MERRILLVILLE | Two celebrations down, two more to go.
Crown Point, which was notably subdued during its triumph, remained focused on the task at hand in its 3-0 Class 2A Merrillville Regional championship win over Duneland foe Chesterton on Saturday afternoon.
Class 2A No. 4 Crown Point (18-0-1) will now play the Warsaw-Northridge winner in the second match of the Warsaw Semistate at 11 a.m. Saturday.
"We didn't let off the gas pedal all game long," Crown Point coach Mike Bazin said. "We're feeling pretty great because one of our goals all year was to make it this far."
The Bulldogs struck first in the fifth minute when Carmelo Morales directed a throw-in to Bay Kurtz deep in Chesterton's six.
Kurtz, who had a bad angle on the ball and was covered by two defenders, sneaked a pass to the weak side and hit Nate Brower for a wide-open goal.
Nine minutes later, Morales added C.P's second score by taking what seemed to be a harmless entry pass from Kurtz and belted it from 30 yards away on Chesterton senior goalie Caleb Gmyrek's near side.
Thirty-nine minutes later, Trojans senior Mitch Winey was called for a handball in the Chesterton box. Kurtz ended the scoring on the ensuing penalty kick.
"We have some dynamic play in front and after we got the first goal, we weren't as comfortable, but after the second and third, we felt pretty good," said Bazin.
Because of Crown Point's stout defensive formation and effort, the Trojans (16-3-1) had limited opportunities to score, as the ball was mainly played on Chesterton's side of the field.
"This has been the most shut down our defense has been this year," Bazin said. "With Spase (Dorsuleski) and Erik (Eksten), you can't beat those two and (goalie Connor Keaveney's) easiest job is to organize the defense and to gather up a few loose balls."
Chesterton's only real threat to score was on a direct kick in the 74th minute when senior forward John Ward's attempt sailed a foot wide to the left.
"We couldn't get anything going and were stagnant offensively," Chesterton coach James Sensibaugh said. "The team I coached (Saturday) didn't resemble the team we've been all year."