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December 27, 2012

GIRLS SOCCER: Bratek worked hard to succeed against the odds

MEADVILLE — In a season that had its ups and downs for the Meadville’s girls soccer team, senior goalkeeper Sarah Bratek proved to be one of the brighter spots for the Bulldogs. Bratek ended her eventful high school career by being named to the District 10 Region 2 First Team. She recorded eight wins for the Bulldogs in 2012, with three of them coming via shutouts and was ultimately named this year's Meadville Tribune Girls Soccer Athlete of the Year.

Bratek missed two games late in the season, but she was able to make a speedy recovery in time to record her third shutout of the season on Senior Night. The keeper began her high school career at Conneaut Valley before moving to Meadville for her final two school years.

Season highlight: In one of the most emotion games of the season, Bratek recorded her first shutout of the season — 4-0 at home against Conneaut on Sept. 15 — on the same night she was presenting her senior project at MASH. For her senior project, Bratek made graphics and T-shirts to benefit the organization Limbs for Life, which helps raise money for prosthetics. After an unfortunate accident three years ago, Bratek had her right leg amputated and now uses a prosthetic leg.

What the coach says: “Sarah had to work harder than most to accomplish more than most people. She really showed the coaches what working hard really is. She has a great attitude. She is interesting in that when it is time for the game she gets very serious and completely focused. Before the game she can work hard without being completely serious.” — Elyse Kebert, Meadville head girls soccer coach.

What we say: It is hard to argue that another player deserves this award as much as Bratek after the hard work she put into returning to the field. After her accident, she was back on the pitch in a little over a year. She is a great example of how hard work pays off and to never let anything stop you from your goals in life.

In her next chapter, Bratek knows she wants to play some form of soccer whether it is organized or intramural.

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