High-scoring Hornets roll to 9-0 start in 2020 soccer campaign

Holmdel High School girls soccer player Alexandra Wojie kicks the ball up the field during the team's game against Red Bank Catholic on Oct. 30 at Bob Roggy Memorial Field. Holmdel defeated Red Bank Catholic 5-0 to improve to 9-0 on the season.

HOLMDEL – The players on the Holmdel High School girls soccer team came into the 2020 season wanting to prove they belonged in the top echelon of the Shore Conference.

Following four straight losing seasons, the Hornets and their new coach, John Nacarlo, believed they had what it took to be one of the best teams in the conference and a force to be reckoned with any time they stepped onto the field.

That has been the case through the first nine matches of the season as Holmdel has been a scoring machine their opponents in Shore Conference A Central Division have not been able to stop.

Facing off in back-to-back contests against defending Shore Conference champion Red Bank Catholic High School, the Hornets made their presence known with two straight victories over the Caseys.

Holmdel beat RBC, 2-1, on Oct. 27, and then rolled to a 5-0 victory at home on Oct. 30 to improve to 9-0.

“We set a goal to be better in every game and to take it one game at a time,” Nacarlo said. “Am I surprised by this (start)? By no means. I felt we could show how dominant we can be and we have proven that. To knock off a team like RBC twice in back-to-back games are great wins for the program.”

Holmdel outscored its opponents 46-7 through its first nine matches.

Senior Sofia Mancino leads the team in goals and assists. Entering the second RBC match with 12 goals, Mancino scored twice in the first half to reach 14 goals for the season.

In the 21st minute, Mancino stole the ball from an RBC player, sprinted toward the Caseys’ net and scored the first goal of the match.

Mancino helped Holmdel add to its lead three minutes later when she sent a cross into the box that bounced off teammate Julianna Kolbasovsky and was headed in by the Hornets’ Katie Vassilakos for her seventh goal of the season.


With eight minutes left in the half, Mancino powered a shot into the RBC net from 30 yards out for a 3-0 lead.


“I feel like no one believed in me this year to do this and Coach Nacarlo showed trust in me and I was able to show I can do it,” said Mancino, who in addition to 14 goals had eight assists through nine matches.

“All the work we have been doing as a team is paying off. That is why we have been performing so well. We came together as a team and all the hard work is paying off,” she said.

Sophomore Taylor Bielan scored her ninth goal of the season in the 42nd minute to push Holmdel’s lead to 4-0 to begin the second half against the Caseys.

Later in the second half, junior Lindsay Guarnaccia scored her eighth goal to give Holmdel its sixth match with five or more goals.

Bielan and Guarnaccia each had five assists through nine matches.

Junior goalkeepers Hailey Sharpe and Katrina Walier combined for seven saves to record Holmdel’s fourth shutout.

“We are getting the outcomes we have wanted and I am really proud of how we are playing and hope to keep it up,” Bielan said. “We came together as a team and it has transferred onto the field. No one is a selfish player. We play for each other and I think that is one of the key elements to our team.”

The Hornets have cemented their standing among the best teams in the Shore Conference this fall, but the job is not done as Nacarlo said his players are focused on each match that comes their way.

As his players continue to improve, Nacarlo, who previously coached the Holmdel boys soccer team to three state titles, said he is pleased to see his players having the success they have worked so diligently to achieve.

“To see them come together the way they have and to see them play the way they are capable of playing is my biggest joy,” he said.

Holmdel is scheduled to play Raritan High School on Nov. 2 and Nov. 4.