WINONA LAKE – The finest season in Grace’s women’s soccer history earned the program’s finest individual award on Wednesday when Mallory Rondeau was named the NCCAA Player of the Year.
The junior forward finished the 2014 season with 18 goals and 11 assists. She ended the season on a blistering pace, tallying 14 goals with eight assists over Grace’s final 15 matches. At NCCAA Nationals, Rondeau led the Lady Lancers to the program’s first national championship game appearance with four goals and an assist in four contests.
Rondeau’s Player of the Year honor is Grace’s first such award. She joined Abby Schue and Carianne Sobey as NCCAA First Team All-Americans. Rondeau and Sobey were also honorable mentions for NAIA All-American status, and Holly Bennett was an NCCAA Second Team All-American in her final season.
Junior midfielder Sobey tallied a team-leading 12 assists to go along with five goals. Sobey, who is Grace’s career assists leader with 39 to her credit, had three assists and two goals at NCCAA Nationals.
Freshman goalkeeper Schue allowed just 13 goals to score against her in 25 games. She notched 14 shutouts and saw just one goal pass by her in four games at NCCAA Nationals. She had a shutout in eight of Grace’s nine Crossroads League contests.
Bennett played in all 25 games for the Lady Lancers. She notched a goal and two assists as a holding midfielder for Grace and graduates with Kaitlan Wiles and Kelsey Christner as the first class to make four straight national tournaments. The seniors also graduated as the winningest class in team history with a record of 61-24-11.
After Grace’s sparkling run at NCCAA Nationals, the Lady Lancers had four players land a spot on the All-Tournament Team including Schue, Meghan Wiles, Sobey and Rondeau. Schue was named the Tournament’s Outstanding Defensive Player. Wiles played an instrumental role in Grace’s possession attack during the national tournament.
In the NAIA Coaches’ Postseason Top 25 Poll, the Lady Lancers ended the season at No. 18 (also released Wednesday). It was Grace’s seventh straight national ranking from the NAIA and seventh ranking in team history.
Grace was just as impressive in the classroom. The team had 11 players earn NAIA and NCCAA Scholar-Athlete distinction: seniors Bennett, Kelsey Christner and Kaitlan Wiles and juniors Jordan Hairgrove, Darcy Johnston, Erica Manchess, Heather Martin, Rondeau, Sobey, Faith Voehringer and Meghan Wiles. Rondeau was also named to the prestigious Capital One Academic All-America® Team in November.
Grace finished the 2014 season with a number of superlatives: first NAIA Top 25 ranking, first trip to a national championship game and tied for most wins in a season (17-5-3). Grace also advanced to its second-ever league tournament championship game and fourth straight national tournament under head coach Michael Voss.
Voss commented: “Being a GCWS player is hard. This 2014 crew laid down their pride and selfish desire to make this team play ‘Possession Attacking Futbol’ at a pace and longevity we’ve never had previously. These players are special. They’ve found the right balance between being furiously competitive and living in the joy of the Lord. It’s been super hard at times, and I’m grateful they put their hope in Christ above futbol. I am super proud of these women and coaches, and I’m incredibly grateful for the working of God in our team.”