MaxPreps is pleased to announce that the Holmdel (N.J.)
Hornets have officially been named to the 13th Annual MaxPreps Soccer Tour of Champions presented by the Army National Guard, which is in its seventh year honoring boys soccer.
This is one of the most prestigious team awards in all of high school sports and it is an exclusive honor reserved for 100 of the top teams nationwide. In order to be eligible, a team must win a state championship and be highly ranked in the MaxPreps National Rankings. For soccer, only 20 of the country's best are invited and with nearly 34,000 competing varsity teams, this puts the Hornets ahead of 99.9 percent of their opponents!
In order to be eligible, the team not only had to be nationally ranked, but also had to win a state championship. Beating Dover 4-1 on Sunday, November 19 in the NJSIAA Group 2
state championship match marked the completion of an incredible 22-1-1 season — and earned Holmdel an invitation to the Tour of Champions.
The Hornets played consistent ball against Dover, scoring a pair of goals in each half as they went on to win their second boys state soccer title, and the first since 2010. Michael Neff started things off with a goal from 30 yards just 15 minutes into the game. Matthew Leon then took advantage of a Justin McStay pass to score the game-winning goal and bring the score to 2-0 at intermission. Justin McStay and Joe Arena each added goals in the second half.
Mark McStay, Justin McStay and Anthony Arena were all credited with assists for Holmdel, while Matthew Lionette earned a save in goal. The Hornets outshot Dover 15-5 in their second state final appearance in three seasons. Holmdel played for a state title in 2015 as well. In all, the Hornets have competed in five state championship matches.
John Nacarlo's club opened state tournament play with a 10-0 win over North Star Academy. Following 6-1 and 1-1 (shootout, 4-3) wins over Johnson and Matawan respectively, the Hornets shutout Monmouth 6-0 to earn their way into the Group 2 Final Four. Holmdel then upended Delran 3-1 in the semifinals to set up the match with Dover.
Holmdel began the season winning its first 10 games. Then, following a 1-0 loss at Pingry, the Hornets came out victorious in 12 of their final 13 contests with the only blemish being the 1-1 draw with Matawan in third round playoff action. Holmdel advanced in the bracket following the 4-3 advantage in the shootout. The Hornets posted 11 shutouts in 2017 and outscored the competition 122-14.
After matching a school record 22 wins on the season, Holmdel set itself up for some rather high rankings at season's end. The Hornets finished the season ranked No. 3 in the entire state of New Jersey
in MaxPreps' rankings, and eighth nationally
These incredible season achievements have earned the Holmdel Hornets an invitation to the 13th Annual Tour of Champions.
Please join us as we celebrate with the boys soccer team, coaching staff, students and fans on Wednesday, December 20 at 10:25 a.m. at a school lunch assembly in the Commons.
For more information about the Tour of Champions, please visit the MaxPreps Tour of Champions site