There are so many cliches that would be fitting now.
Today, the 2012 Holmdel Varsity season came to an end with a 3-1 loss to Newton in the Group II State Finals.
Holmdel scored first, in the 37th minute with a goal by Jack Flanagan. Have to admit, the Holmdel fans thought good things were in store. Yet, Newton followed with a quick goal ninety seconds later. And, by the time the half ended Newton was up 3-1.
That's it. There was no scoring in the second half. It would be easy to blame the poor officiating, the horrible calls, for contributing to the loss, which they surely did.
Honestly, though, that would detract from all this team has accomplished this season.
Let's start with a trip to the Shore Conference Finals. Yes, the loss to Ocean was disappointing but back to back appearances in the SCT are very rare and truly something to be proud of. A 14-1 regular season record, an overall record of 21-3. Today's appearance in the Group II State Finals, the second trip to the II finals in two years, an amazing accomplishment. Holmdel scoring records set. A goalkeeper shutout record broken. A recognition of the teams' achievements with a top 10 state ranking in the most recent Star Ledger poll. The list goes on and on.
This is a terrific group of players. They trained hard, played hard, played hurt. They played with broken toes and dislocated joints. They gave this season their all. Today they are disappointed. But, there can only be one winner in a game and today it was Newton.
When these boys look back on this season, I suspect the memory of the loss will soften. In its place, they will remember Coach John Nacarlo and his assistant coaches, William Carl and Eric Hinds, and the devotion they give to this team. It is no accident that Holmdel has been in the State finals three years in a row. Credit must be given to Coach Nacarlo and the training he has given to this team. They will remember the exhilaration of the wins this season and the joy of getting to the finals and they will remember the friendships they formed and the camaraderie they had with their teammates. They will remember with pride all they accomplished together as a team this year.
Be proud guys. You had a great season and you did it with class. The whole community is so very proud of you. You are truly our champions.