WARSAW | The 2013 Northwest Indiana soccer season has seen the theory of "next man up" come to fruition, as many injuries have occurred on great teams.
However, Crown Point's mentality has been "last man back", as it has many scoring threats, including IBCA District 1 First-teamer Carmelo Morales.
The senior forward sent Class 2A No. 4 Crown Point to the state finals for the second time in three years after netting the go-ahead goal at the 3:07 mark of the second half in the Bulldogs 2-1 win over Fort Wayne Canterbury in the Class 2A Warsaw Semistate final.
As the last man lined up on the play, he took freshman Brad Kurtz's corner kick off his head and connected for his 18th goal of the season.
"I noticed that all of our corner kicks were going to the back post, so I stayed out wide, crashed in, and had great hop over the defender," Morales said.
Crown Point coach Mike Bazin was impressed with the way the younger Kurtz got the ball there and commended Morales' ability to stay focused.
"That was a feat of superhuman strength for Brad to get the corner that far because he was cramping since the first half," he said. "Carmelo is the most solid mental player we have and to have him as a leader from the 2011 team is amazing."
After being knotted at zero for the first 23 minutes, Fort Wayne Canterbury (14-8-1) struck first when senior forward Britt Watts' free kick was saved by Connor Keaveney.
But senior midfielder Max Rowley was in the right place at the right time, as he hammered it home past Keaveney.
"I'm glad we escaped that one because we missed a mark just like in the first game, but we didn't give up," Bazin said.
Seven minutes later, Crown Point (20-0-1) answered after senior forward Nate Brower was taken down within the 18 and fellow senior Bay Kurtz made the Cavaliers pay by rifling one past senior keeper Robert DelBello on the ensuing penalty kick.
"This feels pretty good and this week is going to be business as usual," Bazin said. "This has been a goal for us the entire year and I'm glad they're proving their worth."