Spring Arbor Men 1, Grace 0
Grace’s men’s soccer team did everything right on Saturday except one thing — finding the back of the net.
The Lancers dominated the shot count to the tune of 22 to 6. But the Cougars squeezed in a goal during the second minute of the match and held on despite an onslaught of shot attempts by Grace, shutting out the Lancers.
The Cougars stunned the Lancers in the opening minutes. During one of the first advances of the match, SAU scored off a set piece, heading in a goal.
The rest of the half was physical and filled with action, but neither team could find the back of the net again.
Grace held the majority of possession in the half, growing in percentage as the half progressed. The Cougars seemed content to hold a defensive position and do their best to limit Grace’s chances.
Grace outshot SAU 7-3 in the first half, and the Lancers also had a 4-1 advantage in corner kicks.
The best chances for Grace came in the final 20 minutes of the half. Connor Pugh broke free with a long run, but he was fouled to draw a yellow card and prevent a 1-on-1 with the goalkeeper.
Another dangerous pass struck an SAU defender in an unnatural position, but Grace’s penalty appeals were denied.
Grace entered halftime behind 1-0, but the Lancers began the second half with optimism in front of a full crowd at 1st Source Bank Field.
The Lancers finally found the back of the net in the first two minutes of the second half when Pugh poked a shot past the goalkeeper. But Pugh was judged to be offside to eliminate the tally.
Minutes later, Marco Poliani and Ze Maria Goncalves both tried shots from inside the box that went high of the net.
Felipe Gruber entered as a substitute and injected an offensive edge. His dribbling and passing created a few chances immediately, including a header from Martim Cardoso that whizzed wide of the post.
The more the match wore on, the more defensive the Cougars’ shell became. Grace forced SAU into protecting its penalty box with barrage after barrage of chances.
The Cougars defended physically, ultimately drawing five yellow cards and a red card.
SAU lost a defender with a red card in the final 10 minutes, but little changed as Grace was already robust in its attack at that juncture of the match.
Grace continued to generate chances, including a long drive from Jules Peycelon that was saved. Ze Maria Goncalves had a pair of late chances that were both stopped, and Pugh also had a shot saved in the final 10 minutes.
But after all of Grace’s chances, the Cougars’ net remained unharmed. Time ran out on Grace as the Lancers fell 1-0.
In addition to a 22-6 advantage in shot attempts, Grace also was ahead 8-3 in corner kicks. The Cougars had just one shot on goal, which was the game winner.
Pugh and Goncalves combined to outshoot SAU by themselves, combining for eight shots and four shots on goal.
Cardoso and Marco Poliani each tried three shots, and Peycelon and Jordan Jayapuram took two shots apiece. `
The Lancers will not be home again until Oct. 16 when they host Bethel. Next week Grace will play at Huntington on Saturday.
Spring Arbor Women 2, Grace 0
A pair of goals in the first seven minutes of play was all the scoring that happened between No. 15 Grace’s women’s soccer team and No. 4 Spring Arbor.
Both goals came from the home team, allowing SAU to produce a 2-0 win on Saturday.
The Cougars (8-0-1, 3-0 Crossroads League) jumped on Grace early with a pair of goals. Spring Arbor pounced on a mishandled ball in the penalty box to score in the opening four minutes.
Just three minutes later, SAU’s lead doubled. The Cougars scored on a corner kick to take a 2-0 lead, a lead which Grace could not erase.
Grace struggled to build its patented possession attack in the first half. SAU’s direct advances prevented Grace’s buildup, limiting the Lady Lancers to a handful of chances in the half.
The Lady Lancers (6-4-1, 1-1-1 CL) were more effective in possession during the early minutes of the second half, but the Cougars continued to threaten on the counterattack.
Grace’s possession was better after halftime, but SAU’s physical play continued to disrupt Grace’s passing.
Madison Tuma had a shot blocked after one of Grace’s best build-ups in the second half, and Alexis Larimore had a shot go high for Grace as well.
The Lady Lancers have one match next week — a home outing against Huntington at 7 p.m. The match will also be Senior Night to honor Grace’s graduating class.
Lady Tigers Claim JV Title
The Warsaw Lady Tigers JV team hosted the NLC Invite and the Tiger Soccer Complex. The Tigers kicked the morning off with a battle against a stingy Goshen squad. The game seemed destined for PK’s, but Sophia Johnston netted the lone goal of the match with 10 minutes left in the game. Claire German made a pair of crucial saves as the Lady Tigers earned a 1-0 victory to advance to the championship game.
In the championship, Warsaw faced the Concord Minutemen, who earlier defeated Wawasee. After a scoreless first half, Natalie Brown broke through the back line five minutes into the second half and tucked away a 1v1 with the Concord goalkeeper. Five minutes later, Rachel Koorey found Kaiden Pepper with a great pass, which Pepper buried to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead. Warsaw would find its insurance goal when Anna Martinez would set up Sophia Johnston for her second goal of the day and solidify the 3-0 win for the Tigers.
The Tiger JV team finishes an impressive season with an 8-3-3 record. Coach Emily Buttermore’s squad has now gone two years without losing a conference match and has repeated as back-to-back NLC Invite Champs.
Trinity Greenlawn 1, Lakeland Christian 0 (Friday)
In LCA’s final contest of the regular season, a Henry Lee goal in the 35th minute was all the game would get.
Braden Weirick made 14 stops for the Cougars in net, Gavin Cullinan made just three stops for the clean sheet for Trinity.
“We competed well tonight and put Trinity under some pressure at times, Braden Weirick made some phenomenal saves this evening and freshman Simon Avey did an incredible job on Trinity’s best player, Henry Lee,” said LCA head coach Dan Miller. “These last two performances should give us confidence going into sectionals on Wednesday against the host Wabash.”