West Deptford Boys' Soccer State Semifinal Preview

The Eagles will play the role of underdog yet again against heavily favored Holmdel.

A long week of waiting will be stretched out one more day for West Deptford boys' soccer.

The Eagles' Group 2 state semifinal game against the Central Jersey champions, Holmdel, has been pushed back to Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. With rain and snow in the forecast for Tuesday, weather conditions are expected to be much more ideal on Wednesday for the game. The game will still be held at Toms River East.

The Eagles, who won the South Jersey Group 2 championship last Monday in a thriller over Cinnaminson, will be entering the final four of the state tournament as the underdog, much in the same way that they have been throughout the sectional tournament.

Holmdel enters the state semifinals as a well-known boys' soccer powerhouse. They have won their respective sectional championship three straight years and have many of the players back from their team that went to the Group 2 state title game last season, when they lost to Bernards.

While Holmdel is out for redemption on Wednesday night, West Deptford is hoping to prove the naysayers wrong by pulling off another upset. Here's the breakdown for the game:

West Deptford

Record: 13-5-4

How they got here: South Jersey Group 2 Tournament: Defeated Lower Cape May, 1-0, in first round. . Defeated Deptford, 3-1, in semifinals.

Players to Watch: Goalkeeper Brandon Gill is a big reason for the Eagles' second-half ascent and sectional championship. He came up with two big shutouts in the first two rounds of the section tournament and came up huge in penalty kicks against Cinnaminson. Joe Mingrino, the team's leading scorer in 2012, scored four of the Eagles' five goals in the first three rounds of the South Jersey Group 2 tournament.


Record: 20-2

How they got here: Central Jersey Group 2 Tournament: Defeated Raritan, 3-0, in first round. Defeated North Plainfield, 4-0, in quarterfinals. Defeated Delran, 3-1, in semifinals. Defeated Long Branch, 2-0, in championship game.

Players to Watch: Goalkeeper Mitchell Walier has been lights out all season long for Holmdel. Regarded as one of the top goalkeepers in the state, Walier allowed just one goal in the Central Jersey Group 2 Tournament and has recorded a remarkable 15 shutouts this year. Forward Zach Bond has been the Hornets' leading scorer in 2012 and scored both goals in the team's title win over Long Branch last week.


How can West Deptford win: It is anticipated that the game will be a tough, low-scoring battle between two excellent defensive teams. The Eagles pulled off four straight playoff victories with the same formula of playing aggressive team defense and putting Gill in a position to succeed in the net. This game could play out similar to West Deptford's quarterfinal win over Haddonfield, where offensive opportunities were at a premium. However, if the Eagles can keep the Hornets' offensive chances to a minimum and keep the game close, there's no reason to think that they can't come up with another upset win.

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Tom Purvenas November 28, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Good luck Eagles!


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