MARIAN WOMEN’S SOCCER 1, GRACE 0
Grace’s women’s soccer team exited the Crossroads League Tournament with a 1-0 semifinal loss at No. 15 Marian.
The No. 17 Lady Lancers misfired on several key chances and had to settle for the one-goal defeat.
The loss means Grace will need to await its fate for the 2019 NAIA National Championships. The Lady Lancers have put themselves in a strong position with a record of 14-4-2.
Grace’s only four losses this year are to teams currently ranked in the top 15 of the NAIA. The field for the national tournament will be revealed during the NAIA’s Selection Show on Nov. 18.
The match was physical from the opening whistle until the final seconds. The physical play made for a grueling match with Grace focused on possession and Marian opting for counterattacks.
Grace managed to reach dangerous positions a few times in the opening half, but the team lacked a clean touch to produce a goal.
The Lady Lancers had three shots in the first half, two from JJ Aalbue.
Marian earned one of the best chances 20 minutes into the half. The Knights combined with their forwards to earn an open chance at the top of the penalty box. Bethany Blackwood raced out to block the 1-on-1 shot.
The blocked shot fell right back to the Knights, who tried a lofted shot. But defender Anna Kuhl raced back to head the ball away from the goal line to preserve the 0-0 scoreline.
Blackwood made another strong save in the final five minutes of the half, stopping a low shot by the Knights.
Grace threatened minutes later. A strong build up on the right side of the field resulted in a shot by Alexis Larimore, but her attempt sailed wide.
The teams entered halftime scoreless.
The second half was much of the same — physical play with few extended stretches of possession in a midfield scrum.
The Knights scored the game’s only goal in the 68th minute with a long, curling shot from outside the box that beat Blackwood.
Grace did its best to equalize over the final 20 frantic minutes.
With 15 minutes left, Liz Van Wormer tried a one-time volley that misfired inside the penalty box. Aalbue also had a few threatening moments that were snuffed out in the box.
The Lady Lancers are aiming for their third trip in five years to NAIA Nationals.
GRACE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL 107, ROOSEVELT 69
The Grace College women’s basketball team improved to 4-0 after beating Roosevelt 107-69 Saturday afternoon.
Grace (4-0) shot an even 50 percent from the field and had six players score in double figures. Grace’s defense forced Roosevelt (0-3) into 24 turnovers, which led to 18 points.
Vironnica Drake filled the stat sheet, amassing 21 points, 9 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 assists. Kyannah Stull had 19 points and was a perfect 5-5 from beyond the arc.
Each of the Lady Lancers’ starting five got on the score sheet early; Grace quickly built a 12-2 lead midway through the first quarter.
Stull had 12 points in the first quarter highlighted by back-to-back 3-pointers that gave Grace a 23-4 advantage.
Freshman Maddie Ryman scored late in the first to close out the scoring, and Grace led 30-10 after the first ten minutes.
Ryman was dynamic in the second quarter, and she made a number of clean passes that set up easy scoring chances. Grace led 43-18 halfway through the second.
Micaela Box had the last six points for Grace, and the Lady Lancers took a 60-33 lead into halftime.
The Lady Lancers shot 56 percent from the field in the opening half and outrebounded the Lakers 23-17. Stull had 12 points in the half, and Ryman and Kaylie Warble each added 10.
In the third period, the Lady Lancers continued to dominate on the glass grabbing a 13-7 advantage in the quarter.
After the Lakers went on a short run, Drake scored five straight points to push the Lady Lancers’ lead back to 72-39.
Stull finished out her scoring on the day with a pair of free throws that would send the Lady Lancers into the final frame up 82-52.
With the game well in hand, Grace elected to empty its bench throughout the fourth quarter.
The Lady Lancers continued to score, and Box made a field goal with just under three minutes remaining to put Grace over the century mark.
Rachel Montgomery finished out the scoring for the Lady Lancers for the final scoreline of 107-69.
Grace had 22 assists on 35 made baskets. Kamryn Hostetler had 14 points and a team-high six assists.
Warble produced 14 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals, and Box scored 15 points to go along with five boards and three assists.
Ryman had 15 points and three assists in her first collegiate start. Pulley grabbed eight boards to go along with two steals, and Brooke Treadway added three points and seven rebounds.
The Lady Lancers will face their stiffest competition on Tuesday with a road game at No. 4 Indiana Tech.
RIO GRANDE MEN’S BASKETBALL 70, GRACE 69
It took a last-second shot to beat Grace’s men’s basketball team on Saturday.
The Lancers lost on the road to Rio Grande 70-69 after the Red Storm made a miraculous 3-pointer as time expired.
Grace seemed in control with a four-point lead and 11 seconds on the clock after Charlie Warner sank two free throws.
But the Red Storm raced down the court for a quick layup, cutting the deficit to two. Grace was fouled and missed the front end of a bonus free throw, and Rio Grande managed to hoist up the game-winning 3-pointer in the right corner before time expired.
The loss spoiled a career-high 23 points from Jaret Sons, who shot 10-of-14 from the floor to go along with 14 rebounds — one short of another career-best mark.
Grace had the upper hand in several key categories, including a plus-12 edge in rebounds (40 to 28). The Lancers also shot 49 percent from the floor compared to 42 percent for Rio.
The Red Storm held a small lead for much of the first half. With just over five minutes left in the half, a triple from Charlie Warner put Grace ahead 23-22.
Haden Deaton, who registered his 1,000th career point in the game, scored in the paint during the final minute of the half. Grace went into halftime on top 35-32.
The Lancers slowly increased their cushion after halftime; with 11:39 remaining in the game, Cody Holmes hit a foul shot for a 49-39 advantage — Grace’s largest lead of the contest.
But the Red Storm battled back until the deficit was just two. Rio had a chance to tie the game with 50 seconds remaining, but Deaton came up with a steal with 14 seconds remaining to force the Red Storm to foul.
Warner hit his two free throws to extend Grace’s lead to four, but the Red Storm struck quickly for two more scores to win the game at the buzzer.
Warner had 12 points with a pair of 3-pointers, and Holmes tallied 10 points and five rebounds in 10 minutes.
Matt Jennings added nine points with three assists, and Deaton chipped in 8 points, 6 boards, 2 blocks and 2 steals.
The Lancers will host the Terry Polston Hoops for Hope next weekend, starting with a Friday night (8 p.m.) matchup with Holy Family. Grace’s home game on Tuesday against Cincinnati Christian will go down as a forfeit win after CCU prematurely ended its season.
GRACE VOLLEYBALL 3, ST. FRANCIS 2
Grace’s volleyball team has proved doubters wrong all season. They did so again on Saturday afternoon.
The Lady Lancers, who have battled through key injuries this fall, shocked St. Francis with a 3-2 win in the quarterfinals of the Crossroads League Tournament.
Grace lost the first two sets but showed tremendous resiliency to upset the Cougars (21-13), who are receiving votes in the NAIA Top 25 Coaches’ Poll.
With the win, Grace will advance to the tournament semifinals. The Lady Lancers will travel to No. 12 Marian on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Anna Frey just missed a double-double with 15 kills and nine digs, and Gabbey Harrington produced 14 kills on a .205 percentage.
The outcome seemed bleak for the Lady Lancers (17-17) after the opening two sets. Grace struggled to slow down USF, allowing the Cougars to pound out 29 kills. USF won the opening two sets 25-20 and 25-17.
But the Lady Lancers stayed alive with a third-set victory. Strong serving early on from Gina Novotny and Emily Sharp helped Grace to a 6-3 lead.
The set remained close and was knotted at 21-21. Hanna Leach put Grace ahead with a kill, and Harrington added another to help Grace to a three-point win.
The fourth set was even more dramatic. Grace had an early 6-0 run to gain separation, thanks to a kill and an ace from Makaela Lochmueller and a block from Leach and Alexa Hill.
The Cougars came back with a late 5-1 spurt, and USF held off two set points to tie the score at 24-24. But Grace’s defense held firm, and USF committed two straight errors for a Grace 26-24 victory.
The Lady Lancers owned all the momentum going into the decisive fifth set. Grace won the first five points thanks to the serving of Novotny. Harrington and Lochmueller had back-to-back kills, and Novotny’s ace put Grace in control 5-0.
Grace led 8-3 as the teams changed sides of the court, and the Lady Lancers were on the brink with a 14-8 lead.
The Cougars survived three straight match points before Harrington and Leach combined for a block on the final point of the game.
Lochmueller was a force at the net with seven kills and seven block assists, and Deborah Michalski had eight kills. Novotny tallied 20 digs with two aces, and Grace Erwin had eight digs.
Hill produced 46 assists, 10 digs and 6 block assists in a memorable performance.
XC FALLS BACK AT CROSSROADS CHAMPIONSHIPS
Grace’s cross country teams faced off with familiar foes on Saturday with the 2019 Crossroads League Championships.
The race was chilly on Saturday morning, held at St. Patrick’s Park. The Lady Lancers placed ninth out of 10 teams while the men’s team placed seventh.
The top seven runners for Grace all finished within 40 seconds of each other. Ben Rankin was 39th overall with a time of 27:00, and Carter Meyer (27:05) and Logan Rufenacht (27:07) were right behind him.
Bryan Hernandez-Rios was fourth on the team with a time of 27:16, and Zach Johnson was next at 27:31. Isaac Beatty (27:34) and Dimitri Margaritidis (27:39) rounded out the top seven.
On the women’s side, Heather Plastow and Suzanne Sickafoose ended step-for-step at the finish line with both registering identical times of 20:17.6.
Jessica Zvers was third for the Lady Lancers at 20:38. Mallory Aker (21:22), Elizabeth Moore (21:32) and Rebekah Rexroth (21:37) all finished within range of each other, and Weslea Arthur was next at 22:29.
“We struggled to find our marks today. But that’s cross country and that’s life sometimes — you have rough days sometimes. We will learn a lot and get ready for NCCAAs,” said Grace head coach Jake Poyner. “Logan and Zach really stepped up on the men’s side, and Suzi ran a very smart and confident race. We are back in a week, so it’s time to rest, reset and recover.”
The Lancers will have another shot at postseason competition with the NCCAA National Championships in Branson, Mo.