Holmdel Boys' Soccer State Semifinal Preview
The heavily favored Holmdel Hornets will play the West Deptford Eagles Wednesday.
A long week of waiting will be stretched out one more day for Holmdel boys' soccer.
The Central Jersey champions' Group 2 state semifinal game against West Deptford has been pushed back to Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. With rain and snow in the forecast for Tuesday, weather conditions are expected to be much more ideal on Wednesday for the game. The game will still be held at Toms River East.
Holmdel enters the state semifinals as a well-known boys' soccer powerhouse. They have won their respective sectional championship three straight years and have many of the players back from their team that went to the Group 2 state title game last season, when they lost to Bernards.
The Eagles, who won the South Jersey Group 2 championship last Monday in a thriller over Cinnaminson, will be entering the final four of the state tournament as the underdog, much in the same way that they have been throughout the sectional tournament.
While Holmdel is out for redemption on Wednesday night, West Deptford is hoping to prove the naysayers wrong by pulling off another upset. It is anticipated that the game will be a tough, low-scoring battle between two excellent defensive teams. Here's the breakdown for the game:
How they got here: Central Jersey Group 2 Tournament: Defeated Raritan, 3-0, in first round. Defeated North Plainfield, 4-0, in quarterfinals. Defeated Delran, 3-1, in semifinals. Defeated Long Branch, 2-0, in championship game.
Players to Watch: Goalkeeper Mitchell Walier has been lights out all season long for Holmdel. Regarded as one of the top goalkeepers in the state, Walier allowed just one goal in the Central Jersey Group 2 Tournament and has recorded a remarkable 15 shutouts this year. Forward Zach Bond has been the Hornets' leading scorer in 2012 and scored both goals in the team's title win over Long Branch last week.
How they got here: South Jersey Group 2 Tournament: Defeated Lower Cape May, 1-0, in first round. Defeated Haddonfield, 1-0, in quarterfinals. Defeated Deptford, 3-1, in semifinals. Defeated Cinnaminson, 2-2 (4-1), in championship game.
Players to Watch: Goalkeeper Brandon Gill is a big reason for the Eagles' second-half ascent and sectional championship. He came up with two big shutouts in the first two rounds of the section tournament and came up huge in penalty kicks against Cinnaminson. Joe Mingrino, the team's leading scorer in 2012, scored four of the Eagles' five goals in the first three rounds of the South Jersey Group 2 tournament.
Directions to Toms River East High School - Raider Way, Toms River (732) 505-5681
- GSP South to Exit 82.
- Take Rt. 37 East for 7 traffic lights.
- At Coolidge Ave., take right jughandle turn, cross Rt. 37.
- Take Coolidge ¾ mile and make a left on to Raider Way. School driveway is near the end, on the left.