Holmdel, N.J. - The offensive execution by the Holmdel High School girls lacrosse team on Thursday against Manalapan was flawless to say the least.
Led by a game-high six goal performance by senior Kinsey Clark, the Hornets had six different players score at least one goal in its dominating 14-6 victory over Manalapan to improve to 2-1 on the season.
“We had a lot of assisted goals, which I was very happy to see,” said Holmdel girls lacrosse coach Sal Guastella. “Moving without the ball and distributing the ball well was a point of emphasis for us going into the game. It worked. It was good stuff.”
Clark started her banner day by striking for the game’s first two goals to get Holmdel out to an early 2-0 lead.
The Hornets raced to a 4-0 lead in the first five minutes of the contest with Erin Mendini and Sam DiMaio each knocking in a Holmdel goal.
Clark extended the Holmdel lead to 5-0 off a nice pass by DiMaio to secure her second hat trick so far this season with 18:06 left in the first half. DiMaio also assisted Clark on the game’s first goal.
“We put in some new plays after the Rumson-Fair Haven game and tried them out and they worked,” Clark said. “Most of my goals came from the help of my teammates. A lot of our new plays required picks and my teammates set amazing screens to help me get open.”
Holmdel led 6-0 before Manalapan got on the board with 12:13 to go in the first half thanks to Ruba Chakra scoring the first of her team-high three goals in the game to make it 6-1.
The Hornets struck right back as DiMaio knocked home her second goal of the half off a nice pass by teammate Jules Brown.
Their lead down to 7-2 after a Taylor Bullen goal for Manalapan, the Hornets again responded back. Mendini fired a perfect pass through the Manalapan defense to Jessica Lukawski for the junior’s second goal of the game to put Holmdel back up six with 6:59 left to play in the first half.
Clark finished the first half as she started the game, knocking home two goals to give her five goals in the contest. The first coming on a nice pass by Brown and the second one coming on a great dish by DiMaio from behind the net with 21 seconds left in the half that gave Holmdel a 10-2 lead going into halftime.
With Holmdel now leading 11-3 in the second half, Clark made it an even dozen for Holmdel by striking home her sixth goal of the contest, giving her a team-leading 12 goals on the season.
“It feels really good,” Clark said on her start to the season. “It shows that all my hard work in the offseason is paying off. Trying to go out with bang.”
Brown knocked home her first goal of the game off the free possession with 14:03 left to play to put Holmdel up 13-3, giving her a goal and two assists on the day.
Moments later, DiMaio made it two players with a hat trick on the day for Holmdel and Clark was the one that helped set it all up.
Running down the field, Clark fed a sweet pass to DiMaio by the net and the senior knocked home her third goal of the game with 12:25 left to play to put the Hornets up 14-3 and cap off the Holmdel win.
"We all played hard and did a really good job moving the ball around,” DiMaio said. “Kinsey and I feed each other really well. All of the girls on the team have been playing with each other for a long time and it’s great knowing how comfortable we all are with one another.”
DiMaio had a team-high three assists to go along with her hat trick. The senior now has a team-leading five assists on the season and seven goals scored.
Carrie Tempone scored a goal in the win for Holmdel, while teammate Kelly Burmeister had an assist in the win.
The 14 goals scored in the win is a season-high for the Hornets.
Jessica Boetticher and Jenin Engimal combined for five saves in net for Holmdel in the win.
Bullen finished with two goals in the loss for Manalapan.
Bouncing back from its first loss of the season to Rumson-Fair Haven on Tuesday, Guastella said it was good for Holmdel to face a good team like that to begin the season.
“It helped us getting to play Rumson-Fair Haven early on in the season,” Guastella said. “We learned a lot from playing them. It showed us what we have to work on. We hope it continues to help us get better as the season goes on.”
Holmdel will travel to play Red Bank Catholic on Saturday.
Follow Steven Bassin on Twitter @SBassin_Sports