GRACE WOMEN’S SOCCER 4, ST. FRANCIS 0
Grace’s women’s soccer team continued its winning ways with a 4-0 victory over St. Francis on Saturday.
JJ Aalbue broke a program record in the win for the No. 17 Lady Lancers (14-2-1, 6-1-1 Crossroads League). The freshman registered her 18th assist of the year, breaking the record for the most assists in a single season in team history.
Grace also secured a top-four finish in the league. The Lady Lancers are guaranteed to host a quarterfinal match in the Crossroads League Tournament, starting Nov. 2.
The Lady Lancers can wrap up the No. 2 seed at worst with a win on Wednesday at Marian. If Indiana Wesleyan gets upset in its match on Wednesday, Grace would share the conference crown with the Wildcats.
Grace wasted little time getting the jump on the Cougars (2-12-3, 0-7-1 CL). Less than six minutes into the match, Grace scored.
Aalbue made a strong run across 40 yards of the field. She fired off a cross into the penalty box, and Liz Van Wormer connected for a goal at the 5:50 mark.
Six minutes later, Van Wormer scored again. Baylei Peters was fouled in the box, and Van Wormer stepped up to convert the penalty kick.
Grace controlled the half, rarely letting the Cougars venture past midfield. The Lady Lancers peppered USF’s goal, amassing a 25-1 advantage in shots.
Three of Grace’s shots hit the goalpost, including two on the same play. Aalbue lined up for a 19-yard free kick which clanged off the post. Van Wormer tried to score on the rebound, but her attempt also hit the post.
Grace added a third goal just before halftime. Taylor Binkerd placed a shot inside the goalpost to beat USF’s goalkeeper in the 44th minute, and the Lady Lancers led 3-0 at halftime.
The lead only grew for Grace in the second half. Less than three minutes after halftime, Aalbue beat a pair of Cougar defenders and unleashed a hard shot at USF’s goal. The shot flew above the goalkeeper’s head and ripped into the back of the net for a 4-0 advantage.
Grace substituted freely in the second half and coasted to the victory. The Cougars could only muster up one more shot after halftime, two total shots for the match. Taylor Fort and Brooke Kohler came close to scoring a fifth goal for Grace.
Overall, Grace owned a massive 36-2 advantage in shots. The Lady Lancers had eight of the nine corner kicks in the match as well.
Bethany Blackwood made one save for her shutout in goal. Her backline consisted of Lea Moessinger, Hannah Tkacz, Anna Kuhl, McKenna Cruz and Kohler.
GRACE MEN’S SOCCER 1, ST. FRANCIS 0
Grace’s men’s soccer team picked up their second Crossroads League victory of the year with a 1-0 win over St. Francis on Saturday afternoon.
Ulisses Miranda’s goal in the 138th minute was all that was needed for the victory, as the Lancers’ defense picked up their third clean sheet of the season.
Grace (8-5-3, 2-4-2 CL) jumped out to a quick offensive start, hemming St. Francis (7-10, 3-5 CL) into their own end for most of the first half. The Lancers’ pressure led to three corner kicks, and four shot attempts during the first 15 minutes of action.
The Lancers were able capitalize on this pressure in 13th minute when Miranda scored his fifth goal of the season. Henrique Cerruti sent a ball to Miranda who then used a quick move to blow past a defender and blasted a shot into the back of the net, giving Grace the 1-0 advantage.
In the 34th minute Grace came close to adding onto their 1-0 lead. Jonny Mora sent a ball in off a corner to the front of the Cougars’ net that was headed just above the crossbar.
The Lancers were able to neutralize St. Francis’s offense for much of the half, preventing them from putting a shot on goal until the 43rd minute.
The Cougars did force Lancers to play a more defensive style over the final few minutes of the opening frame, but never came close to threatening the Lancer lead.
Grace outshot USF 6-5 in the first half, Including two shots that were put on goal. Miranda led Grace with two shot attempts, and starting goalie Colton Wottring saved the lone shot that was put on Grace’s goal.
Just minutes into the second half the Lancers nearly surrendered the equalizing goal. In the 53rd minute Wottring made a full extension save off a shot that was destined for the top corner of the net to keep the score 1-0.
Togo Narusawa had a chance in the 60th minute, but his shot inside the box was redirected wide of the Cougars’ net.
The physicality between the two teams began to pick up late in the second half. Three yellow cards were given, one to Grace and two to St. Francis, over the final 25 minutes of the match.
The Lancers continued to use efficient passing to get quality chances on offense. In the 87th minute Cody Boerema was able to get a close-range shot, but his attempt was staved off by St. Francis’s goalie.
The Cougars tried to put together one final push on goal, but the Lancer’s defense held strong, fending off every attack to complete the shutout.
Grace finished the game with a 7-2 advantage in corner kicks, and a 3-2 advantage with shots on goal. Wottring, in his third start, picked up his second win of the season.
Grace will return home for its final contest of the regular season when they host Marian on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at 1st Source Bank Field. With a win, Grace could move up to sixth place in the league standings.
ST. FRANCIS VOLLEYBALL 3, GRACE 0
Grace wasn’t able to continue its roll in the Crossroads League with a loss Saturday in Fort Wayne.
The Lady Lancers (15-14, 9-5 Crossroads League) sit in fourth place in the league standings with just four matches left in the regular season.
The first set was tightly contested with neither side able to grab a significant advantage. But with Grace trailing by one at 16-15, the Cougars got hot. USF won nine of the next 12 points to pull away for the win.
USF hit over .400 as a team in the opening set as Grace struggled to slow down the Cougars (19-10, 10-4 CL).
In the second set, the Cougars’ momentum continued. USF won the first five points to force an early Grace timeout.
The timeout by coach Katie Van Hofwegen seemed to work; Grace regained its footing and scored four straight points.
But the Cougars would not be denied in the set. USF opened up a seven-point lead.
Grace managed to fight back and stayed within range. The Lady Lancers trailed at 23-21 but could not fully erase that early deficit in a three-point defeat.
The third set was agonizingly close for Grace. The Lady Lancers overcame a slight deficit down the stretch to tie the score 23-23. USF scored next out of a timeout, but Corynne Aelker staved off a match point with a kill.
The teams traded points again to tie at 25-25. Michalski got a kill to give Grace a 26-25 edge, and she repeated that effort for another lead at 27-26. Michalski got another timely kill for a 29-28 lead.
But Grace was unable to find a winning moment after multiple set points. USF escaped with a 34-32 win, ending the match with an ace.
Aelker’s 12 kills led Grace on a .318 percentage, and she added three block assists. Alexa Hill racked up 40 assists, 8 digs, 1 solo block and 3 block assists, and Michalski added 11 kills.
Gina Novotny recorded a match-high 15 digs, Hanna Leach tallied three kills and six block assists, and Jadyn Block added six kills.
The Lady Lancers return home on Wednesday, hosting No. 3 Indiana Wesleyan at 7 p.m.
ROZAS CAPS SEASON AT ITAs
Max Rozas ended his strong season for Grace’s men’s tennis team at the ITA Cup.
Rozas qualified to the 16-player tournament by winning the ITA regional tournament.
He powered through his first opponent Lois Castellon of Union (Ky.) by the score of 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals.
Rozas lost his first singles’ match all season in the next round, falling to the overall No. 1 seed Jose Dugo of Georgia Gwinnett (6-2, 6-2).
He ended the season on Saturday against Nick Nienhaus of San Diego Christian. The two battled hard with Nienhaus winning 6-3, 7-6 (7-4).
To find out more about the 2019 ITA Cup, click here.