HOLMDEL - The Holmdel boys soccer team entered Friday's Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinal with a big reputation but without a game against a Shore Conference team from outside of its Class A Central division to fully verify it.

Consider the Hornets fully verified.

Junior Anthony Arena scored two goals and two assists and senior Matt Leon added two goals as the Hornets scored all five of their goals before halftime to blow past seventh-seeded Howell, 5-0, and into the SCT semifinals Monday against Jackson Memorial at Ocean Township High School.

Matt Leon (left) and Anthony Arena (right) each scored two goals Friday in Holmdel's 5-0 win over Howell. (Photo by Matt Manley)
Matt Leon (left) and Anthony Arena (right) each scored two goals Friday in Holmdel's 5-0 win over Howell. (Photo by Matt Manley)

Junior Mark McStay capped the scoring with a goal 15 seconds before halftime on a lead pass from Arena.

Leon's first goal came in the 12th minute off a rebound on an initial shot from Arena and his second was off a chipped ball from Cyrus Darvish to make it 3-0 in the 27th minute.

Arena drew a foul in the box and converted the penalty kick to make it 2-0 in the 18th and blasted a near post shot from 10 yards out off a pass from Nick Guga to make it 4-0 in the 36th.

With two more goals on Friday, Arena now has 24 on the season, which is second in the Shore Conference behind Monmouth Regional senior Joel Burgos, who scored two in a quarterfinal loss to Ocean on Friday.

Holmdel's first SCT win was Wednesday against Class A Central rival Shore Regional and the Hornets' only two non-division games during the season were a win over Woodbridge and a loss at Pingry.

Howell is also now the first common opponent between No. 2 Holmdel and No. 1 Christian Brothers Academy. In two Class A North divisional meetings with CBA, Howell lost 2-0 and 1-0.

Before Holmdel will have a chance at a showdown against CBA, the Colts have two more games to win against Toms River South on Saturday and Ocean on Monday. The Hornets, meanwhile, will have to get past No. 3 Jackson Memorial. The Jaguars will be playing their first SCT semifinal game since losing to Holmdel in the 2012 semifinals. Jackson Memorial was unbeaten heading into that game.


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