CROWN POINT | In a hotly contested Duneland Athletic Conference boys soccer race, it’s no surprise Wednesday’s match between Times No. 6 Crown Point and No. 7 Chesterton came down to penalty kicks.
It wasn’t until Aleksandar Trifunovic deflected Chesterton senior Nick Barango’s do-or-die penalty kick session shot off the overhead crossbar that the Bulldogs escaped with a 6-5 win decided via a 5-4 advantage in the penalty kick session.
"It was a crazy, back-and-forth game, and both sides were in it the entire time," Crown Point coach Mike Bazin said. "You get down to the end and you've got to grit your teeth. In the end, Chesterton played a great game. I don't think any coach really loves seeing a game come down to PK's. It went our way this time, but hats off to Chesterton."
The overtime period started with a 4-4 tie, but goals from Chesterton’s Jonathan Blake and Crown Point’s Martin Mitreski forced PK’s.
"I told (Trifunovic) 'You've got to get one save, and we'll do the rest,'" Bazin said. "That's how it works."
With Chesterton nursing a 2-1 lead, Alex Fenn found the left side of the net with a precise shot from about 20 yards out to tie the game 2-2 less than six minutes into the second half.
Zach Sneiderwine had a chance to give the Bulldogs a 3-2 lead about five minutes later on an open goal, but his shot sailed about a foot over the crossbar, landing harmlessly outside the field.
Instead, Blake connected on a goal, uncorking a long-distance laser beam that found the left side of the net and gave the Trojans a 3-2 lead midway through the second half.
Shortly after that, Billy Biehl connected on his second goal of the night, giving Chesterton a 4-2 lead on a possession which featured excellent ball movement down the field.
Biehl’s goal didn’t faze the Bulldogs, as Nico Garcia-Vicente and Carmelo Morales scored back-to-back goals, putting C.P. right back in the mix with a 4-4 tie.
Biehl got the Trojans on the board first, evading C.P.’s defenders to find the net with 22:16 remaining in the first half to go ahead 1-0.
The Bulldogs would tie it up with less than five minutes remaining before halftime, as Spase Dorsuleski scored on a close range goal.
At that point, it seemed the Bulldogs were poised to continue the attacking and possibly put another goal in before halftime, but the Trojans struck with 30 seconds left before the break when Colin Ringas found the right side of the net.