HOLMDEL — Championship aspirations are in play each season for the members of the Holmdel High School boys soccer team.
Third-year coach Matt Isaacson has continued the program’s championship mindset that was built by former head coach John Nacarlo, who led the Hornets to seven state sectional tournament titles and three state group championships in 16 years at the helm.
In 2021, Isaacson guided Holmdel to a 12-6-1 record as the Hornets reached the championship match of the Central Jersey Group II state sectional tournament.
Isaacson believes “without a doubt” that his 2022 squad can win the program’s first state sectional tournament title since 2018.
“These boys are hungry and have their eyes set on making it back to the sectional final,” Isaacson said. “They want to keep that (championship) expectation up and that’s a big reason why we have been so successful.”
Holmdel graduated two key players from the 2021 squad: Brendan Worobel and Tommy Chyzowych. Worobel scored 18 of the team’s 29 goals and Chyzowych was a three-year starter in net.
Isaacson said he has a host of returning players and newcomers who have the skills it will take to lead he Hornets to a successful season.
On offense, the Hornets will lean on returning midfielders David Weiner (junior) and Max Woodward (senior). Weiner scored four goals and added four assists in 2021.
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Sophomore Luke Brand and juniors Frankie Brusco and Colin Hynes return with varsity experience and will look to contribute on offense.
Newcomer Stepan Kapranov will play at forward and is expected to contribute, said Isaacson, who has been pleased with how well the offense has performed during the preseason.
“It’s great to see the scoring coming (from a lot of different players),” the coach said. “I like how fast we are becoming a team with all of the different pieces we have on the field. They are all making great passes and scoring goals.”
Two key returning players on defense are center backs Aidan Hynes and Jeremy Topel.
Senior Anthony Marzano returns on the outside to help shut down opposing attackers.
The biggest question for Holmdel on defense as the 2022 season opener nears is who will succeed Chyzowych as the team’s goalkeeper.
Seniors Ilan Golden and Andrew Arrendondo are competing for the starting job and have each played well during the preseason, said Isaacson.
“I am going to have a tough decision to make on who I am going to go with” in net. “We have two guys who have been behind (Chyzowych) for the past couple of years and have learned a lot. These guys have been patient being the backups and are now earning their spot. It is going to be a really tough decision,” the coach said.
After winning the Group II state championship in 2018, Holmdel has fashioned a 40-7-4 record during the last three seasons (2019, 2020, 2021). The Hornets have won seven straight season opening matches.
Holmdel will open the 2022 season with a match against Monmouth Regional High School of Tinton Falls on Sept. 8.