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Colts Neck, N.J. - Scoring a game-winning goal is a feeling that junior Connor Hinds has never felt in his soccer career.
On Saturday morning in the Holmdel High School boys soccer team’s contest against Colts Neck, Hinds realized that great feeling of scoring a game-winning goal, sending the Hornets past the Cougars with a golden goal in the 84th minute for a 2-1 victory.
“It feels great,” Hinds said on his game-winning goal. “It’s something that I haven’t really experienced. I’m just happy to help my team win.”
The Hornets took control early of a great battle between two undefeated teams thanks to the effort of senior captain Mark Walier.
After losing control of the ball when making a run towards the net, Walier showed off his hustle and speed to rally back to get control of the ball just before midfield.
Right as he got back control of the ball, the senior buried a beautiful hooking shot into the net to put Holmdel up 1-0.
“I got a little upset that I lost the ball on my run, so I worked really hard to get back and get the ball again,” Walier said. “I was able to get a shot off and luckily it went into the net.”
Walier now has two goals on the season.
Holmdel had multiple chances to extend its lead in the first half, but the great play of Colts Neck goalkeeper Dylan Jacobs in net kept it a one-goal game.
Already with two saves in the half, Jacobs made a nice diving stop with just under 12 minutes to play till the half off a shot by Eric Hinds.
Jacobs had four of his game-high six saves in the first half to keep it a 1-0 contest going into halftime.
The senior made another terrific save on Hinds with under 10 minutes to play in regulation, making a stellar leaping save to keep Colts Neck alive.
“Dylan has come a long way since his freshman year,” said Colts Neck boys soccer coach Art Collier. “He’s been a mature leader for us. He’s turned into a quality goalkeeper.”
Colts Neck missed on a couple of chances early on in the second half to tie the game, but came through with its scoring opportunity when it mattered the most in the final two minutes of regulation.
A nice free kick by Ely Ferro landed in the box and bounced around the front of the net where sophomore David Tuschmann tried to head one in, but Holmdel goalie Tommy Chyzowych knocked the shot away.
Luckily for the Cougars, senior John Farfan was right there in front of the net to get the rebound and the senior captain punched in his second goal of the season to tie the game with 1:15 to play in regulation and force overtime.
“We had a couple of opportunities earlier that didn’t go in, so it was nice to get one in and force overtime,” Collier said. “That was a big psychological lift for us to get to overtime against a team like Holmdel. I’m feeling pretty good about where our team stands in the Shore Conference.”
Colts Neck had a chance to steal the upset in the early minutes of overtime off a corner kick that Chyzowych made a great catch on in the air coming out of the net to stop the scoring threat.
Holmdel pushed the ball back up the field and was able to get a throw-in down by the Colts Neck goal.
Senior Byron Ng threw a great ball to the box where chaos occurred with both Colts Neck and Holmdel players trying to get control of the ball.
As the ball got tipped around, Connor Hinds was able to gain control of the loose ball for the Hornets and took a shot that curved right by Jacobs and off the post into the net for the game-winner to help Holmdel stay undefeated on the season.
“I feel like I was just in the right place at the right time,” Hinds said. “Ball kind of just got to me and I decided to take a shot on goal. It was fortunate to go in. Colts Neck is a great team. We respect them and we know moving forward into the season that we’re going to have to get better as a team to keep winning.”
Chyzowych finished with four saves in the win. It was the first game this season that Colts Neck was held to one goal.
The Hornets have scored two or more goals in four of their five games this season.
For the third consecutive year, Holmdel has started at least 5-0 on the season.
“It’s great to be 5-0, but we know that there are going to be more challenges along the way,” Walier said. “It was a battle between two good teams. We stared adversity right in the face and what makes a championship team is being able to respond to it. We did a good job responding to it in overtime.”
Colts Neck falls to 2-1 on the season.
Holmdel will next prepare to play Monmouth Regional on Monday, while Colts Neck will gear up to host Neptune.
Follow Steven Bassin on Twitter @SBassin_Sports