Metzger’s second-half goals lead Hornets to state title

first_img BY MATTHEW ROCCO Correspondent Holmdel High School’s boys soccer team won its first state title on Nov. 19, defeating Chatham, 2-1, in the NJSIAA Group III final on two goals by Dan Metzger. Holmdel High School’s Andrew Zheng (bottom) and Chatham’s Conor Goepel (38) fight for a loose ball during the NJSIAA Group III boys soccer championship game played at The College of New Jersey in Ewing on Nov. 19. More photos at gmnews.com. PHOTOS BY JEFF GRANIT staff In the championship match played at The College of New Jersey in Ewing Township, the Hornets faced their first deficit of the entire state tournament. Holmdel trailed by one goal at halftime, but Metzger, who will attend the University of Maryland next year, capitalized on two free kick opportunities late in the second half. “Dan was all over the field,” Holmdel head coach John Nacarlo said. “Chatham did a good job trying to double him up, but he was still able to attack.” Holmdel High School’s Dan Metzger celebrates after scoring a goal. Metzger and the Hornets had a lot to celebrate as they won the state championship with a 2-1 victory over Chatham. Metzger scored both Holmdel goals. With Chatham leading at the half, Nacarlo urged his team to remain focused. “I told them to keep their heads up, that we will get rolling. We just needed to change our attack. We definitely showed a sense of urgency in the second half, and everyone on the field got the job done,” he said. Holmdel arrived at the Group III title match after defeating Hammonton, 3-0, in the semifinal match. The Hornets defeated Hopewell Valley, 1-0, in the Central Jersey Group III championship final. Throughout the state tournament, the Hornets matched up well against their opponents. In addition to the leadership of Metzger, the team’s speed and strong midfield tandem proved to be important advantages. “Our middle field was a tough tandem to deal with. It definitely helped us match up well,” Nacarlo said. The Group III final, held at TCNJ, was a fitting end to a season that Holmdel finished with a record of 22-1. “They were always talking about how long they have been playing together and how this was their last chance,” Nacarlo said of the senior players on his team. “This is an awesome accomplishment for them.” When Nacarlo took charge of the program eight years ago, Holmdel was referred to as “the doormat of the Shore Conference,” he said. “It means a lot to turn something around and start a winning tradition.” Nacarlo would like to continue this tradition next year, when his team will field younger players. Although the team will be younger, it will have plenty of experience. “This was great experience for the younger players. They will hopefully learn from it,” he said. Holmdel boys win first Group crown last_img read more