NEPTUNE - The Holmdel boys soccer team earned its first ever trip to the Shore Conference Tournament championship game with a 2-0 win over Lacey Thursday night at Memorial Field in Neptune, but the victory did not come without a major loss.
Junior midfielder Eric Bulvid sustained a broken left leg late in the first half of the match on a collision with a Lacey player. The injury will end the season for the promising junior, who is Holmdel’s third-leading scorer.
“I spoke with his father over the phone and he said Eric was in a lot of pain,” Nacarlo said. “I know the training staff was trying to keep his leg stable while they were waiting for the ambulance, but I guess when they were working on it at the hospital, it really starting causing him some serious discomfort.”
Bulvid lay on the ground surrounded by a small crowd that included his father Joseph and head coach John Nacarlo for more than 30 minutes before an emergency medical staff from Jersey Shore Medical Center arrived and carried him off on a stretcher to an awaiting ambulance.
“I think it really hit him when he saw his father out there,” Nacarlo said. “He saw his dad come out and that’s when he realized that it was pretty bad. You’re out there with your friends and your teammates, but when you see family out there, things get a little more serious.”
The training staff on hand at Neptune concluded that Bulvid suffered a compound fracture to his left tibia, which Nacarlo later confirmed after speaking with Joseph Bulvid over the phone. Nacarlo also said Bulvid sustained a clean break of his fibula in the same leg and that the early prognosis is that he will be on crutches for at least four weeks following surgery.
Bulvid played a key role in the Hornets’ victory by starting the sequence that led to their first goal. He set junior Zach Bond up with a pass through the defense and after Bond’s initial shot was saved by Lacey goalkeeper Logan McDonald, junior Nick King poked the ball into the net for the first goal of the game.
A little more than 20 minutes later, Bulvid was carrying the ball up the middle of the field when Lacey senior Mark Dalton slid at the ball in an effort to knock it away from the Holmdel junior. Bulvid’s leg go caught underneath Dalton and the junior immediately screamed in pain before hitting the turf.
The staff at Neptune called for an ambulance just seconds after checking on Bulvid. The game was delayed for 31 minutes with 2:09 left in the first half until the ambulance removed Bulvid off the field.
“Eric was playing a great game. It was devastating for him that it ended the way it did and we’re all feeling for him right now,” said Bond, who later scored Holmdel’s second goal. “We kept playing for him and we’re going to keep playing for him the rest of the year.”
Bulvid scored five goals and seven assists during his junior season and was also a versatile player, manning both on the midfield and the defensive backfield. Holmdel will take the field without Bulvid for the first time Saturday night in the tournament championship game against top-seeded and nationally ranked Christian Brothers Academy.
“He’s going to be hard to replace,” Nacarlo said. “This really hurts us in the state tournament, so we’re going to have to figure it out. There will be time for that, but for now we’re going to be there for Eric and start thinking about playing CBA on Saturday.”