric Hinds from the right sideline to right in front of the box, Jack Giamanco beat a CBAer to the ball and slapped it for his team-leading 11th goal of the season to put Holmdel up 1-0.
“Eric gave me a great ball in front for the net and I was able to finish it,” Giamanco said.
Holmdel had a chance to add to its lead before the half, but Wnorowski made a save off a header by Holmdel’s Ryan Fergusen to keep it at 1-0 going into halftime.
Just six minutes into the second half, the Colts tied things up with Joe Lozowski finding a cutting Luke Pascarella in front of the net for CBA’s only score of the afternoon.
CBA almost took the lead moments later, but an offside call halted a goal for the Colts and kept the game tied at 1-1.
The tie didn’t last long however, with the Hornets bouncing right back in the 52nd minute on the rarest of ways, scoring a throw-in by Peter Vassilakos that went just off the left hand of Wnorowski and into the net to give Holmdel a 2-1 lead.
Two minutes later, the Holmdel offense struck again, this time off the foot of Mark Walier to make it a two-goal lead for the Hornets with Anthony Arena getting the assist on the score.
“Anthony Arena gave me a great feed and I put it away,” Walier said. “It was a team goal that I was able to finish.”
Walier was part of Holmdel’s back four group that includes Vassilakos, Torre Avitabile and Jack Russo that along with Murray helped shutout CBA the rest of way to help Holmdel cruise to victory, dropping CBA to 10-3 on the season.
Holmdel has not given up more than one goal in a game so far this season.
“We all worked hard today back there to get the win,” Murray said. “We’re going to keep working hard the rest of the way to try to keep this run going.”
Murray finished with six saves in the win. Wnorowski had six saves in net, as well, for CBA.
Scratching off a big win against a very good CBA club, the next goal for the Hornets will be to wrap up the Shore Conference A-Central Division, which they can do with a win in their next contest against Shore Regional.
“We have a very tough opponent in Shore Regional in our next game that we need to win clinch our division,” Nacarlo said. “Guys played hard against CBA to get the win. Have to continue to do that to clinch A-Central and then it's onto the Shore Conference Tournament.”
Holmdel will travel to play Shore Regional on Wednesday.
Follow Steven Bassin on Twitter @SBassin_Sports