KISSIMMEE, Fla. – A valiant run by the Grace College women’s soccer team through the 2013 NCCAA National Tournament ended on Friday with a 1-0 defeat to Dallas Baptist in the national semifinals.
The Lady Lancers conclude their season with a record of 12-7-3, advancing to the national semifinals for the second consecutive season under head coach Michael Voss.
“I’m so proud of our Grace women. They played great futbol all week. Today was a fantastic match to be a part of with a high-level matchup against a quality DBU squad,” Voss said. “We defended well, had great possession and ingenuity and created several chances to win it. It was not meant to be, but it could have gone either way.”
The opening half was played evenly in terms of shots with Dallas Baptist holding a slight 4-2 advantage.
Grace’s strongest look in the opening minutes came from Mallory Rondeau, a former star at Wawasee High School. The sophomore forward intercepted a pass in the Patriots’ backfield, but her shot from the endline was saved.
Dallas Baptist increased their offensive pressure midway into the half, but the Lady Lancers’ defense was stout to limit dangerous possessions.
After neither team managed to score in the first 45 minutes, Grace found its offensive edge to start the second half. A few long balls nearly put the Lady Lancers on top, most notably from Rondeau. Rondeau took advantage of a defensive miscue to spark a 1-on-1 situation with the goalkeeper. But DBU’s keeper charged off her line to make a strong save.
The Patriots (17-6-1) finally broke through Grace’s defense with 24 minutes remaining in the game, finishing a cross from the right side of the field.
Playing their third game in five days, Grace’s team struggled to find energy for a comeback. The Patriots, who have posted 13 shutouts in their past 14 games, yielded few clear chances in the closing minutes.
A long, weaving run from central defender Faith Voehringer earned Grace a late corner kick, but the cross was to no avail.
The Lady Lancers posted the squad’s best record in league competition in 2013, finishing with a 7-1-1 record in the Crossroads League. Freshman Meredith Hollar, who was unable to play at NCCAA Nationals due to injury, was the CL’s Offensive Player of the Year. Carianne Sobey was the Midfielder of the Year, and three others earned First Team All-League honors (Carmen Barnhill, Holly Bennett, Heather Martin). Hollar starred at Warsaw Community High School where she was the school’s all-time scoring leader.
Grace’s senior class of Hannah Alcorn, Carmen Barnhill, Emily Hickerson, Jackie Seal, Jalisa Thayer, Keeley Booher and Lauren Becker graduate with 51 career wins since 2010. They are also the first group to make three straight national tournament appearances.
“I’m super proud of our seniors. They have poured into this program, giving so much,” Voss continued. “I’m excited to see the quality of godly women they have become at Grace. They will surely attack the world for Christ, and I’m pumped that they are GCWS grads.”