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.

Grace's MCC tourney ends in semifinals


UPLAND, Ind. – The men’s soccer team did its best to knock off No. 18 Taylor University but came up short in the MCC semifinals, losing 0-2 on Saturday.

The Lancers (10-7-2) managed to take eight shots and three on target, but none of their attempts found the back of the net.

The Trojans (18-1-1), on the other hand, scored two of their seven shots on goal to advance to the MCC championship next Saturday.

Danny Cawley earned the first goal for Taylor midway through the first half. Despite a similar amount of shots for both teams in the opening period (seven for Taylor, six for Grace), Cawley’s goal was the difference maker as Taylor entered the halftime break ahead.

The Lancers directed both of their shots on goal in the second half, but one of Taylor’s five second-half shots from Tyler Beachler beat Grace’s Collin Cone to result in Taylor’s second goal.

Trent Smith and Ben Bassous each tallied two shots apiece for Grace, and Derek Zwier and Adam Kitchens each took one shot on goal.

Although Grace was whistled for 19 fouls compared to 13 for Taylor, four of the match’s six yellow cards were for the Trojans.

Grace held a 7-6 advantage in corner kicks in the match.

The Lancers will hope to qualify for the NCCAA National Tournament through regional competition at a date to be determined later this month.

Grace tops Goshen in MCC quarterfinals


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s men’s soccer team recovered from a one-goal deficit to knock Goshen College out of the MCC tournament with a 2-1 win on Saturday.

The fourth-seeded Lancers stayed composed after falling behind early and outplayed the fifth-seeded Maple Leafs in the second half to score the winner and hold off Goshen’s attack.

"What an enjoyable game to be a part of. Goshen once again proved to be very good, and our guys responded with a lot of heart," said head coach Matt Hotchkin. "We went down a goal fairly early, and the guys just seemed to say, 'No, we will not lose today.' As a coach, I couldn't be more proud of this team and the way they battled today."

The Maple Leafs (10-8) got on the board first when Jesse Ramer found a streaking Alain Chaponniere in the penalty box for a finish from the right side in the 23rd minute.

Grace charged back late in the first half, however. Trent Smith started Grace’s goal-scoring play with a through ball to Aaron Zuercher into the left half of the penalty box. Zuercher outran his defender and poked the ball around Goshen's goalkeeper Ryan Troyer where Austin Altimus finished the slow-rolling ball from point blank range at the 39:21 mark.

The Lancers (10-6-2) nearly scored again before the half when Shane Barthuly drilled a shot off the post in the waning seconds of the first half.

Grace’s momentum continued into the second half as they outshot Goshen 13-7 in the final period.

In the 74th minute, Barthuly beat the outside defender on the right sideline and angled toward goal near the end line. He then blasted the game winner past Troyer from close range at a difficult angle for Grace’s first lead of the match.

Goshen almost tied the score a few minutes later, but Grace’s Collin Cone made a brilliant save from a 12-yard shot attempt to ensure Grace’s win.

Cone finished with three saves to take the victory.

Overall, Grace took 18 shots and seven shots on goal, led by Barthuly’s five shots (two on goal). Gift Sibukome was a major factor in Grace’s midfield possession and finished with three shots.

Goshen held a 7-2 advantage in corner kicks but could only tally four shots on goal.

The Lancers take on regular season MCC champs Taylor University in Upland, Ind., on Saturday. Taylor beat Grace 2-0 at Miller Field in the regular season.

Bassous hits late winner, Grace secures fourth place


MOUNT VERNON, Ohio – Despite trailing by two goals midway through the first half, Grace’s men’s soccer team fought back with three unanswered goals – the final by Ben Bassous with less than two minutes to play – as Grace rallied over Mount Vernon Nazarene, 3-2.

The win secures a first-round home match for the Lancers (9-6-1; 5-4 MCC), who finished in a fourth-place tie with Goshen College.

By virtue of Grace’s 2-0 win over Goshen on Oct. 1, the Lancers will host the Maple Leafs next Saturday at Miller Field at a time to be announced.

Grace dug itself into an early hole when the Cougars’ (7-9-1; 3-6 MCC) Eric Appiah scored in the game’s fourth minute. Mount Vernon increased their lead 30 minutes later when Brian Petak finished a cross in the box.

But the Lancers responded by earning a penalty kick at the 35:50 mark, which senior Adam Kitchens stepped up and finished to give Grace life.

The equalizer came in the 72nd minute when Shane Barthuly assisted Trent Smith to make the score 2-2. But Grace was not done with their rally yet.

In the 89th minute, Barthuly won possession and dribbled his way up the sideline. He eventually found a lane to slot the ball to Bassous who received it inside 18-yard line and nailed the game winner to snap Grace’s four-game losing streak.

“It really feels good to win. I felt like we controlled play for most of the game, but again we found ourselves down early,” said head coach Matt Hotchkin. “The guys patiently kept moving the ball and never fell into a trap of leaving our strengths. The guys took a major bundle of frustration from off our back with those goals. I’m extremely proud of the team today, and we are confident going into conference that we can play with anybody.”

Mount Vernon held the edge in shots 18-14 but shots on goal were virtually even with six for Grace and seven for the Cougars. The Lancers also held a 4-3 advantage in corner kicks.

Grace outshoots St. Francis, slips 2-1


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – On a wet, slippery Miller Field, Grace's men's soccer team outshot Saint Francis 20-8 but were still edged out by the Cougars 2-1 on Tuesday.

All three goals were scored within a 13-minute span midway through the second half, with the Cougars getting the final go-ahead tally in the 70th minute and holding on for the win.

The Lancers (8-6-1; 4-4 MCC) held the Cougars to three shots on goal overall, but Saint Francis struck first at the 57:19 mark when Andy McGuire beat goalkeeper Collin Cone with a shot from well outside the penalty box.

Senior Aaron Zuercher, on Grace's Senior Day, leveled the game when he finished off a rebound in the 66th minute. Ben Cahill started the attack with a cross from the right wing. Shane Barthuly headed the ball towards goal and was blocked initially by goalkeeper Tresor Vunda, but only to be punched home from seven yards out by Zuercher.

Grace's momentum was short-lived, however. The Cougars (6-9-1; 2-5-1 MCC) found the game winner from Alex Fletcher, who received a through pass and slotted home his goal from the right side of the penalty box at the 69:47 mark.

The Lancers nearly had their second equalizer with 11 minutes remaining, but Adam Kitchens' shot pinged off the post after Devin Kemmerer sent in his cross.

Grace held the advantage in corner kicks (10 to 2) and outshot Saint Francis in the first half (8 to 2) and the second half (12 to 6), but they had to settle for their fourth straight loss in the Mid-Central College Conference after opening their MCC season with a 4-0 record.

The Lancers travel to Mount Vernon, Ohio, to take on Mount Vernon Nazarene on Saturday at 2 p.m. in their MCC regular-season finale.

First-half goal dooms Lancers


SPRING ARBOR, Mich. – In what was otherwise an even match, Spring Arbor's goal in the 18th minute proved to be the only difference in their 1-0 win over Grace's men's soccer team.

The Lancers (8-5-1; 4-3 MCC) took 17 shots and 11 shots on goal, but they could not puncture Spring Arbor's defense.

The Cougars (7-6-3; 4-3 MCC) recorded 17 shots in the game as well and had nine shots on frame. Joel Musambi scored the game's only tally at the 17:38 mark on an assist from Giovanni Sturla.

Statistically, the match was about as even as could be. Both teams tallied nine shots in the first half, and each team added eight shots in the second half. Grace (11) and Spring Arbor (10) had a similar number of fouls as well.

Shane Barthuly paced Grace's attack with three shots, all of which were on goal, and Trent Smith added three shots and one shot on goal.

Twelve different players took a shot for the Lancers, but none of their attempts got past the defense of the Cougars' goalkeeper Ryan Stephens, who made eight saves in the shutout victory.

After opening their MCC campaign with four straight wins, the Lancers have been shutout in each of their last three MCC matches.

Grace's next game is also their last home match of the regular season. The Lancers' Senior Night is on Tuesday against Saint Francis at 3:30 p.m.

No. 18 Taylor outpaces Grace 2-0


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s men’s soccer team came up just short against No. 18 Taylor University, losing 0-2 on Wednesday.

The Trojans (13-1-1; 5-0-1 MCC) continued their impressive stretch of play and have now stayed unbeaten in their last 11 matches.

Grace let in an early goal from Tyler Beachler, who headed home a corner kick from Tim Daniels at the 5:12 mark.

The Lancers (8-4-1; 4-2 MCC) took three shots on goal in the first half but were unable to come up with the equalizer.

Taylor’s physical play proved to slow down Grace’s attack, limiting their quality looks. Grace managed to take three more shots on goal in the second half but none could get past the gloves of Josh Giuliano.

The Trojans’ second goal came off a counterattack. After an initial shot by Beachler was turned away by Grace, Tim Miller blasted the rebound into the right side of the goal from just outside the 18-yard line in the 75th minute to essentially secure the victory.

Grace was outshot 15-8, despite a similar amount of possession between the two teams. Taylor was whistled for 15 fouls compared to seven for Grace in the match.

The Lancers were also at a disadvantage in corner kicks 4-8 in favor of Taylor.

Grace continues MCC play when they travel to Spring Arbor, Mich., to take on the Cougars on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Grace falls to Bethel, 1-0


MISHAWAKA, Ind. – Grace gave up a first-half penalty kick goal to Bethel College for the only goal of the match, losing their first MCC match of the season 1-0 on Saturday.

The Lancers (8-3-1; 4-1 MCC) took nine shots, including six in the second half, but were unable to pull even with the Pilots (8-4; 4-1 MCC).

Bethel earned a penalty kick at the 27:08 mark from a tackle in the penalty box, which Bernardo Sant’Anna fired left past Collin Cone.

Cone, the reigning NAIA Defensive Player of the Week, made seven saves on the day but had to take a loss.

Grace took four corner kicks compared to two for Bethel. The Pilots ended up with 15 shots and 11 shots on goal.

Seven players recorded shots for the Lancers, led by two apiece from Adam Kitchens and Gift Sibukome.

The Lancers continue MCC play with a home match against Taylor University on Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Lancers shut down Marian, improve to 4-0 in MCC


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s men’s soccer team continued its dominance in MCC play with a 2-0 win over Marian University on Tuesday.

The Lancers (8-2-1; 4-0 MCC) have yet to concede a goal on defense against MCC opponents and have now outscored their opposition 10-0 through four MCC matches.

Grace controlled play on both ends of the field against the Knights (6-6; 0-4 MCC). Marian could only manage to take three shots, none of which were on goal. The Lancers, on the other hand, recorded 17 shots and 10 shots on goal.

Trent Smith struck first for Grace when he finished off a loose ball in the penalty box. Adam Kitchens started the set piece from 35 yards out, and Smith finished the scrum in the box at the 29:34 mark.

The second half saw the Lancers press for an insurance goal, taking nine shots and six shots on goal. But the lone tally came from Gift Sibukome in the 89th minute.

Kitchens gave a through ball to Sibukome on the left side of the box, and the freshman from Lusaka, Zambia, slotted his first collegiate goal nicely past the keeper inside the 18-yard line.

Grace was called offsides 11 times compared to only one time for Marian.

The Lancers also took six corner kicks compared to one for the Knights.

Kitchens led Grace’s offense with four shots and two shots on goal. Devin Kemmerer and Smith also took two shots on goal.

The Lancers travel to Mishawaka, Ind., to face Bethel College on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Cone wins NAIA, MCC Player of the Week


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Junior goalkeeper Collin Cone was distinguished as the nation's standout Defensive Player of the Week by the NAIA on Tuesday.

Tuesday's announcement follows Cone's winning the same award at the conference level on Monday by the Mid-Central College Conference.

Cone posted two shutout victories in goal for the Lancers this week. He made nine saves without allowing a goal to pass by in 180 minutes of play.

Cone helped secure a 1-0 victory over Indiana Wesleyan (receiving votes in the NAIA Top 25 Poll), which was Grace's first win over IWU since 2004. In that game on Wednesday, the Lancers received a red card in the 30th minute, but Cone's defense was stout which allowed Grace to score the go-ahead goal in the second half.

He also made five saves on the road in a shutout of conference opponent Goshen College on Saturday.

Cone follows Austin Altimus and Shane Barthuly as MCC Player of the Week award-winners from the Lancers in 2011. The Lancers, who enter the week 7-2-1, have won a conference award in three of the six weeks so far.

Grace wins seventh of year, stays undefeated in MCC


GOSHEN, Ind. – Grace continued its remarkable turnaround from a year ago with a 2-0 victory over Goshen College on Saturday night.

The Lancers, who won five games last year, improved to 7-2-1 on the season and 3-0 in the Mid-Central College Conference with seven regular-season matches remaining.

Grace scored quickly to open each half against the Maple Leafs (5-5; 0-2 MCC).

The first goal came within the game’s first five minutes. Devin Kemmerer blasted a free kick off the Maple Leafs’ wall and ricocheted the ball past the keeper into the back of the net.

Grace scored a security goal shortly after halftime at the 47:10 mark from Sam Cole. Austin Altimus sent in a corner kick into the box, where Cole headed it into the net for his first career collegiate goal.

"We beat a very good Goshen team tonight. We struggled to find rhythm, and we found this to be a frustrating night even though we scored some timely goals to secure a win," said head coach Matt Hotchkin. "Goshen has speed and size, but our guys worked very hard for each other tonight, and I believe the Lord was pleased with our effort."

Goshen and Grace took a similar number of shots in the match – 12 for Goshen and 11 for Grace – but it was the Lancers who made theirs count. Eight of the Lancers’ shots were on goal while five were on frame for the Maple Leafs.

Collin Cone made five saves to secure a shutout victory for the Lancers. Grace’s defense has yet to concede a goal in three MCC matches.

Cole led Grace’s attack with three shots, two on goal, and Nikola Blazic also recorded a pair of shots on goal.

Grace continues MCC play with a matchup at home against Marian University on Tuesday. Kickoff is slated for 4 p.m.

Grace overcomes rain, red card to top IWU


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace men’s soccer team put together one of its gutsiest performances in recent memory, playing through a downpour and an early red card to defeat Indiana Wesleyan 1-0 – Grace’s first victory over IWU since 2004.

Heavy showers made the pitch at Miller Field sloppy and the play rugged throughout the match, resulting in seven bookings between the two teams.

The most influential booking was a red card on freshman Trent Smith in the 30th minute for a retaliation, putting the Lancers (6-2-1; 2-0 MCC) a player down for the final 60 minutes.

The Wildcats (7-4; 1-1 MCC), who are receiving votes in the NAIA Top 25 Poll, used their one-man advantage to take 13 shots in the first half while holding the Lancers to just three.

Collin Cone, who earned the shutout win in goal, made three first-half saves to keep the Lancers’ hopes alive and the game scoreless at halftime.

Grace got their breakthrough moment at the 47:00 mark. Austin Altimus got free on the right side of the penalty box. His shot was rocketed off the hands of the Wildcats’ keeper and squirted left where Aaron Zuercher was there to put away the momentum-shifting goal.

The Lancers continued to take their looks after Zuercher’s goal, tallying six shots total in the second half.

But it was Grace’s defense, anchored by Justin Evans, Sam Cole, Derek Zwier and Ben Cahill, who made numerous stops from the Wildcats in the final frantic minutes.

"The team played from the inside-out today. They didn't focus on things that were out of their control but chose to do everything they could to win," said head coach Matt Hotchkin. "Playing a man down caused us to completely change our tactics, but the guys managed to get a goal to put us back in the driver's seat. We weren't able to fully play our game today, but a win is a win, and I'm very proud of this team."

With their victory, the Lancers also topped the win total from 2010 with eight regular-season matches remaining.

The Lancers will put their undefeated MCC record on the line on Saturday with an away match against Goshen at 7 p.m. 

Listen to the game live here.

Offense surges with five goals in MCC opener


HUNTINGTON, Ind. – The Grace men’s soccer team was impressive in their Mid-Central College Conference opener, winning 5-0 on the road against Huntington University on Saturday.

Shane Barthuly accounted for three assists, and freshman Austin Altimus scored a pair of late goals for the Lancers (5-2-1; 1-0 MCC).

“The guys played well today, and I’m really proud of them,” said head coach Matt Hotchkin. “We showed a lot of composure on the offensive end and found opportunities to play the ball on goal. It’s good to get a conference win and leave no doubt.”

Grace showed tremendous balance, holding the Foresters (2-6-1; 0-1 MCC) to 10 shots while recording 27 on the offensive end.

Freshmen Nikola Blazic and Trent Smith notched their first collegiate goals in the victory. Blazic scored first at the 12:40 mark from an assist by Devin Kemmerer to put the Lancers on the board.

Smith grabbed his goal before halftime in the 38th minute off a pass from Adam Kitchens.

In the second half, all roads led through Barthuly. The first-year Lancer (sophomore transfer) recorded a second-half assist hat trick, first assisting Kitchens at the 62:35 mark.

He then found Altimus twice in the span of 1:32 near the end of regulation to reach the final margin.

Freshman Jacob Cole was credited with the shutout, although he only needed to make one save in 90 minutes in front of net.

Grace recorded eight corner kicks compared to six for Huntington.

The Lancers will prepare next for a match with Indiana Wesleyan at Miller Field on Wednesday. The Wildcats (7-3; 1-0 MCC) are currently receiving votes in the NAIA Coaches’ Top 25 Poll. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m.

Listen to Wednesday's game on Stretch Internet here.

Indiana Tech survives Grace's comeback


FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Grace’s men’s soccer team found itself behind 0-2 at halftime against Indiana Tech.

But the Lancers struck twice in the first 15 minutes of the second half to even the score, only to see the winning goal cross the line in the 81st minute as the Warriors survived, 3-2.

Grace was slow offensively in the opening half with only two shots compared to seven for Indiana Tech. Two of the Warriors’ shots from Aultain Gaye found the back of the net – one at the 35:46 mark and one five minutes later.

The Lancers (4-2-1) found more success in the second half, however.

Aaron Zuercher scored first for Grace at the 48:24 mark on a shot to the corner. Devin Kemmerer then found the equalizer in the 60th minute after receiving a through ball from Ben Cahill and finishing past the goalkeeper.

The Warriors (7-3), who are receiving votes in the NAIA Top 25 poll, found their game winner at the 80:22 mark from Sam Didion. This time, Indiana Tech managed to hold off Grace’s final attempts at tying the score and secured the victory.

Zuercher and Adam Kitchens recorded three shots apiece to pace Grace’s attack. Kemmerer took two shots, and Nikola Blazic added one.

Collin Cone made nine saves in goal for the Lancers. Indiana Tech took 20 shots overall, including 13 in the second half.

Grace tallied four corner kicks and six shots on goal.

The Lancers begin their conference schedule on Saturday at Huntington University. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.

Grace suffers first loss of season


MONTGOMERY, W.V. – Grace's men's soccer team experienced its first taste of defeat in 2011 with a 1-0 loss to West Virginia Tech on Monday.

The lone goal of the game came at the 27:46 mark off a cross into the box that resulted in a tap-in by Joseph Jackson.

The Lancers (4-1-1) held the Golden Bears (3-2-1) to two shots on goal in the entire match, but West Virginia Tech made their opportunities count.

Grace managed to take five shots, three of which were on goal, but they could not puncture the Golden Bears' defense.

Grace will travel to Fort Wayne, Ind., for a matchup with Indiana Tech on Wednesday.

Lancers shut out Andrews for 5-0 win


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace outperformed Andrews University in all facets of the game on Thursday with a 5-0 victory.

The Lancers (4-0-1) outshot the Cardinals (1-5) 30 to 3 and tallied 14 shots on goal.

Grace had a flurry of goals midway through the first half to take a 3-0 lead into the break.

Shane Barthuly scored the first goal of the game in the 21st minute from an Adam Kitchens assist. Kitchens then added a goal of his own shortly after, blasting a free kick past the keeper from 20 yards.

The final goal of the first half came four and a half minutes after the first. Freshman Trent Smith crossed the ball across the face of the goal to Barthuly for a clean finish at the 25:34 mark.

The first half saw the Lancers outshoot the Cardinals 14-1.

Aaron Zuercher finished off a cross from Ben Cahill shortly into the second half, then Kitchens headed in his second goal of the match at the 69:58 mark. Matthew Caldwell was credited with the assist.

Barthuly and Kitchens both scored a pair of goals and had five shots. Zuercher had five shots and three on goal, and Gift Sibukome also tallied four shots.

Collin Cone and Jacob Cole split time at goal for Grace but were rarely tested thanks to the defending of Sam Cole, Justin Evans, Derek Zwier, Cahill and Caldwell.

Grace will travel to West Virginia for a rematch with West Virginia Tech on Monday at noon. Grace narrowly beat WV Tech 2-1 on Sept. 5 at Miller Field.

Barthuly named Offensive Player of the Week


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Sophomore transfer Shane Barthuly was named the Mid-Central College Conference Offensive Player of the Week for his performance on Sept. 5-11.

Barthuly has made an immediate impact on Grace's lineup in an attacking position. On the week, he scored or assisted on three of the Lancers' four goals. Overall, he scored twice and had an assist as Grace went 1-0-1 in two games.

Overall, he has led Grace in scoring with five goals in four games.

Barthuly is the second straight men's soccer player to win Offensive Player of the Week honors, following Austin Altimus' award last week.

Grace, Moody draw 2-2 in overtime


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s men’s soccer team yielded a late equalizing goal from Moody Bible Institute and was unable to separate themselves in a 2-2 overtime draw on Saturday.

Although the Lancers (3-0-1) found themselves down a goal at the half, Grace showed resilience with a strong offensive threat throughout the second half.

Moody’s first goal came on a rebound after a nice save from Grace goalkeeper Collin Cone stopped the initial attack in the 37th minute.

The Lancers’ Shane Barthuly tied the score when he chipped the Archers’ (3-1-2) goalkeeper 10 minutes into the second half. Trent Smith assisted when he played a ball to Barthuly through the middle of the field.

The go-ahead goal was soon to follow. Adam Kitchens jumpstarted Grace’s attack with a dangerous pass to Barthuly, who slotted the ball across the goal to a wide-open Aaron Zuercher for the easy finish at the 61:21 mark.

Moody and Grace each took 11 shots in the fast-paced second half, but it was a late strike by the Archers that finished off the scoring. Richard Supe pulled Moody level after a free kick deep in the Lancers’ territory came his way.

The Lancers had 10 corner kicks compared to four for the Archers. Both teams had ample shot opportunities – 20 for Moody and 18 for Grace.

Cone made eight saves for the Lancers in 110 minutes of play.

Grace finishes its stretch of four straight home games on Thursday, when they welcome Andrews University to Miller Field for a 5:30 p.m. kickoff. Grace defeated Andrews 6-0 in their season opener on Aug. 31.

Altimus, Heuss garner MCC Offensive Player of the Week honors


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Freshman Austin Altimus and senior Elizabeth Heuss were awarded by the Mid-Central College Conference as the Offensive Players of the Week for the week of Aug. 29 - Sept. 4.

In his first collegiate match, the freshman striker Altimus tallied a second-half hat trick against Andrews University, scoring three times in the span of 27 minutes in a 6-0 win.

He followed that performance up with another goal against Cincinnati Christian University, totaling four goals in his first two matches.

Heuss, on the other hand, moved into sixth place on Grace's all-time scoring list with her two goals in two games last week.

She has scored five goals in five games so far this year and has now tallied 23 career goals in less than three years as a Lady Lancer.

Both soccer teams will play at Miller Field on Saturday. The men's team will take on Moody Bible Institute at 1 p.m. followed by the Lady Lancers' battle with No. 18 Trinity Christian at 3 p.m.

Listen to both games on Stretch Internet here.

Lancers remain unbeaten with 2-1 victory


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Senior Adam Kitchens rebounded a shot by Trent Smith and found the back of the net with 18 minutes remaining to give Grace’s men’s soccer team a 2-1 victory over West Virginia Tech on Monday.

The Lancers are now 3-0 to start the 2011 season. The last time Grace won their first three games of the year was 2005, when they started 4-0.

“It’s definitely good to get another win. I felt like we came out strong and played our style early, but the physical nature of the game drew us away a little,” said head coach Matt Hotchkin. “We want to continue to learn how to dictate the play for 90 minutes. We are improving every day, and I’m excited about where the team is headed.”

The Lancers had a number of quality opportunities in the first half but were unable to finish, and the Golden Bears (0-1-1) went into the half tied 0-0.

Grace got on the board quickly in the second half, however. Freshman Austin Altimus sent a cross into the penalty box from the left side and found Shane Barthuly open near the far post for a clean header at the 51:18 mark.

But West Virginia Tech struck back swiftly. The Golden Eagles used a headed goal of their own less than four minutes later to pull even with the Lancers.

Both teams played physical and even throughout much of the match (17 fouls apiece), but it was the Lancers who proved to be superior on the day.

Smith’s creativity in the penalty box forced West Virginia Tech’s goalie to leave the net untended, allowing Kitchens to slot in his rebounded shot from the left side of the box. Grace maintained possession late in the match and did not allow the Golden Bears strong looks at the equalizer.

Grace outshot West Virginia Tech 13-9 and had seven shots on goal. Barthuly recorded five shots with three on frame, and Smith tallied three of his four shots on goal.

Junior Collin Cone earned his third win in goal for the Lancers. He made three saves in 90 minutes of play.

The Lancers have two straight home games before starting a three-game road stretch. Grace welcomes Moody Bible Institute on Saturday at 1 p.m. then faces a rematch with Andrews University on Sept. 15. Grace defeated Andrews 6-0 in their season opener on Aug. 31.

Barthuly scores twice, Grace wins 4-0


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace's men's soccer team continued its offensive prowess to start the 2011 season with a 4-0 defeat of Cincinnati Christian University on Saturday.

The Lancers (2-0) have now outscored their opponents 10-0 through two games this season.

Shane Barthuly scored two goals on three shots as Grace outshot the Eagles (0-2) overall 29-12 in the match.

“Overall, I was happy with our play today. We put some balls in the net, and I think we’re starting to really figure out what we’re capable of doing as a team,” said head coach Matt Hotchkin. “Some of our freshmen are stepping up and doing a nice job, and we’re starting to work together and make the right steps as a team.”

Barthuly got Grace’s scoring started when he connected on a loose ball in the box and drilled the game’s first goal from eight yards out at the 10:25 mark.

In the 14th minute, a pair of freshmen connected for a tally. Trent Smith found Austin Altimus in the left side of the box. Altimus put a left foot on the ball from a difficult angle and slid his fourth goal of the season past the keeper on the far post.

Grace recorded 18 shots in the first half compared to only three for Cincinnati Christian as the Lancers entered the break ahead 2-0.

The Lancers scored again less than three minutes into the second half. Devin Kemmerer played a beautiful square pass in the box to Adam Kitchens, who drilled his shot into the net.

Barthuly added the final score at the 56:43 mark off an assist from freshman Nikola Blazic.

Collin Cone earned his second shutout in as many games with two saves in 90 minutes. Defenders Justin Evans, Matthew Caldwell, Sam Cole, Ben Cahill and Derek Zwier allowed only three shots on goal in the match.

Kitchens tallied six shots, two of which were on goal, and Altimus added three of his five shots on frame.

The Lancers return to Miller Field on Monday as they square off against West Virginia University Institute of Technology at 12 p.m.

Men's soccer dominates season opener 6-0


BERRIEN SPRINGS, Mich. – The Grace men’s soccer team exploded with six goals in their season-opening victory against Andrews University on Wednesday.

Freshman Austin Altimus, who graduated from Lakewood Park Christian as the all-time leading goal scorer in the state of Indiana, continued that trend with a hat trick in his first collegiate game.

Fellow freshman Nikola Blazic also notched three assists in his collegiate debut as the Lancers (1-0) displayed a variety of scoring options against the Cardinals.

“Today was a good first showing for us. Once we calmed down, we held possession, made passes and connected on the offensive end,” said head coach Matt Hotchkin. “We played our style and gained confidence. Defensively, we didn’t let in a quality shot on goal, so it was overall a very strong performance.”

The match started fast-paced and physical as the new-look Lancers, who field 10 newcomers to the roster, battled evenly with Andrews.

But Grace quickly settled down and asserted their control, starting with a goal in the 25th minute from Aaron Zuercher off an assist from Shane Barthuly.

The Lancers were able to strike again just before the half when Blazic played a ball to Adam Kitchens, who finished cleanly in the right side of the net.

Grace put their third goal on the board early in the second half when Kitchens assisted Barthuly for his first goal as a Lancer.

The rest of the scoring all featured the freshman striker Altimus. The 5-foot-9 freshman found the back of the net three times in the span of 27 minutes in the second half.

He tallied once in the 58th minute from a Blazic pass, then in 74th from a Benjamin Bassous/Blazic double-assist, then finally in the 85th minute from Matthew Caldwell.

Overall, the Lancers outshot the Cardinals 26-10 in an impressive showing. Collin Cone earned the shutout in goal for Grace, playing all 90 minutes.

Grace will look to continue their form on Saturday for their home opener against Cincinnati Christian University at 2 p.m. Listen to the game live on Stretch Internet here.

Lancers to kick off 2011 season


WINONA LAKE, Ind – The Grace men’s soccer team is prepared to continue the building process in 2011.

Fourth-year head coach Matt Hotchkin has infused the Lancers with 10 newcomers to the roster to replace a senior-heavy lineup from last year.

“We lost a lot of guys last year, but we brought in a certain kind of personality for our program to take the next step, and we’re seeing the result from that,” Hotchkin said. “We’ve got a very young team, but we still have a challenging goal to finish at or near the top of the conference.”

In order to do that, the Lancers will look to upperclassmen leadership from a pair of midfielders in Adam Kitchens and Trenton Porter. Kitchens scored four goals last season and was named First Team All-Conference.  Porter is a natural vocal leader who can provide direction on the field.

Other key returners include Justin Evans, Derek Zwier, Devin Kemmerer and Aaron Zuercher. Kemmerer tallied a team-high 12 points in 2010 with four goals and four assists, and Evans and Zwier have much-needed experience in the backfield.

Hotchkin is hoping several of the team’s newcomers will add energy and skill at the offensive end. Freshmen Trent Smith, Austin Altimus, Nikola Blazic and Gift Sibukome should figure into the offensive mix immediately for Grace. First-year Lancer Shane Barthuly (a Cornerstone University transfer) is also an attacking midfielder who can make an impact.

“Our freshmen will figure out quickly that collegiate soccer is a different game,” Hotchkin explained. “It’s more physical so everything has to be played quicker. I am confident they can make that adjustment.”

The goalkeeper position is still up for grabs, according to Hotchkin. Junior Collin Cone and freshman Jacob Cole should provide a talented duo from which Hotchkin can choose.

Overall, the Lancers want to define their style of play on the field this year. Hotchkin believes the team was put in isolated situations too often last year, so the key will be to build the team “around a technical base where we can keep and move the ball to be successful,” Hotchkin said.

The offense, as a result, should fit the Lancers’ increased speed and improved free-flowing attack.

“We finally have the team where we can create a style. What is the overall style of Grace men’s soccer? This is the first year we can figure it out, and I’m excited,” Hotchkin continued. “Guys are not hoping for opportunities any more, they’re creating them.”

The Lancers open their season at Andrews University on Aug. 31.

Men's soccer draws in exhibition match


CINCINNATI, Ohio – Grace warmed up for the 2011 season with an exhibition match against Mount St. Joseph on Wednesday and tied 2-2.

The Lancers, who started four freshmen and played more, scored with 19 minutes remaining in the first half. Freshman Joey Hickerson sent a cross into the box, and junior Sam Cole trapped it, dribbled once, then drilled a strike past the keeper from outside the 18-yard line.

Grace doubled their lead 14 minutes later when another freshman, Nikola Blazic, made an immediate impact off the bench. Blazic, originally from Zrenjanin, Serbia, scored his first goal after subbing into the game three minutes earlier. Blazic and sophomore Devin Kemmerer kept the ball between themselves when Blazic found a window from the top of the box and buried a goal in the lower left corner.

The first half was controlled by Grace as the Lancers had a number of looks that nearly resulted in a larger lead. The Lions were able to cut Grace's lead in half just before halftime, however, with a strike from 25 yards out. The Lions found an equalizer midway through the second half on a defensive miscommunication by Grace.

"Today was a good warmup for us," said head coach Matt Hotchkin. "We tried a lot of people in a lot of places. Overall, I felt like we controlled play, and I'm excited about where our offense is headed."

The Lancers officially open the season on Aug. 31 on the road at Saint Andrews.