By Josh Neuhart
Grace College Sports Information
KISSIMMEE, Fla. – For the second straight year, Grace’s men’s soccer team will play for the NCCAA national championship.
And for the second straight year, the Lancers had to go through Campbellsville in the semifinals. Grace beat the Tigers 1-0 on Friday, the same scoreline by which the Lancers won the 2019 semifinals against Campbellsville.
Ulisses Miranda scored the game-winning goal in the 68th minute, sending Grace to the championship on Saturday.
Grace’s opponent in the title bout will be a familiar foe. The Lancers will square off with rival Bethel with the national championship on the line. Kickoff from Kissimmee, Fla., is set for 8 p.m.
The Lancers have now played six postseason matches since Nov. 7, including the Crossroads League Tournament. Grace has won five of those postseason games and lost one in double overtime.
Miranda has been deadly for opposing defenses during the postseason run. The senior has scored in all six games, tallying eight goals and three assists during that span.
In the first half of the semifinal match, each team had shots on goal in the opening 10 minutes. Miranda seemed to be the most dangerous player for Grace. He even found the back of the net early, but the play was not allowed after the prior pass was ruled out of bounds.
Eighteen minutes into the match, Grace earned a free kick. After the cross, the Lancers had a clean header from close range, but Grace’s header was saved.
Both sides continued to advance into dangerous positions, but Campbellsville had stronger attempts at goal over the first 30 minutes.
The match went into halftime scoreless. The Tigers owned an 8-3 advantage in shot attempts and took four of the five corner kicks before halftime.
Campbellsville tried to score early in the second half, taking three corner kicks and two shots in the first five minutes.
The Lancers needed 15 minutes of play in the second half before taking a shot, but that attempt nearly scored.
Miranda tried a free kick from 22 yards away from goal. His kick was well struck but clanged off the crossbar.
The goal-scoring moment came eight minutes later. Jonny Mora advanced down the left sideline and crossed to the far side of the field.
Jules Peycelon made a one-touch pass to Ze Maria Goncalves, who in turn redirected the ball in front of goal. Miranda was in place, finishing his close-range shot beyond the goalkeeper.
Six minutes later, Grace nearly scored again. Goncalves tried a header which beat the goalkeeper but was cleared away before it crossed the goal line.
Campbellsville was largely muted offensively in pursuit of a late equalizer. The Tigers could only muster one shot attempt over the final 30 minutes as Grace’s possession took over.
The Lancers are in pursuit of the program’s first national championship. Grace has been the NCCAA national runner-up three times (2019, 1976, 1973).