Grace Women’s Soccer 6, St. Francis 0
A hat trick from Alexis Larimore led Grace’s women’s soccer team to a 6-0 win over St. Francis on Saturday.
The Lady Lancers (7-2-1) dominated the quarterfinal matchup in the Crossroads League Tournament. Grace will advance to the semifinals on Wednesday, traveling to No. 24 Spring Arbor.
Grace was in control from start to finish on Saturday. The Lady Lancers had a 23-4 advantage in shot attempts, including 14 shots on goal.
Grace wasted little time getting on the scoreboard. Just 2:14 into the game, the Lady Lancers took the lead for good. Adelee Gartner crossed into the box, and Madison Tuma made a one-time touch pass to Victoria Lucido, who volleyed her shot into the back of the net.
In the 22nd minute, Grace doubled its lead. Larimore found space on the left side of the field and crossed cleverly to Tuma. Tuma placed her shot beyond the goalkeeper to put Grace on top 2-0.
Larimore drilled the crossbar with a shot soon after, but she wouldn’t have to wait long for her first goal.
At the 25:31 mark, Larimore juked a defender on the dribble and tucked a left-footed shot inside the goalpost.
In the 36th minute, Grace earned a corner kick. Lea Moessinger swung the corner into the box, and Anna Kuhl used her right foot to chip a shot over the goalie.
Kuhl’s goal gave Grace a commanding 4-0 lead at halftime. The Cougars (2-9-1) were outshot 12-2 in the first half.
Grace again struck quickly to start the second half. At the 49:59 mark, Lucido beat her marker on the right side of the field. She squared a pass in front of goal, and Larimore volleyed her shot into the net.
Larimore completed her hat trick — and the match’s scoring — in the 66th minute. Sacia Hanson created the goal, muscling by two Cougar defenders to find space on the right endline. Hanson made a simple pass to a wide-open Larimore, who emphatically slammed in her shot from close range.
No more goals were scored over the final 25 minutes. The Cougars, who tried two shots in the second half, could not produce a shot attempt after the 66th minute.
Larimore led all players with seven shots, outshooting USF by herself. Lucido tried three shots, and Lea Fricke, Izzy Fenn, Helena Vieira Rijo and Tuma each shot twice.
The Lady Lancers had ample opportunity to use their bench in the second half; 11 players saw significant time off the bench for Grace.
Grace Men’s Soccer 3, Mt. Vernon 2
Grace’s men’s soccer team put the Crossroads League on notice with an upset on Saturday evening.
The sixth-seeded Lancers upended No. 3 seed Mt. Vernon Nazarene 3-2 in the quarterfinals of the Crossroads League Tournament.
Grace will travel to Indiana Wesleyan on Wednesday for the tournament semifinals. The winner of the league tournament will receive an automatic bid to the NAIA National Championships.
Saturday’s first half was stuffed with back-and-forth action. The opening 45 minutes were at times chippy, at times calm, but rarely lacking drama.
Grace stunned the Cougars (5-4) early with two quick goals.
Ulisses Miranda scored the first goal less than five minutes into the game thanks to an assist by Jordan Jayapuram.
Seven minutes after that, Grace was fouled a few yards above the penalty box. Ze Maria Goncalves confidently stepped up and laced the free kick below the crossbar for a 2-0 lead.
MVNU struggled to deal with Grace’s possession before halftime. The Cougars seemed content to counterattack, which they did with success.
The Cougars cut Grace’s lead in half in the 16th minute, scoring off a loose ball in the box.
Goncalves and Miranda nearly combined for another goal. Miranda’s chipped shot topped the goalkeeper but was cleared away before it reached the goal line.
MVNU managed to tie the game in the 38th minute. Grace was whistled for a hand ball in the box, and the Cougars promptly scored the equalizer from the penalty spot.
In the final minutes of the frenetic half, Grace retook the lead. Miranda scored his second goal, again after the pass from Jayapuram.
When the dust had settled, five goals had been scored with Grace ahead 3-2. Those five goals were scored despite just nine shot attempts being registered (5-4, Grace).
Both teams had chances to change the game with a goal in the second half, but it seemed the game had already seen its share of goals.
The Lancers’ possession and movement were effective with Grace in the lead, but MVNU continued to look dangerous on the counter.
Midway into the second half, MVNU nearly found the equalizer. Goncalves tried a hard shot that was saved, and then the Cougars countered with lethal intent. MVNU thought it had an open net to score, but Korry Hamlin backtracked just in time to kick the ball off the goal line which preserved the 3-2 lead.
Joe Bowles also made a few strong saves in between the posts as Grace’s goalkeeper, allowing the Lancers to maintain the lead.
The Cougars were limited to two shots over the final 19 minutes of play, and Bowles saved the only shot that was on target. Bowles finished the game with three saves to pick up the win.
Grace held a 15-13 edge in shot attempts, whereas the Cougars had an 11-3 advantage in corner kicks. Eleven of Grace’s 15 shots were on goal.
Miranda was active throughout the evening, registering eight shots with six on goal. Goncalves had three shots with two on goal.
Mt. Vernon Volleyball 3, Grace 0
Grace’s volleyball team was unable to win on Senior Day, falling 3-0 to Mt. Vernon Nazarene on Saturday.
Saturday’s match officially wrapped up the regular season, and Grace will begin the postseason starting next week. Grace, the No. 4 seed in the Crossroads League, will host St. Francis on Tuesday at 7 p.m. for the quarterfinals.
The Lady Lancers were in control of the first set — until the final points. Grace led for most of the opening set, but the lead was never more than three points.
A block from Makayla Bell and Katie Swanson put the Lady Lancers ahead 22-19, forcing MVNU to call their final timeout.
The Lady Lancers (8-7, 8-7 CL) were unable to find another point, however. MVNU scored six straight points to win 25-22, aided by five attack errors by Grace.
The second set was a similar story. Grace took a late three-point lead (21-18), but the Cougars clawed back and quickly tied the score. With the score tied at 24-24, MVNU won two quick points at the net to win 26-24 and take a two-set lead.
In the third set, the teams could barely be separated. The teams traded one or two point leads from the first serve.
The Cougars (6-7, 6-7 CL) took a late 21-19 margin, but this time it was Grace’s turn to rally. Late kills from Cassadi Colbert and Paige Eakright helped Grace tie the score at 21 apiece.
After the timeout, Eakright picked up a kill to give Grace a lead. But the Cougars struck late again with two straight kills to serve for match point at 24-23.
Grace survived the first match point thanks to a kill by Swanson. The match continued in extra points as Grace led 26-25.
But keeping with the story of the afternoon, the Cougars came through late. MVNU produced three straight kills to take the set 28-26 and secure the sweep.
Colbert led Grace’s team with 10 kills along with one solo block, and Swanson and Makaela Lochmueller each had nine kills.
Gabbey Harrington tallied 35 assists, 17 digs and 3 kills, Eakright added eight kills, and Bell notched five kills.
Defensively, Gina Novotny led all players with 27 digs, and Emily Sharp (12 digs), Grace Erwin (12) and Brittany Baize (11) also reached double figures in digs.