Holmdel, N.J. - There are games during the course of the year that can propel a team to having a great season. That game for the Holmdel High School boys lacrosse team might have been on Wednesday afternoon, when the Hornets rallied from a four-goal deficit midway through the third quarter and hung on for a 8-7 victory over St. John Vianney High School to improve to 6-3 on the season.
“I told the guys before the game that the grittier team was going to win this game. We played grittier lacrosse in the second half and that helped us come back to win the game,” said Holmdel boys lacrosse coach Dale Oher. “We didn’t panic when we got behind. We took things one play at a time and crawled ourselves back into the game. This was a big win for our team.”
Holmdel started the game on a high note, grabbing a 1-0 lead on Justin Arredondo’s goal. That was the only bright spot of the first half for the Hornets as it was all St. John Vianney the rest way till halftime.
A goal by Andrew Gosse that tied the game, spearheaded a 5-0 run for the Lancers that put Holmdel down 5-1 at the half.
Holmdel climbed within three with a goal scored by Jake Preziose, but the Lancers struck back immediately with Jim Guilbert putting St. John Vianney back up four.
Down 6-2 with 4:45 remaining in the third quarter, the great poise of the Hornets began to show as they put their rough two and half quarter play behind them and started to rally their way back into the contest.
With just under two minutes left in the third quarter, Preziose knocked in his second goal of the half to bring the Hornets within three. Moments later, Arredondo, just like Preziose, banged in his second goal of the game to cut the Lancers’ lead to 6-4 going into the fourth quarter.
Arredondo struck again for the Hornets with just over a minute gone by in the fourth quarter, whirling himself around a St. John Vianney defender and knocking in his third goal of the game while falling down to make it a one-goal game.
On the pursuing Holmdel possession, great passing helped the Hornets tie up game as Alex Van Name found a wide open Dan Bunting who slammed home his first goal of the contest and just like that, the Holmdel rally was complete.
“Our offense did a good job moving the ball well and making the right decisions in the offensive sets we ran in the second half,” Ohler said. “We were patient. We took good shots on net and didn’t force any bad passes into pressure.”
The game wasn’t tied for long as Arredondo put the Hornets back in the lead, receiving a nice pass from Sean Dolan and punching in his fourth goal of the contest to cap off a 5-0 run to give Holmdel a 7-6 lead with 8:49 left to play.
“My teammates did a good job opening up space for me to get good shots on net,” Arredondo said. “We showed in this game that if we play consistent lacrosse, that we can compete with anybody we face this season.”
Arredondo had an assist to go along with his game-high four goals. He now has 24 goals scored on the season for Holmdel
St. John Vianney answered back with 5:29 left to play, tying the game when Anthony Brett cleaned up a rebound off a save by Holmdel goalie Nick Tuccillo in front of the net and tallied in his team-high three goal of the contest to make it a 7-7 ball game.
There was no panic for Holmdel after the goal and just over a minute later, Holmdel regained its lead. Moving the ball around the Lancers’ zone, Justin Cohen fired a nice pass to Joe Hazel who would knock in what proved to be game’s winning goal to give Holmdel a 8-7 lead with 4:10 left to play.
“I gotta thank Justin Cohen,” Hazel said. “It was a great look by him to see that I was open in front of the net. Feels amazing to help my team win.”
Cohen had a team-high two assists in the win for Holmdel.
St. John Vianney had a couple chances to tie the game and force overtime in the last four minutes, but the Hornets defense stood tall and helped seal up the team’s third straight victory.
“This is a great win, especially since we did it from coming from behind,” Ohler said. “It teaches our guys that you’re never out of a game if you just take things one play at a time. I’m very pleased with how our team is playing right now.”
Tuccillo finished with six saves in net for the Hornets, with four of them coming in the second half to help the Holmdel defense hold the Lancers to only two goals scored in the final two quarters.
CJ Hanson had a game-high 15 saves for St. John Vianney. Gosse had two goals scored for the Lancers.
The Hornets will look to extend their winning streak to four when they host Rumson Fair Haven on Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
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