SOUTH BEND | The Crown Point sideline resembled a Red Cross tent after a natural disaster, with bandages and braces and players limping around.
The Bulldogs gave everything they had in a 4-0 semistate final loss to South Bend St. Joseph at Father Walter Bly Field Saturday.
"The effort was unbelievable," coach Chris Mikrut said. "The girls played all the way through. The effort was there and that's all you could ask for."
C.P. (19-4) was hampered by injuries to key players.
The most serious involved freshman Anna Eksten, who crumpled to the ground after being hit in the head with a ball from point-blank range. The game was paused and Eksten was taken off the pitch in an ambulance.
Mikrut said she was conscious but woozy when he ran on the field to see her.
"Anna getting hurt puts a lot of things in perspective, about what we're out here for," Mikrut said.
Star Sarah Rivich did not start and spent much of the game on the sideline nursing multiple leg injuries.
Goalie Meghan Morasan was limping throughout the game. Morasan collided with an opposing player late in the Bulldogs' 3-2 win over Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger in the earlier semifinal. Morasan came out of the game in the 59th minute.
Katrina Ornelas left the match with a leg injury with about 15 minutes left. Jenna Arnold was limping and grabbing her ankle after the game.
"We worked so hard to get here," senior Courtney Farrell said. "I'm proud of everyone who came out here tonight and gave everything they had. You couldn't ask for more from this team."
The Indians (21-2) notched three scores between the 11th and 15th minute.
The first came off the foot of Samantha Kambol on a breakaway at 11:33. Catherine Raster, who scored the overtime goal earlier in the day to help the Indians advance past Hamilton Southeastern 2-1, added a goal at 13:05. Rachel Staud's score came at 15:14. Raster got another at 53:09.
"I guess it wasn't meant for us. I really don't know what happened," Rivich said. "I thought we could've won (despite the injuries)."
The Bulldogs got a step closer than last year's playoff run, which ended in a 3-1 overtime loss to St. Joseph in the semistate semifinal.
"We knew eventually it was going to come to an end, but we obviously hoped it would be next weekend," Rachel Marczewski said. "Our school has never been to the final four, so for us to make it to the final four as a team was amazing."
The Crown Point senior class goes out as the most decorated in school history, with three sectional titles, two regional titles and three Duneland Conference championships.
"It was a good four years," Rivich said. "We became a family and we all stuck together. It was just a good time."