WINONA LAKE – The Grace College men’s soccer team played one of its most complete games of the season in a 4-1 victory over Indiana Wesleyan on Wednesday.
The Lancers (12-5-2) advance to Saturday’s regional championship game at Cedarville where they will play for a berth into the NCCAA National Championships.
Grace outshot the Wildcats (13-4-4) by 15-5 in the first half, netting a pair of goals before halftime as well.
Steven Fiema nearly opened the scoring in the 17th minute with two shots inside the penalty box. His second attempt was a sliding shot that was saved off the goal line.
Grace eventually got on the scoreboard first when Fiema’s corner kick was met by a thunderous headed goal from Sam Cole in the 31st minute of play.
Nine minutes later, the Lancers doubled their advantage from a free kick. Gift Sibukome curled a deep free kick from midfield toward the goal, and his attempt bounced into the net as no one made a play on the ball.
Shane Barthuly had a terrific individual effort thwarted in the 64th minute. He weaved through the Wildcats’ defense and ripped a deep shot to force an acrobatic save from IWU’s goalkeeper.
Barthuly would not have to wait long before scoring as Nikola Blazic picked him out on a run on the right side of the goal. Barthuly blasted a low shot across his body inside the far post at the 80:21 mark.
The Wildcats made things interesting when Geoff Bowman scored with six minutes remaining in regulation, but Grace squelched any thoughts of a comeback with a goal from Fiema.
After a strong build-up from the midfield, Ben Bassous passed to Fiema in stride, and he chipped his shot over the charging Wildcats goalkeeper.
Overall, Grace held a 27-10 advantage in shot attempts. The Lancers fired 12 shots on goal and also held a 7-1 advantage in corner kicks.
Sibukome led all players with seven shots and three shots on goal, and Austin Altimus added five shot attempts.
Grace will play in the regional championship on Saturday at Cedarville. The Lancers are hoping to earn their second straight trip to the NCCAA National Championships.