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HOLMDEL - As a junior in 2020, Brendan Worobel scored only one goal for the Holmdel boys soccer team, but it was an impressive enough shot in a big win over Rumson-Fair Haven to make Hornets coach Matt Isaacson take notice.

Isaacson knew Worobel's lethal shot would produce some goals for a Holmdel team that needed a scorer to step up but the second-year coach never anticipated the tear that the senior is on to start his senior campaign.

Worobel scored two more goals on Tuesday during a 2-0 win over Ocean - the No. 4 team in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 - to give him eight of No. 7 Holmdel's nine goals in the team's first four games of 2021.

"I didn't expect him to have eight goals in four games. No way," Isaacson said. "He just has to keep generating opportunities. He is going to start getting double-teamed, so he is going to have to start looking for new ways to get open and touch the ball.

"Brendan has a great shot, as I'm sure people can tell by now, and he has great speed. It's just a matter of getting himself open."

Holmdel had six days off following its first loss of the season - a 2-1 defeat at Rumson-Fair Haven in which Worobel scored to cut the deficit to 2-1 in the second half. On Tuesday, the Hornets could not create a shot during the first 37 minutes while conceding seven total shots to Ocean.

"Against both Middletown North (a 1-0 overtime win) and Rumson, we could not finish," Worobel said. "It took us until double overtime to score against Midd. North and we only got one on the board against Rumson. Today, we knew we wanted to score first if we wanted to win the game and that's what happened."

Then, an opportunity finally presented itself. Worobel lined up a flick from senior Dylan Calhoun off a Ben Sammut throw-in and drilled it into the goal from the middle of the 18-yard box in the 38th minute.

"We knew the team that scored first was going to have a huge advantage," Isaacson said. "We thought if we can get that one in, then everything is going to go our way and that's exactly what we did."

Holmdel rode that positive wave into the half and took advantage of its second chance. In the seventh minute of the second half, Holmdel won a free kick near the end-line on the left side and after a touch in from sophomore David Weiner, Worobel beat his man and finished inside the near left post.

"Coach made a great call, called the play and it worked perfectly," Worobel said.

With four goals in Holmdel's opening-day win over Monmouth and the golden goal to beat Middletown North, Worobel immediate became the focus of Holmdel's scoring attack, as well as opposing defenses. Despite that, no Hornets opponent has been able to keep him off the board.

"I have noticed it a little bit," Worobel said of the defensive attention. "My teammates have done a great job of creating space for me and that's what is keeping me going."

After giving up the game's first seven shots, Holmdel settled in and played the Spartans to a draw on shots, with Ocean pushing up out of desperation for the final minutes. The final tally was 13-6, but the shots on goal favored Holmdel, 5-4.

Holmdel senior goalkeeper Tommy Chyzowych cleaned up those four shots on goal in recording his second shutout of the season. Chyzowych suffered a season-ending knee injury in a tie vs. Ocean a year ago and has come back strong following his recovery, as well as a recent verbal commitment to Lehigh University.

"This was the game that proves, by far, that he is a Division I keeper," Isaacson said. "He had a couple big free-kick saves, he was big in the box and he just brings energy to the team. It's good to have him back."

In handing Ocean its first loss of the season, Holmdel added intrigue to a Shore Conference Class A Central divisional race that could have any number of of teams in contention. Shore Regional is off to its best start since moving to Class A Central, Raritan and Monmouth Regional remain competitive, and Holmdel, Ocean and Rumson-Fair Haven appear to be the favorites.

"I think we settled for a couple games against Middletown North and Rumson," Isaacson said. "We expected to win by just being Holmdel and this year, that's not going to work. We have a lot of new guys, so we just wanted them focused on the next challenge. We told them if they beat Ocean, that Rumson game is forgotten and we're back in the race."

Holmdel's early standing in the division is further indication that the Hornets have regrouped in 2021 despite losing almost off of their scoring from 2021 and running out seven starters with zero varsity experience heading into this season.

"We don't have anyone from our championship team in 2018 except for our goalkeeper," Worobel said. "Young guys are stepping up. We have sophomores who I didn't even expect to step up and they have done great. It starts with the seniors setting example."

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