Men's Soccer Receives Academic Honors


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Three players from Grace’s men’s soccer team received academic honors following the 2010 season.

Senior Dan Smith highlighted the list after being named a Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete. Smith was also named an NCCAA Scholar-Athlete.

Seniors Kyle Petty and Michael Sauers were also NCCAA Scholar-Athletes who played integral roles on the Lancers’ squad this past season.

The Lancers finished the season 5-10-2 and 2-5-1 in the MCC.

Lancers Come Up Short in Conference Tournament


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- In the first round of the Mid-Central College Conference tournament, Grace's men's soccer team could not complete its comeback bid in a 2-1 loss to Marian University.

Grace got off to a bad start by yielding a goal to the Knights (12-5-2) in the first 40 seconds. The Lancers (5-10-2) got themselves into a deeper hole when Marian notched their second goal of the game at the 16:28 mark.

Senior Jordan Sharp started Grace's comeback by scoring a goal in the box from a cross on the left side from Matt Caldwell. Both Caldwell and Petty were credited with the assist. However, Grace could not net the equalizer despite outshooting Marian 15-9 on the day.

Sharp recorded a game-high six shots, including three on goal. Joel Bartholomew and Petty each had two shots. Freshman Ethan Davis played all 90 minutes in goal, recording three saves.

The Lancers had to play a man-down after a red card was issued in the 40th minute of the match, which significantly hampered Grace's attack.

Grace Grabs Must-Win in MCC Finale


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Adam Kitchens scored the lone goal of the game in Grace's 1-0 win against the University of Saint Francis in the final game of the regular season.

With the win, the Lancers (5-9-2; 2-5-1 MCC) catapults into sixth place in the conference after starting the day in danger of missing the postseason tournament altogether.

"This was a huge win and a big boost for our confidence entering the conference tournament," said head coach Matt Hotchkin in a postgame radio interview. "We've been so close in several games this year, and it just comes down to pulling out the win."

Kitchens led a counter-attack from the left side of the field and dribbled from midfield into the box where he knocked his shot past the goalkeeper in the 69th minute. Senior Ryan Gerber was credited with the assist on the play.

Grace's offense was dynamic, despite only creating one goal. The Lancers tallied 21 shots, including seven on goal. The Cougars (8-10; 4-4 MCC) recorded 14 shots, three of which were on goal.

With the win, Grace will most likely take on Marian University this weekend in Indianapolis. The Lancers dropped a 3-1 match at Marian earlier this month.

"We learned a lot the last time we went down to Marian," Hotchkin continued. "Now we know what's it like to play there, and we know what we need to do to win."

Overall, there were seven corner kicks for each team and 40 fouls called, with 23 against Grace. Grace's freshman goalkeeper recorded the shutout with three saves in 90 minutes.

Michael Sauers (4 shots, 2 on goal) and Kitchens (5 shots, 2 on goal) led Grace in shots. Todd DeLange provided an offensive spark throughout the game, particularly in the second period, and Sauers misfired on a near-goal toward the end of the game. Justin Evans also nearly made a goal off the bench in the second half.

IWU Nets Three in Second Half, Defeats Grace


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Grace surrendered three second-half goals in their 3-2 loss against Indiana Wesleyan University on Saturday.

The Lancers (4-9-2; 1-5-1 MCC) netted two equalizers in the eventful match but couldn't contend the visiting Wildcats (9-8-1; 6-2 MCC), who sit in second place in the MCC.

Grace yielded the first goal of the match in the 25th minute of the game but responded immediately with a goal 24 seconds later by Todd DeLange. Ryan Gerber spearheaded the attack following the kick-off and played a nice through ball to DeLange, who was streaking into the box. DeLange netted the sliding shot for his third goal of the year. The Lancers entered halftime with the scored tied 1-1.

Indiana Wesleyan struck quickly in the second half, netting a goal within the first minute and a half of the period. Again, Grace netted the equalizer 16 minutes later, when Devin Kemmerer played a beautiful long-range through ball to Mike Sauers, who forced a one-on-one with the keeper and knocked it in the net. It was a fitting goal on his senior day and was his second of the year.

The rest of the match was controlled by the Wildcats, however, scoring in the 65th and 79th minute to run away with the 4-2 victory.

Grace was outshot 27-13 overall and 12-6 in shots on frame, and the Wildcats had 12 corner kicks to Grace's 0. Every goal in the match for both teams had an assist to go along with it.

Ethan Davis tallied eight saves, including seven in the first half.

The Lancers need a victory against the University of Saint Francis on Monday at 3:30 p.m. to avoid a last place finish in the MCC and a berth in the conference tournament. Grace has dropped their last five conference games.

Taylor Pulls Off 2-1 Win Over Grace


UPLAND, Ind. -- Despite a solid offensive performance, Grace couldn't find the back of the net in their 2-1 loss to Taylor on Tuesday.

The Lancers (4-8-2; 1-4-1 MCC) outshot Taylor 17-16 overall and 9-6 on goal but couldn't produce to drop their fourth straight MCC match.

"They have a couple of dangerous players that put the ball away when they need to," said head coach Matt Hotchkin. "I thought it was a pretty evenly matched game. I think we played better overall, but they scored more goals and won the game."

Grace surrendered an early goal to the Trojans (10-7-1; 4-3-1 MCC) in the fourth minute, then scored the equalizer in the 23rd minute. The goal came after Adam Zobrist played a nice through ball to Todd DeLange who knocked it in the net far post.

DeLange scored after missing Grace's last match against Spring Arbor due to an injured ankle. It was his second goal of the year. The two teams entered halftime with the score tied 1-1.

The visiting Lancers gave up another early goal in the second half which ended up being the game-winner. Taylor's star striker Tyler Beachler scored in the 51st minute, his 10th of the year, and the Trojan defense held off the Lancers for the win.

Devin Kemmerer led Grace with five shots while DeLange and Adam Kitchens each totaled three.

Ethan Davis tallied four saves for the Lancers.

Grace will continue conference play at home against Indiana Wesleyan at 3 p.m. on Saturday for Senior Day. The Lancers will recognize Jordan Sharp, Kyle Petty, Matthew Caldwell, Ryan Wenrick, Daniel Smith, Ryan Gerber, Mike Sauers and Adam Zobrist.

Lancers Drop Tough Match to Spring Arbor


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Despite several offensive attacks in the second half, Grace failed to net a goal in their match against Spring Arbor on Saturday.

The Cougars (2-13-2; 2-4 MCC) clung to their 1-0 lead throughout the second period and defeated Grace 2-0 after scoring in the 90th minute. The win snapped Spring Arbor's six-game losing streak and was their second victory of the year.

After getting outshot 10-4 in the first period, the Lancers (4-7-2; 1-3-1 MCC) tallied nine shots in the second half to SAU's four. The Lancers pressed hard at the beginning of the second period and put together a number of solid looks on goal but failed to convert. Ryan Gerber had three shots on goal, and Adam Kitchens had two.

Francesco Paiese scored both of the Cougars' goals.

The physical match led to an 18-13 foul count in favor of Spring Arbor.

Grace falls to eighth in the MCC after the loss, and it's their third in a row in conference play. Grace has to win their final three MCC games to finish with an overall record above .500.

The Lancers travel to Upland, Ind., to take on the Trojans of Taylor University at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

Gerber Leads Lancers to 1-0 Win


CHICAGO, Ill. -- Ryan Gerber scored the match's lone goal in Grace's 1-0 win against Moody Bible Institute on Tuesday.

With 15 minutes left in the game, Jordan Sharp played a ball into Gerber, who knocked it over the off-balanced keeper from 23 yards out. The goal was Gerber's fourth of the year and his first since his hat trick on Sept. 10.

"I was happy for Ryan," said head coach Matt Hotchkin. "I feel like since the accident happened, Ryan really hasn't been himself. I think it was good for him to get a goal today. Hopefully this gives him some confidence to help him finish the year strong."

Lancer goalkeeper Ethan Davis made several big-time saves throughout the course of the game and earned his second shutout of the season. Davis was sidelined in the closing minutes because of a painful collision with one of Moody's strikers, but Colin Cone finished the game in the goal for the Lancers (4-6-2).

Grace started off strong and put together several solid offensive attacks in the first 10 minutes of the game but went quiet the remainder of the half. The Lancers played better at the start of the second half, but again struggled for another 15-minute span before netting the match's only goal.

"The game was pretty uneventful," Hotchkin continued. "I was dissapointed because I didn't think we controlled the pace of the game like we needed to. At the same time, we are still trying to figure these things out. We need to finish these next four conference games out strong and end with a winning record. That'd be huge for us."

Hotchkin mentioned that he was impressed with the sparks that Kyle Petty and Emmanuel Lumbayi gave to Grace's offense.

The victory snapped the Archers' (10-4) seven-game winning streak dating back to Sept. 17.

Grace will return to conference play against Spring Arbor at home on Saturday. Match time is scheduled for 3 p.m.

Grace Lets Another MCC Match Slip


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A rough second half performance led to Grace's second straight conference loss on Tuesday, falling to Marian University 3-1.

The Lancers (3-5-2; 1-2-1 MCC) yielded an early goal at the 5:33 mark but responded a minute later when Adam Kitchens received a through ball, got past a defender and knocked it into the left side of the net for the equalizer. The game remained tied 1-1 at halftime.

The Knights (8-3-2; 3-0-1), however, struck twice in the second half to earn the victory and remain unbeaten in conference play. Marian scored in the 56th minute after a misplay in the back and again in the 75th minute when Grace's keeper was called for a questionable foul in the box that led to a penalty kick.

"Hand it to Marian," said head coach Matt Hotchkin. "They are definitely much improved after they landed three quality players for their roster. The big thing is that we didn't play our game tonight."

Grace had 10 shots to Marian's 21 and five shots on goal to the Knights' eight. Kitchens, who has scored Grace's lone goals in their last two matches, led the Lancers with three shots and two on goal.

Ethan Davis tallied four saves in the match.

"I felt like Marian definitely wanted that game more than we did," Hotchkin continued. "Any 50/50 ball, they won. They were definitely the more physical team tonight. After losing to us last year, they played with a chip on their shoulder."

The Lancers are back in action next Tuesday against nonconference opponent Moody Bible Institute to round off their three-game road stretch. Match time is scheduled for 3 p.m.

Lancers Lose Heartbreaker


MISHAWAKA, Ind. -- A penalty kick in double-overtime ruined Grace's hopes of earning a victory over conference rival Bethel College on Wednesday.

The Lancers (3-5-2; 1-1-1 MCC) were whistled for a foul in the 101st minute when a Bethel striker and Grace defender collided at the top of the box fighting for a 50/50 ball. Bethel netted the penalty kick to earn their second conference win.

Grace came out attacking in the first half, tallying nine of their 14 shots in the opening period. Adam Kitchens scored the match's first goal when he nailed a shot from the 18 after Bethel failed to clear the ball off a Lancer corner kick.

The second half, however, was a different story. The Pilots (5-6; 2-0 MCC) outshot the Lancers 15-1 and had 12 corner kicks to Grace's none. Bethel finally netted the equalizer at the 86:52 mark to force overtime.

"We played very well in the first half, attacking them and keeping the ball on their end," said head coach Matt Hotchkin. "But we failed to possess and found ourselves defending the rest of the second half."

Grace's offense played well in the first overtime period, tallying four shots, but was unable to net a goal.

Ryan Gerber had six shots and four shots on goal while Kitchens totaled two shots on goal.

The loss puts a stop to Grace's four-game unbeaten streak.

"Overall, I thought our guys were the aggressors tonight," Hotchkin continued. "We came out swinging and had good opportunities. Our program is definitely improving, and now we have to figure out how to put the nail in the coffin."

The Lancers will continue conference play at Marian University on Tuesday for a 7:30 p.m. game under the lights.

Grace Goalies Named Players of the Week


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- A pair of freshman goalkeepers for Grace's soccer teams were named the Mid-Central College Conference Defensive Players of the Week on Monday.

Carmen Barnhill represented Grace's women's soccer team, and Ethan Davis was from the men's soccer team as their individual performances defensively were deemed the best in the conference.

Barnhill made several point-blank saves to preserve her second shutout in her third game in a 2-0 win against Indiana Tech. Tech took 31 shots overall and 17 shots on goal in the game. Barnhill's performance helped snap a three-game losing streak for the Lady Lancers.

Ethan Davis was 4.7 seconds away from recording the first two shutouts of his career. He recorded his first career shutout in Grace's 0-0 double overtime tie against Huntington University, amassing five saves in 120 minutes. Davis was nearly flawless in goal all week, with only a last-second goal in a 3-1 win versus Goshen preventing a pair of shutouts.

The Lady Lancers will resume play on Tuesday to face Marian at home at 3 p.m. The men's team plays on Wednesday at Bethel at 7 p.m.

Lancers Cruise Past Maple Leafs


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Grace continued their four-game unbeaten streak on Saturday, defeating Goshen College for the first time since 2003.

The Lancers (3-4-2; 1-0-1 MCC) jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first half and never looked back, defeating them 3-1 overall. Grace shutout the Maple Leafs (3-9; 0-2 MCC) for 89:55 of the game but gave up a late goal before regulation.

Ethan Davis made several big-time saves in the second half and nearly recorded his second straight shutout, making seven saves on the day (six in the second half) and allowing one goal.

"Our defense is communicating a lot better," said assistant coach Ben Anderson in a post-game radio interview. "They have really stepped it up several notches."

Devin Kemmerer scored his fourth goal of the season in the 35th minute after Ryan Gerber penetrated into the box and sparked the offensive attack. Kyle Petty scored six minutes later when he bended a ball into the right upper-90 off of a corner kick, his first of the season.

Grace continued their dominance in the second half and scored in the fourth minute of the period when Todd DeLange rocketed a shot into the top of the net from the 18. Adam Kitchens and Kemmerer were credited with the assist.

The Lancers outshot Goshen 24-20 overall and 10-8 on goal.

They return to action on Sept. 29 at Bethel College at 7 p.m.

Grace, Huntington Draw in Overtime


HUNTINGTON, Ind. – Grace’s men’s soccer team couldn’t net the game winner in their conference opener, tying Huntington University 0-0 in overtime.

The Lancers (2-4-2; 0-0-1 MCC) scored 11 goals in their past two matches but were unable to come up with a score against the Foresters (2-6-1; 0-0-1 MCC) in regulation or in either overtime period.

"Our team had good effort today, but we just weren't all together," said head coach Matt Hotchkin. "I think this is the result of a really tough week emotionally and physically because we struggled at times."

Grace had more shots than Huntington (16 to 11) and even had more corners (7 to 5). Ryan Gerber had four shots to lead Grace's attack while Mike Sauers and Adam Kitchens recorded three shots apiece.

Freshman Ethan Davis started in goal for the Lancers and made five saves on the day for his first collegiate shutout.

"It's a discouraging way to start the conference season, but hopefully we will get back on the right track for this weekend," Hotchkin continued. "Our entire team needs to come together to earn a victory on Saturday."

Grace will try again to nab their first conference victory at home against Goshen College on Saturday. Game time at Miller Field is scheduled for 4 p.m. 

Kemmerer's Hat Trick Leads to 7-0 Win


WAUKEGAN, Ill. – In Grace's game on Saturday, it was Ryan Gerber that earned his first career hat trick. On Thursday against Robert Morris (Ill.), it was freshman Devin Kemmerer's turn.

Kemmerer scored his first collegiate goal in the 13th minute, then decided to get his first collegiate hat trick as well. He netted two more goals in the first half, leading Grace to a dominating 7-0 victory against the Eagles (0-6-2).

"Devin was on fire and played really good on the ball," said head coach Matt Hotchkin. "He looked hungry, and he fed off what his teammates were doing. It's good to get a freshman that kind of confidence he needs. Hopefully, that confidence will carry over into conference season."

Adam Kitchens got the Lancers (2-4-1) rolling in the seventh minute with an early goal, scoring off of a Kemmerer assist. Grace scored again in the 13th minute when Mike Sauers got around his defender on the outside, possessed the ball on the goal line, then played a ball across to Kemmerer to net his first goal. He scored again off a deflection at the 13:50 mark, then netted his hat trick off a Jordan Sharp assist in the 27th minute. At halftime, Grace held a 4-0 advantage and outshot Robert Morris 18-2.

"If you look at Robert Morris' scorelines, they've been playing pretty close games," Hotchkin continued. "They could've been a lot better team than they were. We just took it to them early, and it caused them to get frustrated. We played really well."

Grace continued their dominance in the second half. Just a little over a minute into the period, Sharp scored off of a bending ball with his left foot that was deflected off the head of a defender, his first goal of the season. In the 61st minute, transfer Todd DeLange netted his first goal of the season off of a penalty kick, and Sauers scored the Lancers' seventh goal at the 68:16 mark off Aaron Zuercher's assist. Grace outshot the Eagles 11-2 in the final period.

"The guys have a different mindset going into these games right now," Hotchkin continued. "At the beginning of the season, I don't think we realized that high expectations have to be backed up with a lot of hard work. They are motivated now, and we are scoring goals. That gives us confidence for our first conference match on Saturday. Our mentality has certainly changed these last two games."

After going scoreless their first five games, the Lancers have netted 11 goals in their last two matches.

Grace will try to build on their two-game winning streak when they kick off their conference season at home against the University of Saint Francis on Saturday at 1 p.m. 

Gerber Earns Hat Trick in Grace Victory


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Four minutes into the game, senior striker Ryan Gerber broke Grace's five-game scoreless drought. But he didn't stop there.

Gerber netted three goals throughout the course of the game, leading the Lancers (1-4-1) to a 4-2 win against Trinity Christian College. It was Grace's first win of the season and Gerber's first career hat trick.

"It felt good to get that first goal," Gerber said in a post-game radio interview. "Coach Hotchkin pushed us this week to pick up our intensity in practice, and I definitely think that carried over into the game today. I give all the credit to my teammates for helping me get my goals today."

After Gerber's early goal in the fourth minute of the game, he scored again off of a penalty kick in the 21st minute, giving Grace a 2-0 advantage at halftime.

Grace's Mike Sauers, who typically plays in the Lancers' backline, gave Grace a boost in the second half, playing in a much more offensive position. He got his first look on goal when he received a through ball from teammate Devin Kemmerer in the first four minutes of the half. He netted what-would-have-been his first goal of the season, but Sauers was waived offsides by the referee.

Sauers responded a minute later when he dribbled down the field, rocketed a shot off the gloves of Trinity's goalkeeper, and netted the rebound for his second career goal.

Gerber got his hat trick in the 64th minute when Devin Kemmerer played a long ball to Gerber who one-touched it over the Trinity's keeper, giving Grace a demanding 4-0 advantage over the Trolls (0-3).

"I'm really proud of our guys because they executed our game plan," said head coach Matt Hotchkin in a post-game radio interview. "We wanted to have a high-pressure offensive attack. They executed that today."

Trinity got on the board in the 66th minute and scored off of a penalty kick in the 81st minute to give the Lancers a late-game scare.

Grace outshot the Trolls 19-14 overall and 8-4 on goal. Collin Cone gave the Lancers a solid performance in goal, only allowing a penalty kick and a one-on-one with Trinity's primary striker.

"I don't want us to get too excited about this win," Hotchkin continued. "This was a good win, but we need to enter every game with this kind of intensity. This was definitely the best our offense has looked this year."

The Lancers are back in action at Robert Morris (Ill.) on Sept. 16 at 4 p.m.

Lancers Fall to No. 25 Indiana Tech


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Grace's brutal non-conference schedule continued on Tuesday when they went up against No. 25 Indiana Tech.

The Lancers (0-4-1), despite tallying a season-best eight shots on goal, couldn't net their first goal of the season and fell to Indiana Tech 2-0.

Indiana Tech controlled possession the majority of the first half and patiently distributed the ball on Grace's defensive end. Their efforts eventually paid off, and the Warriors (4-1) scored in the 25th minute after Grace's defense failed to clear the ball out of the box. They entered halftime with a 1-0 advantage.

For the first 20 minutes of the second half, Grace began to control the flow of the game for the first time all contest. They earned several shots on goal, but still couldn't find the back of the net.

The Warriors caught a break in the 75th minute when Grace was whistled for a foul in the box that set up a penalty kick for Indiana Tech's Elliot Everson. Everson netted the PK, changing the momentum of the game.

Grace was outshot 19-16 on the day but had eight shots on goal to Tech's seven. Ryan Gerber led the Lancers with four shots on goal.

The Lancers are back in action on Friday at home against Trinity Christian College at 5 p.m. 

Grace Ties Manchester in Overtime


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Despite two overtime periods and outshooting their opponents 28-12, Grace's match against Manchester College ended in a scoreless tie on Thursday.

Grace's defense was much improved, and several clutch saves in the backfield kept the Spartans (0-0-1) from getting on the board. In the first half, Manchester's Dian Radev had a wide open shot on goal that was cleared off the goal line by Mike Sauers. A similar situation transpired in the second half when Derek Zwier knocked away a dancing ball on the goal line.

"I was definitely more pleased with the defense," said head coach Matt Hotchkin. "They shifted better, and they did a better job covering their area and working with the midfielders. Now, we did give up a few looks. They shouldn't even get a sniff on goal, but we gave a few away. It is nice, however, to finish a game without getting scored on."

Goalkeeper Collin Cone earned Grace's first shutout of the season, and Hotchkin was pleased with the defensive play of Adam Zobrist, Sauers and the intensity of Trenton Porter.

The Lancers (0-3-1) also put together several solid offensive strikes. Ryan Gerber created the best looks and tallied seven shots including two on goal while Adam Kitchens added seven shots and two on goal.

"This is the first game we've played where we were able to get some offense going," Hotchkin continued. "But the offense was not able to get connected to the back. There were some decent opportunities, but I never felt like we had a good understanding of what we wanted to do on the offensive end. We need to have people moving off the ball to get quality looks on goal."

The match was a physical one that featured 24 Grace fouls, 13 Manchester fouls and eight yellow cards.

The Lancers are back in action at home against No. 23 Indiana Tech on Tuesday. Kick off is 4 p.m.

"I don't think we should walk away from this game satisfied that we tied," Hotchkin concluded. "We needed to get that win. I am not satisfied, but I'm thankful that we didn't give up anything. We need to go back to training and learn how to get more involved offensively."

Lancers Complete Tough Opening Weekend


RIO GRANDE, Ohio -- Grace's men's soccer team finished its brutal stretch of three games in three days -- all against teams ranked or receiving votes in the NAIA preseason poll -- with a 4-0 loss to No. 7 Notre Dame.

The Lancers (0-3) kept pace with the Falcons (2-0), yielding only an own goal in the opening half. According to head coach Matt Hotchkin, Grace's offense generated more plays than Notre Dame, but the Lancers still entered the half down a goal.

Grace continued to battle, but the wear of a third game in as many days began to take its toll. Notre Dame scored three goals in the final 25 minutes of regulation, including another own goal, to secure the final margin of victory.

"This was an excellent learning experience for us," Hotchkin said. "I honestly thought we would net the equalizer in the second half, but we just got tired. We definitely will learn things a lot faster playing teams of this caliber than we would by playing lesser teams."

The Lancers' aggressive nonconference season takes a turn home, as Grace plays host to Manchester College on Thursday at 5 p.m.

No. 4 Rio Grande Outpaces Grace


RIO GRANDE, Ohio -- The Grace men's soccer team lost to one of the nation's top programs, No. 4 University of Rio Grande, on Friday.

The Red Storm (2-0) scored in the first two minutes of the game and never looked back, defeating Grace 7-0 in the first game of the Rio Grande Tournament.

"We committed a foul right at the top of the 18, and they scored off of a set piece," said head coach Matt Hotchkin. "Giving up that early goal started us off pretty shaky again."

Similar to Grace's season opener against Mount Vernon on Thursday, the Lancers (0-2) were plagued with a number of defensive errors that led to several easy conversions. According to Hotchkin, free kicks and set pieces produced 4-5 of Rio Grande's goals.

"I don't think the scoreline is reflective of the overall quality of the game," Hotchkin continued. "Rio Grande was clearly the better team; I don't want to discredit them. They have a very esteemed and respectable program. But we just made too many turnovers in crucial areas of the field. A team as good as Rio Grande will always capitalize on the mistakes you make."

Grace faced a 4-0 deficit at halftime, but played better football for the first 20 minutes of the second half, according to Hotchkin. The Lancers' defensive mistakes, however, didn't go away. Rio Grande scored off a penalty kick and a free kick in the 65th and 69th minutes to take a demanding 6-0 lead and earned their final goal in the 79th minute.

"We made some strides, and I know that the scoreline doesn't show that," Hotchkin continued. "I think that these games are going to help us in the long run. We are able to learn in this environment at a much faster rate than playing much weaker teams. We want our guys to hold their heads high and understand that we are still in the process of building this program. We understand what is going on, and we are still experimenting with a lot of guys in a lot of different places."

Hotchkin mentioned that Todd DeLange played well up top, while Ryan Wenrick and Adam Kitchens had solid games in the middle.

After playing Mount Vernon (receiving votes) on Thursday and No. 4 Rio Grande on Friday, the Lancers will top off their difficult three-day stretch in a match against No. 7 Notre Dame (Ohio) on Saturday at the Rio Grande Tournament.

Grace Defense Falters in Season Opener


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Mount Vernon Nazarene proved why they are a top team in the nation in their 6-0 win over Grace on Thursday.

The Cougars (1-0), who are receiving votes in the NAIA preseason poll, racked up three goals in the final six minutes of the game to produce a lopsided scoreline and capture the win in Grace's home opener.

"They are a very skilled team, and they know how to play like a prominent program," said head coach Matt Hotchkin. "This game showed us what we need to work on and where we need to improve. We have a long way to go. This showed us w  here we are as a team."  

Mount Vernon capitalized on two Grace defensive errors which led to a 2-0 lead at halftime. The Cougars' first goal came in the fourth minute, and they added another in the 33rd minute.

"The mistakes we made in the first half were cr  ucial," Hotchkin continued. "You can't have errors like that against a good team like Mount Vernon. They'll make you pay for it."

Their dominance continued in the second half. Mount Vernon scored another early goal three minutes into the half, and they added three more goals in a 3:31 span to blow the game open.

The Lancers (0-1) were outshot 24-11 and only had four shots on goal to Mount Vernon's 13. Goalkeeper Philip Bieri played 62 minutes and recorded six saves.

Newcomers Todd DeLange and Aaron Zuercher and fre  shmen Emmanuel Lumbayi, Joel Bartholomew and Devin Kemmerer earned solid minutes in their first collegiate outing. Lumbayi recorded five of Grace's 11 shots and three of the Lancers' four shots on goal. DeLange had two shots and one on goal.

"This is an adjustment period for our new guys," Hotchkin added. "Playing against solid teams like this will help prepare them physically and mentally for the the conference season. I was impressed with their confidence and boldness on the pitch."

Grace is back in action at the D. Wayne Evans Classic where they will go up against No. 4 Rio Grande at 7 p.m. tomorrow and No. 7 Notre Dame (OH) at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Grace Men's Soccer Set to Continue Building Process


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – The Grace College men’s soccer team has improved each year under head coach Matt Hotchkin, and the Lancers hope to continue that trend in 2010.

Hotchkin, entering his third year as head coach, inherited a program that finished second-to-last in the conference in 2007. The Lancers improved to sixth in 2008 and fourth last season. Grace finished 2009 with their best conference season in half a decade, winning four games in the Mid-Central College Conference and securing a first-round MCC Tournament game at Miller Field.

Despite losing several key players, the Lancers are enhanced in terms of creativity and overall team speed, according to Hotchkin. One of the team’s goals is to finish in the top three of the MCC. “We are excited about the year, but at the same time, we know a lot of things can happen,” Hotchkin said. “We’re definitely still an underdog, but we’ve turned a corner in that we’re not scared anymore. We’re not arrogant or stupidly confident, but we do believe in what we can do.”

Grace’s top two returners on offense are senior Ryan Gerber and junior Adam Kitchens. Gerber’s six goals and four assists made him a 2nd Team All-Conference selection despite not playing at full health, and Kitchens tallied five goals and four assists in his first season as a Lancer. While the offense will miss the departures of Greg Fulton (2nd Team All-Conference) and Darrell Goff (team-leader in goals and assists), Hotchkin believes the 2010 Lancers have improved offensively.

The Lancers will feature a much faster group of players from last year, highlighted by first-year Lancers Todd DeLange and Aaron Zuercher. DeLange, a transfer from Michigan State, will add a tall, fast offensive threat who, according to Hotchkin, is the best player in the air he has seen at Grace. And Zuercher has recovered fully from a broken ankle last year to provide quickness and craftiness on the ball. Freshmen Benjamin Bassous, Joel Bartholomew, Devin Kemmerer, and Emmanuel Lumbayi will also add much-needed speed and ball control to Grace’s attack.

As a result, the Lancers’ style of play should change this year. Hotchkin is hoping last year’s direct, counterattacking style will be replaced with more of a controlled, possession game.

“The change will be that we have players who can possess the ball better under pressure,” Hotchkin explained. “We can keep the ball rather than rush, and we now have speed at almost every offensive position. Everything is changing, and hopefully the results will continue to change for the better.”

Perhaps the biggest loss from last year comes on defense, with the graduation of 2nd Team All-Conference goalkeeper Adam Churchill. While Hotchkin has yet to declare a starting goalie to replace Churchill, he has three talented keepers to choose from in returning sophomore Philip Bieri, Colin Cone (a transfer from Trinity International) and freshman Ethan Davis, who won a state championship last year at Freedom Christian (Hudsonville, Mich.). “We’re still trying to figure out who our go-to guy is in the net,” Hotchkin continued. “We want to see who’s the most confident and who has the best overall technique.” 

Whoever Hotchkin decides on will be protected by a strong defensive unit, anchored by seniors Jordan Sharp and Michael Sauers and junior Justin Evans. Sauers, in particular, will be relied upon this year for leadership on and off the field. “We’re asking more from (Sauers) than we have ever before,” Hotchkin said. “We don’t want to be in a situation where we rely too much on a few people, but we think he’s willing to bear some of that weight.”

While Grace seems to be better on paper, Hotchkin is well aware that anything can happen once the season starts. The Lancers will have 10 incoming players (the “most talented recruiting class” Hotchkin has had), but he will look to his eight seniors to provide the leadership that Grace needs.

“We have to have consistent senior leadership. Our senior class has to set the standard, and the standard has to be high,” Hotchkin continued. “They have to demand a lot out of themselves and always be looking for ways to improve our team. If they do that, then they will be leading well.”

The Lancers open the season with a difficult nonconference schedule, including three games in three days against teams ranked or receiving votes in the preseason NAIA Top 25 poll. They start at home in the season opener against Mt. Vernon Nazarene University on August 26. Then they play in the Rio Grande Tournament against No. 4 Rio Grande on the 27th and No. 7 Notre Dame on the 28th.

“We understand that we have many areas to improve on as a team,” Hotchkin said, “but every step along the way, we’re learning. I’m excited about the way these guys play on the field and how they move on this campus. We’re taking steps, and the program is moving in the right direction.”

Grace Men's Soccer Team Headed to Haiti 


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 who 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.