KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The Grace College women’s soccer team earned its way to the NCCAA National Semifinals by taking down Trinity Christian in thrilling fashion in a penalty shootout on Wednesday.
The Lady Lancers and the Trolls tied 1-1 through double overtime, and Grace made all five of their PK’s to advance to tomorrow’s national semifinal.
Grace had to survive a late scare from Trinity Christian, however, to even have a chance of advancing.
The Trolls (13-9-2) scored the first goal of the game in the 86th minute in what could have been the game winner.
But Grace recovered immediately with the game-tying goal at the 86:35 mark. Carianne Sobey lofted a high cross toward the far post, which Mallory Rondeau headed in from point-blank range.
Sobey nearly scored the game winner minutes later with a left-footed shot from the top of the 18-yard box that just missed wide.
Grace continued their momentum into the two overtime periods as they outshot Trinity Christian 3-1, but neither team produced the winning goal. Heather Martin registered Grace’s strongest look when she fired a low shot from outside the penalty box that was saved.
Grace had the first attempt in the penalty shootout, which Darcy Johnston scored. Sobey, Martin and Holly Bennett followed Johnston’s form by making their attempts.
Goalkeeper Carmen Barnhill made the biggest save of the season on the Trolls’ second PK attempt, and that save proved to be all Grace needed. Jalisa Thayer provided the winning strike as Grace went 5-for-5 in their PK’s.
“Trinity was a tough opponent today, and they gave us trouble. They are a good team,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “For Grace, this was not one of our best performances. We struggled to connect and string long spurts together. On the other hand, we created numerous opportunities to score. This tournament moves fast so we will need to progress quickly.”
Overall, Grace held a 16-10 advantage in shot attempts and had 10 of the 16 corner kicks in the match.
Sobey led all players with six shots, Rondeau had three shots on goal, and Bennett, Johnston and Martin each had two shots.
Grace will play tomorrow at 5 p.m. in the NCCAA Semifinals against the second-seeded California Baptist.