WINONA LAKE – Playing in its home opener, Grace’s No. 11-ranked women’s soccer team earned a gritty 1-0 victory over Missouri Baptist.
Meredith Hollar scored the lone goal of the match on Saturday at 1st Source Bank Field, helping the Lady Lancers (1-2-1) to the win.
Grace’s goal was the product of five quick passes. The ball moved from the right side of midfield, through the center circle and over to the left sideline. Aubrey Feipel then played a ball ahead to Liz Van Wormer who touched a pass to Hollar at the top of the penalty box. Hollar took care of the rest, burying her shot beneath the crossbar to give the Spartan’s goalkeeper no chance in the 59th minute.
“MBU is much improved from last season. They added dangerous players and will do well this year. They were organized, played good futbol and worked hard for 90 minutes,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “The Grace women met our objectives today. We limited MBU opportunities. We were organized in our possession and moved at pace to create scoring opportunities.”
The Lady Lancers outshot Missouri Baptist in each half and 9-3 overall. Saturday’s match was a possession battle and was cleanly contested.
Grace had the better of possession in the first half but did not have a goal to show for it. The Spartans (2-3) were limited to one shot before halftime.
Grace’s shots in the first half largely came from outside the penalty area. The team’s best look came late in the half. Kaitlyn Hayes juked past several defenders and unleashed a 20-yard shot that whisked just wide of the right goalpost.
In the second half, Grace’s passing seemed to sharpen even further as MBU chased the ball most of the period. The Spartans were held to two shots after halftime, neither of which were on goal.
Grace’s movement wore down MBU in the second half, resulting in several chances for Grace and Hollar’s ultimate game winner.
Joana Schimmel had a free kick effort that went wide of the net in the 77th minute.
With five minutes left in the match, Sabina Meyers and Corinne Villalobos broke free on a counterattack. Meyers split two defenders with a pass on the break, but Villalobos’s chance was snuffed out by the Spartans’ goalkeeper at the last instant.
Overall, Grace limited MBU to zero shots on goal. Abby Schue picked up the shutout win without having to make a save. Carlie Salinas, Clair Snodgrass, Feipel, McKenna Cruz and Meredith Matson all were stout in defense.
Hollar had two shots to lead Grace, and Haylee Eastridge had all three of MBU’s attempts.
“This crew puts in the effort on the pitch, and I’m proud of them for that,” Voss said. “Our system is not polished yet, but we’ve started to realize our ability as a group. We are working forward to the day when we eclipse our potential, and today’s match confirmed that.”
Next up, the Lady Lancers will travel to Davenport on Thursday before heading to No. 18 Hastings on Sept. 17.