HOLMDEL, N.J. - The Holmdel High School girls soccer team has been on a roll to begin the 2018 season, entering Thursday’s game against Rumson Fair-Haven with a 3-1 record. Cruising out of the gate to begin the season, the early season success for the Hornets hit a snag against the Bulldogs who roared to a 5-0 victory over Holmdel to improve to 2-1 on the season.


“I don’t think as a team we worked up to our max,” said Holmdel girls soccer coach James Gelpke. “I think we got away from what got us off to a good start to this season which was our ground and pound mentality.”


The Bulldogs took control of the contest from the start, scoring within the first 15 minutes of the contest off a rainbow beauty of a free kick shot from the 40 yard-line by outside midfielder Ellen Daly. That shot went over the outstretched arms of Holmdel goalkeeper Hailey Sharpe into the net for the game’s first goal.

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Moments later, Rumson Fair-Haven extended its lead when Maisie Cade sent a crosser in front of the net for Morgan Hobson to trickle in to make it 2-0, Bulldogs.


With 13:48 left to play in the first half, Daly struck again for the Bulldogs, bombing in her second goal of the contest from far out to put the Hornets in a 3-0 hole.


“This past offseason I really focused on improving on my free kicks and being a dangerous shooter as an outside midfielder,” Daly said. “I’m pretty happy with those two goals.”


The troubles continued for the Hornets to finish out the first half, seeing their deficit grow to four goals when Chase Boyle scored on a ball that deflected off a Holmdel player and into the net to put the Bulldogs in full control going into halftime.


Holmdel came out focused, controlling the ball in the Bulldogs’ zone but couldn’t find a way to get a shot passed Rumson Fair-Haven goalkeeper Courtney Parton.


Parton racked up a game-high six saves on the afternoon for the Bulldogs


Following Cade’s goal to make it 5-0, Parton made a great save on a blistering shot by Holmdel’s Lindsay Guarnaccia to keep the Rumson Fair-Haven shutout in tack with 17 minutes left to play.


This was the first time this season that Holmdel was shutout after averaging at least three goals a contest in the first four games.


“Rumson out worked us,” Gelpke said. ‘Part of our success this season has been out working the other team and that was not the case against Rumson.”


With the loss, Holmdel drops to 3-2 of the season.


Hoping the team learns from not getting away from who they are, Gelpke harped after the game that the team needs to put this game behind them and move forward where he believes that the best soccer for the Hornets will be played.


“We have a lot of growing to do still, but that’s a good thing,” Gelpke said. “Our team has the most room for growth from most teams in the Shore Conference. Win or lose going forward, we want to see effort and improvement from our team.”


The Hornets will look to bounce back on Saturday against Toms River South.


Follow Steven Bassin on Twitter @SBassin_Sports.