2006-11-21 / Sports
Veteran Holmdel squad captures sectional title
Hornets' season ends in Group III semifinal
BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA
"We have a lot of seniors and coming into the season they wanted to make it their year," coach John Nacarlo said. "They all worked hard from day one, but more important, they worked together. That spirit of teamwork carried us."
Along the way Holmdel captured the NJSIAA North 2 Group III sectional title with a 4-2 triumph over Voorhees and gain a berth in the overall Group III tourney. In the second round of the sectional tourney, the Hornets found a way to win in overtime against Warren Hills thanks to Guilhurme Borges' golden goal.
Unfortunately, Holmdel's run came to an end against Ramapo in the Group III event. The Hornets struggled through the first half of that contest, but were able to go into the half tied at 0-0. Nacarlo's team came out strong in the second half, but Ramapo countered with a goal and rolled from there to a 3-0 victory.
The Hornets certainly weren't surprised very often this season. The offense, led by midfielder Anthony Ferraoli and forward Albert Zheng, provided plenty of firepower. Ferraoli posted 15 goals and added 14 assists, while Zheng also had 15 goals and contributed seven assists. Borges bolstered the attack with five goals.
Defensively, Holmdel goalkeeper Ryan Mueller recorded seven shutouts. Sweeper Jeff Mondoro, who along with Ferraoli and Zheng serves as a captain, was dominant on that side of the field.
The physical play of fullback Brian O'Neill and midfielder Tim Baisley aided the D, particularly with their ability to win balls in the air. Fullbacks Justin Ricciardi and Kristopher Reidy played consistently on defense as well.
Midfielders Kyle Williams and Patrick Strickland, a freshman, played well on both sides of the ball, Nacarlo said.
He cited a game against Brick Memorial early in the Shore Conference tourney as one of the Hornets best showings. Holmdel jumped out to an early 2-0 lead. Brick Memorial slowly got going and was beginning to dominate play after knotting the score. A late Hornets goal saved the day.
"That was a game that showed what our guys are made of," NaCarlo said. "We thought we had the game, but we were in trouble late and we found a way to win. That's where we hit our stride."
Nacarlo's team made its way to the semifinals of the Shore Conference Tournament, before losing to Howell, 4-2. The momentum from the Brick Memorial win, however, carried over into the state tournament.
The coach pointed to his team's depth as another success factor. The reserves included forwards Josh DiVinagracia and Simon Lisch; midfielders Brian Fernandes, Chad Myers and Patrick Nizza; fullbacks Peter Lobaccaro, Nolan Murphy and Jason Yi, and goalie Alex Henry.
"I'm very proud of what they accomplished," Nacarlo said. "It really was a great team effort."