WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- The Grace College men's soccer team and head coach Matt Hotchkin will leave for Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Sunday as part of a humanitarian effort.
Seventeen Lancers will partner with World Compassion Network, a disaster relief agency centered in Warsaw, Ind., to make the week-long trip. Along with assisting the relief effort, Grace will also compete with a number of Haitian teams on the soccer field.
"The fact that we are even going to Haiti is a work of God," Hotchkin said. "Our original plan was to take the team to Zambia, Africa. But then the earthquake struck in Haiti, and we knew God's desire was to take us there, so we changed our destination. All the guys are excited about this opportunity to serve."
Grace's connection to Haiti is through Josh Grill, a coordinator at WCN. Grill's friend, Yves Regaillard is a native Haitian that graduated from Warsaw Community High School in 1983. He has been working with churches, schools and orphanages in Haiti after his graduation so Hotchkin will work closely with Regaillard while in Haiti.
"Our team is going to Haiti with a common goal: to share the love of Christ with the people of Haiti," Hotchkin continued. "We are prepared to do whatever it takes to serve the people there. We will undoubtedly be stretched."
According to the United Nations, there are still one million homeless people in Haiti without adequate food or shelter because of the earthquake that killed 217,000 people.
"Our soccer team has been blessed with an amazing opportunity go and make a difference in a hurting part of the world," said sophomore Justin Evans. "I am excited to see how we can use soccer as an instrument to go to Haiti, to represent Winona Lake, Warsaw, Grace College and most of all our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
Each team member plans on raising his own support If you would like to help the Lancers, you can send money, clothing, sports equipment, bedding and medical supplies to Grace College at 200 Seminary Dr., Winona Lake, Ind., 46590.
For questions about the trip, contact the Grace College Athletic Office at 574-372-5100 ext. 6266.
WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Grace College’s men’s soccer team couldn’t put two halves together in the first round of the MCC tournament on Saturday.
The Lancers (8-8-1; 4-4 MCC) gave up two goals in the first half in their 2-1 loss to Taylor University, eliminating them from the MCC tournament. The contest was the first men's soccer conference tournament game Grace has hosted since 2003.
Taylor scored their first goal a mere 11 minutes into the game when the Trojans’ Tyler Breachler drilled a kick past the fingertips of goalkeeper Adam Churchill.
Breachler, who leads the MCC in goals, scored again in the 37th minute. Taylor’s Joslin Beck headed the ball off the crossbar on the Trojan corner kick, and Breachler knocked it into the net off the ricochet, his 18th goal this season.
When Grace defeated Taylor 2-1 in regular season play on Oct. 20, the Trojans (8-10; 4-4 MCC) didn’t score their first goal until the 58th minute. Just 38 minutes into Saturday’s the game, Taylor had already earned two. Grace entered halftime trailing the Trojans 2-0.
In the absence of Grace’s Darrell Goff due to illness, the Lancers’ leader in goals (7) and assists (5), it took three-quarters of the game for Grace’s offense to finally mesh. Obiora Agusiobo earned his third goal of the season in the 67th minute off an assist by Adam Kitchens.
Kitchens won the ball in the midfield, dribbled past two defenders and chipped the ball over another defender to the backside of the box. The streaking Agusiobo caught the pass and knocked the ball past the diving goalkeeper into the bottom-right corner of the net.
The goal gave the Lancer offense some much-needed momentum. They nearly scored the equalizer on several attempts in the final 20 minutes. Taylor advances to play the winner of Bethel College and Marian University on Nov. 7 in the MCC semifinals.
Grace outshot the Trojans 19-7 on the day, several of Grace’s shots coming from outside the box. The Lancers had eight shots on goal to Taylor’s five.
Taylor had 23 fouls to Grace’s nine and three yellow cards to Grace’s one.
Despite the disappointing ending, the season still stands as the program’s most successful year in the MCC since 2003. They also finished the regular season with a winning record for the first time in six years in Hotchkin’s second year at the helm of the program.
The Lancers now turn their eyes to the NCCAA tournament on Nov. 16-19. Grace will most likely play a regional qualifier deciding whether or not they advance. The field is yet to be determined.
MARION, Ind. – In a game that decided third-place in the Mid-Central College Conference, Grace College's men's soccer team fell short against Indiana Wesleyan 1-0 on Saturday. The game was the first time all year the Lancers had been shut out.
Neither team scored in the first half, although Grace outshot the Wildcats (6-10-1; 5-3 MCC) 6-4 in the first half. The lone goal of the game came in the 50th minute when a free kick deep in Grace's territory bounced to a Wildcat defender, who knocked it in before senior goalkeeper Adam Churchill could make the save.
The Lancers (8-7-1; 4-4 MCC) were not able to come up with the equalizer the rest of the second half, although Grace threatened several times in the box in the last few minutes. The loss puts Grace in a tie with Taylor University for fourth place; however, Grace wins the tiebreaker by virtue of its 2-1 win on Oct. 20.
"Our biggest problem tonight was that we had difficulty getting our offense to connect," head coach Matt Hotchkin said. "We were so spread out on Indiana Wesleyan's big field, and we couldn't get players connected in the back."
Grace nows prepares for the MCC tournament next Saturday. The Lancers will host a first-round game at Miller Field on Oct. 31, likely against Taylor. Game time has yet to be determined.
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace midfielder Greg Fulton capped his career at Grace College with the game-winning goal on his Senior Day.
With six minutes remaining in the game, Grace and Taylor University were tied 1-1 when Grace's Darrell Goff chased down a ball near Taylor's end line. He drilled the ball low off Taylor's goalie, and on the ensuing loose ball, Fulton pounded in the game winner.
"That’s the type of game that we had to win," said head coach Matt Hotchkin. "Those are the kinds of games that are won by somebody stepping up. We needed a senior to get it done."
In the 18th minute of play, Adam Kitchens slipped a through-ball to Goff on the left side of the goal. Goff outran his defender and knocked it past the goalie with his left foot to give Grace a 1-0 lead. Goff now leads the team with seven goals on the year.
Taylor had an opportunity to tie the game with a penalty kick near the end of the first half, but the attempt went wide right, and Grace entered halftime with a 1-0 lead.
Even though Grace outshot the Trojans (7-10; 4-4 MCC) 27-15 on the day, Taylor executed their second penalty kick at the 57:41 mark to even up the score.
Neither team could score a goal over the heated 27 minutes that followed, which included three Taylor yellow cards. Finally, in the 85th minute, Fulton scored his goal, and the Lancers' defense stood firm to preserve the win.
Adam Churchill, a former Warsaw Tiger standout, recorded six saves for his eighth win of the year. Prior to the start of the game, Churchill ranked 15th in the NAIA and 1st in the MCC in saves per game (6.91).
With one game remaining, the Lancers (8-6-1; 4-3 MCC) are in sole possession of fourth place in the Mid-Central College Conference.
The Lancers have the chance to finish third in the MCC when they travel to Indiana Wesleyan on Saturday. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. The game has special significance to Lancers midfielder Adam Kitchens. He played for the Wildcats in 2007.
"Confidence a lot of times comes from past success," Hotchkin continued, "and we just didn’t have much of that last year. Now, guys are starting to believe that we can do this."
The win against Taylor also marked the first time since 2003 that the program has reached four MCC victories.
SPRING ARBOR, Mich. – After winning their last two conference games, Grace's men's soccer team lost to Spring Arbor University 3-2 on Saturday. The Lancers (7-6-1, 3-3 MCC) dropped one slot in the MCC standings to fifth place with a .500 conference record.
"I'm frustrated with the loss," said head coach Matt Hotchkin. "But I think we are figuring things out as a team. I felt like we played well. At times, however, we didn't pay much attention to our defensive stance."
Grace outplayed the Cougars (8-7, 3-4 MCC), outshooting them 17-15 on the day, but couldn't net a goal in the final minutes of play.
The Lancers' Darrell Goff scored the first goal of the game in the eighth minute off an assist by Adam Kitchens, Goff's sixth of the year.
In the 27th minute, the Lancers' defensive communication broke down and Spring Arbor tied the game 1-1. The Cougars built a 2-1 lead before halftime when Marcel Preis rocketed a goal from 30 yards out.
Preis scored five goals in the Cougars' victory over Huntington on Wednesday and iis third in the MCC with 10 goals this year.
"They have a few guys who are extremely dangerous," Hotchkin continued. "Skill-wise, they are a team that should be closer to the top of the conference."
The Cougars, although sixth in the conference, are a very talented team. On Oct. 3, they had a 3-1 lead over an undefeated Bethel team that is currently ranked 10th nationally, before eventually losing 6-3.
Grace almost made a similar comeback in the second half. Spring Arbor built a 3-1 lead in the 55th minute, but Grace's Adam Kitchens responded with a goal off an assist by Greg Fulton to edge within one.
The Lancers kept the ball on Spring Arbor's side of the field the remaining 15 minutes, but they couldn't net the equalizer.
The contest was a physical one with six yellow cards being issued, five on the Cougars.
The Lancers will seek to maintain their winning record at home against Taylor on Tuesday at 4 p.m. Adam Churchill, Obiora Agusiobo and Greg Fulton will be recognized on Tuesday for Senior Day.
WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- The Mid-Central College Conference has announced that Grace College's senior goalkeeper Adam Churchill has been named the MCC Men's Soccer Defensive Player of the Week.
Churchill recorded 18 saves for the week (nine in each game) in two Grace shutout wins. For the season, Churchill has five shutouts and has been credited with seven wins.
The honor is the first this season for Churchill.
Grace College returns to the pitch this Saturday as the Lancers travel to Spring Arbor. Game time is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Ryan Gerber tallied two goals and an assist in Grace's 3-0 victory over Moody Bible Institute (9-4) on Saturday. Senior Adam Churchill recorded nine saves to secure his fifth shutout of the year.
Gerber scored the game's first goal in the 15th minute when Darrell Goff sent him a cross through the box. From the left side of the box, Gerber rocketed the ball over the goalie to the right upper 90 for the only goal of the half.
59 seconds into the second half, Gerber returned the favor by assisting Goff for his first goal of the game. Goff received the through-pass from Gerber and chipped the ball over Moody's charging goalie. Gerber finished the scoring at the 58:13 mark for his second goal of the game. Steve Fowler and Greg Fulton were credited with the assist on the play for the Lancers (7-5; 3-2 MCC).
The win is Grace's second 3-0 victory in a row. The Gerber-Goff connection has been responsible for nearly half of the Lancers' assists this year and 42-percent of the team's goals. Gerber leads the team with six goals. Goff and Gerber are tied for the team's lead with four assists apiece.
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – On a rain-soaked Miller Field on Tuesday, the Grace College men’s soccer team scored two quick goals in the first eight minutes of action en route to a 3-0 win over Marian.
Adam Kitchens scored at the 2:52 mark off a beautiful cross from Darrell Goff. Junior Jordan Sharp added a second goal less than five minutes later from a shot outside the box. Neither team could create much offense the rest of the half as the slippery field hampered much of the potential offense.
"The weather was definitely a factor today," said head coach Matt Hotchkin. "The way the wind was blowing against us in the first half really had me concerned. But we came out and scored two goals early which really gave us some protection and really made it difficult for Marian to mount an attack."
The second half started slowly again until a corner kick from Justin Evans was played by Kitchens to Matt Caldwell, who punched in the game's final goal. Marian had a few good looks in the second half but couldn't come up with a solid scoring strike to put the Knights (2-9-1; 1-3 MCC) on the board. Grace (6-5-1; 3-2 MCC) outshot Marian 20-18 on the day.
Senior goalkeeper Adam Churchill recorded his fourth shutout of the year. He amassed nine saves on the day. Hotchkin praised Derek Zwier and Trenton Porter, both in their first seasons with the team, for their strong defensive play throughout the game.
"I'm just really thankful to be the coach of these guys," Hotchkin continued. "We're definitely improved from last year and even from three weeks ago. When you see marked areas of improvement like that, it gives you lots of confidence going into those big games on the schedule."
Grace returns to action this Saturday when the Lancers face off against Moody at Miller Field.
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace goalkeeper Philip Bieri didn’t envision his first collegiate start to be against Bethel College, the 11th best team in the nation.
The freshman, however, performed under pressure and tallied 13 saves on the day in Grace’s 1-3 loss to the Pilots (9-0-1; 2-0 MCC).
"He was thrown into the fire today," said head coach Matt Hotchkin. "His first game for us was against a top team in the nation. He handled himself with a lot of poise today, showed a lot of confidence and showed us that he's a valuable goalkeeper for us."
Bieri was filling in for senior goalkeeper Adam Churchill who couldn’t play because he received a red card against Goshen on Saturday. The Lancers (5-5-1; 2-2 MCC) were also playing without senior midfielder Greg Fulton.
Grace hung with the Pilots throughout the majority of the first half, largely because of the Lancers’ stellar defense. Bethel outshot Grace 17-3 in the half but didn’t score until the final two minutes of the half. Grace was called for a handball in the goalie’s box and the Pilots scored off of a penalty kick.
Offensively, the Lancers played even with Bethel in the second half only getting outshot by one, 13-14. Bethel, despite the Lancers’ offensive dominance at the beginning of the second half, scored in the 66th minute to build a 2-0 lead.
"We came out with a game plan tonight, and I thought it was successful in giving us opportunities to score," Hotchkin said. "We hit the post two times in the second half, and there were two other loose balls in front of the net that if we strike them, they're in."
Grace’s Obiora Agusiobo kept the Lancers in the game with a goal in the 73rd minute. On a Grace corner kick, the ball made it through the pack of players to junior Adam Zobrist. Zobrist poked the ball back into the middle, about ten yards away from the goal, and Agusiobo knocked it in.
Bethel knocked in an insurance goal in the 84th minute to build a 3-1 lead and put the game out of reach for the Lancers.
Mike Sauers had four shots and Agustiobo recorded three shots for the Lancers.
"We learned a valuable lesson regarding patience today," Hotchkin continued. "We saw what we were capable of doing against a very good team. I'm frustrated with the loss, and our program needs to get to the point where we know that we can beat anybody."
The game was Grace’s first of their four-game home stand. They play Marian College at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.
GOSHEN, Ind. – For 80 minutes, Grace men’s soccer team played neck-and-neck with Goshen College. The Lancers (5-4-1; 2-1 MCC) however, gave up three goals in the final four minutes to lose 1-5.
Men’s head coach Matt Hotchkin noted that the team lost its composure after a controversial goal in the 83rd minute of play to put the Lancers down 1-3. The line judge called offsides on a Goshen breakaway, but the head official continued play. The Maple Leafs (6-5-1; 1-1 MCC) went on to score to take a 3-1 lead.
“That’s how the game works,” Hotchkin said. “We can’t count on a break in a game for us to win the game. When we don’t get that fortunate break and it goes against us, the wheels come off the bus. Our immaturity showed at that point.”
Goshen scored two more goals in the next four minutes to clinch the victory.
Grace’s Kyle Petty scored the Lancers’ only goal of the game in the sixth minute of play, his first goal of his college career. The goal was also Grace’s first goal against Goshen since 2003, which was also the last time they beat the Maple Leafs.
“We looked really good in the first 15 minutes of the game,” Hotchkin continued. “But to maintain a level of composure and put a nail in the coffin, we just didn’t do that.”
Goshen’s Scott Wilkinson headed in a corner kick in the 22nd minute to tie the game 1-1. It remained tied at halftime. The Maple Leafs’ Nick Good scored in the first five minutes of the second half to give them a 2-1 lead. Good had two goals on the day for Goshen.
Grace was outshot 16-4 and goalkeeper Adam Churchill had four saves. The loss was Grace’s first conference defeat of the year.
The Lancers continue conference play at home against Bethel on Wednesday for a 4 p.m. start.
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace College’s men’s soccer team improved to 2-0 in conference play with their 3-1 win over Huntington University on Wednesday – marking the first time Grace has opened with two MCC wins since 2003.
“This is a quality win against a team that was 8-1 coming into today,” said Lancers’ head coach Matt Hotchkin. “Our guys executed and played together as a unit.”
Two quick goals were scored in the first ten minutes of the game. Grace’s Ryan Gerber scored off Matthew Caldwell’s assist in the third minute of the game to give Grace a 1-0 lead. Huntington responded with a goal six minutes later.
The game was tied 1-1 at halftime and remained tied until the 63rd minute of the game. In the 61st minute, Huntington’s George Halim had a breakaway one-on-one against goalkeeper Adam Churchill. Halim tried to send the ball into the right corner of the net from 15 yards away, but Churchill came up with an incredible diving save, altering the momentum of the game.
Two minutes later, Grace’s Mike Sauers sent a deep free kick over the goalkeeper’s head into the top left corner of the net. Stephen Fowler came off the bench and clinched the win for the Lancers (5-3-1; 2-0 MCC) with a loose ball goal in the 85th minute.
The Foresters (8-2; 0-1 MCC) outshot Grace 20-15 on the day. Churchill tallied 12 saves on the day, only yielding a goal on Huntington’s second shot of the game.
Overall, the game was hard-fought and physical, especially in the second half. Five yellow cards were issued after halftime (three within a five-minute span) and there were 35 fouls in the game.
According to Hotchkin, the team handled itself with poise midst the physical play.
“We looked at this game in the conference as a must-win,” Hotchkin said. “It was great to see our guys respond and come out with the victory.”
Grace’s next game at Goshen will be recorded live starting at 7 p.m.
WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- The Mid-Central College Conference has announced that Grace College's junior forward Ryan Gerber has been named the MCC Men's Soccer Offensive Player of the Week.
Gerber led the Lancers to two wins on the week over Holy Cross and St. Francis. He tallied one goal and an assist against Holy Cross, and one goal in a 2-1 win against St. Francis.
The honor is the first this season for Gerber.
Grace College returns to the pitch at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, September 23 as the Lancers host Huntington University in their first MCC game at Miller Field.
FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- The men's soccer team opened their conference season with a 2-1 win over St. Francis on Saturday, their first victory over the Cougars since 2004.
Grace's Ryan Gerber scored the first goal of the game, his third on the year. Gerber knocked the ball in the right corner of the goal with his left foot after the ball had been bouncing around in the goalie's box.
The Cougars (4-3-1; 0-1 MCC) responded with a goal six minutes later to tie the game 1-1 at halftime.
Grace's Darrell Goff scored off a deflected ball fifteen minutes into the second half to give Grace a 2-1 lead. The Lancers (4-3-1; 1-0 MCC) held onto the victory. Senior goalkeeper Adam Churchill played impressively and with a number of huge saves on the day.
"I'm just proud of the guys," said head coach Matt Hotchkin. "When we lost our lead, it was discouraging for us. But then early in the second half, to get a goal and keep that lead the remainder of the game -- we played to win at that point and that was a big step for our program. Churchill came out with some big saves again, Justin Evans played out of the back as a great sweeper, and Goff played consistent offensively. We are creating more opportunities than we did last year offensively."
The Lancers return to action this Wednesday when Huntington University travels to Miller Field at 4 p.m.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Grace College's men's soccer team came into its game against Holy Cross College on Tuesday with something to prove after losing three straight games by one goal.
The Lancers got what they needed with a 4-0 victory over the Saints (0-5-1), led by a goal and an assist from junior forward Ryan Gerber.
Senior goalkeeper Adam Churchill made two huge saves in the first fifteen minutes of play en route to his third shutout this season. After those few early scares from the Saints, it was all Grace from then on. In the 28th minute, Gerber got the only goal of the half from an assist by Darrell Goff.
In the second half, junior Kyle Petty crossed the ball into the box where Steve Fowler headed it in to give Grace a 2-0 lead. Greg Fulton scored next off an upper-90 rocket from 20 feet; the asssit was credited to Mike Sauers. Gerber's assist to David Pollard in the 83rd minute finished the scoring for the Lancers (3-3-1).
"I was pleased with the guys because I felt like we talked at halftime about what we wanted to do, up 1-0, and the guys came out and executed it," said head coach Matt Hotchkin. "They came out with a lot of energy and enthusiasm and didn't rest on a one goal lead -- that's the first time we did that this year."
The Lancers now face the conference portion of the schedule, starting with a trip to Saint Francis at 1 p.m. Saturday. Grace hopes to improve on last year's 3-5 record in the MCC.
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace's men's soccer team fell to Walsh University 1-2 on Saturday, their third loss in a row. Adam Kitchens had the Lancers' lone goal.
In the fifth minute of Grace's first home game this season, Grace’s Greg Fulton was whistled for a foul in the Lancers' goalie box. The Cavaliers’ Clint Merck booted a low penalty kick into the left side of the net just past the reach of Grace’s Adam Churchill.
Grace’s frontline responded five minutes later when Adam Kitchens scored on an assist from Darrell Goff on a breakaway to tie the game 1-1.
The game remained tied until the 79th minute of the game when Walsh’s Jordan Semple rolled a goal through Churchill’s legs. Churchill had six saves on the day, including several remarkable ones.
The Lancers (2-3-1) had several opportunities in the final minutes including one shot that went off the right crossbar.
The Cavaliers (3-1) had 15 shots compared to Grace’s 12 and there were 22 fouls on the day, 14 from Walsh.
Grace travels to Holy Cross on Tuesday for a 5 p.m. start, their last game before the beginning of conference play.
RICHMOND, Ind. – Earlham’s Bannet Asingura scored both of the Quakers’ goals on Tuesday in their 2-1 victory over Grace.
Asingura scored the first goal of the game in the 23rd minute of play and scored again in the 71st minute to build a 2-0 lead over the Lancers (2-2-1).
Darrell Goff scored Grace’s first and only goal of the game in the 86th minute. Goff, after missing last season because of a torn metatarsal, has four goals this year already. He leads the team in goals and ranks in the top five in the MCC for goals per game and points per game.
The Quakers (2-1-1) outshot Grace 15-9.
Grace plays their first home game of the year against Walsh University on Saturday. Game time is 1 p.m.
The Grace College men's soccer team fell to Indiana Tech 4-5 Tuesday night, the Lancers' first loss of the year.
Indiana Tech had an unconventional 2-0 start in the first 15 minutes of the game and led the Lancers (2-1-1) by two at half time.
Grace scored all four of their goals in the second half and led the Warriors 3-2 at one point. Indiana Tech (1-3) scored the next three goals and led Grace 5-3 before Grace scored their final goal of the game.
Adam Kitchens, Ryan Gerber, Darrell Goff and David Pollard each had a goal for the Lancers.
Grace College’s men’s soccer team earned their second win of the season on Saturday afternoon against Rochester College, 1-0.
The only goal of the game came mid-way into the first half. Mike Sauers sent a corner kick into the box and Obiora Agusiobo scored on a header to give the Lancers the victory.
“It was great to get another win,” said head coach Matthew Hotchkin. “At the same time, I was disappointed with the way we played the second half. We approached it with a lackadaisical fashion. We could have gotten a lot more out of the game if we would have approached it with a different mentality.”
The Lancers improved to 2-0-1 on the season. They play at Indiana Tech Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Grace plays at Earlham on Sept. 9.
PALOS HEIGHTS, IL - The Grace College men’s soccer team picked up its first win of the 2009 season in dramatic fashion on Thursday night.
The Lancers (1-0-1) on the foot of sophomore Darrell Goff (Lansing, MI/Faith Baptist) defeat Trinity Christian 1-0 in double overtime.
Throughout the entire game both teams matched efforts, getting a few good looks at one another, but neither team could punch it past the keeper. By the end of the first period each team had taken four shots and by the end of regulation Grace held a slight advantage with nine shots to Trinity’s eight.
The frantic pace of the end of regulation settle down in the first overtime period as each team played to possession to get the opportunity they wanted. Without the shot to end the game, the contest pushed into the second overtime period. It seemed as if the game would end in a tie as the clock ticked to its final seconds. It was at that point Grace’s goalkeeper senior Adam Churchill (Warsaw, IN/Warsaw Community) sent the ball down the field, where it took a Grace bounce, got ahead of the Trolls’ defense, and was found by Darrell Goff who sent a shot into the net for the game winner with 13 seconds left on the clock in the second overtime period.
On the night the Lancers ended with 12 shots on goal compared to nine for the Trolls.
“We never stopped battling tonight,” said Grace College head soccer coach Matt Hotchkin. “Our back line was solid the entire night and we put ourselves in a position to win the game. I was pleased with our effort and focus all night.”
The back line with two former Warsaw Tigers anchored the Lancer defense and kept Trinity Christian out of the net all night. Junior Jordan Sharp (Warsaw, IN/Warsaw Community), Greg Fulton (Greenville, SC/Bob Jones Acad.), freshman Trenton Porter (Warsaw, IN/Warsaw Community), and Adam Zobrist (Highland, IL/Highland) constantly kept the Trolls' off balance and helped Grace collect the 1-0 win.
The Lancers will continue to be road warriors as they travel to Rochester College on Saturday. The game is schedule for a 2:00 pm start.
The Grace College men’s soccer team is making positive strides.
Before last year, the Lancers typically finished the season with twice as many losses as wins. In 2008, they finished 7-11 overall and 3-5 in MCC play, good enough for sixth in the conference.
This season, second year head coach Matthew Hotchkin hopes to continue moving forward. He wants to finish in the top three of the MCC and make an NCCAA national tournament appearance in Florida. “We will finish with a winning record for the first time in many years,” Hotchkin said.
The experienced Lancer squad includes three seniors, 14 juniors, nine sophomores, and a solid recruiting class consisting of 11 freshmen.
The Lancers return senior Adam Churchill, who according to Hotchkin is the best goalkeeper in the MCC and the best he has ever coached. Churchill had 106 saves last year and allowed 2.201 goals per game.
Junior defender/midfielder Mike Sauers also returns to the lineup. Sauers only missed one game last year and started in 16 of them. “Mike is a quiet leader,” Hotchkin said. “During last season and going into the off-season, he gained confidence in his ability to lead this group. He will return to preseason with a fresh vision of what our program can do this season.”
Hotchkin also talked about the significance of senior defender/midfielder Greg Fulton, a 2008 transfer that followed Hotchkin from Northland Baptist to Grace. Fulton is experienced, strong, an excellent passer, and he is more familiar with his teammates this year.
Other notable returnees are Ryan Gerber (32 shots, 18 shots on goal, and three goals), David Pollard (three goals), and Jordan Sharp (played all 18 games). The Lancers graduated Chase Nedig, and prominent defenders Lucas Brader and Kyle Alcorn. Joel Franklin also will not return to the Lancer lineup.
The Lancers also brought in several influential freshmen for the 2009 season. One of those is Warsaw Community High School graduate Trenton Porter, an experienced player and natural leader that won a state cup for the Fort Wayne Fever club program.
Hotchkin hit the jackpot locally and also landed twins Aaron and Nathan Zuercher of Lakeland Christian Academy. Hotchkin believes both will have an immediate influence. They are quality defenders and according to Hotchkin, Aaron is “a lighting fast midfielder/defender with great comfort on the ball.”
Adam Kitchens is a transfer from conference rival Indiana Wesleyan that will have an impact on the Lancers’ midfield and Darrell Goff will return after missing last season because of a broken metatarsal.
“We will be much more unified this year, and that will translate into our ability to play with confidence and trust,” Hotchkin said. “We will be older too. Last year's group was young and inexperienced. I'm excited to see these guys come together.”