WINONA LAKE – Grace College had four sports in action Wednesday.
The Crossroads League season could not have started better for Grace’s women’s soccer team on Wednesday.
The Lady Lancers (9-1, 1-0 CL) beat Huntington 3-0 at 1st Source Bank Field, stretching the team’s winning streak to five consecutive games.
Grace took an early lead in the match, helping set the tone for the league opener. Allison Vroon was fouled in the penalty box as she rose up for a headed effort, earning a penalty kick.
Shelby Fort stepped up and cleanly netted from the penalty spot in the ninth minute.
The Lady Lancers had the better of possession but could not score a second goal before halftime.
Grace was the clear aggressor to start the second half, keeping the Foresters (3-7, 0-1 CL) on their defensive half of the field.
Anna Kuhl and Aubrey Feipel both had early headers that went wide, and Sacia Hanson had a long-range effort that forced a diving save.
Hanson and Liz Van Wormer were consistent threats offensively for Grace, but Huntington’s goalkeeper Danielle Dehner made several key saves to keep the score 1-0.
Grace eventually broke down the Foresters’ backline midway into the second half. After a strong build up, Feipel found space on the left side of the penalty box and deftly lofted a shot over Dehner’s grasp and into the back of the net.
The third goal of the match came late. Jenni Phillips sent in a sharp cross from the right side of the penalty box and placed a dangerous ball in front of Huntington’s goal. Baylei Peters connected with the cross and volleyed in a goal at the 87:13 mark.
For the match, Grace outshot Huntington 21-12. Van Wormer and Hanson each tried four shots to lead all players.
Bethany Blackwood earned her seventh shutout of the season as Grace’s goalkeeper, saving five shots in 90 minutes.
The Lady Lancers remain at home on Saturday, hosting Goshen at 7 p.m. Saturday’s match will also be Senior Day, honoring the seven-player graduating class.
Grace’s men’s soccer team won a defensive struggle 1-0 at Huntington on Wednesday to kick off the Crossroads League season.
Wednesday’s match was a physical one, separated only by a penalty kick in the second half by Breno Oliveira. Beyond Oliveira’s goal, chances were hard to come by for either squad.
The first half featured twice as many fouls as shot attempts. The teams only combined for five shots in the first half, while 11 foul calls were made to go along with three yellow cards.
The breakthrough came just minutes into the second half. Togo Narusawa sent in a leading pass from midfield toward Nikola Djordjevic, who trapped the ball and shielded it away from Huntington’s goalkeeper. Marcelo Talamas picked up the ball and was fouled by the goalkeeper from behind while inside the penalty box.
Oliveira smoothly converted the penalty kick less than five minutes into the second half to give the Lancers (7-2-1, 1-0 CL) a charge.
The game continued in physicality and intensity throughout the second half, even including a red card to one of the assistant coaches for the Foresters (5-4-1, 0-1 CL).
In the waning moments, Huntington thought it had scored an equalizer. But the official waved off the goal due to a foul committed on Grace’s goalkeeper Kyle Hamlin.
Oliveira had three of Grace’s six shot attempts, and all three shots were on goal. Hamlin recorded two saves in 90 minutes to record the shutout, his fifth of the season.
Josiah Osborn, Brayton Taylor, Colin Cape and Ivan Santagiuliana maintained Grace’s defensive half and kept the Foresters off the scoreboard.
“Huntington is a solid team, and the guys knew that. Our goal was to make sure we were competing for every ball, and I’m proud of the guys for how they played from beginning to end. They played smart,” said Grace head coach Matt Hotchkin. “This is a great way to start the conference season, and I am excited to see what this team can accomplish.”
The Lancers are back on the road Saturday, traveling to Goshen for a 7 p.m. contest.
Grace’s women’s tennis team had little trouble beating Trine on Wednesday, winning 9-0 at Miller Athletic Complex.
The Lady Lancers (10-3) reached double-digit wins in a season for just the fourth time in program history. Grace needs one more win to tie the all-time record of 11 wins in a season.
Emily Mast and Jenna Jackson battled to an 8-5 win at No. 1 doubles. Carrie Copeland and Molly Fitzpatrick won 8-2 at No. 2 doubles, and Jayna Armstrong and Morgan Mast teamed up to win 8-1 at No. 3 doubles.
Armstrong at No. 4 singles and Fitzpatrick at No. 5 singles both won 6-1, 6-0. Emily Mast earned a 6-3, 6-1 victory at No. 1 singles, and her sister Morgan was a 6-2, 6-1 winner at No. 6 singles.
Copeland won by a 6-2, 6-2 scoreline at No. 2 singles, and Jackson also won 6-1, 6-2 at No. 3 singles.
“It was good to get back into the win column after a tough loss on Tuesday,” said Grace head coach Marcus Moore. “We are starting to play our best tennis at the right time of the year.”
The Lady Lancers will aim to tie the program record for wins on Thursday, hosting Manchester at 4 p.m.
Grace’s volleyball team secured a hard-fought 3-2 win at Spring Arbor on Wednesday.
The Lady Lancers (13-5, 7-3 Crossroads League) jumped ahead 2-0 after a pair of convincing wins, but Grace had to hold off the pesky Cougars (14-6, 5-5 CL) in five sets on the road.
Grace’s offense was dynamic in the opening set. The Lady Lancers had 14 kills on just three errors in a 25-16 win. Marta Bleed ended the set with a kill on the final two plays.
In the second set Grace led by six points at 19-13, but SAU rallied back to tie the score 20-20. The Lady Lancers turned to Caylie Teel, and the senior delivered. Teel had a part in four of Grace’s final five points in the set, including three kills and a block assist with Makaela Lochmueller in a 25-21 victory.
SAU got revenge in the third set, opening up a lead early and cruising to a six-point win. The Cougars also won in the fourth set to force a tiebreaker. The teams stayed close throughout the fourth set, but SAU stayed alive with a 26-24 victory.
In the tiebreaker, Grace again turned to its seniors. Teel had a pair of kills early, and Kelsee Zuidema added two quick kills and an ace as Grace went ahead 7-3. The Lady Lancers’ momentum continued all the way to the final 15-8 scoreline, helping Grace lock up a season sweep of the Cougars.
Teel had a busy evening, racking up 19 kills, 8 digs, 2 aces, 1 solo block and 2 block assists, Zuidema had 12 kills, and Bleed added 11 more kills.
Gina Novotny just missed a career high with 26 digs to lead all players, and Alexa Hill had 40 assists and 12 digs. Lochmueller produced six kills and three block assists, and Deborah Michalski tallied 12 digs.
The Lady Lancers will be in Illinois this weekend for a tournament at Olivet Nazarene on Friday and Saturday.