CHICAGO, Ill. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - Senior Megan Braatz (Waukesha, Wis.) found the back of the net in the 86th minute, leading the visiting Green Bay women's soccer team to a 1-0 victory over Loyola on Wednesday evening in Chicago in Horizon League action.
With the win, the Phoenix improved to 5-10-1 overall and 2-3-1 in Horizon League play, and in the process vaulted into the important sixth spot in the league standings with seven points. The top six teams in the conference make the Horizon League Championship, and Green Bay concludes its regular season at home against Valparaiso at 1 p.m. at Aldo Santaga Stadium.
With the teams scoreless heading to the final five minutes, Braatz provided the offense she has provided throughout her senior campaign. Sophomore Hannah Kernen (Belleville, Wis.) found Braatz with a pass, and the senior found the back right corner of the net from 18 yards out for the gamewinner.
"I'm really happy for our players, who have outplayed teams this year and come away with nothing," said head coach Trevor Warren. "This may have been a case of winning ugly, but I can't deny how hard the ladies worked for 90 minutes. It was a great finish by Megan Braatz, who has been absolutely deadly in those situations recently."
Braatz now has five goals and three assists on the season, ranking in a tie for second in the Horizon League in goals and a tie for third in points.
The shutout was the second of the season for the Phoenix and first career for freshman keeper Nastacia Behle (St. Paul, Mo.), who earned her first win in goal. Behle made four saves in net for Green Bay to help the Phoenix down the Ramblers.
Loyola held an 8-0 edge in shots in the opening half before Green Bay had a 6-4 edge in shots after halftime.
"It was a tough match," Warren said. "We had to deal with a high-pressure, direct approach from Loyola. We struggled a bit in the first half matching their intensity, but we did a better job in the second half."
Braatz and fellow senior Chanel Aries (Calgary, Alberta) will both be honored on Saturday when Green Bay hosts Valpo for Senior Day.
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