The Lancers (1-0) used an own goal and a goal from freshman Steven Fiema to win the first-ever matchup between Grace and Marygrove.
“We are further along for a first game performance than we have been at this point during the last four years,” said Grace head coach Matt Hotchkin. “Marygrove was dangerous at times and gave us a good idea of how strong we can be. They were also dangerous enough to highlight some areas that need attention.”
In the opening period, the Mustangs (0-1) outshot the Lancers 11-5. But Grace’s defense, anchored by senior goalkeeper Collin Cone, made a number of key stops to keep Marygrove off the scoreboard.
Austin Altimus sparked the first goal of the season when he beat his defender on the left endline. Altimus lofted a cross toward the mouth of the goal, which deflected off a Marygrove defender and into the goal.
Altimus nearly caused the second goal a few minutes later when his pass led Fiema into a breakaway. Fiema alertly sidestepped the charging goalkeeper, but his low shot was cleared off the goal line at the last instant by Marygrove.
Fifteen minutes into the second half, Fiema got another chance at a goal and made the most of it. Trenton Porter snuck a ball to Fiema, who held off a defender to earn a 1v1 with the goalie. This time, he slotted the ball past him for his first collegiate goal.
Overall, the Lancers held an 8-5 advantage in shots in the second half, limiting Marygrove’s chance to come back.
Cone made a number of outstanding saves to register the shutout victory. He made 10 saves in 90 minutes to keep the Mustangs scoreless.
Grace started two freshmen in Fiema and defender Justin Festa. Three others (Kyle Hamlin, Bryce Glock, Ben Draper) also made appearances off the bench.
“We are beginning to get a vision for what we can do on the field, but our execution isn’t clean yet. We still have a lot of growing to do as a team. We are young and it shows at times,” Hotchkin continued. “Having said that, we are playing with pretty good unity, and the guys really want to win. We are happy to get a victory today, and a shutout victory is always good. Thank you to those that came out today. We are always thankful for the fans that show their support.”
The Lancers will stay at home for their next two matches, including against Andrews University on Sept. 4 and against Moody Bible on Sept. 8.