WINONA LAKE – Meredith Hollar and Mallory Rondeau were both forces as foes on opposite sides of the pitch in high school.
Now the local pair of outstanding players are a force as talented teammates for the Grace College women’s soccer program.
Hollar and Rondeau have clicked this fall for coach Michael Voss’ highly-successful team.
Hollar, a freshman forward, leads the Lancers in goals with 11. Rondeau, a sophomore forward, tops her team in assists with seven.
Hollar has been an expected force offensively for Grace after a record-setting prep career at Warsaw Community High School. Hollar, despite missing her entire junior season and eight games her senior campaign due to a knee injury, scored 67 career goals for the Tigers. She had 25 last fall as Warsaw went 13-5-2 and won a third straight sectional championship.
“What we do we do as a team,” said Hollar Thursday. “I couldn’t do anything without my team. I just absolutely love being at Grace. This is the place God wants me at. I’m just excited how our season is going.”
Hollar, who has been slowed lately due to an ankle injury, gives plenty of props to Rondeau. Rondeau was a star at Wawasee High School, the conference and county rival of Warsaw.
“I looked up to Mallory coming here and she’s an amazing player and an awesome teammate,” said Hollar, one of just two freshmen on the Grace roster. “She’s helped me feel comfortable here and cares about everyone on the team.”
Rondeau, whose strength lies in her versatility, knows how important the speedy, goal-scoring Hollar is to the Lancers. Hollar leads Grace in goals, shots, shots on goal and game-winning goals with four this fall.
“It’s definitely been good to have speed up top this season with Meredith,” said Rondeau. “It’s helpful to have a player like her that can put the pedal down and put the ball in the back of the net.”
Rondeau earned All-American honors last fall with a fantastic freshman campaign. She scored 17 goals, including five game winners, as the Lancers posted a program best mark of 17-5-3.
Both players have definitely impressed their coach.
“Meredith has come in and filled the role we expected,” said seventh-year coach Voss, the all-time winningest coach in program history. “She’s relentless up top and continue to persevere.
“Her attitude has carried her. She wanted to be successful and come in and be an impact player for us and she’s done that. The reason is because of the work she did in the offseason.
“Mallory is a pistol. Flexibility is her big strength for us. She’s willing to do whatever for our team to succeed. She really cares about the success of our team.
“Mallory scored multiple goals for us last year and I was teasing her about racking up assists, not goals, this season. Her mentality is let’s do this together.”
Rondeau has been key with her versatility this fall as the Lancers have dealt with lots of injuries.
“Recently, I’ve been in a different role in the midfield,” explained Rondeau. “I’ll play wherever the team needs me to. Anywhere that I can get the ball and attack for us.”
The Lancers, according to Voss, his team has not been at full strength all season. Hollar has not played much lately and plans are to shut her down to rest and recover for postseason play which begins with the Crossroads League tournament Oct. 26.
“The key for us is to fire on all cylinders at the right time,” Voss said. “We can beat anyone. When we get healthy and come together, I think we can go deep in the NAIA Tournament.”
The Lancers sit at 9-6-1 overall and 6-1-1 in Crossroads League play (good for second place) after a 0-0 tie at Mt. Vernon Wednesday. Grace finishes its’ regular season at Marian Saturday. The conference tourney is scheduled for Oct. 26, Nov. 2 and Nov. 9 with the NAIA National Tourney starting Nov. 16.