Hornets defeat Bulldogs, 4-1, to advance to state sectional tournament semifinals

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Holmdel High School girls soccer player Taylor Bielan races up the field and is fouled by Rumson-Fair Haven's Grace Colucci during the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group II Tournament on Nov. 5 in Holmdel. Holmdel won 4-1.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Holmdel High School girls soccer player Juliana Kolbasovsky dribbles the ball up the sideline against Rumson-Fair Haven during the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group II Tournament on Nov. 5 in Holmdel. Kolbasovsky scored a game-high two goals in the contest. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School girls soccer player Janey Sypeck controls the ball in the Holmdel zone during the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group II Tournament on Nov. 5 in Holmdel. Holmdel defeated Rumson-Fair Haven 4-1. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School girls soccer player Grace Colucci kicks the ball up the field against Holmdel during the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group II Tournament on Nov. 5 in Holmdel. Rumson-Fair Haven finishes the season with a 11-6-1 record. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Holmdel High School girls soccer player Isabel Weiner stops a shot by Rumson-Fair Haven's Grace Colucci during the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group II Tournament on Nov. 5 in Holmdel. Holmdel won 4-1. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Holmdel High School girls soccer player Adrianna Morales passes the ball up the field during a game against Rumson-Fair Haven in the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group II Tournament on Nov. 5 in Holmdel. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School girls soccer player Meghan Reid and Holmdel's Katie Vassilakos battle for the loose ball during the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group II Tournament on Nov. 5 in Holmdel. Holmdel won 4-1. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Holmdel High School girls soccer player Taylor Bielan races up the field and is fouled by Rumson-Fair Haven's Grace Colucci during the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group II Tournament on Nov. 5 in Holmdel. Holmdel won 4-1.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Holmdel High School girls soccer player Juliana Kolbasovsky dribbles the ball up the sideline against Rumson-Fair Haven during the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group II Tournament on Nov. 5 in Holmdel. Kolbasovsky scored a game-high two goals in the contest. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School girls soccer player Janey Sypeck controls the ball in the Holmdel zone during the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group II Tournament on Nov. 5 in Holmdel. Holmdel defeated Rumson-Fair Haven 4-1. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School girls soccer player Grace Colucci kicks the ball up the field against Holmdel during the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group II Tournament on Nov. 5 in Holmdel. Rumson-Fair Haven finishes the season with a 11-6-1 record. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Holmdel High School girls soccer player Isabel Weiner stops a shot by Rumson-Fair Haven's Grace Colucci during the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group II Tournament on Nov. 5 in Holmdel. Holmdel won 4-1. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Holmdel High School girls soccer player Adrianna Morales passes the ball up the field during a game against Rumson-Fair Haven in the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group II Tournament on Nov. 5 in Holmdel. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School girls soccer player Meghan Reid and Holmdel's Katie Vassilakos battle for the loose ball during the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group II Tournament on Nov. 5 in Holmdel. Holmdel won 4-1. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF

Two Shore Conference A Central Division girls soccer rivals went toe-to-toe in the quarterfinals of the Central Jersey Group II state sectional tournament on Nov. 5 in Holmdel.

In the end, No. 2 seed Holmdel High School defeated No. 7 seed Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School on the strength of three unanswered goals in the second half to win, 4-1, and advance to the sectional semifinals.

“We obviously played really well in the second half,” Holmdel coach John Nacarlo said. “The girls stepped up. We were able to settle things down and do what needed to do.”

Holmdel (15-1-1) will host Manasquan in the sectional semifinals on Nov. 9. The Hornets defeated Ocean Township, 9-2, in the first round of the tournament.

With No. 8 seed Wall defeating No. 1 seed Metuchen, 3-1, in the quarterfinals, Holmdel is the highest remaining seed in the bracket and has home field advantage throughout the sectional tournament.

Nacarlo previously led the Holmdel boys to three state championships. He said winning a sectional championship as the girls coach would mean a lot, especially after the Hornets were unable to compete in post-season play in 2020 because of the program’s COVID-19 shutdown when the squad was 15-0.

“I think last year’s team could have been one of the best teams in program history with the season we had,” Nacarlo said. This year’s team is special, too. I want these girls to leave their mark here.”

With the loss to Holmdel, Rumson-Fair Haven finished the 2021 campaign with an 11-6-1 record.

“We have an incredible group of kids and I am honored to coach them every day,” coach Megan Heerwagen Rizzitello said. “They left everything out there on the field today.”

The Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead when senior Katie Aglione scored her 16th goal of the season in the eighth minute.

Aglione scored three goals in the Bulldogs’ 5-1 victory over Bordentown in the first round of the state sectional tournament on Nov. 2 and recently surpassed 100 career points. She finished her senior season with 16 goals and five assists.

“She’s an incredible kid,” Rizzitello said of Aglione. “I’m glad she was able to get to 100 (career) points during this season.”

The Bulldogs’ lead did not last long, as junior Taylor Bielan answered for the Hornets in the ninth minute. Her 14th goal of the season tied the match, 1-1.

“When they scored first, it was kind of a wake-up call for us,” Bielan said. “I knew we would score immediately after that. I’m glad we were able to work together and I was able to put it in the back of the net.”

The score remained tied for the remainder of the 40-minute half.

The Hornets came out of the halftime break ready to roll and Bielan helped her team take the lead in the 46th minute. Bielan sent a perfect cross to the front of the net and Juliana Kolbasovsky tapped it in for a 2-1 lead. Bielan leads Holmdel with 11 assists.

 

Holmdel extended its lead to 3-1 in the 52nd minute when Lily Reardon passed to senior Katie Vassilakos, who took the ball to the Bulldogs’ net and scored her 21st goal of the season.

Vassilakos has scored seven goals in the last four matches in which she has played.

After scoring eight goals in 2020, Vassilakos said the biggest key to her scoring success this season is confidence.

“I feel like last year there was a lot of potential. I just couldn’t finish,” she said. “I wasn’t confident in myself in the attacking third. I feel like this year I’m just going out there and playing for the team and it’s all coming together and I’m hitting the back of the net.”

Holmdel finished the scoring in the 60th minute. Reardon’s corner kick found Kolbasovsky, whose shot on net was saved, but not grabbed by Eva Kalman, and the rebound fell to Kolbasovsky, who sent it home to put the Hornets up 4-1.

Kolbasovsky has scored four goals in Holmdel’s last three matches and has eight goals and nine assists in 2021.

“I am so proud of my team and glad I could help,” Kolbasovsky said. “The whole team stepped up in the second half and I was happy I was able to finish it off.”

Senior goalkeeper Katrina Walier made four saves for Holmdel and Kalman made seven saves for the Bulldogs.