Holmdel, N.J. - Senior Mark Walier had a night he’ll never forget on Bob Roggy Memorial Field Tuesday night in the Holmdel High School boys soccer team’s regular season finale against Marlboro.
Walier tallied his first hat trick of his high school career to help lead the Hornets to a 3-1 victory over Marlboro to improve to 15-0-1 on the season.
“It was a really good team effort,” Walier said. “I had the luck of finishing all three goals, but my teammates did a good job setting me up. Marlboro is a good team and this was a nice way to prepare ourselves for a tough state tournament. It’s a good feeling to know that we have some confidence going into states.”
The senior captain helped rally the troops with Marlboro’s Michael Steinberg putting Holmdel in a 1-0 hole in the 11th minute with his 13th goal of the season.
Walier answered back for Hornets, getting his team on the board in the 23rd minute.
Running wide open up the field into the box, the senior was dished a perfect pass from teammate Eric Hinds and knocked in his first goal of the night to tie the game for Holmdel at 1-1.
“Eric (Hinds) played me a beautiful ball. I couldn’t ask for a better pass,” Walier said. “It really started from our defense doing a good job getting the ball up the field to him. I just was the one that finished it.”
Walier shot Holmdel into the lead in the second minute of the second half.
Seeing Marlboro goalkeeper Nicholas Tango knock away his first shot on net, Walier corralled his own rebound and slapped home his second chance opportunity to put the Hornets up 2-1.
Holding its first lead of the contest, Holmdel didn’t hold back and controlled most of the action the rest of the game.
The Holmdel defense played very well in the second half.
Sophomore goalkeeper Tommy Chyzowych made two nice saves on each of Marlboro’s shots on goal with under 20 and 15 minutes to play.
“The team did a good job coming together after giving up the first goal and had a great finish to the game,” Chyzowych said. “I had to do my part and fight for them. It was a great feeling making those two saves.”
Chyzowych finished with seven saves in the win.
After the Holmdel defense did a fabulous job knocking the ball out of its own zone twice in the final minute of play off two Marlboro free kicks, Walier put a thunderous stamp on his career night and the Hornets’ 15th win of the season with 12 seconds to play.
Racing up the right sideline, Walier drove right into the Marlboro zone untouched and fired in his game-high third goal of contest, capping a memorable night for the senior.
“It was a good way to finish the win,” Walier said. “My mindset is focused now on the state tournament. We’re going to take things one game at a time and work hard in practice to prepare for them. We’re ready to make some noise.”
Walier now has eight goals on the season.
It’s the third straight season that Holmdel has had at least 15 or more wins.
Holmdel will take its two-game winning streak into the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 2 Tournament, earning the No. 1 seed for the third straight season and will host No. 16 East Brunswick Tech on Tuesday.
Being upset by Toms River South in the Round of 16 in the Shore Conference Tournament, Holmdel knows that they can’t take anyone lightly in the sectional tournament and hopes it can continue its good play from the past two games in the playoffs.
“It’s constantly reminded to them when you make it to the state tournament like the Shore Conference Tournament its one and done,” said Holmdel boys soccer coach Ron Poll. “We have to take advantage of the opportunities in front of us. Beating Marlboro is a big confidence booster for us. They’re a well-coached team and play good soccer. We gotta keep that confidence going into the state tournament.”
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