CROWN POINT | In the 41st minute of Lake Central's 3-2 win over Crown Point, the Bulldogs had a great chance to score when Zach Sneiderwine made a move on L.C. goalie Brandon Cloutier in the box that left Cloutier on the ground.
Sneiderwine took a shot at the open net but Indian defender Randy Maksimik made a sliding kick save to prevent the score that could've changed the game.
"I was just at the right place at the right time," Maksimik said. "After the play, my adrenaline was just pumping. I couldn't even hold it any more."
The play ended up being a game-saver.
"We try to teach our kids to take nothing for granted and he saw his keeper off the line and did what it took to get it out," coach Jereme Rainwater said. "Making that save was the difference in the game."
After such a tough contest with an opponent like Crown Point, Rainwater said he was just happy to come away with a win.
"It feels better this year than it ever has," Rainwater said. "I don't know if I've ever felt this jubilant to get out of the sectional."
C.P. stole the early momentum when Dan Relinski stepped in front of an Indian pass inside the box and hit Kristjan Naumoski for a goal at 9:14.
"After they got that first one, they kind of sat back and didn't keep the pressure on," Bulldogs coach JR Rosenbaum said. "They let Lake Central take control of the game and that's what cost us."
Lake Central came back seven minutes later when Manny Rios took a free kick from the left side of the box and rocketed a shot off the hands of Bulldog goalie Kyle Wasserott aind into the back of the net.
The Indians jumped ahead 2-1 at 19:24 when Chad Rigg was left uncovered just a few feet in front of the goal, where he rebounded a shot by Wasserott for another Lake Central tally. Only two minutes later, David Picioski gave the Indians a commanding lead when Wasserott came out but couldn't corral the ball. Picioski was in the right place at the right time and had an open look at the goal, which he didn't miss.
It was 3-1 after a furiously-paced first half.
At 66:15, Cloutier tackled Sneiderwine just inside the goal box. Sneiderwine scored on the resulting penalty kick to cut the lead to 3-2.
The young Crown Point squad returns a lot next year, but Rosenbaum said he's sad to see this graduating class go.
"It's tough to see them go. That's the class I came in with on the J.V. team," he said. "I look forward to coming back next season and hopefully putting a good push on."
The Indians advance to the Merrillville Regional Wednesday at 5 p.m.