Boys soccer team returns five starters from 20-win season BY MATTHEW ROCCO Correspondent Coming off the loss of a strong senior class last season, the Holmdel High School boys soccer team quickly emerged as a postseason favorite when the Hornets reached its first-ever Shore Conference Tournament final and finished one game short of another state championship.The 2012 season begins with different expectations. Five returning senior starters, all integral to the postseason success in 2011, will take the field when the Hornets open their season at home on Sept. 6 against Raritan High School and give the team a reason to believe this fall could be even better than the last.“Last year, I didn’t know what to expect,” head coach John Nacarlo said. “This team is even stronger.”Senior Mitch Walier returns as the starting goalkeeper. Senior defenders Dylan Chapman and Nick King, as well as senior forwards Zach Bond and E.J. Carannante, and senior midfielder Eric Bulvid and junior forward Jack Flannagan, are also back. This group of veterans will lead Holmdel as it attempts to put together another dominant season and continue making program history. Holmdel had never won 20 or more games in a single season before doing so in each of the last two seasons.Walier and Bond, forced to make a decision between high school and club soccer after the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) changed its rules, both opted to play for Holmdel this season. The rule change is a result of the adoption of a 10- month training schedule instead of the 5- month schedule previously used by many USSF teams.Bulvid returns from a broken leg suffered in a Shore Conference Tournament semifinal win over Lacey Township High School. The Hornets fell to Christian Brothers Academy, 4-0, in the tournament final. In the state tournament, Holmdel was playing for a second consecutive championship but lost to Bernards High School, 1-0, in the NJSIAA Group II title game.Back on the field this summer, Holmdel won each of its three games during a Toms River tournament, followed by a 3-0 record so far in preseason scrimmages. Nacarlo expects more of the same during the regular season. He noted that the Hornets bring plenty of speed to their game, and their offensive attack should be on full display given the level of talent at Holmdel.“We will possess the ball a lot more this season,” Nacarlo said. “Our players are very skillful. Scoring opportunities will come with Eric and Zach leading our attack.”Holmdel will go on the road to face Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School on Sept. 10 before returning home to play Monmouth Regional High School on Sept. 12.