GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - Green Bay hosted Valparaiso on Saturday afternoon for an important Senior Day women's soccer contest, but it was an unfortunate injury to senior captain Megan Braatz (Waukesha, Wis.) that was too much for the Phoenix to overcome. Braatz, one of the top goal scorers in the Horizon League, left the game late in the first half, and visiting Valparaiso (10-5-3, 3-2-2 HL) used a second half goal to post a 1-0 victory over Green Bay (5-11-1, 2-4-1 HL).
After a 2-1 overtime victory over Wright State earlier in the day, Green Bay was in a must-win situation in an attempt to secure a spot in the Horizon League Championship. The tough loss ended the season as well as the careers of Braatz and fellow senior Chanel Aries (Calgary, Alberta). Braatz had a team-high five goals this season and seven in her career, and Aries played in 68 games in a Phoenix uniform.
Green Bay came out strong in the opening half and held a 6-4 edge in shot attempts at the half. Braatz had a couple of looks at the goal, including her strike in the 32nd minute that was saved by Valpo keeper Kristen Manski. Junior Ahna Logan (Roseville, Minn.) led the Phoenix in shot attempts with three.
The contest remained scoreless for the first 22 minutes of the second half, but that is when the Crusaders struck for the game's lone goal. Tara Ellis served a corner kick into the box, and Katie Gratzianna got on the end of it and headed it past Phoenix keeper Nastacia Behle (St. Paul, Mo.) for the goal.
Behle made her second-straight start in goal and performed well for the Phoenix, collecting five saves. The keeper is one of 22 freshmen and sophomores on the Phoenix roster slated to return in 2013.
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