VALPARAISO | After only giving up two goals this season, the Valparaiso Vikings surrendered two goals to the Crown Point Bulldogs, as the Bulldogs defeated the Vikings 2-0 on Wednesday night.
The Bulldogs got on to the board first in the 16th minute after Carmelo Morales hit a header into the right side of the net off an Alex Fenn corner kick for his team-leading 14th goal of the season.
“It was an amazing header,” Crown Point coach Mike Bazin said. “He put a header in for the regional final against Munster last year, and it was the same thing, floating over the goal. So it brought us back to that.”
It was one of only two shots on goal the Bulldogs would have in the first half. In the 23rd minute, a handball was called on the Vikings and Crown Point took a penalty kick. Martin Mitreski’s kick was saved by keeper Ethan Lehnen to keep the Bulldogs ahead 1-0.
Crown Point’s defense deflected four close shots by the Vikings, including a corner kick by Issac Withrow that was deflected by Nate Brower. Valparaiso was unable to get a shot on goal until twelve minutes remained in the second half.
“We had a team defense effort today," Bazin said. "They were able to get behind the ball, and that’s how teams get the job done. Our back line, we have two returners from our state championship team. Tony Zervos is irreplaceable in the back. He’s the type of kid that the players listen to."
Valpo coach Danny Jeftich was impressed with C.P.'s foot speed on the field.
“It has to do with Crown Point’s speed," Jeftich said. "They’re a very fast team, and have good players. They counterattacked and are probably one of the fastest teams we’ve faced this year.
"Through out the game, they counterattacked a lot so we had to defend a lot. When you defend, it means you don’t have possession of the ball.”
Morales added his second goal of the game in the 65th minute when Zach Sneiderwine’s backwards passed skimmed off Morales’ leg and into the net.
“The last one, he kind of fooled the goalie there,” Bazin said. “We’ve been leaning on him a lot this year, and he’s come through.”
Crown Point (10-1-0, 4-1) outshot the Vikings 8-1 on goal as Valparaiso lost for the first time this season. Aleksandar Trifunovic had one save for the Bulldogs, and Ethan Lehnen had six for Valparaiso (8-1, 4-1).