Boys soccer: Two OT goals give CP second state title in 3 years
By Michae Osipoff 713-2485 or firstname.lastname@example.org November 2, 2013 10:36PM
Avon vs. Crown Point Boy's Soccer State Finals
Updated: December 4, 2013 6:51AM
INDIANAPOLIS — Two goals in overtime, including a chaotic one that seemed to defy explanation, netted the Crown Point boys soccer team its second Class 2A state title in three seasons.
The Bulldogs topped Avon 3-1 in Saturday night’s championship game at IUPUI’s Carroll Stadium, with senior Nate Brower credited with the goal that put them ahead.
In the first title game between unbeatens in the 20-year history of the boys soccer state tournament, Crown Point (21-0-1) emerged as the seventh undefeated champion — its only non-win was a 2-2 tie against Mount Vernon (Fortville) on Sept. 21 — and first since Evansville Memorial in 2008. After winning the title in 2011, the Bulldogs lost in a regional semifinal last season to Lake Central, a bitter setback that spurred this championship run.
“It’s amazing,” senior defender Spase Dorsuleski said. “We’ve been working for this the whole season and now we finally reached it — we reached the top. We performed extremely well. What better way to end your senior year?”
Crown Point won the region’s fourth boys soccer state title, among three schools (Valparaiso undefeated in 2004, Lake Central in 2010).
“To be able to go through the whole season, working as hard as we did, winning this game, the players on this team, it was everything I could ask for,” senior forward/midfielder Bay Kurtz said. “It was a perfect team, a perfect team. We got the job done.”
Against the Orioles (22-1-1), the Bulldogs did it in dramatic — and perhaps unusual, at times — fashion. Crown Point controlled the first half, Avon got the better of play in the second — twice nearly snapping the 1-1 tie — and the Bulldogs came through in overtime.
Crown Point’s go-ahead goal — which came less than a minute after Avon’s Jonathan Kopp had gotten a step on the defense and put his shot just wide of the left post — came with 4:28 showing on the clock in the first half of overtime, and went something along these lines: Brad Kurtz played a ball into the penalty box, Bay Kurtz’s shot got blocked, Carmelo Morales got a touch on the deflected ball and then so did Brower, who wound up lying in the goal mouth after the play because he was cramping.
“I actually don’t remember it too well,” Brower said. “I don’t know if I scored, but they gave me the credit, so I’ll take it.
“I guess I got a header off it, but I started cramping, so I didn’t get to celebrate. But they gave me the credit, so I’ll take it.”
Morales thought he hit the ball last, but it didn’t matter.
“I can’t even put words together, I’m so happy,” the senior striker said. “This means more to me this time, being a leader and all, but it feels great to win for the young guys. Me and Spase and Bay (the team’s tri-captains), we were just crying out there. We couldn’t believe it.”
Bulldogs coach Mike Bazin thought it was an own goal, but it didn’t matter.
“That was one of those fluke things,” said Bazin, in his second season as coach after he had been an assistant on the 2011 champion. “It almost seemed like it was bouncing around the box, and you didn’t really know who was going to knock it in. Fortunately for us, it bounced our way.
“I’m obviously glad it went our way — I’m elated, elated. Avon is a class act, top-notch program. I couldn’t have more respect for them and their coach.”
The Bulldogs added an insurance goal with 1:23 showing on the clock in the first half of OT, with freshman Brad Kurtz finding the back of the net with a beautifully struck shot with his right (off) foot.
“Whoever scores that third goal is probably going to win the game,” Avon coach Phil Schmidt said. “We tried to push back to tie it up and weren’t able to do so, and they were able to make it 3-1 — that happens a lot in an overtime game. I’m proud of our season, I’m proud of our guys. Give credit to Crown Point — they’re a great team. They deserved to win tonight. They played their hearts out too, and made the plays necessary in overtime to win.”
And what about that goal that gave the Bulldogs that 2-1 lead?
“I need to see it on tape,” Schmidt said. “The guys said it hit the post and came back to them. I don’t know. The ref called it the way he called it. Without seeing it on tape, nobody can make much of that. My goalie said he wasn’t sure it went in — we’ll leave it at that.”
Bay Kurtz had given Crown Point a 1-0 lead with 13½ minutes left in the first half. He got a little space, ran at three defenders and ripped a shot from about 25 yards.
But despite getting the better of play, the Bulldogs had to settle for a 1-1 tie at halftime, as Avon equalized with just more than a minute left. Taylor Kleyn headed in a loose ball from close range, after Quinton Bridegroom had initiated the play with a restart from 45 yards out on the left side.
Crown Point made two key defensive plays in the second half.
With 11 minutes elapsed, sophomore goalkeeper Connor Keaveney made the save of the game — really, the save of the Bulldogs’ season. Avon countered off a Crown Point corner kick, with Trevor Semakula laying off a perfect ball to Jordan Kleyn, who was one-on-one against Keaveney, who deflected the shot over the crossbar.
“Incredible,” Dorsuleski said. “That was a crucial save in the game. That basically turned the momentum.”
Still, the Orioles almost took the lead again with 16-plus minutes remaining in regulation, off a corner kick, but senior defender Tod Oram cleared Semakula’s shot off the line.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the back line,” Dorsuleski said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the team. I love every single one of them. We were a team this whole season, but we’re brothers for life. There was no stopping us.”