WINONA LAKE – Freshman Kyle Hamlin scored the game-winning goal in the first five minutes of play, and goalkeeper Collin Cone provided a number of timely saves as Grace defeated Huntington 1-0 on Saturday.
The Lancers struck first in their Crossroads League opener and held on to win in a physical match against the Foresters.
On a windy Saturday afternoon, Grace started their scoring play on the right side of the field. Austin Altimus found space on the right sideline and curled a cross into the penalty box.
Altimus’ cross bounced once, and Hamlin slid his shot past Huntington’s goalkeeper.
The Lancers (6-2; 1-0 CL) controlled play for large sections of the first half as they outshot the Foresters 6-1 for the first 45 minutes of play.
The Foresters (5-3-2; 0-1 CL) made their push for an equalizer in the second half, however. Huntington tallied nine of their 10 shots after halftime as well as all seven of their corner kicks.
Senior goalie Cone made no less than three diving saves to keep the Foresters out of the back of the net in the second half, and Grace managed to hold on for the victory.
“It was great to get an early goal today, but I felt we let off the gas and lost a real decisiveness in the box,” said Grace head coach Matt Hotchkin. “We are glad to get the win, but we really did not play to our potential in the second half. Our first half showed good team play. [Collin] Cone was our lone bright spot in the second. We’ve got to play at least 90 minutes every game to achieve what we really want to achieve. We’ll learn from this and move on.”
Saturday’s match contained 35 fouls and six yellow cards, four of which belonged to Huntington.
Trent Smith and Gift Sibukome led the team with two shots for Grace, and Hamlin, Devin Kemmerer, Ben Bassous and Chris Boudreau each tallied a shot apiece.
The Lancers will continue Crossroads League play with a road match on Wednesday at Indiana Wesleyan at 7 p.m.
Story provided by the Grace College Sports Information Department