CROWN POINT | Crown Point hoisted a girls soccer sectional championship trophy for the third time in four seasons Saturday.
The Times No. 1 Bulldogs cruised by Merrillville 4-0, but last season's semistate runners up know there is still work to be done.
"They have high goals for themselves this year," coach Chris Mikrut said. "It's a little different (than) last year, a different feel. The expectations are higher this year."
Courtney Farrell wasted little time in putting C.P. (16-3) in front. Her shot from about 40 yards out at 2:59 took one hop and found the back of the net.
Merrillville (6-12) failed to get off a shot in the match.
"They're the No. 1 team in the area, we're playing at their place. We were walking into the lion's den," Pirates coach Ben Daniel said. "I'm proud of my girls. They didn't give up and we worked hard."
Kara Ford got a decisive second goal for C.P. at 43:01.
The junior was in the right spot at the right time during a scrum inside the box. The ball wound up between an empty goal and Ford, who was just a few feet from the goal line, and she pushed the ball through.
Rachel Marczewski notched a goal in the 63rd minute to make it 3-0. She got another seven minutes later. The senior midfielder pressed for a hat trick, but never tallied another goal.
"I saw a couple openings and just barely missed," she said. "It's just a good feeling to win a game, though."
Pirates keeper Meagan Clarkson made 10 saves. Bulldogs goalie Meghan Morasan didn't register a save, but is credited for her school-record 11th shutout of the season.
Crown Point will take on Munster on Wednesday in the Valparaiso Regional.
"It's a good feeling," Marczewski said. "Of course we're happy, but we're not done, yet."