CROWN POINT | Crown Point senior defender Tod Oram pointed out something rather embarrassing about goalkeeper Connor Keaveney during Tuesday's photo op for the state finalists.
Oram said the funniest moment from this year was when the whole team realized that Keaveney grunts loudly every single time he tries to save a ball.
Whatever he's doing seems to be working. He is on the back wall of a defense that has given up just two goals in the entire postseason.
The overall season total of goals has also come few and far between for the opposition, as the Class 2A No. 4-ranked Bulldogs have allowed nine.
"Connor has done a phenomenal job back there," Crown Point coach Mike Bazin said. "The defense is his best friend, and he does a good job organizing them."
Fortunately for the Bulldogs, Crown Point (20-0-1) has another two years with him between the pipes.
While Keaveney realizes he'll be around for a while, he is solely focused on this year and wants to win this group of seniors its second state title over the last three years. C.P. meets No. 2 Avon (22-0-1) at 5 p.m. Saturday at IUPUI.
"As a sophomore I have two more years, but I have to play for them," said Keaveney, who has a miniscule 0.43 goals-against-average. "I know I'm gonna have to work just as hard as they do to win."
One would think there would be pressure for a 15-year-old kid playing in his first year with 17 and 18-year-olds on a team that was expected, and very much favored, to make a deep run in the postseason. Keaveney says that has wavered as the season has progressed, even though the team is undefeated.
"I owe my defense everything because the four in front of me have strengths that support each other," Keaveney said. "In the preseason there was lots of pressure, but I kind of just adapted because we have the best defense in the state."
While his stats may be deceiving with the amount of saves he has racked up (79), many of those saves have been critical to C.P.'s success, including the one in the 16th minute of the Bulldogs' 2-1 semistate-clinching win over upstart Fort Wayne Canterbury.
After IBCA All-District 2 player Britt Watts fired a shot off a direct kick from 35 yards out, the ball deflected off a teammate and Keaveney made a jumping save to his left, making the scoring attempt sail over the crossbar.
Keaveney claims that because he faces the likes of Bay Kurtz, Carmelo Morales, and Stojan Krsteski every day, he is ready for basically any shot that comes his way.
"I'm used to playing at a high level and I may even be mentally over-prepared," said Keaveney, who has 14 shutouts. "We also have the best strikers in the state, and they have put me in a good position to win."