WINONA LAKE – Grace’s women’s soccer team won their program-record 15th game of the season. The team now sits on the verge of their first trip to the NAIA National Championships in program history.
The Lady Lancers won 1-0 over the University of Saint Francis in the Crossroads League tournament semifinals on Saturday, thanks to a first-half goal from Mallory Rondeau.
“Today was a good performance from the Grace women. USF brought a solid effort,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “We had good possession most of the match and had a handful of glorious opportunities. We would have made it easier on ourselves had we put away a few more chances. In the end, it was a good finish for our program.”
Rondeau’s game-winning goal came at the 7:20 mark. Freshman Carianne Sobey served a perfect pass to Rondeau, who buried her shot with precision.
Sobey, who already holds the program record for single-season assists, increased her 2012 tally to 15 assists to rank No. 2 in the nation.
The teams both had strong looks in the first half as the Lady Lancers held a slight 5-4 advantage in shot attempts.
The Lady Lancers should have added a second goal a few minutes into the second half. Both Rondeau and Kaitlan Wiles took shots in rapid succession that clanged off the crossbar from inside the penalty box, but the Cougars’ net remained unscathed.
The Cougars (10-9-1) did their best to find an equalizer with six shots fired after halftime, but the Lady Lancers topped their tally with 11 second-half shots.
Grace’s 15-3-2 record marks the first time the Lady Lancers have eclipsed 14 wins in a season. Voss also directed the Lady Lancers to 14 wins during the 2011 and 2009 campaigns.
Grace’s defense, anchored by goalkeeper Carmen Barnhill, recorded its third shutout in four games. Defenders Ryann Casciari, Liz Casey, Heather Martin, Jessica Bickle and Jalisa Thayer helped Grace register their 10th shutout of the season.
Holly Bennett and Rondeau led the Lady Lancers with four shots apiece, Wiles recorded three shots, and Darcy Johnston added two shots.
The Lady Lancers will play in the CL tournament championship game on Nov. 10 against the winner of Spring Arbor and Taylor. The winner of the tournament will earn an automatic bid into the NAIA National Championships.
Story provided by the Grace College Sports Information Department.