CHESTERTON | One goal was all Crown Point needed to change philosophies Wednesday night.
The Times No. 1 Bulldogs scored in the 13th minute and then switched to a defensive strategy to hold off No. 3 Chesterton 1-0 in a battle between the two Duneland Athletic Conference rivals.
Chesterton's lone chance to tally the equalizer came in the 60th minute when John Ward punched in an apparent game-tying goal that was waved off, because the ball came off the top of the crossbar before Ward's approach.
"I almost pulled the plug (on the defensive strategy)," Crown Point coach Mike Bazin said. "I didn't think it would work against a team as talented as Chesterton, but luckily we held out until the end."
Crown Point senior Carmello Morales controlled the ball in front of Chesterton's goal in the 13th minute, but without an angle on a shot, Morales flipped the ball to Stojan Krsteski, who punched a shot past Trojan keeper Caleb Gmyrek for the lone goal of the night.
"I saw Stojan's bright orange shoes out of the corner of my eye, and I got him the ball," Morales said. "We have great chemistry. We clicked ever since he got here last year."
Morales had a chance to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead six minutes later, but the senior missed a penalty kick when Gmyrek made a diving save, punching the ball back into the field of play. Gmyrek also registered two saves against Morales last season during a shootout.
"I just had to keep my head up and get back to playing," Morales said. "As a captain, I need to still be a leader out there."
The Bulldogs (6-0, 4-0 DAC) dropped a man defensively for much of the match, and senior sweeper Spase Dorsuleski was all over the field, harassing Chesterton's offense whenever he had the opportunity.
"It always starts on defense with us," Dorsuleski said. "The forward work together, and they motivate us in the back. This was an awesome victory, and we'll rewards ourselves tonight, but tomorrow it's back to work."
Gmyrek had three saves for the Trojans (6-2, 2-2), but the offense struggled to get shots against Crown Point keeper Connor Keaveney.
"The couple chances that we had we just couldn't get the ball to bounce our way," Chesterton coach James Sensibaugh said. "That's a credit to their defense."