Purple Eagles Edge Phoenix, 3-1

by Michelle Kokot
September 2, 2012

NIAGARA UNIV., N.Y. - Senior forward Bryan Da Cruz 82nd minute goal proved to be the game winner in Niagara's 3-1 victory over the Wisconsin-Green Bay Phoenix on Sunday afternoon at Niagara Field.  

The game was headed towards overtime until Niagara was fouled just outside the box.  Sophomore midfielder Micah Paulino served a low ball into the scrum in front of the net that connected with Da Cruz who ripped one past goalkeeper Max Nimmo for his second of the season.  

"It wasn't a pretty game, but we got the result and that is what's most important," said head coach Chase Brooks.  "After Friday night's game against Syracuse it's hard to bounce back and continue with the momentum, but our guys battled hard.  They didn't give up and I'm proud of them for that.  There are a few things we need to clean up and we need to get ready for our trip to Vermont next weekend.  

The Purple Eagles (3-0-1) were the first to get on the board when rookie Julian Ekeze tallied his first collegiate goal at the 9th minute mark.  Junior midfielder Ken Cooper saw his saved shot by Nimmo roll towards Ekeze, who capitalized on the rebound.  

The teams headed into half with Niagara outshooting Green Bay by a 7-2 margin. 

The Phoenix (2-2-0) came out strong in the second half, netting the tying goal at the 71st minute.  Sophomore forward Allen Kirby found open space in the Niagara defense and let a long shot from outside the 18-yard box that flew past Purple Eagle goalkeeper Brett Petricek into the top right corner.  

However Da Cruz's goal 10 minutes later, and a penalty kick tally from senior defender Rene De Zorzi in the 87th minute solidified the victory for Niagara.  

Petricek wrapped up the win with five saves.  

The Purple Eagles set off on a three-game road trip, traveling first to Vermont for the Smith Barney Classic.  Niagara will battle New Hampshire on Friday, Sept. 7 and Vermont on Sunday, Sept. 9.  Both games are scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m.
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