Soccer Stories

Grace Men's Soccer headed to South Africa


WINONA LAKE, Ind. - Grace’s men’s soccer team is set to expand its borders, embarking on a two-week sport mission trip to Cape Town, South Africa.

The Lancers will begin their trip on May 12 and enjoy two weeks of interacting with and ministering to the people of South Africa through the avenue of soccer.

“This will be such a rewarding trip for us,” said Grace head coach Matt Hotchkin. “This trip will surely teach us a lot and help to shape and challenge us. It is our hope that this trip will bring us together in a very special way. Most importantly, we are excited to use the joy of soccer to share the love of Christ with the South Africans.”

Grace’s coaches and players will run soccer clinics and speak to local high school assemblies during their time in South Africa.

The Lancers will also learn how to coach children from every type of socioeconomic background.

A special aspect of the trip centers around sophomore midfielder Gift Sibukome. Sibukome, originally from Lusaka, Zambia, will have the chance to return home for the first time in nearly two years.

Since arriving in the US in the fall of 2012, Sibukome has only spoken with family and friends in Zambia over phone and email.

“It’s been a blessing for me to be here in the US. I thank the Lord for what He has done for me here,” Sibukome said. “But this trip is an exciting one because it’s the first time to go home in almost two years. I’m thankful to the alumni guys for making this trip possible. God is always good.”

Follow live updates from South Africa on the team’s blog: http://gracesoccer.blogspot.com/.

Men's Soccer wins NISOA Sportsmanship Award


GREENVILLE, S.C. – Grace’s men’s soccer team was honored by the National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association (NISOA) when they were given this year’s Sportsmanship Award.

The award was presented last week to Grace head coach Matt Hotchkin at the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Convention in Indianapolis, Ind.

Voting is tallied among NISOA officials who have worked Grace’s games during the 2012 season. The Lancers were selected as the 2012 representative of the NCCAA Division I for outstanding sportsmanship and character on the field of competition.

On the pitch in 2012, the Lancers recorded their most wins in a season in nearly two decades (1994) when they finished 13-7-3. Grace made its second appearance in a row to the NCCAA National Championships at season’s end.

Fiema named Second Team NCCAA All-American


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s freshman forward Steven Fiema was awarded for an outstanding season on the men’s soccer team by being named Second Team NCCAA All-American.

Fiema led the Crossroads League in goals scored with 14 in his first collegiate season. He also finished second in the league in assists with a team-high seven.

As a result, the Crossroads League named Fiema the Offensive Player of the Year.

The Lancers finished the 2012 campaign with a record of 13-7-3, the most wins in a season for Grace since 1994. Grace also earned its second trip in a row to the NCCAA National Championships.

Lancers bested by Bethel in seventh-place game


KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The 2012 season for Grace’s men’s soccer team ended on Saturday at the hands of Bethel College.

The Lancers were topped 3-1 by the Pilots in the seventh-place match of the NCCAA National Championships.

Grace struck first but surrendered three unanswered goals.

Gift Sibukome nearly opened the scoring with a curled shot in the first half that Bethel’s goalkeeper dove to redirect off the goal post.

Sibukome assisted the game’s first goal, however, with a slotted ball in the penalty box to Kyle Hamlin who finished with precision from close range.

Bethel sapped some of Grace’s energy with an equalizer minutes before halftime as the teams entered the break tied 1-1.

The Pilots’ shocked the Lancers’ defense with the go-ahead goal just 27 seconds into the second half.

A few minutes later, Steven Fiema was fouled near the top of the penalty box to earn a free kick. Sibukome hit a brilliant shot on the kick that clanged off the crossbar, but the Lancers were unable to level the scoring.

With less than 10 minutes to play, Bethel added the insurance goal to effectively end any thoughts of a comeback.

The defeat ends the careers of senior starters Collin Cone, Sam Cole and Trenton Porter. The trio has been integral in anchoring the Lancers’ defense over their careers, culminating with back-to-back appearances in the NCCAA National Championships.

At the conclusion of the tournament, Gift Sibukome was named to the NCCAA All-Tournament Team.

The Lancers' final record of 13-7-3 signifies the most wins under head coach Matt Hotchkin and the program's highest total since 1994.

Three Lancers earn NAIA Scholar-Athlete status


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – A trio of men's soccer players were named Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes for Grace.

Juniors Ben Bassous and Cameron Johns as well as senior Trenton Porter earned Scholar-Athlete status from the NAIA.

Porter picked up his second Scholar-Athlete award after winning the honor as a junior.

Student-athletes must maintain a 3.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale and have achieved at least a junior level academically to become an NAIA Scholar-Athlete.

Late goal tops Grace Soccer


KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The lone goal in the 83rd minute was the only separation between Grace College and Roberts Wesleyan College on Thursday in the second day of the NCCAA National Tournament.

The Raiders broke the stalemate with their late game winner as the Lancers’ offensive struggles continue in Florida.

Grace outshot Roberts Wesleyan 9-6 in the opening period, but they were not able to penetrate the Raiders’ (11-9-1) net.

The Lancers (13-6-3) continued their offensive pressure to start the second half, tallying the first four shots of the period.

Ben Bassous and Devin Kemmerer each took strong shot attempts in the early portions of the second half, and Dylan Andersen came off the bench to fire a low shot inside the penalty box after finding space on a run.

Goalkeeper Collin Cone did his best to keep Roberts Wesleyan scoreless with a pair of fine saves with less than 18 minutes remaining in the game.

The Raiders finally broke onto the scoreboard at the 82:52 mark on a goal from Donavan Wilson, and the Lancers failed to find the equalizer in the remaining minutes.

Grace led in shot attempts for the game by a narrow 14-13 margin as Steven Fiema led Grace with four shots. Gift Sibukome tallied three shots, and Devin Kemmerer added two.

A total of 28 fouls and five yellow cards were issued in the match as the Raiders were responsible for four of the bookings.

The Lancers will play in the seventh-place game on Saturday at 12:15 p.m.

Grace can't find the mark in PK defeat


KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The Grace men’s soccer team struggled to score both in regulation and in overtime, eventually falling to Union University 3-2 in penalty shootout fashion in the first round of the NCCAA National Championships.

The Lancers (13-5-3) tallied 16 shots in defeat, but they were unable to convert their shots into goals and paid the price in the shootout.

Union’s offense was largely muted in the first half as they mustered a single shot attempt in the first 45 minutes of play.

Grace, on the other hand, recorded five shots and four corner kicks in the first half, but the teams entered halftime scoreless.

Nikola Blazic nearly scored twice but was denied each time by the goalpost. Union also thought they had scored on a counterattack, but their goal was waved off by the official due to a foul on the offensive player.

Gift Sibukome had a strong look in the second half as well, but his attempt from eight yards away sailed just above the crossbar.

Although the Lancers did not register a shot attempt in the first overtime period, they turned up the offensive pressure in the second overtime. Grace outshot Union 4-1 in the final 10-minute period to go along with a pair of corner kicks, but they were once again shut out from scoring.

Their offensive struggles continued into the penalty shootout when two of their PK attempts missed and two others were saved by Union’s goalkeeper. Shane Barthuly and Sibukome both scored for Grace.

Goalkeeper Collin Cone did an outstanding job in goal by saving three of Union’s PK’s, but the Bulldogs eventually found the winner on their sixth attempt.

Steven Fiema led all players with eight shots, and Sibukome tallied a pair of shots as well. Cone made five saves in goal for the Lancers. All in all, 39 fouls were called in the match with 23 being whistled against Union.

The Lancers will continue play in the consolation bracket of the NCCAA National Tournament against Roberts Wesleyan on Thursday at 12 p.m.

Late goal from Fiema sends Grace to NCCAA Nationals


CEDARVILLE, Ohio – Grace’s men’s soccer team clinched its second straight berth into the NCCAA National Championships on Saturday thanks to a 1-0 win over Cedarville University.

Steven Fiema scored the only goal of the game in the 83rd minute to give Grace the championship of the NCCAA Midwest Region.

“I’m proud of the way the guys worked tonight. Cedarville is a good team and not many teams can move the ball like them,” said Grace head coach Matt Hotchkin. “We limited real quality opportunities for them, and we were able to get some good opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on. As a team, we want to praise God and thank everybody who has been cheering us on.”

The game started out slowly with each team only taking one shot apiece through the first 20 minutes.

The first half ended scoreless with just six shots tallied overall with the Yellow Jackets (17-4-1) favored 4-2 in attempts.

The Lancers (13-5-2) increased their pressure early in the second half. They earned two shots and two corner kicks in the first 12 minutes after halftime.

Grace finally broke through on a defensive miscue by Cedarville. Fiema pressured Cedarville’s goalkeeper into a hasty clearance, and Fiema deflected the attempted clearance off himself and into the net for an improbable goal at the 82:15 mark.

Grace’s defense held the Yellow Jackets to just two shot attempts over the final eight minutes to prevent Cedarville from scoring the equalizer.

Goalkeeper Collin Cone made a sure-handed save in the 88th minute when Cedarville volleyed from five yards away off a corner kick, and the Yellow Jackets headed wide of goal in their final attempt of the match.

“I felt we played better in the second half but still struggled to get on the same page,” Hotchkin continued. “We kept hustling and got some good counter-attack chances, and then we got a hustle goal from Fiema. This was a good lesson for him because he was frustrated with his play and had really gotten down. We told him to keep working – then that hard work paid off.”

Cedarville held a 9-5 advantage in shot attempts as well as a 7-3 advantage in corner kicks, but Cone made four saves in goal to post the shutout for the Lancers.

The Lancers will play at NCCAA Nationals for the second time under Hotchkin and will hope to win the first national title in program history.

Watch for further details regarding the national tournament on Grace’s athletic website, www.grace.edu/athletics.

Lancers dismantle IWU in regional semifinals


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s men’s soccer team played one of its most complete games of the season in a 4-1 victory over Indiana Wesleyan on Wednesday.

The Lancers (12-5-2) advance to Saturday’s regional championship game at Cedarville where they will play for a berth into the NCCAA National Championships.

"We played with hustle and aggression today. Every member did their job," said Grace head coach Matt Hotchkin. "This was a commanding effort by our guys, and they really showed their desire to win this regional title. Now we have a chance to do just that on Saturday. Thanks to everybody who cheered us on today out at Miller Field!"

Grace outshot the Wildcats (13-4-4) by 15-5 in the first half, netting a pair of goals before halftime as well.

Steven Fiema nearly opened the scoring in the 17th minute with two shots inside the penalty box. His second attempt was a sliding shot that was saved off the goal line.

Grace eventually got on the scoreboard first when Fiema’s corner kick was met by a thunderous headed goal from Sam Cole in the 31st minute of play.

Nine minutes later, the Lancers doubled their advantage from a free kick. Gift Sibukome curled a deep free kick from midfield toward the goal, and his attempt bounced into the net as no one made a play on the ball.

Shane Barthuly had a terrific individual effort thwarted in the 64th minute. He weaved through the Wildcats’ defense and ripped a deep shot to force an acrobatic save from IWU’s goalkeeper.

Barthuly would not have to wait long before scoring as Nikola Blazic picked him out on a run on the right side of the goal. Barthuly blasted a low shot across his body inside the far post at the 80:21 mark.

The Wildcats made things interesting when Geoff Bowman scored with six minutes remaining in regulation, but Grace squelched any thoughts of a comeback with a goal from Fiema.

After a strong build-up from the midfield, Ben Bassous passed to Fiema in stride, and he chipped his shot over the charging Wildcats goalkeeper.

Overall, Grace held a 27-10 advantage in shot attempts. The Lancers fired 12 shots on goal and also held a 7-1 advantage in corner kicks.

Sibukome led all players with seven shots and three shots on goal, and Austin Altimus added five shot attempts.

Grace will play in the regional championship on Saturday at Cedarville. The Lancers are hoping to earn their second straight trip to the NCCAA National Championships.

Porter named CoSIDA All-District


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Senior defender Trenton Porter was announced as an All-District winner on the Capital One/CoSIDA All-District Team.

Porter has been a vocal leader of Grace's men's soccer team over his career. He earned Second Team All-Crossroads League honors last week as well. Porter and Grace's defense in 2012 recorded seven regular-season shutouts.

To be eligible for CoSIDA nominations, student-athletes must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.30 and be at least a sophomore academically. The College Sports Information Directors of America will then vote on deserving student-athletes through the district and national rounds based on both academic and athletic accomplishments.

The Lancers are currently 11-5-2 after finishing with a 5-2-2 league record. Grace is waiting scheduling for the NCCAA Midwest Regionals as the winner of regionals will earn a berth into the NCCAA National Championships in Kissimmee, Fla.

Fiema highlights All-League honors for Grace


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Freshman forward Steven Fiema was named the Offensive Player of the Year for the Crossroads League as he and three other Lancers were honored on the All-League teams.

Collin Cone, Trenton Porter and Devin Kemmerer were each awarded Second Team All-Crossroads League, and Fiema was First Team for Grace’s men’s soccer team.

Fiema had a breakout season in his freshman campaign, leading the Lancers in both goals (12) and assists (6). His 12 goals for the season ranks third in program history for rookie goals, and his six assists is tied for seventh in rookie assists.

Cone, Porter and Kemmerer were instrumental members of Grace’s team that finished in third place for the Crossroads League. Senior goalkeeper Cone posted seven shutouts in the regular season with 76 saves.

Porter and Kemmerer helped allow just 17 goals to be scored against Grace’s team in 17 regular-season games. Porter and Kemmerer each recorded an assist while Porter notched a goal as well.

The Lancers are currently 11-5-2 after finishing with a 5-2-2 league record. Grace is currently waiting scheduling for the NCCAA Midwest Regionals as the winner of regionals will earn a berth into the NCCAA National Championships in Kissimmee, Fla. Stay up-to-date by visiting Grace’s website at www.grace.edu/athletics.

Grace slips in opening round of league tourney


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s men’s soccer team fell apart in the second half, yielding five goals to Taylor in a 5-0 defeat in the first round of the Crossroads League Tournament on Saturday.

The Lancers (11-5-2) had home-field advantage as the No. 3 seed, but Taylor’s strong second half allowed the Trojans (10-8-1) to upset Grace.

The quarterfinal match was competitively even in the first half as both squads tallied six shots apiece.

Grace’s two best opportunities to score came late in the opening half. Steven Fiema, the CL Offensive Player of the Year, fired a low driven shot across the face of the goal from the left side of the field, but his attempt was just wide of the goalpost.

Gift Sibukome nearly scored as well when he lofted a shot to the far, upper-right corner of the goal, but his shot glanced off the crossbar.

The Trojans came out firing in the second half and scored off a cross less than a minute into the period.

Before 16 minutes had expired in the second half, Taylor was ahead by three goals. Grace lost a key member of its defense when Justin Festa had to be replaced due to injury which helped pave the way for a flood of goals from the Trojans.

Despite losing by five goals, Grace was only outshot 17-14 in the match. The Lancers could only direct two of their 14 shots on frame, however, as both shots on goal were credited to Sibukome.

Taylor also held a slight 7-6 advantage in corner kicks.

Grace will shift their focus next to the NCCAA National Championships as they hope to earn their second straight trip to Kissimmee, Fla. In order to do that, they must win their way through regional play which has yet to be scheduled.

Lancers win fourth straight to close out regular season


HAMMOND, Ind. – Grace’s men’s soccer team tied its hottest streak of the season as a 4-2 win over Purdue Calumet gave the Lancers their fourth straight win.

The Lancers (11-4-2) used a pair of second-half goals from Steven Fiema to hold off a late charge from the Peregrines (3-8-1) in Grace’s regular-season finale.

Grace’s offense was in high gear for most of the afternoon as the Lancers recorded 22 shots, 15 of which came in the second half.

Trent Smith started Grace’s scoring with an early strike in the fourth minute which was assisted by Ben Draper. Freshman Kyle Hamlin doubled Grace’s advantage with a goal at the 43:38 mark.

The Peregrines, who were credited with 12 shots in the opening period, broke onto the scoreboard at the 49:37 mark.

The Lancers quickly squelched any momentum with an immediate response 17 seconds later from substitute Fiema.

Purdue Calumet managed to pull within a goal when Papa Otoo beat Grace’s defense in the 55th minute, but Fiema added his second goal of the half four minutes later to end the Peregrines’ threat.

Fiema, the reigning Crossroads League Offensive Player of the Week, has scored seven goals in the past four matches and 12 goals overall. He currently ranks third in Grace’s record books for goals scored by a freshman.

The match was a physical one with 30 fouls, 18 of which belonged to Purdue Calumet. The Peregrines also owned four of the six yellow cards in the match.

Sophomore goalkeeper Jacob Cole made six saves to earn the win for Grace.

Austin Altimus led Grace with six shots and three shots on goal, and Smith and Fiema both tallied four shots.

The Lancers will host the first round of the Crossroads League Tournament at Miller Field on Saturday. Listen to the match live here.

Grace dominates weekly soccer awards from Crossroads League


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s men’s and women’s soccer teams swept all four weekly awards from the Crossroads League. The Lancers’ four awards mark the first time in two years that one school has won the four soccer honors.

Freshmen Steven Fiema for the men’s team and Carianne Sobey for the women’s team were named the CL’s Offensive Players of the Week, and senior goalkeepers Collin Cone and Abigail Burns received the CL’s Defensive Player of the Week awards.

Fiema played a crucial role in two vital late-season wins for the Lancers. He tallied at least a goal and an assist in both of Grace's wins, including a goal and two assists against Saint Francis.

Grace's match on Saturday with Mount Vernon Nazarene appeared to be headed to extra time with the score tied 2-2, but with 70 seconds to play, Fiema earned the assist to teammate Austin Altimus for the game-winning goal.

Cone made 11 saves in a busy week of action for the Lancers. He posted five saves in a shutout over Saint Francis for his seventh shutout of the 2012 campaign. He also added six saves against Mount Vernon to help the Lancers jump the Cougars for third place in the final Crossroads League match of the year. Cone’s weekly award is his second of the season from the CL.

Sobey continued her excellent form as of late for the Lady Lancers with two goals and an assist in Grace's week. Against Mount Vernon Nazarene, Sobey's goal with 6:42 remaining in regulation capped off a furious comeback from two goals down to preserve a draw for the Lady Lancers.

She went on to add a goal and an assist in a 3-0 win against Marian. For the year, Sobey has tallied 12 assists, which ranks No. 4 in the NAIA. With a handful of games remaining, Sobey already holds Grace’s single-season record for assists.

Burns made seven saves in Grace's 1-0-1 week. She notched four saves in incredibly stormy conditions to preserve a draw against Mount Vernon Nazarene before recording a shutout versus Marian on Saturday.

The Crossroads League Tournament kicks off on Saturday. The men’s team has already clinched a first-round home game on Saturday, and the women’s team will hope to lock up a top-four seed with a win in their season finale against Goshen on Tuesday.

Late goal lifts Lancers to third place


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Austin Altimus provided the game winner with 70 seconds remaining in regulation to lift Grace’s men’s soccer team to their third straight victory in the Crossroads League.

By virtue of Grace’s 3-2 win over Mount Vernon Nazarene, the Lancers (10-4-2; 5-2-2 CL) clinched third place in the league standings, which kick off Oct. 27.

Grace was strong in possession after the opening whistle of Saturday’s match. The Lancers struck first when freshman Steven Fiema blasted in his 10th goal of the season. Fiema cut in toward the top of the penalty box and unleashed a left-footed shot from 25 yards that beat the goalkeeper with ease.

The Lancers held Mount Vernon to three shots in the first half and entered halftime leading by one.

The match picked up in intensity when the Cougars (10-5-3; 5-2-2 CL) equalized early in the second half.

Grace, who tallied 13 shots in the second half, responded with a penalty kick in the 69th minute. Mount Vernon was whistled for a handball inside the penalty box, and Gift Sibukome tucked away his PK for Grace’s second goal.

Mount Vernon did not back down on Grace’s “Senior Day,” however, as they tied the score again at the 84:07 mark to set up the frenetic final minutes.

Austin Altimus nearly won the game with two minutes left when his shot ricocheted off the crossbar, but he would not have to wait long for another chance.

Fiema took a shot on goal with 1:10 remaining in the game that was deflected away by the Cougars’ goalkeeper, and Altimus positioned himself to finish off the rebound for a late game winner.

Grace outshot Mount Vernon 16-11 overall in the match and had a 13-8 shot advantage in the second half. Altimus led all players with five shots, Fiema tallied four shots, and Shane Barthuly added three attempts.

Senior goalkeeper Collin Cone made six saves in 90 minutes to secure Grace’s win. He, along with fellow seniors Trenton Porter and Sam Cole, were honored prior to Grace’s match.

The Lancers have one final tune-up match at Purdue Calumet on Monday before preparing for the first round of the Crossroads League Tournament. Grace will host the No. 6 seed of the bracket at Miller Field on Saturday. Listen to the match live here.

Strong first half allows Grace to cruise by St. Francis


FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Grace scored three goals in the first half of action as the Lancers topped St. Francis 3-0 on Tuesday in Crossroads League play.

With the win, the Lancers (9-4-2; 4-2-2 CL) secured a top-four finish in the league. As a result, Grace will host a first-round game for the CL Tournament starting next week.

“This was a good result for us tonight. I liked our mentality and overall focus,” said Grace head coach Matt Hotchkin. “We are still learning how to be a team and how to adapt as a game changes. We have taken some big steps these last couple games, and I’m proud of the guys’ work.”

Grace dominated play during the first 45 minutes of play. The Lancers outshot the Cougars (7-10; 1-7 CL) 13-6 in the first half and recorded all five corner kicks in the half.

Shane Barthuly started the scoring in the 29th minute when he latched onto an assist from Steven Fiema.

Fiema added his second assist of the half at the 40:01 mark. His distribution was finished by senior defender Sam Cole, who scored his first goal of the season.

The Lancers were not finished yet as they added their third goal of the half in the 42nd minute. Fiema, who had a part in each goal, notched the final tally of the evening at the 41:57 mark from an assist by Austin Altimus.

The Cougars did their best to pull a goal closer as they outshot the Lancers 9-3 after halftime, but strong goalkeeping play from Collin Cone secured the win.

Cone made five saves in 90 minutes to preserve Grace’s seventh shutout of the season.

The Lancers will conclude the CL season on Saturday with a home match against Mount Vernon at 3 p.m. With a win, Grace could move into second place depending on how the rest of the league fares. Listen to this crucial game on Stretch Internet here.

Fiema's hat trick takes down Spring Arbor


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s men’s soccer team was desperately in need of a win, and freshman Steven Fiema helped deliver as his hat trick highlighted a 4-1 victory over Spring Arbor.

The Lancers (8-4-2; 3-2-2 Crossroads League) scored three unanswered goals in the second half to run away from the Cougars (11-3-2; 4-1-2 CL). Grace currently sits in a tie for third place in the standings with only two CL matches to play.

“We played a composed game against a strong Spring Arbor team today. We really focused on personal accountability and good communication to help us stay together for the full 90 minutes,” said Grace head coach Matt Hotchkin. “I was proud of our guys today. We have been inconsistent lately, almost feeling like a boxer on the ropes, and our guys came prepared to compete today.”

Austin Altimus nearly scored in the first two minutes of action when his shot beat the goalkeeper but bounced off the crossbar.

Fiema collected his first goal of the game at the 14:14 mark. Gift Sibukome chipped a pass over the defense to Fiema, who rolled his shot to the side of the Cougars’ goalkeeper and into the net.

Both teams had chances to add to the scoring before halftime as Grace and Spring Arbor tallied nine shots apiece. The Cougars missed on a golden opportunity to score when a shot from David Edwardson nailed the crossbar from close range.

In the second half, rainy conditions contributed to a slick field and a number of goals.

The Cougars found an equalizer from Abdul Ibrahim in the 61st minute, but the Lancers were swift in response.

One minute after Spring Arbor’s goal, Trenton Porter picked out a streaking Fiema, who latched onto the deep pass and slotted his shot past the goalkeeper.

Grace’s third goal started when Kyle Hamlin cut into the middle of the field from the left side. Hamlin passed to Shane Barthuly on the right side of the penalty box, and Barthuly fed Dylan Andersen in stride for a one-time finish from 14 yards for his first collegiate goal.

Fiema finished off his first hat trick in a Lancer uniform at the 89:28 mark. He stole a ball from a Spring Arbor defender and scored from a sharp angle along the right endline.

Overall, Grace held a slight 20-19 advantage in shot attempts and a 5-4 advantage in corner kicks.

Senior goalkeeper Collin Cone made 11 saves, including a number of fine plays, to limit Spring Arbor to one goal in 90 minutes.

The Lancers will play at Saint Francis on Tuesday at 7 p.m. before welcoming Mount Vernon Nazarene to Miller Field on Saturday for their regular-season league finale.

Grace dwindles in second half to Taylor


UPLAND, Ind. – After a strong opening 45 minutes that saw the teams tied at 1-1, Grace’s men’s soccer team lost its edge after halftime to allow Taylor to pull away for a 4-1 Trojan victory.

The Lancers (7-4-2; 2-2-2 Crossroads League) equaled the Trojans in shot attempts, but they could only manage one goal from Shane Barthuly in their 11 shots.

The first half primarily belonged to Grace as they tallied nine of their 11 shots before halftime. Barthuly scored an unassisted goal in the 17th minute of play for Grace.

But Taylor found an equalizer less than 10 minutes before the end of the half to steal some momentum, and they continued their effort with the go-ahead goal 73 seconds into the second half.

The Lancers struggled to respond, recording just two shots in the second half while allowing the Trojans (7-7-1; 2-3-1 CL) to tally seven attempts. Taylor added insurance goals in the 76th and 85th minutes for the final margin of victory.

“It was a discouraging second half for us. We played so effectively for the first 45 minutes and really had control of the game,” said Grace head coach Matt Hotchkin. “Yet a game is 90 minutes and sometimes more. We lost our composure after their second goal just after halftime and stopped doing the things that gave us the edge in the game. It’s a good lesson but costly for sure.”

Seven players recorded a goal for Grace led by three shots from Ben Cahill. Barthuly and Gift Sibukome added two shots apiece, and Trent Smith, Steven Fiema, Trenton Porter and Devin Kemmerer each had a shot attempt.

Taylor held a 9-3 advantage in corner kicks, and neither team was whistled for being offside.

“We now are left with having to pick ourselves up from a miserable result and use it to fuel our mentality on Saturday against Spring Arbor,” Hotchkin continued. “This will require total character.”

The Lancers will hope to regain its winning form on Saturday when they host league leader Spring Arbor to Miller Field for a 1 p.m. kickoff. Listen the game live here.

Bethel hands Grace 1-0 setback


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s men’s soccer team suffered a 1-0 defeat to Bethel College on Saturday afternoon at Miller Field.

In a chippy match that included 36 fouls, 8 yellow cards and 2 penalty kicks, a second-half goal from the Pilots proved to be the only score of the match.

The match was played fairly even in the first half with Bethel holding a slight 6-5 advantage in shot attempts over the Lancers (7-3-2; 2-1-2 Crossroads League).

Bethel’s Pedro Amaral slotted home the only goal of the match 10 minutes into the second half, and the action seemed to ramp up after that point.

The Pilots earned a penalty kick when an attacking player was tripped up inside the penalty box. But Grace goalkeeper Collin Cone made one of his eight saves to stop the PK attempt and keep Grace’s hopes alive.

With 13 minutes remaining in the game, Grace was awarded a penalty kick of its own, but Shane Barthuly’s kick was saved by Cody Troyer.

Four minutes later, a 25-yard shot attempt from Kyle Hamlin forced Troyer to make a diving save to keep the Lancers scoreless.

Over the final 10 minutes of play, four yellow cards were issued with each team receiving two as the Pilots (7-3-3; 1-2-2 CL) held on for their first league win of the season.

Steven Fiema and Barthuly led Grace’s team with three shots, and Devin Kemmerer added two attempts of his own.

Bethel finished the match with a 19-11 shot advantage and took five corner kicks to Grace’s three corners.

The Lancers will look to get back on the winning track on Wednesday when they travel to Taylor for a 7 p.m. match.

Fiema's late goal gives Grace a draw


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – In an evenly played Crossroads League match, an equalizer from freshman Steven Fiema with five minutes left in regulation allowed Grace’s men’s soccer team to grab a 1-1 tie with Marian on Tuesday night.

Although the Lancers (7-2-2; 2-0-2 CL) maintained their unbeaten streak in the league with the draw, Grace nearly won the game in overtime.

Late in the first overtime period, Grace earned a penalty kick when the Knights (8-4-1; 2-1-1 CL) tackled Grace in the penalty box. Gift Sibukome’s penalty kick attempt was saved by Marian, however, and Sibukome’s rebound shot attempt sailed high.

With five minutes remaining in the second overtime, Fiema nearly scored his second goal of the match. His free kick attempt from 30 yards forced Marian’s goalkeeper to make a diving save to his left.

Overall, Grace and Marian were nearly level in shots as the Lancers held a slight 20-17 advantage in shot attempts. The Lancers did have a strong advantage as they took 11 corner kicks compared to two for the Knights.

“We had a rough time creating good offensive chances tonight,” said Grace head coach Matt Hotchkin. “Our possession was good in the back and in the midfield, but we struggled to adjust to the speed of the turf. We failed to convert on our 11 corner kicks, which doesn’t sit well with me.”

Grace had dangerous possession in the opening half, resulting in a 7-0 advantage in corner kicks for the first 45 minutes. But the Lancers were unable to capitalize and entered halftime in a scoreless draw.

Ten minutes into the second half, Shane Barthuly served a ball from the right endline into an open Nikola Blazic, whose shot was blasted wide of the goal from 10 yards.

Marian stepped up its attack midway into the second half and produced the game’s first goal at the 61:41 mark from Steven Roberts.

Fiema found the equalizer late in the first half when he broke free from Marian’s defense to find himself alone with the Knights’ goalkeeper. Fiema calmed slotted his shot inside the left goalpost in the 86th minute.

Fiema led all players with seven shots on his birthday, and Barthuly and Sibukome tallied five attempts apiece. Collin Cone made three saves and surrendered one goal in 110 minutes.

“Anybody wants to leave a league game with a win, but we will have to take a tie and move on,” Hotchkin continued. “We knew Marian was a solid team, and they proved to be that tonight.”

The Lancers will return to Miller Field on Saturday for a match with Bethel College. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. Listen to the game live here.

Lancers score three in win over Goshen


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s men’s soccer team remained unbeaten in Crossroads League play with a 3-0 victory over Goshen College on Saturday.

The Lancers (7-2-1; 2-0-1 CL) proved to be too much offensively for Goshen as Grace held a 24-6 shot advantage over the Maple Leafs (6-4-1; 1-1-1 CL).

The teams started evenly on the warm Saturday afternoon with each side taking early chances at the goal.

Grace broke onto the scoreboard first in the 12th minute of play. Trent Smith directed the offense in the middle of the field, passing a ball through Kyle Hamlin’s legs which fell to Gift Sibukome in the penalty box. With a defender on his side, Sibukome drilled his shot above the goalkeeper’s head for the first goal of the game.

The Lancers’ midfield began to control play in the later stages of the first half, resulting several strong offensive possessions for Grace.

With 80 seconds remaining in the opening half, Devin Kemmerer started a run on the left side of the field before passing the ball off to Shane Barthuly. Barthuly then weaved his way between two Maple Leaf defenders and rifled his goal to the near post.

The second half was controlled even more completely by the Lancers as Grace’s midfield dictated play for most of the final 45 minutes.

The Lancers outshot the Maple Leafs 12-3 in each half, and Grace netted its third goal of the match 10 minutes after halftime.

Steven Fiema redirected an airborne ball to Nikola Blazic deep in the penalty box. As Goshen’s goalkeeper anticipated a low shot from Blazic, the sophomore midfielder flicked a header over top of the goalie and into the net.

Austin Altimus, who finished with four shots, nearly added a fourth goal when he laced a 26-yarder off the far post later in the second half.

Smith and Blazic led all players with five shots, and Barthuly added four shot attempts.

Collin Cone recorded the shutout in goal for the Lancers with two saves in 90 minutes. For the season, Grace now has six shutouts in 10 games.

The Lancers will travel to Indianapolis, Ind., for their next league match on Tuesday with Marian at 7:30 p.m. Watch the game live here.

Lancers draw with Wildcats in strange fashion


MARION, Ind. – Grace’s match with Indiana Wesleyan was unique on a number of levels.

Both of the game’s goals were scored within 60 seconds of each other. The game also had a 45-minute fog delay in the second half. Finally, the head official called the match with one minute remaining in regulation due to the playing conditions.

When all the dust and fog had settled, the Lancers and the Wildcats settled for a 1-1 draw on Wednesday night.

The Lancers (6-2-1; 1-0-1 Crossroads League) were the offensive aggressors in the opening period. Grace recorded seven shots and four corner kicks in the first 45 minutes but was unable to produce a goal.

The Wildcats (6-1-3; 1-0-1 CL), on the other hand, managed just three shots – none of which were on goal.

Trent Smith got the action started early in the second half. His deep shot bounced off the crossbar on a strike from well outside the penalty box.

Play was halted halfway into the second half as fog took over the Wildcats’ field, making the match impossible to continue for close to an hour.

Shortly after the second half was resumed, the Wildcats struck first with a goal off a corner kick in the 70th minute.

Grace found the equalizer almost immediately at the 70:17 mark. Shane Barthuly scored the goal to knot the game at 1-1.

Both teams fired shots in the final frantic minutes, but the official discontinued the match with 1:07 remaining in regulation on account of the foggy conditions.

The Lancers outshot the Wildcats 13-11 and held a 7-3 advantage in corner kicks. Gift Sibukome led Grace’s team with four shots and two shots on goal.

Barthuly took three shots, and Ben Cahill and Kyle Hamlin each tallied two shots.

The Lancers return to Miller Field on Saturday for a 2 p.m. match with Goshen.

Hamlin's goal lifts Grace past Huntington


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Freshman Kyle Hamlin scored the game-winning goal in the first five minutes of play, and goalkeeper Collin Cone provided a number of timely saves as Grace defeated Huntington 1-0 on Saturday.

The Lancers struck first in their Crossroads League opener and held on to win in a physical match against the Foresters.

On a windy Saturday afternoon, Grace started their scoring play on the right side of the field. Austin Altimus found space on the right sideline and curled a cross into the penalty box.

Altimus' cross bounced once, and Hamlin slid his shot past Huntington’s goalkeeper.

The Lancers (6-2; 1-0 CL) controlled play for large sections of the first half as they outshot the Foresters 6-1 for the first 45 minutes of play.

The Foresters (5-3-2; 0-1 CL) made their push for an equalizer in the second half, however. Huntington tallied nine of their 10 shots after halftime as well as all seven of their corner kicks.

Senior goalie Cone made no less than three diving saves to keep the Foresters out of the back of the net in the second half, and Grace managed to hold on for the victory.

“It was great to get an early goal today, but I felt we let off the gas and lost a real decisiveness in the box,” said Grace head coach Matt Hotchkin. “We are glad to get the win, but we really did not play to our potential in the second half. Our first half showed good team play. [Collin] Cone was our lone bright spot in the second. We’ve got to play at least 90 minutes every game to achieve what we really want to achieve. We’ll learn from this and move on.”

Saturday’s match contained 35 fouls and six yellow cards, four of which belonged to Huntington.

Trent Smith and Gift Sibukome led the team with two shots for Grace, and Hamlin, Devin Kemmerer, Ben Bassous and Chris Boudreau each tallied a shot apiece.

The Lancers will continue Crossroads League play with a road match on Wednesday at Indiana Wesleyan at 7 p.m.

Sibukome nets golden-goal winner against Indiana Tech


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – In a dramatic match that featured two red cards and a penalty kick, Grace’s Gift Sibukome scored the game-winning goal in overtime to defeat Indiana Tech 2-1 on Tuesday.

The Lancers (5-2) ended their nonleague portion of the schedule with a gutsy win over the Warriors (4-3), who have received votes in the NAIA Top 25 Poll for much of the season.

Grace was strong in possession in the first half, resulting in a goal midway into the opening period.

Steven Fiema received a pass on a Lancer set piece in the 30th minute. He dribbled around a defender on the left side of the field and crossed a ball into the penalty box where Ben Cahill rocketed in an eight-yard header.

The Lancers recorded 11 shots in the first half, including six shots on goal.

The Warriors picked up their pace in the second half and tallied six shots. Their only shot on goal after halftime, however, was a penalty kick in the 73rd minute.

A shot at the top of the penalty box deflected off a Lancer’s hand in the box. Indiana Tech was awarded a penalty kick, which Aultain Gaye buried into the left corner of the net.

The match shifted dramatically two minutes later when an Indiana Tech midfielder was sent off the field with a red card. Grace did not have an advantage for long, however, as the Lancers were cut down to 10 men with a red card of their own at the 77:30 mark.

The Lancers nearly won the game at the end of regulation with four shots inside the penalty box in the last five minutes. Cahill and Justin Festa each nearly scored game winners with headed balls late in the match.

The overtime period did not last long as the Lancers produced the golden goal less than four minutes into play. Austin Altimus beat his defender along the right endline and calmly picked out Sibukome in front of the goal. Sibukome blasted home the game winner from close range as the Lancers’ bench charged onto the field in celebration.

“This was an important win for us. We have struggled offensively in our last two games, and today we were able to get some good looks at the goal,” said Grace head coach Matt Hotchkin. “I wasn’t totally pleased with our second half as I thought we failed to adapt and dictate play. Having said that, we overcame an unfortunate PK call to win. We are getting better, and the guys know we can continue to improve.”

Overall, Grace outshot Indiana Tech 17-15 including an 8-3 advantage in shots on goal. Each team had three corner kicks.

The Lancers will kick off the Crossroads League schedule on Saturday when they welcome Huntington University for a 2 p.m. match. Listen to the game live here.

Grace comes up short to Racers


LIMA, Ohio – The Grace men’s soccer team could not overcome a first-half goal from Northwestern Ohio as the Lancers fell 1-0 on Saturday.

The Lancers (4-2) were shut out for the first time in the 2012 season as the Racers (2-3) held on for the win.

Northwestern Ohio’s goal was a strike from Dominic Riedel in the 32nd minute of play, and neither team managed to score after that point.

The Racers outshot the Lancers 8-2 in a physical first half of action. UNOH also picked up three yellow cards in the first half compared to one for Grace.

The Lancers picked up the offensive pressure after halftime by tallying three shots and the only corner kick for either team in the second half.

The Racers’ defense proved up to the task on Saturday, however.

Shane Barthuly recorded three shots and two shots on goal, which was tied for the most in the match.

Goalkeeper Collin Cone surrendered one goal in 90 minutes. He saved four shots for Grace.

After scoring 18 goals in Grace’s first four games of the season, the Lancers have scored once in their last two games – both of which were losses.

The Lancers return to Miller Field for a pair of home matches next week. Grace plays Indiana Tech on Tuesday at 5 p.m. before kicking off the Crossroads League schedule against Huntington on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Listen to both games here.

Grace suffers first loss of year


BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – Grace’s men’s soccer team did not allow a goal for the first nine halves of the 2012 season. Olivet Nazarene broke that streak on Tuesday with three goals in a 3-1 victory over the Lancers.

For the Lancers (4-1), costly defensive mistakes allowed the Tigers (3-2) to hand Grace its first defeat of the season.

Olivet Nazarene recorded a 6-2 shot advantage in the first half, but neither team managed to score in the opening 45 minutes of play.

Less than a minute into the second half, however, the Tigers pounced on a momentary lapse in Grace’s defense to score the opening goal.

Grace surrendered its second goal of the year just seven minutes later. The Lancers, forced to play with offensive abandon, saw a third goal score against their defense midway through the half.

Olivet Nazarene’s three goals in the second half came on just four shots.

Finally Grace found the back of the net at the 79:34 mark. Trent Smith served a cross into the penalty box, which Ben Bassous finished to pull the Lancers back into contention.

Bassous’ goal would prove to be the final tally of the game, however, as the Lancers experienced their first loss of the year.

“I thought we did a good job of controlling possession, but our offensive execution was poor,” said head coach Matt Hotchkin. “The score doesn’t totally reflect how the game was played. We missed three wide-open opportunities to score which cost us big time. That could’ve changed the focus of the game to us controlling the action. We are frustrated with the result, but it’s a good learning experience for us to assess where we are at and learn.”

Overall, Grace was outshot 10-8 while both teams recorded four corner kicks.

The physical match resulted in 34 fouls and five yellow cards. Olivet Nazarene was responsible for 20 fouls and three bookings.

Freshman Steven Fiema led Grace with two shots and one shot on goal. Seven Lancers tallied a shot in the match.

The Lancers will hope to get back on the winning track with a 3 p.m. match at Northwestern Ohio on Saturday.

Lancers sweep Crossroads League weekly honors


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Collin Cone and Kyle Hamlin swept the Crossroads League's weekly player of the week awards for men's soccer after helping Grace to two wins in two matches.

Cone, a senior goalkeeper, was named the CL's Defensive Player of the Week. He made a number of fine saves to earn two shutouts in the week (vs. Andrews University and vs. Moody Bible Institute).

He has tallied three shutouts in Grace's first three matches as a central figure in Grace's perfect start to 2012.

Hamlin, a freshman midfielder, earned the CL's Offensive Player of the Week. Hamlin scored his first collegiate goal in the first half against Andrews University. He then went on to add another goal in the second half and a third goal against Moody Bible Institute.

All in all, Hamlin tallied three goals on just seven shots in helping Grace off to a 3-0 start to the season.

Offense strong over Robert Morris-LC


WAUKEGAN, Ill. – Grace continued its perfect start to the season with five goals in a victory over Robert Morris-Lake County on Monday.

With their 5-0 win, the Lancers (4-0) posted their fourth consecutive shutout to kick off the season.

Grace, who outshot Robert Morris 35-6 overall, tallied three first-half goals to control the match.

Gift Sibukome struck first with a 12th-minute goal that was assisted by Kyle Hamlin. Sibukome assisted the second goal five minutes later to give Nikola Blazic his first goal of the season.

Eight minutes before halftime, Kyle Hamlin continued his torrid stretch of offense with a goal from Trent Smith. Hamlin, the reigning Crossroads League Offensive Player of the Week, has scored four goals in the past three games.

Robert Morris picked up two red cards in the second half to allow the Lancers to dominate possession for the final 45 minutes of play.

Freshman Steven Fiema scored his fourth goal of the season in the 75th minute after Dylan Andersen fed him with an assist.

Andersen, who played less than 20 minutes, recorded his second assist of the match with 10 minutes to play when he fed senior Trenton Porter for his first collegiate goal.

Collin Cone, who won the CL's Defensive Player of the Week award, recorded his fourth shutout of the season by making three saves in 90 minutes.

The Lancers will hope to continue their strong start to the season tomorrow when they play at Olivet Nazarene at 4 p.m.

Grace remains perfect; shuts out Moody


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s men’s soccer team earned its third shutout in as many games with a 4-0 win over Moody Bible Institute.

The Lancers improved to 3-0 on the season thanks to four goals in the second half on Saturday from Miller Field.

An evenly played, back-and-forth first half resulted in several scoring opportunities for each team, but steady goalkeeping kept the game scoreless through 45 minutes.

Grace finally broke through the offside trap of the Archers (2-1) 10 minutes into the second half. Gift Sibukome found freshman Steven Fiema with a long through ball. Fiema alertly sidestepped the charging goalkeeper and dribbled his shot into the untended net to break the scoreless tie.

Fiema has scored a goal in each of his first three collegiate games for the Lancers.

In the 69th minute, Kyle Hamlin doubled Grace’s lead when he unleashed a blast from the left side of the penalty box that brought the packed Miller Field crowd to its feet.

Ten minutes later, Ben Bassous latched onto a through ball from Steven Fiema. He dribbled around the right side of the oncoming goalkeeper and laced his shot into net at the 77:09 mark.

In the final minute of action, Bryce Glock’s corner kick resulted in a late goal from the Lancers. The Archers’ goalkeeper bobbled Glock’s kick, which allowed Austin Altimus to clean up the loose ball before time expired.

Overall, Grace outshot Moody 15-6 and held the Archers to three shots in each half. The Lancers also owned a 6-0 advantage in corner kicks.

Senior goalkeeper Collin Cone earned his third shutout in as many games. He made three saves in his 90 minutes of work.

Hamlin, who came off the bench, led all players with three shots.

The Lancers will have their first road game of the season on Sept. 10 when they travel to Robert Morris-Lake County for a 4 p.m. kick off.

Lancers rout Andrews with seven goals


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s soccer team has its biggest offensive outburst in two years with a 7-0 conquest over Andrews University on Tuesday.

The Lancers (2-0) used two goals apiece from Kyle Hamlin and Austin Altimus and a pair of assists from Shane Barthuly to make short work of the Cardinals (1-1).

Grace held dominant possession throughout the match and tallied 34 shots overall.

Altimus struck first with a close-range finish from a Barthuly cross in the ninth minute. The Lancers didn’t score again until shortly before halftime. Freshman Kyle Hamlin scored his first collegiate goal with an outstanding individual effort, slicing past several Cardinal defenders to lace his shot into the right side of the net.

The Lancers’ offense exploded in the second half, netting five goals on 18 shot attempts.

Gift Sibukome started the scoring in the 52nd minute with a penalty kick, and Fiema finished a cross from Barthuly in the 64th minute.

Hamlin diced his way into the penalty box for his second goal in the 70th minute, and Ben Draper scored his first collegiate goal off an assist from Nikola Blazic in the 82nd minute.

Altimus concluded the scoring in the 86th minute from an assist by freshman Dylan Andersen – Andersen’s first point in a college uniform.

Overall, Grace held a 7-1 advantage in corner kicks and a 34-8 advantage in shots fired.

Senior goalkeeper Collin Cone posted the shutout with three saves in 90 minutes, including a one-on-one save late in the first half on a rare breakaway attempt by the Cardinals.

Grace's seven goals tied its highest single-game tally since their 7-0 win over Robert Morris (Ill.) on Sept. 16, 2010.

The Lancers return home on Saturday with a 4 p.m. match with Moody Bible Institute.

Lancers score twice in season-opening win


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace started their 2012 campaign off on the right foot with a 2-0 victory over Marygrove College on Thursday.

The Lancers (1-0) used an own goal and a goal from freshman Steven Fiema to win the first-ever matchup between Grace and Marygrove.

“We are further along for a first game performance than we have been at this point during the last four years,” said Grace head coach Matt Hotchkin. “Marygrove was dangerous at times and gave us a good idea of how strong we can be. They were also dangerous enough to highlight some areas that need attention.”

In the opening period, the Mustangs (0-1) outshot the Lancers 11-5. But Grace’s defense, anchored by senior goalkeeper Collin Cone, made a number of key stops to keep Marygrove off the scoreboard.

Austin Altimus sparked the first goal of the season when he beat his defender on the left endline. Altimus lofted a cross toward the mouth of the goal, which deflected off a Marygrove defender and into the goal.

Altimus nearly caused the second goal a few minutes later when his pass led Fiema into a breakaway. Fiema alertly sidestepped the charging goalkeeper, but his low shot was cleared off the goal line at the last instant by Marygrove.

Fifteen minutes into the second half, Fiema got another chance at a goal and made the most of it. Shane Barthuly won a deep header and deflected a ball to Fiema, who held off a defender to earn a 1v1 with the goalie. This time, he slotted the ball past him for his first collegiate goal.

Overall, the Lancers held an 8-5 advantage in shots in the second half, limiting Marygrove’s chance to come back.

Cone made a number of outstanding saves to register the shutout victory. He made 10 saves in 90 minutes to keep the Mustangs scoreless.

Grace started two freshmen in Fiema and defender Justin Festa. Three others (Kyle Hamlin, Bryce Glock, Ben Draper) also made appearances off the bench.

“We are beginning to get a vision for what we can do on the field, but our execution isn’t clean yet. We still have a lot of growing to do as a team. We are young and it shows at times,” Hotchkin continued. “Having said that, we are playing with pretty good unity, and the guys really want to win. We are happy to get a victory today, and a shutout victory is always good. Thank you to those that came out today. We are always thankful for the fans that show their support.”

The Lancers will stay at home for their next two matches, including against Andrews University on Sept. 4 and against Moody Bible on Sept. 8.

Grace tops Bluefield in final tune-up


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace's men's soccer team was victorious over Bluefield College by the score of 2-1 in exhibition play on Saturday at Miller Field.

The Lancers controlled possession and seemed the stronger of the two sides in the first half. Grace had a number of looks at the Rams' goal in the opening 45 minutes of play but was unable to convert. The teams entered halftime in a scoreless tie.

Grace deflated Bluefield's hopes, however, with two goals in rapid succession early in the second half.

Freshman Steven Fiema provided the first goal of the game from close range. Shane Barthuly beat a Bluefield defender on the left endline and crossed the ball into Gift Sibukome. Sibukome alertly backheeled the ball to Fiema, who powered his shot into the net from six yards.

Sibukome caused the second goal shortly after. After dribbling past a defender on the endline, Sibukome rocketed a ball toward the mouth of the goal which ricocheted in for an own goal.

Bluefield managed to avoid the shutout with a late goal from Anthony Hunt.

The Lancers will officially kick off their 2012 campaign on Thursday when they welcome Marygrove College to Miller Field at 5 p.m. Listen to the game here.

Lancers hope to catapult off 2011 success


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – The Grace men’s soccer team achieved its finest season in recent memory during the 2011 season. The Lancers posted their first winning season (11-9-4) since 2003 and earned a trip to the NCCAA National Championships for the first time since 2002.

Head coach Matt Hotchkin is hoping his team can build on last year’s success to compete for a title in the Crossroads League in 2012.

The Lancers fielded a young roster last year as two underclassmen (Austin Altimus, Shane Barthuly) led the team in scoring with 10 goals apiece. The majority of Grace’s starters return in 2012 and, along with several key role players, have bonded into what Hotchkin has called “the closest team we’ve had since I’ve been here at Grace.”

“Last year we were young. We had just enough leadership, but most people saw how young we were when we started five freshmen consistently,” Hotchkin said. “This year is the first team where I feel like everybody knows everyone else really well. We know our strengths and weaknesses, and we know how to best use each other. If we field a team who understands how to work together, then I do think we can compete for a league title.”

While forwards Altimus and Barthuly highlight the offensive side of the ball for Grace, they are just two of many goal-scoring weapons at Hotchkin’s disposal.

Grace’s midfield returns a number of players in sophomores Trent Smith, Gift Sibukome and Nikola Blazic and junior Devin Kemmerer. Sibukome (Zambia) and Blazic (Serbia) are both foreign-born players who have improved greatly after being in the US for an entire year.

“[Sibukome and Blazic] went through culture shock last year, which affected how they played. At the end of the year, we really felt the benefit of their play,” Hotchkin commented. “I think now they are fully adjusted, and we’ll continue to see better things out of both of those guys.”

While Grace’s defense was a major question mark entering last season, it became one of the strongest parts of the team with the outstanding play of goalkeeper Collin Cone (7 shutouts, 0.970 goals against per game).

Cone will be counting on seniors Sam Cole and Trenton Porter, sophomore Ben Cahill and junior Ben Bassous to provide resistance in front of the net. Bassous relocated to outside back in the offseason and has potential to be a “breakout player” for the Lancers, according to Hotchkin.

Grace’s recruiting class has high expectations as well with a versatile array of players. All-State performers Steven Fiema (Detroit, Mich.) and Kyle Hamlin (Tipp City, Ohio) should bring an immediate impact to Grace’s attack, and Chris Boudreau (Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Ben Draper (Detroit, Mich.), Justin Festa (Quakertown, Pa.) and Bryce Glock (Winona Lake, Ind.) will challenge for a spot in the rotation as well.

“We’ve seen a lot of improvement over the past four years, and we’re thankful for every single person that comes out and shows excitement for what we’re doing,” Hotchkin continued. “We want to be an entertaining team that honors Grace College and the Lord in the way we play.”

The Lancers kick off the season with a four-game home stand, starting with the season opener against Bluefield College on Aug. 18.

Kitchens named Honorable Mention NCCAA All-American


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Senior Adam Kitchens closed out his career by being listed as an honorable mention on the NCCAA’s All-American Team.

Kitchens, who scored eight goals to go along with five assists in 2011, helped the Lancers back to the NCCAA National Championships for the first time in nearly a decade. He was named to the All-Tournament Team as Grace finished seventh at NCCAA Nationals.

The Lancers finished the 2011 season with a record of 11-9-4, Grace’s first winning season since 2003.

Kitchens, along with junior Trenton Porter, were also named Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes for the Lancers.

Hotchkin chosen to coach in Tourbeau College Soccer Showcase


ORANGE BEACH, Ala. – Head coach Matt Hotchkin of Grace's men's soccer program has been selected as one of seven coaches at the 2011 Tourbeau College Soccer Showcase.

The event, which runs from Dec. 5-9 at the Orange Beach SportsPlex (Ala.), is an opportunity for top college soccer athletes in the US and Canada to participate in a weeklong training camp atmosphere in front of top professional clubs including those from the MLS, USL, NASL, A-League and J-League among others.

The players selected are primarily those who are currently playing at NAIA institutions but also include a portion of other players as well.

All players will be coached by one of seven current NAIA head coaches including Hotchkin, Chris Kranjc (Hastings), Melvin Belong (Bethel-Tenn.), Kom Momeni (Southern Poly), Alan Koch (Simon Fraser), Tom Melville (SCAD-Savannah) and Andrew Belleman (Mt. Vernon Nazarene).

For more information, visit Tourbeau's showcase site at http://www.tourbeausportsgroup.com/p/2011-tourbeau-college-soccer-showca.... Tourbeau's President Chase Neidig is a graduate of Grace College who played under Hotchkin as a Lancer.

Altimus saves Grace with late goal in NCCAA Nationals


KISSIMMEE, Fla. – After twice netting the go-ahead goal in the seventh-place game of the NCCAA National Tournament, Grace’s men’s soccer team appeared to be headed toward a tie with Southwestern Assemblies of God University.

But with two minutes left in regulation, freshman Austin Altimus received a pass from Nikola Blazic in the 18-yard box, then beat his defender and slotted home the game winner as Grace won 3-2.

With the win, Grace finishes the season with a record of 11-9-4. The 2011 season marks the first winning season for the Lancers since 2003.

Grace scored its first goal on the feet of Shane Barthuly. Barthuly dribbled his way into the penalty box from the right side of the field. After getting past his defender, Barthuly dribbled past the goalkeeper as well for an easy finish 10 minutes into the game.

That mark proved to be the only tally of the first half for either side.

Collin Cone kept the Lions scoreless for the moment when he made a terrific save on a penalty kick attempt by the Lions in the second half.

But Southwestern was not to be denied much longer, tying the score up with 29 minutes left in regulation.

Senior Adam Kitchens put Grace ahead again less than 10 minutes later. He used his speed to outrun a pair of Lions’ defenders for a breakaway finish.

Once again, however, Southwestern found the equalizer – this time in the 78th minute which allowed for the dramatic finale that Altimus provided.

The Lancers’ senior class of Adam Kitchens, Justin Evans, Aaron Zuercher and Derek Zwier got the rare privilege of ending their careers with a win in a national tournament.

Kitchens was named to the NCCAA All-Tournament Team at the conclusion of the tournament.

Lancers can't keep up with Palm Beach Atlantic


KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Grace’s defense surrendered more than three goals for the first time all season in a 5-3 loss to Palm Beach Atlantic in the NCCAA National Championships.

The Lancers led midway through the first half, but Palm Beach’s offensive style of play proved to be too much as the Sailfish managed to turn five of their 19 shot attempts into scores.

Grace scored their first two goals off of defensive miscues by the Sailfish (13-8) in the first half. Devin Kemmerer capitalized first when he stole a nonchalant pass from Palm Beach’s goalkeeper for an easy finish at the 9:13 mark.

But the Sailfish evened the score less than two minutes later when Kenny Hogg scored the first of his four goals.

The Lancers (10-9-4) again put a tally on the scoreboard with a mistake by Palm Beach Atlantic’s defense. Nikola Blazic sent a high cross into the box in the direction of Austin Altimus, but the Sailfish’s centerback ricocheted the ball into his own net for an own goal at the 18:57 mark.

Palm Beach’s Hogg incredibly notched three more goals (including a penalty kick) in a five-minute span before the half ended to put the Sailfish up 4-2 at the halftime break.

The second half did not see much of a letdown in offense from either team (eight shots for Grace, nine for Palm Beach), but each side could only net one more goal apiece.

The Lancers cut the gap to one when substitute Shane Barthuly made an immediate impact off the bench. Barthuly beat his defender off the dribble and managed to beat the goalkeeper as well to make the score 4-3.

But the next tally proved to be the last as Grace was whistled for a hand ball inside the 18-yard box to give the Sailfish their second PK goal of the match.

Freshman Jacob Cole made a number of strong saves in goal for the Lancers starting in the place of the injured Collin Cone.

The Lancers took 17 shots, including 11 on goal, led by Gift Sibukome’s five shots and Adam Kitchens’ four.

Grace will hope to end its season with a victory in the seventh-place match of the NCCAA Nationals against Southwestern Assemblies of God University on Saturday at 10 a.m.

Grace slips in double overtime to Judson


KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Despite falling behind in the first minute of play in the NCCAA National Championships, Grace’s men’s soccer team battled back into contention with Judson University only to fall 3-2 in double overtime.

In the opening minute, third-seeded Judson University drew a controversial penalty kick and scored to take an early 1-0 lead.

But for the remainder of the first half, Grace was the aggressor. The sixth-seeded Lancers (10-8-4) won four corner kicks and recorded 12 shots in the half.

Just 19 minutes into the half, the Lancers leveled the score on a low cross that Devin Kemmerer sent in from the end line that found the feet of Austin Altimus. The cross tipped off the outstretched arms of Judson goalkeeper Neil Thompson, and a streaking Altimus knocked it home.

Grace kept the ball on Judson’s side of the field for most of the half and in the waning moments of the half scored again on a virtually identical play featuring Kemmerer on the assisting end and Altimus with his second goal.

The second half was a different story. Judson’s offense picked up, but Grace’s defense managed to keep the Eagles (14-8-1) at bay until the 80th minute. Judson placed a high free kick into the penalty box that landed in a cluster of players, and Mike Tobie knocked in the equalizer. With just minutes remaining, neither team could etch the game-winner forcing overtime.

The match marked the third straight contest the men ventured into overtime to decide a match. The previous two matches were decided by penalty shootout, and it appeared Wednesday’s match was headed there as well.

The first overtime period was reminiscent of the first half seeing Grace pepper the goal with shots. On the same possession late in the period, Grace nearly scored the golden goal twice. Senior Adam Kitchens’ miracle strike was denied by the post, and Sam Cole’s rebound shot was cleared off the goal line by a Judson defender. Neither team tallied in the first period forcing a second overtime session.

Judson was able to counter just minutes into the second overtime period. Their counterattack proved too much for the Lancer defense as Santiago Munoz connected on an impressive left-footed strike that Collin Cone was unable to push past the near post.

Grace will face the second-seeded Palm Beach Atlantic Sailfish at 12 p.m. from Austin Tindall Regional Park in the consolation bracket of the 2011 NCCAA National Championships. Follow the game live at Game Plan Sports Network.

Grace loses PK battle to Cedarville


CEDARVILLE, Ohio – Grace’s men’s soccer team fell in a PK shootout against Cedarville University in the NCCAA Regional Championship.

The Lancers (10-7-4) and the Yellow Jackets (13-6-1) could not find any separation through regulation and a pair of overtime periods, but Cedarville advanced 4-2 in the penalty kick session to win their way to the NCCAA National Championships.

Cedarville had the majority of the shot attempts in the game with a 22-4 advantage in the match, but Grace’s defense proved stout with Collin Cone making a number of brilliant saves to keep the match scoreless.

Derek Zwier made a sliding block to stop an eight-yard shot in the 12th minute, and the Lancers started to gain some offensive pressure midway through the first half.

With the score still 0-0 entering the second half, Cedarville increased their shot attempts to find the go-ahead goal.

The Yellow Jackets tallied 16 shots after the first half compared to just two for the Lancers, but time after time Grace’s defense held.

Cone made a sure-handed grab of a shot inside the penalty box three minutes into the second half and also made an extended save in the second overtime session to deflect another shot above the crossbar.

In the PK shootout, Adam Kitchens and Austin Altimus converted their attempts to keep the count tied at 2-2. Cedarville’s third kicker made his shot, but Justin Evans’ kick was saved.

Cone came back with a huge save as Cedarville’s fourth kicker placed his shot in the middle of the frame, but Cedarville’s goalie made his second straight stop – this time on Ben Bassous.

The Yellow Jackets then hit their fifth shot to win the NCCAA Midwest Region and take the automatic bid.

Lancers win shootout thriller over Bethel


MISHAWAKA, Ind. – In Grace’s regular season matchup with Bethel College on Oct. 8, the Lancers were on the unfortunate end of a 1-0 match that was decided by a penalty kick.

The Lancers got their revenge on Wednesday, however, knocking out the Pilots in NCCAA Regional play in a penalty shootout.

After neither team was able to get on the board in regulation, Grace advanced 5-4 in penalties and will play for the NCCAA Regional Championship on Saturday at Cedarville University.

“This was a typically tough game with two conference teams playing for all they got,” said head coach Matt Hotchkin. “[Bethel] has some really good players up top that will always be dangerous. So our team had to be totally together and unified against their creativity, and our guys did that tonight.”

The Pilots (12-6-1) managed to outshoot Grace 18-9 on the day with nearly half of their shots coming in the first half.

The Lancers (10-7-3) managed to increase their offensive pressure in the second half by tallying six shots and three shots on goal, but neither side was able to punch through in regulation or either of the extra periods.

The penalty shootout started with Bethel, and Grace’s goalkeeper Collin Cone made the play of the match by making a diving save to his right to thwart the Pilots’ first attempt.

Adam Kitchens strode up for Grace’s first penalty kick afterwards and calmly nailed the attempt.

Although Bethel didn’t miss another PK, Cone’s save was all that was needed as Grace went a perfect 5-for-5.

Austin Altimus, Justin Evans and Ben Bassous each followed Kitchens’ example by finding the back of the net on their attempts, and freshman Nikola Blazic sent the Lancers to the NCCAA Regional title game by slicing his shot past Bethel’s goalkeeper for the victory.

“We obviously didn’t want to go to PKs, but it’s something we’ve been practicing the last few weeks to get comfortable with,” Hotchkin continued. “I felt like the guys were really calm stepping up there to take their shot, and Collin [Cone] made a huge save for us.”

Cone was credited for 11 saves in the extended 110-minute shutout.

Offensively, Grace was led by Gift Sibukome (three shots) and Devin Kemmerer (two shots).

“We’d like to thank all the people who drove up here; we had a lot of our fans travel,” Hotchkin commented. “That’s huge when you’ve got a big away game and have supportive fans like we did tonight.”

The match time for the regional championship match in Cedarville, Ohio, on Saturday has not yet been decided. Once it is released, it will be posted at www.grace.edu/athletics.

Men's Soccer starts quest for NCCAA National Tournament


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace's men's soccer team will hope to cap off its strong season by qualifying for the NCCAA National Championships this week.

The Lancers start their qualifying run on Wednesday when they travel to Bethel College for a 6 p.m. kickoff. The Lancers would then play for the NCCAA Regional Championship on Saturday at a time and place to be determined. Grace could potentially play against Cedarville, Indiana Wesleyan or Spring Arbor on Saturday.

The NCCAA Nationals are held in Kissimmee, Fla., from Nov. 30-Dec. 2.

Grace finished fourth in the MCC and enter NCCAA Regional play with an overall record of 10-7-2.