Reaching the NJSIAA Group finals is a huge accomplishment for any team to achieve in high school sports. The Holmdel Hornets did it three years in a row, and senior Zach Bond was instrumental in this tremendous state tournament run.
We shouldn’t have expected anything less from Bond this year, after last year’s NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II final at Governor Livingston. Trailing 1-0 late in the game, Bond scored twice in the final five minutes to give Holmdel its second straight sectional title.
Fast forward to this year’s Central Jersey Group II Sectional final, Holmdel would take on fellow Shore Conference opponent Long Branch. Behind the strong play of Welke Galvao and Wilson Bonilla, the Green Wave looked to put an end to Holmdel’s streak of two consecutive sectional titles.
Long Branch hoped to take Bond out of the game, realizing he has finished several clutch goals in his high school career. That plan failed just 48 seconds into the game, after Bond slipped behind the defense and finished near post for the first goal of the game. It didn’t stop there, Bond would score the final goal of the game in the 66th minute giving Holmdel it’s third straight sectional final win.
His postseason performance is something to be remembered over his three-year varsity career. He scored four goals in each of the past two NJSIAA tournaments, and did even better in his final state tournament, netting a team-high seven goals for the Hornets. The numbers alone speak for themselves, but if you asked him why he has been so successful when it counts the most, the answer might surprise you.
“I have to give a lot of credit to my teammates, they were a huge part of my success over the years,” Bond said.
“It was a great experience to be able to play with all my friends, and I’m happy to have made it as far as we did.”
The Hornets went to their second straight Group II final where they fell to a tough Newton squad 3-1 at TCNJ. It was a difficult decision for Bond to play high school instead of his academy team this season, but he was still grateful for the player they molded him into today.
“I’ve played on NJSA (New Jersey Soccer Academy) since its inception in 2004,” Bond said.
“They molded me into the player I am today, and are the reason that I was able to achieve my goals.”
Along with his Academy, Bond was quick to mention how its been to play for Holmdel head coach John Nacarlo over the past four years.
“He was so different from any of the other coaches I’ve had over the years,” Bond said.
“He was such a big motivator for me, he really helped my game in a big way.”
The next stop for Bond is the University of Rhode Island where he hopes to continue his strong play.
“I want to be able to come in as a freshman, and try to make an impact right away,” Bond said.