HOLMDEL -- Not a single player on the current Delran boys soccer team was on the last Bears team that lost to Holmdel. Nevertheless, the current Delran players have to pay for the program's losses to their fiercest state-tournament rival.

"Last practice, our coach called out, '2014, 2-0 loss, sprint,'" Delran senior striker Drew Roskos said. "So for every time we lost to them, he would go through the decade and we would have to do a sprint for that. So we remember that for this game and every time we won, we don't have to do a sprint."

After Holmdel moved into Group II in 2011, the Hornets went 4-0-2 vs. Delran the first six times the two teams played and up until last season, the only manner in which the Bears had beaten Holmdel was on penalty kicks.

Those prior Delran teams, however, did not have Drew Roskos.

Roskos continued his eye-popping success in the NJSIAA Tournament and specifically the Group II semifinal round with a first-half hat trick that sparked Delran to a 4-2 win over Holmdel Wednesday evening.

After failing to beat Holmdel straight-up in six prior NJSIAA Tournament matches, Delran has now beaten the Hornets in each of the past two seasons, with Roskos scoring five of his team's six goals in the two games.

"I said the same thing last year: one of the best players -- or the best player -- we have played against and that the state has right now," Holmdel coach Matt Isaacson said. "He's incredible. Last year, our game plan was to shut him down and he scores two goals. This year, even more so and he still finds a way, so credit to him."

Since his 33-goal sophomore season in 2021, Roskos has scored a combined eight goals in three Group II semifinal games, starting with a hat trick in a 6-2 win over Rumson-Fair Haven to start the run in 2021. During his four-year career, Roskos has scored 22 goals in the month of November -- a sample of 13 games that all came in the NJSIAA Tournament.

"Two years ago in Rumson, we scored six goals," Roskos said. "I know it's always possible and that's how you win a soccer game: by scoring goals.

"People think it's all your physical shape when a lot of it is in your head. I do very well keeping a positive mindset and pushing through whatever circumstance there is."

The game started off on the right foot for Holmdel Wednesday, which was on the left foot of Stepan Kapranov. The junior drilled a left-footed volley in the 13th minute for the game's first goal.

The Bears responded 1:23 later when Roskos chested down a loose ball and knocked in the equalizer. In the 23rd minute, Roskos volleyed in a loose ball off a throw-in for a go-ahead goal.

Roskos struck for his third goal in the 35th minute, which he headed in off a corner-kick service by Willyam Veiga. Despite standing at only 5-foot-5, Roskos has tormented Holmdel in the air and on the ground alike thanks to his strength -- a product of his wrestling background.

"I see the ball and be the ball," Roskos said. "I just jump up, try my best to get it and try to make a play for my team."

Vinny Corollo extended Delran's lead to 4-1 in the 43rd minute off a precision pass from senior Gabe Moura. Roskos also played a role in the fourth goal by making a diagonal run with the ball before it was knocked out of his possession. Mauro took it from there, winning the ball back and chipping a pass to the left side of the 18-yard box, where Carollo took one touch and blasted it inside the near post.

"The fourth one always hurts," Isaacson said. "We came out of halftime planning to take control and have the better of the play, which we did, but once they get the quick goal, it was definitely deflating. Credit to my guys, because they bounced back and kept playing hard and kept pushing. It was just dug ourselves too big of a hole, unfortunately."

While the fourth goal significantly damaged Holmdel's chances of advancing, the Hornets mounted a spirited effort over the final 35 minutes. That effort yielded a second goal for Kapranov, who, after a foul, bent a 25-yard free kick into the upper left corner of the goal to make it 4-2 in the 65th minute.

"Those type of players show up at these type of moments," Isaacson said. "On our side, we had Stepan and David (Weiner), who is playing on a sprained ankle right now, who both had a hell of a game. It's that time of year where you expect your best players to show out and we had it on our side and obviously, they had it with Roskos, who has been doing it for the last four years."

Holmdel nearly made it 4-3 in the 69th, when senior Frankie Brusco -- who scored the game-winner in Saturday's win over Manasquan -- struck a ball into the box out of the air and off a Delran defender. The left side of the goal was exposed, but the ball carried less than a foot wide of the left post.

The Hornets chances also took a hit when Weiner suffered a sprained ankle vs. Manasquan on Saturday and had to play Wednesday's game in the central midfield at less than 100 percent.

As for Delran, the Bears will ready themselves for a third straight Group II championship game against Ramsey, which Delran hopes will turn out like the previous two. Delran has participated in the last three Group II championship games (there was no 2020 group championship) and beat Ramsey in each of the last two.

This season marks the sixth straight tournament in which either Delran or Holmdel will play in the Group II final and since Holmdel's move to Group II in 2011, the two teams have combined to make it to 10 of the 12 championship games, including the upcoming final Saturday at Franklin High School.

As for Delran's practice of holding future teams accountable for past losses to Holmdel, it may continue on, but it will not include either 2022 nor 2023.

"I guess we won't have to sprint next practice," Roskos said. "Next year's team can thank us."

Box Score

Delran 4, Holmdel 2

Delran (14-7-1)314
Holmdel (16-3-1)112

Goals (Assists): (H) Stepan Kapranov (Jaime Martin) 13'; (D) Drew Roskos (Matheus Pinto) 14'; (D) Drew Roskos (Gabe Moura) 18'; (D) Drew Roskos (Willyam Veiga) 35'; (D) Vinny Carollo (Gabe Moura) 43'; (H) Stepan Kapranov (free kick) 65'
Shots: Holmdel, 16-9
Saves: (D) Anthony Salvitti 7; (H) Matt Campillay 1

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