WINONA LAKE – The Grace College men’s soccer team may have outshot Taylor 24-7 on Wednesday afternoon, but one shot from Kyle Hamlin proved to be all the difference.
Hamlin’s goal in the 80th minute lifted the Lancers (6-5-1; 2-3-1 Crossroads League) to a 1-0 victory at Miller Field.
“The guys worked very hard for this win. We have been outshooting opponents consistently, but we have come up short in the most important statistical category in the last few games,” said Grace head coach Matt Hotchkin. “It feels good to win, and I know it was a relief for the guys. We showed good effort and teamwork today, and for this I believe we earned this victory.”
Grace was the more dangerous of the teams throughout the match and nearly scored within two minutes of the opening kickoff. In the second minute of play, Danilo Carnelos fired off a deep shot from the left side of the field which drilled off the crossbar.
Trent Smith had another golden opportunity in the half with a 20-yard free kick. He unleashed a low drive that beat Taylor’s goalkeeper but bounced off the post.
The Trojans (2-10-2; 1-5 CL) were outshot 12-4 in the first half, but the squads entered the halftime break scoreless.
Grace continued its offensive barrage in the second half with a 12-3 advantage in shots and 6-0 advantage in corner kicks.
Jon Christensen thought he had the game’s first goal when he got ahold of a long blast with 21 minutes remaining. His shot was parried by the Trojans’ goalkeeper, however, and deflected off the crossbar.
Hamlin found space on the right side of the field for a hard shot that was saved with 13:16 remaining. He had a nearly identical shot three minutes later and made it count, beating Taylor’s goalkeeper for the game-winning goal. Nikola Blazic was credited for the assist.
Taylor was held to one shot over the final 15 minutes as they failed to produce an equalizing goal.
For the match Grace held a 24-7 advantage in shots. The Lancers also took eight of the nine corner kicks for the afternoon.
Jacob Cole made five saves in 90 minutes as goalkeeper to record the shutout. Jonathan Sands, Justin Festa, Ben Bassous and Austin Altimus limited the Trojans offensively for most of Wednesday’s action.
Grace has just three league matches remaining in the regular season. The Lancers travel to Spring Arbor, Mich., to face the Cougars on Saturday at 7 p.m.