Soccer Stories

Grace takes on Ball State, Valpo in spring scrimmages


WINONA LAKE, Ind. - After completing their finest season in program history during the fall, Grace’s women’s soccer team continued its push for excellence with a competitive spring scrimmage schedule.

The Lady Lancers faced off with NCAA Division I foes Ball State University and Valparaiso University on their home turfs during the spring.

In their first action, Grace travelled to Ball State to play the Cardinals and a team from Canada. The Lady Lancers displayed good possession of the ball despite fielding just 11 players on the roster.

“We came down knowing we were short-handed, but we still felt these were valuable games,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “We had the chance to play against different types of players who had high levels of talent.”

Grace then made the trip to Valparaiso University where they squared off with the Crusaders and 2012 NAIA national runner-up Olivet Nazarene. The team was still missing a handful of regular contributors to the team but managed to produce multiple goal-scoring opportunities against stiff competition.

“Overall these were good matches and good minutes against strong opponents,” Voss continued. “We really came together well as a team and helped work toward our goal of what we want to do with the ball.”

The Lady Lancers will open its 2013 season on Aug. 15 when they travel to California to play Westmont College and The Master’s College. Grace’s first home game is set for Aug. 22 against Judson University followed by a home match with the Women’s National Team of Haiti on Aug. 24.

Women's Soccer wins prestigious NCCAA Scholar Team award


GREENVILLE, S.C. – Grace’s women’s soccer team experienced its finest season in program history on the pitch in 2012. They also proved to be outstanding in the classroom when they were named an Scholar Team by the NCCAA.

Grace was one of 62 fall teams to be named an NCCAA Scholar Team. In order to achieve Scholar Team distinction, a team must post a collective GPA of 3.4 on a 4.0 scale.

The Lady Lancers led all soccer teams in the nation (men or women) with a 3.74 GPA. They were second in the NCCAA for all fall sport teams, only trailing the 3.75 GPA from the women’s cross country team of Manhattan Christian College.

"I am pleased to see the women doing so well in the classroom. They have worked extremely hard to achieve this team GPA,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “These are bright, intelligent athletes who love the Lord and play great futbol, too." 

According to the NCCAA, the Scholar Team award is designed to honor NCCAA teams that demonstrate academic success and to emphasize the importance of academics within the national organization.

Grace produced a program-record 17 wins during their 2012 campaign. They also finished third at the NCCAA National Championships – the highest finish in team history.

Lady Lancers celebrate successful 2012 campaign


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – The 2012 season for Grace’s women’s soccer team is not one that will soon be forgotten.

The Lady Lancers enjoyed their finest season in program history, racking up a school-record 17 wins en route to another NCCAA National Championship appearance.

To cap it all off, Grace enjoyed meeting one of the biggest names in the women’s soccer world – new head coach of the US Women’s National Team Tom Sermanni.

The Lady Lancers were taking in a USWNT match on Dec. 8 in Detroit, Mich., when they were surprised by a lengthy visit from Sermanni.

“This trip was a very fitting end to our fall season. The women really enjoyed the US game and meeting Tom [Sermanni]. The Lord totally worked that out,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “I am pretty sure a few of the women went speechless or did otherwise when Tom walked into our suite. It was just a fitting end to our fall for Grace.”

Before the year began, Grace was already marching into uncharted territory with international match experience in the spring.

The Lady Lancers, during a mission trip to the Cayman Islands in March, faced off with the U-20 Cayman Islands Women’s National Team and tied the squad 2-2.

Grace continued their groundbreaking adventure when they hosted one of the toughest opponents in Grace’s history to Miller Field in the Women’s National Team of Haiti.

Haiti, who was ranked No. 58 in the world at the time in the FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Rankings, pulled out a 3-0 victory in the historic friendly match.

The Lady Lancers sailed through the regular season with an impressive 13-3-2 mark and claimed second place in the Crossroads League.

On the way, Grace upset two teams ranked in the NAIA Top 25 Poll, including a thrilling 3-2 win over No. 25 Indiana Wesleyan won by a last-second goal from freshman Mallory Rondeau.

Grace continued their outstanding play with the team’s first appearance in the league tournament championship match.

The Lady Lancers earned their third trip in four years to the NCCAA Nationals with a win over IWU in the NCCAA regional championship. They went on to capture third place at the tournament – the highest finish in program history.

As a result of Grace’s remarkable season, the Lady Lancers were showered with individual awards. Rondeau and freshman Carianne Sobey, who set Grace’s record for most assists in a season, were both named NCCAA First Team All-American. Rondeau was also given honorable mention status for NAIA All-American.

Rondeau and Sobey, along with senior Jocelyn Evans, each were honored on the Crossroads All-League Team.

In addition, Grace won five Player of the Week awards from the Crossroads League, three NCCAA Player of the Week honors, and one NAIA National Offensive Player of the Week award (Rondeau).

On the academic side, seven Lady Lancers were named Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes. Carmen Barnhill was also named to the Capital One Academic All-America First Team, and Evans earned Second Team honors.

NCCAA showers awards on Lady Lancers


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – After their most successful season in program history, Grace’s women’s soccer team was promptly awarded with a number of honors by the NCCAA.

Freshmen Mallory Rondeau and Carianne Sobey were given NCCAA First Team All-American honors, and Jocelyn Evans also received honorable mention for NCCAA All-American to conclude her collegiate career.

Evans and Sobey were also named to the NCCAA All-Tournament Team.

Rondeau and Sobey were Grace’s statistical leaders throughout their first collegiate seasons. Rondeau and Sobey were the only freshmen to receive NCCAA All-American honors on the first or second team.

Rondeau scored 17 goals to earn honorable mention status for the NAIA All-American Team, and Sobey notched 17 assists.

Rondeau added five game-winning goals to lead the Lady Lancers, and Sobey’s assist total was the most in a single season in Grace’s history.

Evans wrapped up an outstanding four-year career with Grace as she appeared in an unprecedented three NCCAA National Championships as a Lady Lancer. She totaled seven goals and six assists, including four game-winning goals in 2012.

Rondeau named honorable mention NAIA All-American


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Freshman Mallory Rondeau had a season to remember for Grace’s women’s soccer team.

In her first collegiate season, Rondeau amassed a team-best 17 goals and capped off her season by being named honorable mention to the NAIA All-American Team.

Rondeau’s 17 goals ranked fifth in program history for single-season goals. The Wawasee High School graduate also moved all the way up to No. 9 on Grace’s career goals rankings after just one season.

Rondeau, who earned All-League honors from the Crossroads League, led the Lady Lancers with five game-winning goals in 2012. She also provided the game-winning assist in the third-place game of the NCCAA National Championships to seal Grace’s best finish at NCCAA Nationals.

She also earned the Player of the Week award on Oct. 9 from the NAIA, NCCAA and the Crossroads League after scoring four goals in two games. During that week, she also scored the goal of the season to beat No. 25 Indiana Wesleyan with five seconds remaining.

Bennett's late header wins third place for Grace


KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Grace’s women’s soccer team wrote a thrilling final chapter in their outstanding 2012 campaign with a late game winner in the third-place game of the NCCAA National Championships.

Holly Bennett headed home a cross from Mallory Rondeau with 1:17 to play against Trevecca Nazarene as the Lady Lancers earned their highest finish at NCCAA Nationals in team history.

With a final record of 17-5-3, Grace can officially stamp the 2012 season as the best in program history in terms of both total wins and winning percentage.

Grace dominated possession throughout the first half, holding a 7-0 advantage in shot attempts.

The Lady Lancers increased their attack late in the first half, resulting in hard shots from Bennett and Carianne Sobey. But the Trojans’ defense held Grace without a first-half goal.

Trevecca Nazarene evened out the play in the second half but still managed just two shot attempts.

Grace nearly scored the first goal midway into the second half on a counterattack. Rondeau played a great ball to Sobey in the penalty box, but the Trojans’ goalkeeper charged out to stab away Sobey’s shot.

In the final minutes, Grace turned up the pressure, where Rondeau found space on the left to loft a well-placed cross into the box. Bennett rose above her defender to head in the game-winning goal with 77 seconds remaining.

Overall, Grace held a dominant 12-2 advantage in shot attempts. Bennett and Rondeau led all players with three shots apiece, and Heather Martin attempted two shots. Carmen Barnhill recorded the shutout in goal for the Lady Lancers, although she wasn’t required to make a save.

The win ends the careers of Grace’s fine senior class of Jocelyn Evans, Abigail Burns, Kristin Yocum and Ryann Casciari. The pair went to an unprecedented three NCCAA National Championships during their four seasons, racking up All-League and All-American individual awards in the process.

Academics honored for Grace women’s soccer


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s women’s soccer team not only experienced tremendous success on the pitch this year, they also received national awards for their performance in the classroom as well.

Carmen Barnhill highlighted Grace’s academic awards when she was named to the Capital One Academic All-America First Team. She received the prestigious honor as one of 11 members of the First Team for Academic All-America as a graphic design major with an impressive 3.96 GPA.

Jocelyn Evans earned Second Team honors for Capital One Academic All-America after posting a 3.81 GPA as a sport management major.

Seven of the upperclassmen for the Lady Lancers were also named Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes. Grace’s seven NAIA Scholar-Athletes were tied for most in the Crossroads League. Hannah Alcorn, Barnhill, Keeley Booher, Evans, Emily Hickerson, Jalisa Thayer and Kristin Yocum were each named Scholar-Athletes by the NAIA.

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

Grace falters in NCCAA Semifinals to Californa Baptist


KISSIMMEE, Fla. – California Baptist ended Grace’s championship aspirations with a 4-0 victory over the Lady Lancers in the NCCAA National Semifinals on Thursday.

Grace will conclude their season in the third-place game on Saturday against Trevecca Nazarene.

"We played a very good CBU team today. They brought a tough brand of soccer," said Grace head coach Michael Voss. "The Grace women really turned up the possession from yesterday with long sessions of productive possession."

The Lady Lancers (16-5-3) started the match strong, possessing through the midfield comfortably in the opening stages.

But California Baptist broke onto the scoreboard first with a goal less than seven minutes before halftime.

CBU (17-2-1) increased their offensive presence after halftime, tallying 14 shots in the second half. They added a second goal on a cross into the penalty box in the 67th minute.

Grace nearly cut CBU’s lead in half when a free kick from Grace allowed Carianne Sobey to redirect a shot that forced a diving save from California Baptist.

But an immediate response from California Baptist resulted in the third goal of the game on a counterattack.

The Lady Lancers had another goal-scoring opportunity when Mallory Rondeau was fouled after she broke free near the top of the penalty box to earn a free kick, but CBU’s defense held firm on the kick.

California Baptist repeated their previous effort with another counterattack goal after Grace's free kick for the final tally of the game.

"I was pleased with the discipline and composure in the women today. Unfortunately we were chasing the match in the second half, so we decided to play for the win. It could have turned the tide pushing on like we did," Voss continued. "Overall, we played well today, and I was proud of our women and their implementation of our style of play."

Grace, who already has the program record for most wins in a season, will hope to add one more victory to their total on Saturday in the third-place game with Trevecca Nazarene at 12:15 p.m.

Lady Lancers advance in shootout thriller


KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Grace’s women’s soccer team earned its way to the NCCAA National Semifinals by taking down Trinity Christian in a penalty shootout on Wednesday.

The Lady Lancers and the Trolls tied 1-1 through double overtime, and Grace made all five of their PK’s to advance to tomorrow’s national semifinal.

Grace had to survive a late scare from Trinity Christian, however, to even have a chance of advancing.

The Trolls (13-9-2) scored the first goal of the game in the 86th minute in what could have been the game winner.

But Grace recovered immediately with the game-tying goal at the 86:35 mark. Carianne Sobey lofted a high cross toward the far post, which Mallory Rondeau headed in from point-blank range.

Sobey nearly scored the game winner minutes later with a left-footed shot from the top of the 18-yard box that just missed wide.

Grace continued their momentum into the two overtime periods as they outshot Trinity Christian 3-1, but neither team produced the winning goal. Heather Martin registered Grace’s strongest look when she fired a low shot from outside the penalty box that was saved.

Grace had the first attempt in the penalty shootout, which Darcy Johnston scored. Sobey, Martin and Holly Bennett followed Johnston’s form by making their attempts.

Goalkeeper Carmen Barnhill made the biggest save of the season on the Trolls’ second PK attempt, and that save proved to be all Grace needed. Jalisa Thayer provided the winning strike as Grace went 5-for-5 in their PK’s.

“Trinity was a tough opponent today, and they gave us trouble. They are a good team,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “For Grace, this was not one of our best performances. We struggled to connect and string long spurts together. On the other hand, we created numerous opportunities to score. This tournament moves fast so we will need to progress quickly.”

Overall, Grace held a 16-10 advantage in shot attempts and had 10 of the 16 corner kicks in the match.

Sobey led all players with six shots, Rondeau had three shots on goal, and Bennett, Johnston and Martin each had two shots.

Grace will play tomorrow at 5 p.m. in the NCCAA Semifinals against the second-seeded California Baptist. Listen live to the game here.

NCCAA tabs Voehringer as Athlete of Week


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Freshman forward Faith Voehringer was named the NCCAA Student-Athlete of the Week after her game-winning goal on Saturday.

With the score tied 1-1 against Indiana Wesleyan in the NCCAA Midwest Regional Championship, Voehringer scored the game winner in the 72nd minute with a shot from the left corner of the penalty box.

Voehringer’s goal sent the Lady Lancers to their third trip in four years to the NCCAA National Championships in Kissimmee, Fla.

Grace has now had three players win the NCCAA’s Athlete of the Week award, following Carmen Barnhill and Mallory Rondeau’s honors earlier this season.

The Lady Lancers are in the midst of their most successful season in program history with a record of 16-4-2. Grace will open the NCCAA Nationals on Nov. 28 against Trinity Christian.

Grace seals entrance to NCCAA Nationals with 2-1 win


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s women’s soccer team ensured its finest season in program history was not finished on Saturday with a 2-1 win over Indiana Wesleyan in the NCCAA Midwest Regional Championship.

Freshman Faith Voehringer scored the game-winning goal in the 72nd minute to give the Lady Lancers an automatic bid into the NCCAA National Championships in Kissimmee, Fla., from Nov. 26-Dec. 1.

“The women came out and played well today. Wesleyan has been a good program for years and brought it against us today. The Grace women had good bouts of time on the ball and were very productive with that time,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “We got squirrely once but came right back to get ahead again. We had great production from the bench. Those players were a huge part of today.”

Grace’s possession-attacking style gave the Wildcats (14-5-1) fits for much of the match. The Lady Lancers (16-4-2) outshot Indiana Wesleyan 27-6 overall.

The first half belonged to Grace. The Lady Lancers held a 17-1 advantage in shot attempts during the first 45 minutes but could only manage to score once.

Kaitlan Wiles found Holly Bennett near the top edge of the penalty box. Bennett shielded a defender, turned to her left and buried a left-footed shot into the back of the net at the 33:10 mark.

Grace had several opportunities to add to their tally in the first half, including a pair of shots in close from Wiles and Jocelyn Evans.

Evans had a shot attempt cleared off the goal line by a Wildcat defender in the final minute of the first half as they held on to trail by one goal at the halftime break.

The Lady Lancers continued their relentless attack in the second half as Bennett nearly doubled her tally with a hard shot that whizzed outside the goal frame.

Evans made a terrific run from midfield shortly into the second half and picked out Mallory Rondeau for a clean look to the right of the goal, but Rondeau’s low shot was denied by the goal post.

The Wildcats found an equalizer in the 67th minute when they cleaned up a loose ball in the box, but Grace was swift in response.

Barely five minutes later, Carianne Sobey passed to Voehringer, who placed her shot with finesse past IWU’s goalkeeper at the 71:50 mark.

“I’m proud of this team not just because they play good futbol, but because of the way they live their lives, especially in big matches,” Voss continued. “It is so clear that this program loves the Lord, and this is most important.”

Strong defending from Ryann Casciari, Liz Casey, Heather Martin, Jessica Bickle and Jalisa Thayer allowed Indiana Wesleyan to have just three shots on goal. Carmen Barnhill was credited with the win in goal by making two saves in 90 minutes.

Fourteen Lady Lancers recorded a shot in the regional championship, led by four shots apiece from Bennett, Rondeau and Evans.

Grace earned its third trip in four years to the NCCAA Nationals. The Lady Lancers finished with a program-best 2-0-1 record last season in the national tournament.

Grace, who already has the program record for wins in a single season, will hope to win its first national title in team history by winning three games in Kissimmee, Fla.

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

Championship bid comes up short for Grace


SPRING ARBOR, Mich. – Grace’s sparkling run in the 2012 Crossroads League Tournament came to an end on Saturday with a 3-1 defeat in the championship match to NAIA No. 7 Spring Arbor.

The Lady Lancers surrendered two early goals to the Cougars and could not bridge the gap in their quest to win the team’s first league title.

“I’m really proud of the women today. They held together good composure and presented Grace and God in a worthy manner,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “Our program is very thankful for such a great following of superb fans. We really appreciate them traveling for us. This has been a very growing run at the NAIA’s for us this year. We are a better program for it.”

The Cougars (18-2-1) maintained possession in the early stages of the match, but Grace withstood the initial attack and began to find their rhythm.

Spring Arbor scored on an individual play from Karly Linton, however, in the 14th minute and added a second goal two minutes later off a corner kick to shock the Lady Lancers (15-4-2).

After a strong build-up in possession, Grace cut Spring Arbor’s lead in half at the 30:30 mark. Freshman defender Heather Martin fired a low driven shot at the Cougars’ net, which rebounded to Jocelyn Evans. Evans pivoted around a defender and calmly slotted her shot inside the far post.

With the goal, Grace picked up its attack and looked more comfortable on the offensive end of the field. Linton helped deflate Grace’s energy with her second goal shortly before halftime to put the Cougars back on top by two goals.

In the second half, Grace’s goalkeeper Carmen Barnhill made a pair of great saves from close range to keep the Lady Lancers within striking distance.

The Lady Lancers had a handful of chances to score again in the second half, including a breakaway for Carianne Sobey, but Sobey was pressured by a Cougar defender at the last instant, and her shot was saved by Spring Arbor.

Grace initiated a furious attack in the final minutes and produced two shots inside the penalty box and a corner kick, but the Cougars’ defense denied the Lady Lancers.

Holly Bennett and Lauren Becker led Grace’s attack with two shots apiece, and Barnhill made nine saves in goal for Grace.

The match had strong fan bases for both schools. Overall, the game included 34 fouls and 33 shot attempts. Spring Arbor was credited with a 25-8 advantage in shots.

“We’re blessed to be a part of two organizations. The NCCAA is fantastic,” Voss continued. “We will now rest and heal to pursue the NCCAA’s.”

Grace will turn their focus to the NCCAA National Championships and hope to earn their third trip in four years to Kissimmee, Fla. The Lady Lancers will host the NCCAA Midwest Region's championship game on Saturday against the winner of Indiana Wesleyan and Cincinnati Christian. The regional champion will earn an automatic berth to NCCAA Nationals.

Barnhill claims NCCAA Athlete of Week


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Junior goalkeeper Carmen Barnhill was named the NCCAA’s Student-Athlete of the Week for her performance for Grace’s women’s soccer team.

Barnhill became only the second defensive player to nab the award this season. She is also Grace’s second winner of the NCCAA national award this year, joining Mallory Rondeau’s honor on Oct. 8.

During the week, Barnhill helped Grace record its third shutout in four games during Grace’s 1-0 win over Saint Francis in the league tournament semifinals.

Barnhill recorded four saves in 90 minutes to give the Lady Lancers their 10th shutout of the season.

With their 15th win of the year on Saturday, Grace’s women’s soccer team also set the program’s record for victories in a single season.

The Lady Lancers will play for the league title and a trip to the NAIA National Championships on Saturday when they play at NAIA No. 7 Spring Arbor for the league championship at 2 p.m.

Individual awards rain down on Lady Lancers


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Following a successful regular-season campaign, five Lady Lancers received individual recognition for their performances both on and off the field.

Three members of Grace’s women’s soccer team were named to the All-Crossroads League Team, and three Lady Lancers also earned All-District recognition from CoSIDA.

Jocelyn Evans highlighted Grace’s awards by winning both All-League and CoSIDA All-District honors. The senior midfielder ranks second on the team in both goals and assists with six apiece. She won her second straight All-League honor.

A pair of freshmen for Grace also appeared on the All-League Team in forward Mallory Rondeau and midfielder Carianne Sobey. The duo has been Grace’s strongest offensive force in 2012. Rondeau has amassed 16 goals this season, including five game-winning goals.

Sobey has rewritten the record books in her first season, setting Grace’s single-season record for assists with 15. Her mark currently leads the Crossroads League and is No. 3 in the NAIA.

Sophomore Holly Bennett and junior Carmen Barnhill also joined Evans on the CoSIDA All-District Team. To achieve the honor, student-athletes must be at least a sophomore academically and hold a minimum GPA of 3.3. The College Sports Information Directors of America then vote on deserving student-athletes based on both academic and athletic accomplishments.

The Lady Lancers are in the midst of their most successful season in program history, currently holding a record of 15-3-2. Grace will travel to Spring Arbor, Mich., on Saturday to play No. 9 Spring Arbor in the CL Tournament championship match at 2 p.m. The winner of the match earns a spot in the NAIA National Championships.

Lady Lancers set win record, advance to title game


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s women’s soccer team won their program-record 15th game of the season. The team now sits on the verge of their first trip to the NAIA National Championships in program history.

The Lady Lancers won 1-0 over the University of Saint Francis in the Crossroads League tournament semifinals on Saturday, thanks to a first-half goal from Mallory Rondeau.

“Today was a good performance from the Grace women. USF brought a solid effort,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “We had good possession most of the match and had a handful of glorious opportunities. We would have made it easier on ourselves had we put away a few more chances. In the end, it was a good finish for our program.”

Rondeau’s game-winning goal came at the 7:20 mark. Freshman Carianne Sobey served a perfect pass to Rondeau, who buried her shot with precision.

Sobey, who already holds the program record for single-season assists, increased her 2012 tally to 15 assists to rank No. 2 in the nation.

The teams both had strong looks in the first half as the Lady Lancers held a slight 5-4 advantage in shot attempts.

The Lady Lancers should have added a second goal a few minutes into the second half. Both Rondeau and Kaitlan Wiles took shots in rapid succession that clanged off the crossbar from inside the penalty box, but the Cougars’ net remained unscathed.

The Cougars (10-9-1) did their best to find an equalizer with six shots fired after halftime, but the Lady Lancers topped their tally with 11 second-half shots.

Grace’s 15-3-2 record marks the first time the Lady Lancers have eclipsed 14 wins in a season. Voss also directed the Lady Lancers to 14 wins during the 2011 and 2009 campaigns.

Grace’s defense, anchored by goalkeeper Carmen Barnhill, recorded its third shutout in four games. Defenders Ryann Casciari, Liz Casey, Heather Martin, Jessica Bickle and Jalisa Thayer helped Grace register their 10th shutout of the season.

Holly Bennett and Rondeau led the Lady Lancers with four shots apiece, Wiles recorded three shots, and Darcy Johnston added two shots.

The Lady Lancers will play in the CL tournament championship game on Nov. 10 against the winner of Spring Arbor and Taylor. The winner of the tournament will earn an automatic bid into the NAIA National Championships.

Bennett's goal sends Grace onto semifinals


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace recorded 22 shots in their Crossroads League Tournament match with Mount Vernon Nazarene on Saturday, and a long strike from Holly Bennett gave Grace a 1-0 win.

The Lady Lancers, who will host the CL semifinals next Saturday, tied the program’s win record with their victory and now have a record of 14-3-2 for the season.

Grace controlled the first half and outshot the Cougars 17-2 in the first 45 minutes. The team’s goal did not come until the 32nd minute, however.

Bennett found space from 35 yards out and ripped her shot with pace into the back of the net.

Bennett nearly scored off a free kick five minutes earlier when her shot careened off the post, and the rebound attempt from Kaitlan Wiles was snuffed out from close range.

Wiles (three shots) and Mallory Rondeau (four shots) each took strong attempts in the opening half, but Grace was unable to add to their tally.

The Cougars (6-9-4) picked up their play in the second half, equaling the Lady Lancers in shots. Grace’s defense limited Mount Vernon to difficult shots, however, as the Cougars were held to one shot on goal after halftime.

Rondeau worked hard to free herself on a pair of long runs in the second half but was unable to add to her 15 goals on the season.

“Today was a good performance from the Grace women. Mount Vernon works hard the entire match. We were creative yet composed, handled the pressure well and kept our opposition to very limited opportunities,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “I was pleased to see those who have been limited get back at it today. We will be full strength now moving forward. That is good for us.”

Grace’s defense recorded their ninth shutout of the season thanks to the stout marking of Ryann Casciari, Liz Casey, Jessica Bickle, Heather Martin and Jalisa Thayer. Carmen Barnhill posted the shutout in goal with three saves. The Lady Lancers currently rank seventh in the nation with nine shutouts.

Rondeau led all players with seven shots and three shots on goal. Wiles and Bennett added three shots, and Jocelyn Evans, Carianne Sobey and Martin added two shots.

Grace held a 7-3 advantage in corner kicks as six of their corners occurred in the first half.

The Lady Lancers will host Saint Francis on Saturday, Nov. 3, for the CL semifinals. The match at Miller Field is set to start at 1 p.m. Listen live to the match here.

Grace nets six to speed past Goshen


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s women’s soccer team capped off an outstanding regular season with a 6-2 victory over Goshen on Tuesday.

The Lady Lancers (13-3-2; 6-2-1 Crossroads League) used four goals from Mallory Rondeau, including a first-half hat trick from the freshman forward.

With the win, Grace secured a first-round home game on Saturday for the first round of the CL Tournament. Their opponent is yet to be determined.

The Maple Leafs (5-13; 1-8 CL) got on the board first when Emily Fretz sent a long, looping shot just beneath the crossbar in the 10th minute.

That goal seemed to jumpstart Grace’s attack as they responded with three goals before the break.

Jocelyn Evans headed a cross off the post, and Holly Bennett sent a volley off the crossbar in the first half, but it was Rondeau who proved to be unstoppable.

Her first goal equalized the scoring in the 18th minute when she beat a defender in the penalty box and fooled the goalkeeper with the direction of her shot.

She completed her hat trick with goals at the 32:08 and 34:06 mark, which were both assisted by Carianne Sobey.

Sobey added a goal of her own in the second half when she bent a corner kick into the net in the 60th minute.

Rondeau scored her 15th goal of the season at the 65:44 mark. Grace built a strong bout of possession and attacked from the left side of the field. Jocelyn Evans found space to pass ahead to Rondeau at the top of the penalty box, and Rondeau took care of the rest. Rondeau’s 15 goals rank eighth all-time for Grace in single-season goals.

Substitute Keeley Booher finished Grace’s scoring in the 77th minute when she volleyed in a cross from defender Heather Martin after a strong run from midfield by Martin.

Overall, Grace outshot Goshen 19-10 and had 12 shots on goal.

Grace’s 13 regular-season wins tied for the most in team history. The Lady Lancers also recorded their best regular-season league record in history in both wins (6) and winning percentage (72 percent).

Grace is just one win away from tying the record for wins in a single season of 14, which was set by the 2011 and 2009 squads.

Grace dominates weekly soccer awards from Crossroads League


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trio of freshmen score to lead Grace


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s women’s soccer team outshot Marian 30-5 in a dominant performance on Saturday. Three freshmen scored to pace Grace’s efforts in Crossroads League competition.

Darcy Johnston, Carianne Sobey and Faith Voehringer notched goals for the Lady Lancers (12-3-2; 5-2-1 CL), and Sobey notched her 12th assist of the season as well.

“The women played technically today and were clean across the board,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “I was happy to see good production from several players. Marian is a hard-working bunch, and today was a good result.”

Grace maintained possession for 75 percent of the first half, resulting in a 17-3 shot advantage, but they were unable to score.

Both Kristin Yocum and Kaitlan Wiles had near-misses with shots that clanged off the post in the first half. Wiles nearly scored on another play when she managed to sidestep the oncoming goalkeeper in a one-on-one situation but was unable to stop her dribble from crossing the endline.

Grace netted two goals within the first 10 minutes of the second half, however, to put the game beyond the reach of the Knights (6-9-1; 1-7 CL).

In the 52nd minute, Sobey sent a corner kick to Holly Bennett, who headed a ball toward Johnston. Johnston trapped the ball to the left of goal, found a lane and slotted home the game’s first goal.

Sobey was credited with the first part of the double assist with Bennett. Sobey continued to rewrite Grace’s record books as she holds the single-season mark for assists.

The Lady Lancers had a goal taken off the scoreboard when a pass from Wiles set up an easy tap-in from Mallory Rondeau, but Rondeau was ruled offside by the slimmest of margins.

Grace responded minutes later with a goal at the 55:26 mark. Wiles fed Sobey for a close finish on the left side of the goal.

Grace added an insurance goal in the 82nd minute. After a long, patient attack, Jocelyn Evans turned her defender near the right endline and found Voehringer open in front of the net for a simple finish.

Grace’s defense notched their eighth shutout of the season as senior goalkeeper Abigail Burns recorded three saves in 90 minutes.

The Lady Lancers recorded 17 shots in the first half, 13 shots after halftime and 13 shots on goal overall. Wiles led all players with six shots and three shots on goal, and Rondeau added five shots and three shots on goal. Twenty-two players saw playing time for Grace.

The Lady Lancers conclude their regular season with a home match with Goshen on Tuesday at 4 p.m. With a win, Grace can finish as high as second place in the league for the CL Tournament starting Oct. 27.

Grace and Mount Vernon draw in stormy match


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s women’s soccer team and Mount Vernon Nazarene played a memorable match for those in attendance at Miller Field on Saturday.

The Lady Lancers scored two goals in the final 10 minutes of regulation to tie the score as the teams ended in a 2-2 draw in a match that was subjected to a major storm.

Grace was on the verge of a home defeat to the Cougars (6-7-3; 2-3-2 Crossroads League) despite holding a shot advantage for most of the match. The Lady Lancers (11-3-2; 4-2-1 CL) outshot Mount Vernon 21-11 in the match yet still trailed 2-0 until the 82nd minute.

Mount Vernon scored first in the fifth minute of the game on a deep lofted shot that beat Abigail Burns in goal.

Grace’s offense gained a spark off the bench as substitutes Kristin Yocum and Faith Voehringer gave the Lady Lancers a boost. Grace was unable to score, however, while Mount Vernon managed to score again off a corner kick at the 68:44 mark.

Grace outshot Mount Vernon 11-5 in the second half and scored their first goal of the match at the 81:37 mark.

Mallory Rondeau found Kristin Yocum on the left side of the penalty box, and Yocum’s shot beat the goalkeeper.

At that point in the match, the light drizzle of the afternoon turned into a downpour with strong winds affecting play. After a short corner two minutes later, freshman Carianne Sobey provided the timely equalizer Grace needed. Sobey sliced her shot into goal from the right side of the penalty box to level the score with six minutes to play.

Mount Vernon saved a game-winning strike from Rondeau when she latched onto a through ball to find herself in a one-on-one situation with the goalkeeper. Rondeau sidestepped the Cougars’ goalkeeper, but her shot on goal was saved off the goal line by a Cougar defender.

In the overtime periods, Grace was the aggressor as they took seven shots compared to two for the Cougars. Rondeau was the focal point of Grace’s attack in the rain-drenched overtime periods but to no avail.

Mount Vernon’s physical play resulted in 21 fouls called against the team compared to nine for Grace.

Rondeau led all players with six shots. Sobey tallied five shots and three shots on goal, and Yocum added five shots off the bench.

The Lady Lancers have their “Senior Day” on Saturday with a home match against Marian at 1 p.m. The match can be heard live here.

Grace moves into second with late win over Cougars


FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Senior Jocelyn Evans scored two goals, including a late game winner, as Grace’s women’s soccer team defeated Saint Francis 2-1 on Saturday afternoon.

With the win, Grace pulled itself into a three-way tie for second place in the Crossroads League standings with three matches remaining.

Grace scored its first goal off a set piece after a foul by Saint Francis outside the penalty box. Carianne Sobey hammered the free kick off the gloves of the Cougars’ goalkeeper, and Jocelyn Evans was there to finish the rebound in the fifth minute of play.

Grace moved the ball patiently throughout the match against physical play from Saint Francis that resulted in three yellow cards for the Cougars.

The Cougars (9-6; 4-2 CL) became much more direct in their attack in the final period and found an equalizer in the second half. The referee awarded Saint Francis a penalty kick at the 62:12 mark, which the Cougars converted.

Grace began to counter successfully against Saint Francis’s aggressive play and earned a corner kick in the 85th minute.

Sobey’s corner kick bounced to Holly Bennett, who redirected the cross with her hip to Evans for the game-winning goal from close range.

“I am pleased with the result. We were very composed as a team and had two good finishes considering the conditions,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “We defended well as the only goal we surrendered was a penalty kick. Abigail Burns had a good performance for us in goal handling the wet conditions and the long-range shooting.”

Senior goalkeeper Abigail Burns earned the win in goal as she made five saves in 90 minutes of action.

The Lady Lancers will conclude their regular season with a three-game home stand. Grace will host Mount Vernon Nazarene on Wednesday at 4 p.m., Marian on Oct. 20 at 1 p.m. and Goshen on Oct. 23 at 4 p.m. Listen to each game live on Stretch Internet.

Lady Lancers falter to No. 6 Spring Arbor


SPRING ARBOR, Mich. – The Grace women’s soccer team struggled to recover from its emotional win on Saturday and fell to No. 6 Spring Arbor 4-0 on Tuesday.

The Lady Lancers (10-3-1; 3-2 Crossroads League) gave up three goals in a 13-minute span during the first half and never fully recovered.

Grace was attempting to refocus after a memorable 3-2 win against then-No. 25 Indiana Wesleyan two days ago, which Mallory Rondeau won with five seconds remaining, but Spring Arbor continued their undefeated league record by topping Grace.

The sixth-ranked Cougars (12-1-1; 5-0 CL) notched three goals between the 14th and 27th minutes, all courtesy of Karly Linton.

Spring Arbor held Rondeau, the reigning NAIA Offensive Player of the Week, without a shot attempt in the match to limit Grace’s offense.

Grace’s defense improved in the second half to limit Spring Arbor to a single goal, but Grace was held without a goal for only the third time this season.

Spring Arbor recorded 21 shots in the victory. There were also 29 fouls in the match, 17 of which were called on the Cougars.

The Lady Lancers will play their final road league match of the season on Saturday against Saint Francis at 4:30 p.m.

Rondeau named NAIA, NCCAA, CL Player of the Week


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Freshman Mallory Rondeau was honored as the national player of the week from the NAIA and NCCAA after an outstanding performance for Grace's women's soccer team.

Rondeau, who also earned the Crossroads League Offensive Player of the Week award, had a week to remember with four goals in a pair of 3-2 wins for Grace.

Rondeau's highlight of the week was the game-winning goal against No. 25 Indiana Wesleyan on Saturday, which she sliced past the goalkeeper with 5 seconds remaining in regulation (watch video of the last-second goal).

Rondeau scored the Lady Lancers' first and second goals against Bethel on Wednesday before scoring the game's first and last goals versus IWU. For the week, Rondeau was on the scoring end of four of Grace's six goals.

The Lady Lancers have now taken down two ranked teams in the NAIA. Rondeau's 11 goals lead the team and ranks 30th in the NAIA. She also paces the squad with 57 shots and 36 shots on goal this season.

To view the official NAIA release, click here.

Rondeau's last-second goal upsets No. 25 IWU in thriller


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Freshman Mallory Rondeau sliced a shot past Indiana Wesleyan’s goalkeeper with five seconds remaining in the game as Grace’s women’s soccer team topped the 25th-ranked Wildcats 3-2 in thrilling fashion on Saturday.

The Lady Lancers (10-2-1; 3-1 Crossroads League) outshot Indiana Wesleyan 19-7, including an impressive 13-0 advantage in the second half.

Rondeau bookended the scoring with the game’s first goal. Rondeau stole a dribble from a Wildcat defender in the sixth minute and slotted her shot inside the far post.

The Wildcats were swift in response with a volley in the penalty box two minutes later.

Emily Hickerson came off the bench midway through the opening period to spark Grace’s second tally. Hickerson juked past two defenders and crossed a ball to Holly Bennett for a point-blank finish at the 22:11 mark.

Grace missed a strong opportunity to open up a larger lead when Bennett’s penalty kick attempt was saved. The Wildcats provided the second equalizer at the 34th minute when Indiana Wesleyan finished a loose ball in the box after a free kick.

The Lady Lancers made strong second-half adjustments and controlled the final 45 minutes of play. Grace outshot Indiana Wesleyan 13-0 in the second half, and it took the 13th shot to win the match.

Kristin Yocum almost scored Grace’s third goal on an indirect free kick for the Lady Lancers. Yocum received a low pass at the top of the penalty box, and her shot on goal was saved off the crossbar.

Rondeau also had a shot on goal when she broke free for a one-on-one situation, but the Wildcats’ goalkeeper made a clutch save.

Kaitlan Wiles jumpstarted Grace’s goal-scoring play with a run on the left side of the field with less than 30 seconds remaining in the game. Wiles served a cross to Rondeau inside the box, and Rondeau held off a defender and curled her shot into the goal as she fell to the turf.

“IWU played a very tough match today. They were a quality team,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “Today was a very calculated and intelligent performance from the Grace women today. They were creative and technical and demonstrated good composure. The first half we battled to get our rhythm at times, but the second half we took that to a very dangerous level. This was a solid performance for Grace today.”

Rondeau led all players with five shots, and Bennett and Carianne Sobey tallied four apiece.

Abigail Burns earned the victory in goal for Grace with five saves and two goals scored against her.

Click HERE to watch video of Rondeau's last-second goal.

The Lady Lancers will next take on one of their toughest opponents of the season on Tuesday when they travel to No. 6 Spring Arbor at 7 p.m.

Evans drains game winner over Bethel


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Although Grace’s women’s soccer team outshot Bethel 29-9 in their match on Wednesday, the Lady Lancers saved the winning play for overtime.

On Grace’s 29th shot attempt, Jocelyn Evans drilled a 25-yarder above the goalkeeper’s head for the golden-goal winner in Grace’s 3-2 victory.

The Pilots (5-6; 0-3 Crossroads League) got on the scoreboard first with an early goal from Nicole Steller. Her goal deflected off Abigail Burns’s gloves into the net against the run of play.

Despite yielding the 7th minute goal, the Lady Lancers (9-2-1; 2-1 CL) maintained dominance in possession during the opening period. Grace had a number of strong looks as they outshot Bethel 14-2 in the first half.

Shortly after Bethel’s goal, Carianne Sobey weaved through a throng of Pilots to rip a shot that forced Bethel’s Mallory Conrad to make a fully extended save.

In the 19th minute, Grace scored when a patient attack started on the right side of the field and switched toward the left. Jocelyn Evans received a ball at the top of the penalty box and backheeled a pass to Sobey. Sobey beat her defender on the left side of the box and served a ball to Mallory Rondeau for a one-time finish.

In the 39th minute, Sobey picked out Rondeau with a long through ball from midfield. Rondeau latched onto the pass and was alone with the goalkeeper as she calmly slotted her shot inside the goalpost.

Bethel found an equalizer shortly after halftime, however, when the Pilots deflected a corner kick into the net in the 48th minute.

Grace had a few key opportunities for the game winner in regulation but failed to convert. In the 63rd minute Emily Hickerson nearly scored just seconds after subbing into play when her shot railed off the crossbar.

Rondeau was on the verge of a hat trick when she found herself in a 1v1 situation with less than 10 minutes remaining, but Bethel’s Conrad made a clutch save to keep the Pilots afloat.

Evans ended the match less than six minutes into the first overtime period, however, as Conrad could not keep Evans’s perfectly-placed shot out of the net.

The Lady Lancers next prepare for their big clash with rival No. 25 Indiana Wesleyan on Saturday. The match at Miller Field kicks off at 1 p.m. Listen to the match live here.

Grace can't find the mark in loss to Huntington


FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Despite outshooting Huntington 13-10, Grace’s women’s soccer team failed to score in a 1-0 defeat to Huntington University on Saturday.

In a physical Crossroads League match, a lone first-half goal from the Foresters was the only separation between the two squads.

“This was a calculated performance from Huntington today and a good win. The Grace women today had completely dominating possession and had the ball most of the match,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “They played good defense when called upon. The goal was just extremely unfortunate to take that bad a hop.”

The Foresters (8-3; 1-1 CL) took only three shots in the opening period, but they made their looks count with an unassisted goal in the 23rd minute.

Grace took six shots in the first half – four of which were on goal – to go along with two corner kicks but came up empty in the opening 45 minutes of play. Jocelyn Evans missed a golden chance for Grace to score first when she missed her penalty kick attempt in the 20th minute, and Mallory Rondeau just missed on finishing two crosses from close range in the first half.

The Lady Lancers picked up their attack in the second half with seven shots after halftime, but Grace was thwarted from scoring by goalkeeper Sam Barclay’s 10 saves on the day.

Carianne Sobey was the closest to scoring for Grace with her only shot attempt of the match bouncing off the crossbar.

“Where we really missed was being significantly dynamic on the ball,” Voss continued. “We only had flashes and did not play to our strengths. Moving forward will be key to our CL season.”

Saturday’s match contained 30 fouls, 18 of which were called on Huntington. Each team also picked up two yellow cards.

Jocelyn Evans and Rondeau led Grace with three shot attempts. Holly Bennett and Faith Voehringer tallied two shots apiece for Grace.

The Lady Lancers will look to bounce back with a pair of home matches next week. Grace welcomes Bethel College on Wednesday at 4 p.m. before hosting rival Indiana Wesleyan on Saturday at 1 p.m. Listen to both games live here.

Sobey's overtime goal sends Grace past Taylor in thrilling league opener


UPLAND, Ind. – Grace’s women’s soccer team continued its terrific start to the 2012 season with a 1-0 double overtime victory over Taylor University on Tuesday.

Freshman Carianne Sobey scored the game-winning goal early in the second overtime to give the Lady Lancers (8-1-1; 1-0 CL) the win in their Crossroads League opener.

After a strong build-up to Grace’s goal-scoring play, Mallory Rondeau had possession of the ball on the left side of the field. Rondeau picked out her fellow freshman Sobey open inside the penalty box.

Sobey’s position sent Taylor’s goalkeeper charging toward the freshman midfielder, but Sobey alertly maneuvered to the right of the goalie and slid her shot into the net with less than nine minutes remaining in the game.

“Taylor came to play today and played a very tough match. This was a rough day for the Lancers,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “There were numerous contributing factors leading to a less than average performance from us. At the end of the day, the women were able to refocus for overtime, come up with a string of possession for the game winner, and that was our bright spot for the day.”

Grace had a handful of goal-scoring opportunities to win the match earlier, but the team was not able to convert. Erica Manchess found space for a strong look in the first overtime period but shot wide of the net.

Kaitlan Wiles and Sobey both shot on goal in the second half to no avail, and Rondeau had several shots in regulation for Grace as well.

Statistically, Grace and Taylor finished with 16 shots apiece. Rondeau paced Grace with seven shots and four shots on goal. Wiles, Manchess, Sobey and Holly Bennett each tallied two shots as well.

Carmen Barnhill earned the shutout victory in goal for Grace by making eight saves against the Trojans (7-2; 0-1 CL).

Tuesday’s match contained 29 fouls, 18 of which were called on Taylor.

The Lady Lancers will continue league play with a match on Saturday at 12 p.m. versus Huntington University.

Barnhill, Rondeau sweep league honors for Grace


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – The Crossroads League awarded Carmen Barnhill and Mallory Rondeau as their players of the week on Monday.

Barnhill was named the Defensive Player of the Week for her work as the Lady Lancers’ goalkeeper, and Rondeau earned Offensive Player of the Week honors.

Senior goalkeeper Barnhill has been a major reason Grace currently ranks No. 1 in the NAIA with six shutouts. Barnhill helped the Lady Lancers to two more shutouts last week on consecutive nights.

She saved three shots in a 90-minute shutout of Aquinas (Mich.) on Friday, and then played for two-thirds of Grace's shutout win over Missouri Baptist on Saturday. Barnhill recorded the only two saves Grace needed to make against Missouri Baptist.

Freshman forward Rondeau's stellar week allowed the Lady Lancers to conclude their nonleague season with a 7-1-1 record. For the week, Rondeau tallied 3 goals and an assist to have a hand in over half of Grace's goals for the week.

She recorded a goal and an assist in Grace's 3-0 win over Aquinas and followed that up with two goals in a 4-0 victory over Missouri Baptist. The Lady Lancers' two wins came on consecutive nights at a neutral field.

Grace clicks on all cylinders in 4-0 victory


MARION, Ind. – Grace’s women’s soccer team wrapped up its nonleague schedule with a 4-0 victory over Missouri Baptist on Saturday.

The Lady Lancers (7-1-1) outshot Missouri Baptist 24-3 and recorded their sixth shutout of the 2012 campaign. Grace ranks first in the NAIA with six shutouts.

“The women really turned it up a notch in this match. The technical prowess was very clean, and the finishing was outstanding,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “This was a complete team effort demonstrating clinical possession attacking futbol. I’m proud of the women for putting in back-to-back solid performances.”

In a match that was controlled in terms of possession by Grace, the Lady Lancers scored three of their goals within an 18-minute span in the first half.

Mallory Rondeau scored the first of her two goals at the 10:40 mark of the match. After beating a defender, Rondeau cut along the baseline and blasted in a goal at an extreme angle.

Nine minutes later, Rondeau added her second goal. Kristin Yocum pinpointed a pass in between two defenders to Rondeau in the penalty box, and Rondeau slotted home the ball in stride.

In the 28th minute, Carianne Sobey scored Grace’s third goal on a set piece. Grace earned a free kick from 30 yards out, and Sobey’s left-footed shot beat the Spartans’ (3-6) goalkeeper.

Less than 10 minutes into the second half, Grace wrapped up the scoring with a goal from Holly Bennett. Kelsey Christner curled in a corner kick in the 55th minute, which Bennett redirected in for a goal to the far post from eight yards.

Overall, Grace recorded 12 shots in each half while holding the Spartans to two shots in the opening period and one shot after halftime. Rondeau led all players with six shots and five shots on goal, and Bennett tallied five shots.

The Lady Lancers also held a 7-0 advantage in corner kicks.

Goalkeepers Abigail Burns and Carmen Barnhill teamed up for Grace’s shutout. Grace has yielded just four goals through the team’s first nine matches of 2012.

The Lady Lancers kick off the Crossroads League on Sept. 25 with a match at Taylor University at 7 p.m.

Lady Lancers pull away late from Aquinas


MARION, Ind. – Grace’s women’s soccer team netted two late goals to put the final touches on a strong 3-0 victory over Aquinas College on Friday.

Jocelyn Evans registered the only goal for the game’s first 81 minutes, but Grace’s defense remained stout to prevent an equalizer from the Saints (2-3).

Mallory Rondeau put the Lady Lancers (6-1-1) ahead by two goals with a strike at the 81:09 mark, and Emily Hickerson added the insurance goal five minutes later for the final margin of victory.

“The women finished a good match today. We had decent possession through the first half but really took it to another level in the second half,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “Our excellent possession resulted in two brilliant goals. I’d love to see this carry into tomorrow and the rest of the season.”

Freshman Carianne Sobey was a key figure in Grace’s midfield as she assisted on Grace’s first two goals. Grace earned a corner kick in the 14th minute, which Sobey took. She curled her cross to the near post, and Evans drove a headed ball past the goalkeeper from eight yards.

After coasting to start the second half, Grace picked up steam at the halfway point and controlled play through the end. After a long period of possession, Sobey dribbled in from the left side of the field. She turned down a potential shot to play Rondeau in stride, and Rondeau drilled in a goal from close range.

Grace’s final goal came from another extended bout of possession. Rondeau turned by a defender to draw a second one to herself. She in turn slotted a pass to Hickerson who scored from 12 yards at the 86:37 mark.

The Lady Lancers controlled the stats in the first half with a 10-3 advantage in shots and a 4-0 advantage in corner kicks.

Aquinas picked up the pace shortly after halftime, tallying six shots to Grace’s four. But it was the Lady Lancers who scored twice in the second half to seal the win.

Carmen Barnhill made three saves in goal to give Grace its fifth shutout of the 2012 campaign. The Lady Lancers are currently No. 1 in the nation with five shutouts.

Rondeau led all players with four shots. Ten Lady Lancers recorded a shot in the match.

The Lady Lancers take on Missouri Baptist at 5 p.m. tomorrow to wrap up their nonleague schedule.

Early goal dooms Lady Lancers against No. 25 Siena Heights


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – The only thing that separated No. 25 Siena Heights and Grace College on Saturday was a fourth-minute goal by the Saints.

The teams were nearly equal in shots, corner kicks and possession, but it was the 25th-ranked Saints who came away with a 1-0 win at Miller Field.

Siena Heights earned an early corner kick within the first minutes of the game. Their cross into the box resulted in a scrum, and Elizabeth Davis bounced a shot off the crossbar that came down to deflect off goalkeeper Carmen Barnhill and into the goal at the 3:17 mark.

The Lady Lancers had numerous opportunities in the opening half as they outshot Siena Heights 11-5. In the 17th minute, Grace gained several close looks in the penalty box after a free kick but failed to convert.

Jocelyn Evans unleashed a deep, curling shot late in the opening half that forced the Saints’ goalkeeper to save the ball off the crossbar. The Saints withstood Grace's first-half barrage to enter halftime with a one-goal lead.

One of Grace’s best looks in the second half came in the opening minutes. Mallory Rondeau headed a hard shot that resulted in another diving save from Siena Heights.

Kelsey Christner sent a low free kick a few feet wide of goal shortly after, but the Saints’ defense refused to allow Grace onto the scoreboard.

“Today was a battle between two good teams that was exciting for 90 minutes. Grace never really got it going with implementing our possession futbol as we accepted Siena’s fast and direct style and did not appropriately dictate our way to them," said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “We created a handful of great opportunities early that slipped away. The Siena keeper made several huge saves to keep us out of the net. We have a plan in place, and we are on the trail to enacting that plan.”

Carmen Barnhill made seven saves in goal for the Lady Lancers, and the Saints’ goalkeeper, Crystal Wilcoxen, made nine saves.

Jocelyn Evans led Grace with five shots, and Holly Bennett and Rondeau each tallied three shots on goal.

The Lady Lancers will continue action next weekend as they face Aquinas College on Friday and Missouri Baptist on Saturday.

Grace shares the wealth in 5-0 win


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Five different Lady Lancers scored five goals in Grace’s 5-0 victory over Purdue Calumet on Friday.

The Lady Lancers (5-0-1), who are receiving votes in the NAIA Top 25 Poll, earned their fourth shutout win of the season.

“It was great to see the women play well today right off the first whistle,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “Tonight was a collectively solid performance across the board, which is always good to see.”

Grace enjoyed strong possession throughout the match, resulting in a 29-5 shot advantage. Holly Bennett started Grace’s scoring with a goal in the 13th minute. Kristin Yocum weaved through traffic in the midfield before picking out Bennett streaking toward the goal. Bennett settled the ball and slotted it past the goalkeeper for the game’s first goal.

Ten minutes later, Grace’s offensive pressure resulted in a poor pass from the Peregrines’ (1-4) goalkeeper. Mallory Rondeau pounced on interception and ripped her shot into the right side of the net.

Carianne Sobey added the third goal when she finished a close-range goal that started with a free kick from Lauren Becker.

With 26 seconds remaining in the first half, Hannah Alcorn scored her first career goal inside the penalty box. Darcy Johnston was credited with the assist after sending in her corner kick from the left side of the field.

Neither team scored through the first 35 minutes of the second half until Jackie Seal’s strike at the 80:23 mark.

Seal dribbled her way into a sliver of space on the right side of the penalty box. She then unleashed a well-placed shot that was out of the diving goalkeeper’s reach for the final tally of the match.

Abigail Burns earned the shutout in goal by making two saves in 90 minutes of action.

Grace will now shift its attention to No. 25 Siena Heights for their home match Saturday at Miller Field. First kick is set for 2 p.m. Listen to the game live here.

Goal from Evans downs No. 16 Trinity Christian


PALOS HEIGHTS, Ill. – A goal from senior Jocelyn Evans was all Grace needed to separate itself from No. 16 Trinity Christian on Saturday.

The Lady Lancers (4-0-1) pulled off the upset despite enduring a double overtime match less than 24 hours before their clash with Trinity Christian.

Grace scored the only goal of the game in the 11th minute of action. Mallory Rondeau maneuvered past a defender along the sideline and slotted a ball to Evans, who finished past the Trolls’ (1-3-1) goalkeeper.

“Trinity was a tough opponent today. They were disciplined, physical and are consistently good each year,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “The Grace women showed us again their discipline and drive to play possession futbol.”

After being outshot 6-4 in the first half, Grace’s offense took over in the final 45 minutes. Their strong possession resulted in multiple goal-scoring opportunities, but the Lady Lancers were not able to find their insurance goal in a rainy second half.

Overall for the second half, Grace held a 7-1 advantage in shots taken.

“Two very good and well-rested opponents in less than 24 hours was a real test for any team,” Voss said. “We had very good composure and played intelligently for 90 minutes.”

Holly Bennett led all players with four shots and two shots on goal, and Evans and Kristin Yocum each tallied two shots.

Carmen Barnhill earned the shutout in goal for Grace after making three saves in 90 minutes.

The Lady Lancers continue action next weekend with a pair of home matches against Purdue Calumet on Friday and Siena Heights on Saturday. Listen to both games live here.

Frenzied finish results in draw with St. Xavier


CHICAGO, Ill. – Grace’s match with St. Xavier on Friday night was marked by a late outbreak of goals as both teams managed to score in the final two minutes of regulation.

When the dust had settled, the teams remained level and settled for a 2-2 draw after two overtime periods.

Grace thought it had found a late winner from Holly Bennett with under two minutes to play. Carianne Sobey drove to the right side of the box before laying a pass off to Bennett. After a quick touch, Bennett ripped a shot from 25 yards past the Cougars’ (2-0-1) goalkeeper for the go-ahead strike.

But St. Xavier received a late free kick in a dangerous position and headed a desperation ball into the net one minute later to send the game into overtime.

The Lady Lancers controlled the overtime sessions, recording four shots and holding the Cougars to zero. But they were not able to translate that offense into a game winner.

“Today’s match was a hard-fought contest against a worthy opponent. St. Xavier is disciplined and talented,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “Our women really worked into a rhythm of possession tonight. Our two goals were outstanding group efforts culminating in great finishing. We gave up two very correctable goals, the last being very undisciplined with such little time. This match makes us better as a group, and we made good strides forward in our game.”

In the first half, St. Xavier scored the opening goal after a misplay by Grace’s defense. The Lady Lancers stepped up their offensive pressure and attacked better in the second half, outshooting the Cougars 13-3 over the final 45 minutes of regulation.

Sobey assisted Grace’s first goal as well in the 74th minute. She drew a defender to herself and played a ball to Faith Voehringer, who slotted a 12-yard shot into the side net for her first collegiate goal.

Overall, Grace dominated the shot count with a 25-8 advantage.

The Lady Lancers will quickly shift their attention to tomorrow’s showdown with No. 16 Trinity Christian. The match, which starts at 5 p.m., can be followed via live stats here.

Lady Lancers battle in historic match with Haiti


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s women’s soccer team got its first taste of hosting an international match when the Lady Lancers took on the Haitian Women’s National Team on Saturday.

In front of a standing-room only crowd at Miller Field, Haiti pulled out a 3-0 victory in a historic friendly competition.

“Today's exhibition was a fantastic opportunity for our program. This experience will pay dividends for years to come and hopefully an eternity for some,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “This has been a wonderful two days fellowshipping with truly wonderful people. I am grateful to the staff and the women of the WNT of Haiti for coming to Grace College. This was really fantastic.”

Haiti, who is ranked No. 58 in the world by the FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking, initiated a physical style of play that gave Grace fits early in the first half. The Lady Lancers gave up two goals within the first 13 minutes of play – both of which came from long-range efforts from Haiti.

Grace seemed to settle down after the second goal, earning equal share of offensive opportunities for the duration of the half.

Kaitlan Wiles nearly cut the margin in half when she broke free in the 23rd minute. After latching onto a through ball from Heather Martin, Wiles beat the goalkeeper with her shot but was whistled for being offside.

In the second half, Grace played much more consistently and took four shots compared to seven for Haiti in the final 45 minutes of play.

Mallory Rondeau and Emily Hickerson provided Grace’s two best efforts at scoring a goal in the second half, but each time Haiti’s defense proved stout.

Grace turned on the offensive pressure after halftime, which resulted in the Lady Lancers taking all three corner kicks in the second half. But Haiti took advantage of Grace’s offensive formation, scoring their third and final goal with six minutes remaining in the match.

All 23 members of Grace’s active roster saw significant playing time in the match, and six Lady Lancers tallied a shot in the international competition. Holly Bennett led Grace with three shots.

“We conclude a very important, yet difficult phase of our season with this match. This has been a grueling seven days, and it has truly stretched our squad and system. We have grown immensely since a week ago,” Voss continued. “Haiti really brought a great match today. They played quickly and efficiently and were extremely technical. I am pleased that we played to win this match and didn’t sit back or crank it long. I’m proud of our women for being straight up and living in our system. In the end we gave up three goals, but the positives way outweigh the negatives on a day like today.”

Overall, Haiti outshot Grace 19-8. They also had more fouls than the Lady Lancers (17-5).

For Haiti, the goals were scored by Manouchka Pierre-Louis, Roselord Borgella and Sophia Batard.

The Lady Lancers will resume their regular season next weekend when they travel to St. Xavier on Friday and to No. 16 Trinity Christian on Saturday.

Grace shuts out Marygrove to remain perfect on year


DETROIT, Mich. – The Lady Lancers continued their strong start to the season as Grace defeated Marygrove College 2-0 on Wednesday.

Grace was in control throughout as they held a 31-4 advantage in shots, including 15 shots on goal for the Lady Lancers.

Through their first three games in the 2012 season, the Lady Lancers (3-0) have outscored their opponents 10-1.

“Today we showed that this was our third match in five days. We had numerous chances off the woodwork and finished two well,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “This is a great time to be challenged to press through with a thoughtful performance. It will only help us in the long term. I’m proud of the women for their dedication to preach Christ today.”

Grace saw 33 minutes run off the clock before breaking onto the scoreboard. Kelsey Christner sent a corner into the penalty box, which Jocelyn Evans headed off the crossbar from 12 yards out. Evans won the rebound, juked a defender and deflected a ball off Holly Bennett and to the feet of freshman Darcy Johnston. Johnston slotted the ball home at the 33:14 mark for her first collegiate goal.

The score could have been much worse for the Mustangs (0-1) as Grace hit the crossbar multiple times in the opening period. The Lady Lancers drilled two other shots off the post in the second half, but they also produced a second goal.

In the 58th minute of play, Grace’s build-up allowed Holly Bennett to earn her second assist of the match as she fed Kaitlan Wiles for the finish.

Overall in the second half, Grace outshot Marygrove 17-2.

For the game, the Lady Lancers took eight corner kicks compared to one for the Mustangs.

Mallory Rondeau, who tallied a hat trick in Grace’s previous game, led all players with seven shots and three shots on goal. Evans and Bennett both took five shots, and Emily Hickerson recorded four shots off the bench.

Carmen Barnhill earned the shutout in goal for the Lady Lancers as she made four saves in 90 minutes.

Grace’s next match is a must-see as the Lady Lancers welcome the Women’s National Team of Haiti to Miller Field for a 4 p.m. kickoff on Saturday. Listen to the game live on Stretch Internet here.

Freshman forward nets hat trick in Grace win


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Mallory Rondeau scored her first collegiate goal in the 16th minute against Cincinnati Christian on Monday night. Less than 20 minutes later, she had her first collegiate hat trick.

Rondeau’s first-half hat trick highlighted a dominant display for the Lady Lancers (2-0) in their 4-0 victory over the Eagles (0-1).

Emily Hickerson scored the fourth goal of the match in the 41st minute from a double assist from Jocelyn Evans and Jackie Seal.

Overall, Grace outshot Cincinnati Christian 25-3 and controlled possession throughout the match.

“The women came out strong and tightly composed today. The finishing was clinical, and our possession was clean for 90 minutes across the match,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “We continue to improve, yet we leave today identifying more in our system to iron out.”

Evans, who finished with two assists, fed Rondeau’s strike in the 16th minute to start Grace’s scoring. At the 22:38 mark, Rondeau scored again from an assist by freshman Carianne Sobey.

Rondeau capped off her three-goal performance at the 32:59 mark thanks to Holly Bennett’s assist.

Ten players overall recorded a shot for the Lady Lancers, and six players registered at least three shots for Grace. Bennett led all players with five shots and four shots on goal.

Carmen Barnhill earned her first shutout of the year, making three saves in 90 minutes.

The Lady Lancers return to action on Wednesday when they travel to Marygrove College for a 3 p.m. kickoff. Grace will then shift their attention to their exhibition match with the Women’s National Team of Haiti at Miller Field on Saturday. Listen to the Grace/Haiti game live at 4 p.m. here.

Lady Lancers impress in season opener


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s women’s soccer team kicked off its 2012 campaign in impressive fashion, earning a 4-1 victory over Illinois Institute of Technology on Saturday at Miller Field.

The Lady Lancers, who started five freshmen and played two others extensively, had four different goal scorers in the match.

Freshman Darcy Johnston assisted the first goal of the season in the 21st minute of play. Her right-footed corner kick found Jocelyn Evans, who deflected the ball into the net from close range.

The Lady Lancers (1-0) doubled their lead shortly before halftime when Emily Hickerson was tackled in the penalty box on a breakaway opportunity. Kelsey Christner took the ensuing penalty kick, slotting her shot past the diving Scarlet Hawks (0-1) goalkeeper.

Grace entered the half with a commanding 2-0 lead, having outshot Illinois Tech 7-3 in the opening period. But the Lady Lancers were not content with a two-goal margin.

After a strong bout of possession to start the second half, sophomore forward Holly Bennett netted Grace’s third goal of the game at the 75:11 mark. Freshman Carianne Sobey found Bennett on the left side of the pitch, and Bennett maneuvered herself into a shooting position. Her shot from well outside the 18-yard line ripped above the outstretch gloves of the Scarlet Hawks’ goalie for her first goal of the year.

Ryann Casciari, playing as a central defender, was the unlikely fourth goal scorer for the Lady Lancers. From near the midfield stripe, Casciari lofted a free kick into the Illinois Tech penalty box where the ball bounced high above several defenders and improbably into the net.

“Today was a good first outing for us. IIT was very disciplined, controlled and brought a very organized technical game at us,” said head coach Michael Voss. “To score four goals and have good possession on our first match is a decent report card for day one. There were moments of true brilliance, yet we still have quite a bit of work to do. I’m happy with our gain in knowledge and experience from the day.”

The Scarlet Hawks managed to avoid the shutout with a late goal from Veronica Torres with six minutes remaining in the match.

Overall, Grace outshot Illinois Tech 18-6, including an 11-3 advantage in the second half. Bennett led all players with four shots, and freshman Mallory Rondeau added three shots and two shots on goal.

Nineteen players saw the pitch for the Lady Lancers, and nine different players tallied a shot.

Carmen Barnhill made three saves in goal for the Lady Lancers to earn her first win of the year.

The Lady Lancers play three games next week. Grace travels to Cincinnati Christian University for a Monday night kickoff at 7 p.m. and will take on Marygrove College on the road Wednesday afternoon.

Grace will then return to Miller Field for a must-see match on Saturday with the Women’s National Team of Haiti. The match, which starts at 4 p.m., can be heard live on Stretch Internet here.

Grace Women's Soccer to play Haiti WNT at Miller Field


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace women’s soccer team will welcome one of the toughest opponents in program history to Miller Field on Aug. 25 with an exhibition match against the Women’s National Team of Haiti.

The Lady Lancers, who have high expectations entering the 2012 season, believe they are more ready for their stiff test against Haiti’s WNT.

“It is very rare for an NAIA team to be able to play any national team, so for us to play two national teams in one calendar year is pretty exciting,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “This game fits our mission in that we want to play national teams, but we also want to be playing for Christ.”

Voss, who currently serves as an assistant coach for Haiti, was instrumental in organizing the match. Haiti has competed against some of the top professional teams in American women’s soccer during the past year while playing in the Women’s Premier Soccer League Elite. They also lost a narrow 2-1 game against the University of Notre Dame on April 27.

According to Voss, Haiti’s WNT is one of the top qualifiers in the Caribbean region and should be one of the top contenders for the CONCACAF bid into the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.

This will be the Lady Lancers’ second taste in the past year of international soccer. During the spring, Grace played the Cayman Islands U20 WNT as a part of their mission trip to the Cayman Islands.

The Lady Lancers look to field one of their most talented squads ever against Haiti and are fresh off tying the program’s win record in 2011. Grace finished 14-7-3 last season and returns 10 of their 11 starters in 2012.

“This game is a good next step for [Grace],” Voss explained. “The Haitian team is tough. They’re playing against big D-1 schools and pro teams. By all stretches of the imagination, it should be a really tough game for us.”

Live audio through Stretch Internet will be available by clicking here.

Admission will be charged at the gate into Miller Field. High school and club teams interested in attending should call Coach Voss for group rates at (574) 372-5100 ext. 6544.

Miller Field, which is the home stadium for Grace men’s and women’s soccer, is one of the top soccer fields in the Crossroads League.

Women's soccer poised for new heights in 2012


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s women’s soccer team is no longer a secret. The Lady Lancers have made a name for themselves in the national soccer scene with recent success and are poised to continue their winning ways in 2012.

Under the direction of sixth-year head coach Michael Voss, Grace is coming off its second trip to the NCCAA National Championships in the past three years. In 2011 the Lady Lancers tied the program record for victories by winning two games at NCCAA Nationals to finish 14-7-3.

Armed with a new arsenal of incoming freshmen in 2012, the Lady Lancers are set on taking the program to new heights.

“Our first priority is to take our brand of futbol and push it to its limits,” Voss said. “We’ve been playing possession-attacking futbol in a decent manner the last couple of years, and now we are starting to see it take a definitive shape. Now we want to crank on it and see what the parameters are.”

One of Grace’s strengths this season is its depth and experience. The Lady Lancers return 10 of their 11 starters, including captains Jocelyn Evans and Carmen Barnhill. Evans, a senior, is the reigning Midfielder of the Year for the Crossroads League after recording five goals and 10 assists in 2011, and junior Barnhill returns as one of Grace’s two goalkeeping options just one year after earning First Team NCCAA All-American status.

Several other returning players figure to play a major part in Grace’s attack, including: Kristin Yocum (4 goals), Holly Bennett (8 goals, 7 assists), Kelsey Christner (4 goals, 5 assists) and Kaitlan Wiles (5 goals, 6 assists).

Defensively, junior Jalisa Thayer and sophomores Liz Casey, Jessica Bickle and Lauren Becker return to a defensive unit that recorded eight shutouts in 2011.

“I think returning 10 starting players is a new dimension for us,” Voss commented. “We have returning players who have reached a fantastic level of unity together and have made that a standard. I really believe in this core to hit the ground running. And once we get our freshmen up to speed, it will be just that much better.”

Voss has brought in a number of accomplished freshmen to battle for starting spots, including Mallory Rondeau (Wawasee HS), Darcy Johnston (Rochester, Mich.), Carianne Sobey (Woodstock, Ill.), Faith Voehringer (Covenant Christian HS), Erica Manchess (Pendleton HS), Rachel Elsner (Lititz, Pa.) and Heather Martin (Bremen HS).

Grace’s depth will also benefit from returning several players to full health, including Emily Hickerson, Jackie Seal, Ryann Casciari and Abigail Burns. The four players had increasing roles late in the season and returned to full match fitness on the team’s trip to the Cayman Islands in the spring, according to Voss.          

“I’m super excited to have this crew together at last this year. This is the brand we have been planning and working toward,” Voss continued. “The personnel believe in this system and in preaching Christ through soccer. I’m excited to wind this team up and let them go. I don’t know what their limitations are, but it will be a rocket ride to the moon trying to find them. I am totally stoked to be piloting this group.”

Grace’s schedule includes a number of teams that finished ranked in the NAIA’s Top 25. They also welcome the Haiti Women’s National Team to Miller Field for a must-see exhibition game on Aug. 25.

The Lady Lancers open their season at home against Illinois Tech on Aug. 18 at 2 p.m.

Women's Soccer: Vision Meets Mission


By Zane Gard
This story was originally published in Grace’s student newspaper, The Sounding Board.
To view the newspaper spread as printed in the Sounding Board, click here.

Five years ago when Michael Voss was hired to be the Grace College women’s soccer head coach, he became a man on a mission.

With a vision of what he wanted the women’s soccer program to look like, he set out on a
mission to recruit players. His vision—build a team of women who not only could compete at a high level of soccer, but who also had a passion for sharing Christ—a goal that seemed contradictory or idealistic to some.

Now as he looks back on his team’s recent spring break trip to the Cayman Islands he can see that mission has paid off. Yes, this trip had been in the works long before the team started fundraising and long before talented recruiting classes were brought in the past few years. It started with a Gospel-centered dream, and that dream just became a reality.

Although Tebow Time and Linsanity have done much to enhance the perception toward using sports as a means of evangelism, the mentioning of “sports ministry” often receives scoffs or criticisms about its usefulness. Add in “75-degree weather” and there are even more doubters. Yet when the women’s soccer team landed at the Owen Roberts International Airport on March 10, they knew their mission.

This story is not about Voss and not about the team, but rather how a group on mission went and lived out their faith.

Voss recalls talking with an opposing coach about the Gospel and feeling a prompting from the Holy Spirit to look up. When he did, he saw every player of his team talking to another player from the opposing team—Bible open, Mission Ball in hand, and sharing their love for God.

“It was at that moment when I looked up and saw every player fully engaged, I thought to myself, ‘This is it,’” Voss said.

The team had not only caught the vision, but they lived it.

“The difference between this ministry trip and typical mission trips was that the Cayman people don’t have a physical need we can meet,” Voss explained. “Instead of building something or giving stuff away the only need they lacked was Christ.”

That, however, did not deter the team from doing all they could to reach that need. Each player packed the essentials in their luggage: clothes, soccer gear, toiletries… and Mission Balls (see more about Mission Balls by viewing the newspaper spread here). The team brought enough Mission Balls with them to give one to every player they played against, plus some extra to give to people they interacted with. It certainly is not every day that you see a group of boys crowding around a soccer ball reading Bible verses to each other.

Yet, giving away Missions Balls was just the tip of the iceberg. The team gave themselves.

Whether it was enjoying barbeque at a party at night, going shopping in the afternoon, or having a worship service in their hotel, the Lady Lancers never seemed to be away from the women on the Cayman national team, except maybe skill-wise on the soccer field.

In three games against the Cayman teams, Grace won 4-0, 5-0, and tied 2-2. These were no shabby opponents, either, as the tie came against the Cayman Islands U20 Women’s National Team. The team’s success in the national spotlight—the team’s visit was covered multiple times by local Cayman television stations—gave them the respect they needed to talk to the locals about God.

When the women’s soccer team went to put on a skills demonstration for a local elementary school they were in for a surprise. The elementary school visited turned out to be a high school, and the skills demonstration they planned was swapped for a gymnasium filled with an audience ready to listen to whatever the team had to say. Fortunately, God was moving long before the team ever arrived in the heart of one member of the Cayman Women’s National Team named Nikki. Through her help, junior Kristin Yocum’s Gospel presentation would be accepted with open ears and hearts.

When Nikki first met the Grace soccer team, a bit of a reputation preceded her, so much so that one of her own teammates asked if she was really invited to dinner with the Grace team. Her honest “you might not want her” was met with a simple “we love her anyway.” Three days later it was Nikki, newly saved through conversations with players from Grace, who told her former high school, “I know you all know who I am and I know you all know what I’ve done, but I’ve been changed by this team and I want you to listen to them.” The students did, and many students raised their hand to receive Christ when the invitation was given to. Such is the power of a team who is “like Christmas every day,” as one opponent said.

Ten days does not seem like much time to make a lasting difference. Or is it? The results speak for themselves: 20 salvations, dozens of Cayman soccer players reached with the Gospel, and countless lives impacted across the country.

Without each player playing an important role on the trip, the women’s soccer team’s trip would not have been so successful, and at times, confusing. As Cayman women soccer players talked amongst themselves about the crazy foreigners who had just invaded their country, they could not figure out what was the cause for the joy that fueled their passion. Then finally, one player spoke up. “Don’t you see? It’s Jesus, guys.”

Now at home, Voss has a new story to tell recruits, a story of the unified effort of a team that loved God and loved soccer. He has a finished product to sell, and a vision that has only begun.

“If you didn’t believe sports were a legitimate way to share the Gospel, you can’t doubt it now.”

Voss to assist Haitian Women's National Team


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Michael Voss, head coach of Grace’s women’s soccer team, has become an assistant coach for the Women’s National Team of Haiti.

Voss will continue as the full-time head coach with the Lady Lancers and is adding the Haitian assistant coach title to his responsibilities.

“I am excited about the opportunity to be involved in women’s futbol at the World Cup level,” Voss said. “Haiti and the Women’s National Team structure is a program with much potential. There is a tremendous opportunity to develop these teams with the goal of reaching the respective Women’s World Cups.”

The duties Voss will assume with the Haitian WNT include helping with the training and development of the girls’ U14, U17 and U20 squads.

He agreed to a three-year commitment through 2015 with the goal of qualifying the Haitian WNT for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.

“There has been really good discussions to this point, and I am pleased that Grace College is working to make this a reality,” Voss explained. “I am excited to work with Shek [Borkowski] and the staff and to participate in the investment and development of the national teams.”

Voss will be the assistant under newly appointed head coach Shek Borkowski, who is the head coach for FC Indiana.

The Haitian WNT will be located in Indiana from March until August. They will play numerous NCAA Division I schools and professional clubs as part of their training.

Grace ties Cayman Islands U20 WNT


GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands – Grace's women's soccer team got its first international match experience with a 2-2 tie of the Cayman Islands U20 Women's National Team at the Trumen Bodden Sports Complex.

The Lady Lancers, in the midst of their missions trip to the Cayman Islands, controlled the pace and possession for much of the first half. Grace rattled off a handful of shots in the opening period and was especially dangerous inside 30 minutes.

Kaitlan Wiles had two goal-scoring opportunities that were denied, and Jackie Seal sliced a brilliant pass to Lauren Becker, but her shot narrowly missed high from eight yards.

Grace fell behind 2-0 after allowing a low 22-yard shot in the 40th minute and a high bouncing ball in the 60th minute that was misplayed and headed over goalkeeper Carmen Barnhill.

But Grace's comeback was quick in response.

Two minutes after conceding their second goal, Wiles was taken down in the penalty area allowing Jocelyn Evans to finish a penalty kick.

In the 89th minute, Becker attempted to chest a ball in the box, but a defender clearly handled the chip for the second PK of the evening. This time, Kelsey Christner hammered home the game-leveling goal.

Grace nearly won the game in extra time, but Wiles's header over the goalkeeper was cleared off the goal line by a Cayman Island defender.

Overall, Grace finished the match with an 80/20 advantage in time of possession.

"The women brought a precise, technical game tonight. I was concerned they would come out a little wobbly from the heat and playing in this environment, but they showed none of that," said Grace head coach Michael Voss. "The [Cayman Islands] U20's are a quality side and play hard. They have a ton of international match experience under their belt and are an impressive young group. We are very fortunate to be involved with the Cayman Islands Football Association and have been truly blessed by the hospitality of the Women's National Team and the island."

To read more about Grace's trip to the Cayman Islands, including daily posts from players and coaches and dozens of photographs, visit http://gracecollegewomenssoccer.wordpress.com/.

Below are multiple articles from local Cayman Islands news outlets covering Grace's arrival and matches:

Women's Soccer mission trip to include three Women's National Teams


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – The Grace College women’s soccer program is set to face three international teams during their upcoming missions trip to the Cayman Islands.

The Lady Lancers, who travel from March 7-17, will have an opportunity to play the Cayman Islands Women’s National Team, the Cayman Islands U20 WNT, and the Jamaica U20 WNT as part of the 2012 FutbolTravel.info Cup.

“This next chapter in the history of Grace College women’s soccer of sharing the gospel through futbol competition with Women’s National Teams is simply epic!" said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “This program is radical. You can take these women anywhere, and they are going to engage the world for Christ. The way we all go about the game, from way before pregame to way after postgame, we are absolutely loving the mission of being a vessel that God can use to draw people to himself.”  

While competition will be relentless, the Lady Lancers plan to enjoy meals with the participating women’s national teams and hold times of Bible study and worship with them.

The 19 Lady Lancer soccer players also plan to distribute Bibles and Mission Soccer Balls to the players they encounter during the matches.

“We are humbled and ecstatic to be living the mission of Matthew 28 through futbol,” Voss continued. “Our aim in this trip, as is the mission of our program, is to love God passionately, be a baller and pray that God would draw people to Himself. We are praying those involved in this game would be encouraged in Christ and eternal destinations would be changed from eternal separation to eternity with Christ!”

The Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory located in the western Caribbean Sea. It is comprised of three islands which are located northwest of Jamaica and south of Cuba.

To follow the Lady Lancers live from the Cayman Islands, visit their blog at http://gracecollegewomenssoccer.wordpress.com/. The blog will be updated with posts, photos and videos throughout their trip.

During their 2011 season, Grace tied the program record for wins in a season when they finished 14-7-3. The Lady Lancers also earned their second trip to the NCCAA National Championships in the last three years.