By: Jill Wunrow
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - The Green Bay (10-6-1, 5-3-0 HL) men's soccer team did what no other Horizon League team was able to do this season, beat regular season conference champion Valparaiso (9-6-3, 5-1-1 HL). The Phoenix battled the Crusaders to a 1-0 overtime win Saturday at Aldo Santaga Stadium on senior day. Heading into the contest, Green Bay knew it had to win in order to have a chance at the No. 3 seed in the Horizon League Championship which kicks off Tuesday, Nov. 8.
"We emphasized to the players before the game that we need to stay focused on our goal of number one, winning and number two, not heading into the tournament with back-to-back losses," said head coach Kris Kelderman. "The fact it was senior day we also wanted to honor a class that has given so much to this program."
Heading into the contest Valparaiso had a league-best 10 shutouts so the Phoenix knew Saturday's game would be a defensive battle, coming as no surprise the first 90 minutes were scoreless.
"I was not surprised at all the game went in to overtime," said Kelderman. "Valpo does not concede a lot of goals, they're a very good team defensively and to top that off, we're not a team that's known for producing a lot of goals."
The lone goal of the contest came off a free kick situation in the 94th minute. Green Bay senior Stuart Grable (Neenah, Wis.) kicked the ball from the east side of the field before it was flicked by Andrew Stone (Green Bay, Wis.) and deflected by a Valpo player for the own goal.
"We knew it would be a close game and come down to one team taking advantage of one opportunity," Kelderman said.
Green Bay outshot the Crusaders 3-0 on corner kicks while being outshot 14-10 throughout the 94 minutes of play. Lawrence Talery (Coon Rapids, Minn.) led the Phoenix with three shots in the contest while senior Tony Walls (Wauwatosa, Wis.) added two. Goalkeeper Ryan Wehking (St. Louis, Mo.) tallied five saves for the Phoenix in the win.
With Wright State's 1-0 win at Butler, Green Bay will be the No. 4 seed in the Horizon League Championship and host the No. 5 seed Tuesday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. at Aldo Santaga Stadium.
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