MERRILLVILLE | Crown Point made an emphatic statement in its opening game of the Class 3A Merrillville Sectional on Tuesday.
C.P. blew past outmanned Hobart 10-0 to advance to today’s semifinal game against rival Valparaiso, which outlasted Merrillville 2-0. Chesterton faces Michigan City in the first game at 5 p.m.
The Bulldogs (11-3-3) got hat tricks from Parker Darnstaedt and Trevor Witte to extend its unbeaten streak to 14.
“Our goal was to get a convincing win, show Valpo we’re coming,” Witte said. “We haven’t had a win with a lot of goals and no goals given up. Either we score a lot of goals, or we give up a lot of goals.”
C.P. lost its first three games of the season to some quality opponents, but it hasn’t lost since.
“We’ve kind of really put things together this season,” coach Mike Bazin said. “It’s been fun.”
Darnstaedt tallied a goal with 21 minutes, 21 seconds left in the first half to give C.P. a 3-0 advantage. When Witte found the back of the net with 8:50 remaining, the route was on at 5-0.
“The key to our game was getting the ball up the field, possessing in the middle and finding the through balls really good,” Darnstaedt. “It just worked out really well for us.”
Witte scored again just before halftime for the big advantage.
“Trevor has been producing significantly, and he’s our top points producer in goals and assist,” Bazin said. “Parker is quality all the time and hasn’t shown it too much on a consistent basis, so it was nice to see him get a good game in.”
Witte got his third goal less than three minutes into the second half to put the Bulldogs up 7-0.
Darnstaedt said the team is riding the momentum of the streak.
“It’s huge for us since we’ve come off the 0-3 start to the season against big teams,” he said.
Witte said it’s going to take a concerted effort to advance against Valpo. C.P. edged the Vikings 1-0 in the regular season.
“We need to step it up and take more shots from outside the box and just push everyone up,” he said.
Valpo’s Blaise Sellers scored two goals within a 5-minute span early in the second half to lift the Vikings (7-8-3) over the host Pirates. Sellers’ second goal was on a cross from Jacob Wells with 31:52 left.
Sellers said the first goal was the key.
“They had a player marking me the whole time, and it was really hard to get through,” he said. “Then that one time, it was just a little poke through around the defender, and it went in. I think that was the turning point in the game.”
Merrillville (0-13) played solid defense in a scoreless first half, but couldn’t generate any offense against the Valpo back end.
“(Merrillville coach) Brian Past had a very good game plan for us,” Valpo coach Danny Jeftich said. “We played a couple weeks ago here and we won a 4-0 game. I knew this was going to be a different game. … Our boys were composed. We had other chances, and his keeper played really big, especially the first half. We just kept knocking on the door, and the wind had something to do with it.
“We scored both goals with the wind.”
That sets up the rematch with C.P.
“It’s going to be a really tight game,” Jeftich said.