Record Season Ends With Grace Comeback


KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Down 2-0 in the final day of the NCCAA Tournament on Saturday, Grace’s women’s soccer team rallied to tie Roberts Wesleyan College 2-2, concluding the Lady Lancers’ most successful season in the program's history.

Senior Amy Abbitt scored both of the Lady Lancers' (14-6-3) goals to force the draw and to end her career on a high note. The two teams shared seventh-place with the tie, as no overtime was played.

The Lady Raiders (8-10-6) kept the ball on Grace’s side of the field for the majority of the first half and capitalized on two scoring strikes to build a comfortable 2-0 lead over Grace.

The Grace College offense went into attack mode and dominated the remaining minutes of the half. After a deflected shot by Roberts’ defense, Abbitt rebounded and scored near-post from the left corner of the penalty box to get Grace within one.

Grace’s offensive dominance continued in the second half. After several scoring strikes, Amy Abbitt struck nylon again off an assist by Sara Morgan midway into the period. Neither team was able to break through for the deciding goal in the remainder of regulation.

In a radio interview after the game, head coach Michael Voss said he was glad to see Grace's style of possession-attacking futbol in action for the first time this tournament. "These seniors are the foundation for this program," Voss said. "They are the tip of the sword for what this team will accomplish in the future."

Along with Abbitt and Morgan, Grace will graduate midfielder Amy Kuhl, defender Laura Burns and forward Nikki Burau.

The 2009 Lady Lancers set a number of firsts for the program, including the team's first undefeated nonconference season, its first 10-0 start in all of Grace Athletics since 1992 and its first NCCAA appearance in a decade.

Still Searching


KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The Lady Lancers are still looking for their first win in the NCCAA tournament.

Grace gave up three goals in the second half in a 3-1 loss to Palm Beach Atlantic on Thursday afternoon.

After an uneventful first half, Grace got on the board first when freshman Kristin Yocum made a nice cross from the right side to the near post where freshman Elizabeth Heuss headed it in. That goal at the beginning of the second half broke a two-and-a-half game scoreless streak for the Lady Lancers (14-6-2), stretching back to the Nov. 7 MCC semifinal game against Marian University.

Palm Beach responded with back-to-back goals in the next 10 minute span, including the tying goal four minutes later. The Lady Lancers had several good offensive strikes in an attempt to tie the game, but the women couldn't net another shot before time expired.

The Lady Sailfish (10-9-1) added an insurance goal with two minutes remaining in the game to finish the day's scoring and clinch the victory.

In a radio interview after the game, head coach Michael Voss mentioned that he was proud of his team's work ethic. According to him, the goals surrendered on defense resulted from Grace's offensive campaign in the second half. "We're not the type of team who settles for a tie. We go for the win," Voss continued.

Grace will now play in the seventh-place game on Saturday at 10 a.m. after Friday's day off. The loser of the Dallas Baptist/Covenant College game will face Grace on the tourney's final day.

Grace Drops First Game in NCCAA Nationals


KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Grace’s women’s soccer team fell to Judson University 1-0 in the first round of the NCCAA tournament on Wednesday afternoon.

After a scoreless first half where Judson dominated ball possession, the Lady Eagles (13-6-3) broke through in the second half and scored the match’s lone goal in the 63rd minute of play.

"We came out and worked really hard today," said head coach Michael Voss. "We had some great looks at goal. We just did not convert any of them."

The #3 seed Judson took advantage of the playing conditions and kept the ball on Grace’s side of the field the entire first half with the wind at their back. But when the teams switched sides for the second half, Grace, the #6 seed, still struggled to penetrate the Judson defense and couldn’t produce the equalizer with the wind on their side.

Judson outshot the Lady Lancers (14-5-2) 14-5 on the day. Both teams had five corner kicks, and Grace had nine fouls to Judson’s 11.

"Defensively, we had a strong performance, and I thought we shut down their attack effectively," Voss continued. "We need to focus on our possession demension of our attacking futbol."

Grace plays Palm Beach Atlantic at 12 p.m. tomorrow while Judson goes on to face The Master’s College. With the loss, Grace can finish fifth in the tournament at best, but the team needs to win on both Thursday and Saturday.

The NCCAA tournament is held in Kissammee, Fla., at the Austin-Tindall Soccer Complex and features eight premiere teams from around the country.

Shootout Win Gives Grace NCCAA Tourney Berth


SPRING ARBOR, Mich. -- The Lady Lancers are going to the NCCAA National Tournament for the first time in a decade.

Freshman Abigail Burns made the game-winning goal in the sudden death shootout to defeat Spring Arbor 4-3 in the NCCAA Midwest Regional giving them a berth into the NCCAA National Tournament in Kissimmee, Fla.

Both teams played to a 0-0 draw through regulation and the two overtime periods, similar to their regular season matchup on Oct. 17 which ended in a 1-1 tie.

Head coach Michael Voss called on junior Rochelle Hall to step into the net for freshman Abigail Burns, who had shutout the Lady Cougars (12-7-2; 6-1-1 MCC) for 110 minutes. Hall's wingspan and frame in the goal made her a better candidate for stopping penalty kicks, according to Voss.

Both Spring Arbor and Grace nailed their first three attempts in the shootout. Scoring for the Lady Lancers (in order) was sophomore Victoria Casey with her first career goal, freshman Elizabeth Heuss with her 10th goal of the season and freshman Joscelyn Evans with her first career goal.

"They are our best PK takers statistically," Voss continued. "We have practiced PK's extensively over the past month preparing for a situation like this."

Hall blocked Spring Arbor's first two attempts, and Grace's senior Amy Abbitt and sophomore Rachel Roe eached missed theirs, leading to a 3-3 tie in the best-of-five shootout to send the match into sudden death.

The Lady Cougars' first attempt in sudden death appeared to be going in. The ball struck the top-left crossbar, ricocheted off the left post and bounced straight across into the right post, never crossing the goal line.

After calling on two players who had never scored a collegiate goal to take penalty kicks, Voss selected an even more unlikely player to kick next: Burns, who was to take her first shot of the year.

"I know it's unorthodox but I totally believed in her ability," Voss said. "She was the perfect sixth shooter because she understands penalty kicks as a goalie."

Her attempt struck the bottom-left part of the goal, giving the Lady Lancers the victory. But she didn't know it at the time.

"I thought that shootouts went to an extra five shots," Burns said. "I didn't know it went into sudden death. Once I shot, I thought there were more shots to come. I didn't know we won until the team ran out and told me."

The NCCAA tournament will be held in Kissammee, Fla., from Dec. 2-5 at Austin-Tindall Soccer Complex and will feature eight teams from around the country. To follow the tournament, visit the Lancer Athletics Blog or thenccaa.org.

"Coming in after my freshman year, I never would have thought that this would be where the program would go," said senior Amy Abbitt. "I never thought I would be a part of a team winning the regional and heading to Florida."

Grace Loses Last Second Heartbreaker


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Grace's women's soccer team was less than a minute away from pulling off potentially one of the biggest upsets of the year against top-ranked Marian University in the Mid-Central College Conference semifinal on Saturday.

However, Marian knocked in the tying goal with 31 seconds remaining in regulation and nailed the game-winner in double overtime to steal a 2-1 win over Grace.

"The women played very well today. It was great to watch," said head coach Michael Voss. "They played our style with pace and imposed attacking, possession futbol in all four halves and flat out competed for Christ. It was quite impressive."

The Lady Lancers (14-4-1; 4-3-1 MCC) played even with Marian throughout much of the game, finally gaining the advantage in the 64th minute of play when freshman Marissa Bo headed in the first goal of the day off a pass from senior Amy Abbitt.

Grace's defense held firm for the next 25 minutes against the Marian offensive campaign, led by freshman goalkeeper Abigail Burns. Burns made six saves in over 106 minutes in goal.

Marian (17-1-1; 7-1 MCC) got a free kick deep in Grace's territory with under a minute left in the game. The Lady Knights' Samantha Cook took the kick and drilled it off the crossbar. Lacey Hersman scored the equalizer in dramatic fashion off the loose ball.

The Lady Knights used that momentum to control the ball in the two extra periods. Grace was not able to record a shot in either overtime, eventually giving up the game-winner to Ally Higgenbottom in the 107th minute off an assist by Hersman.

Marian, who is ranked 15th in the nation, defeated Grace 3-0 in the regular season. They advance to the MCC championship game against No. 14 Indiana Wesleyan.

Grace will play Spring Arbor in the NCCAA regional final Saturday for a chance to earn a bid in the NCCAA National Tournament in Kissimmee, Fla. (December 2-5). During the regular season, Grace tied Spring Arbor 1-1. Game time Saturday at Spring Arbor is scheduled for noon.

"If any of those crossbar shots drop elsewhere instead of where they did, or if we clean out the scrum defensively, the score is different." Voss continued. "That's futbol. Some days the game is mysterious and elusive. The women gave it all in Indianapolis and represented the Lord, Grace and themselves well today."

Lady Lancers Advance to Semifinals


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Grace's women's soccer team won its 14th game of the season -- a program record -- and defeated St. Francis 2-1 in the first round of the MCC tournament.

After falling to Saint Francis 3-2 in the regular season, senior Nikki Buau scored both of the Lady Lancers' (14-3-1; 4-3-1 MCC) goals on Saturday within a two-minute span in the first half to give Grace the avenging victory.

"Today was a redeeming day for us," said head coach Michael Voss. "It was fun to watch the women play possession-attacking futbol. It was satisfying to see them play with joy again."

The win also cemented the 2009 squad at the top of the program's record book. The 1998 team, who went 13-9-1 with a .587 winning percentage, was the previous benchmark for the program. The 2009 team had a .794 winning percentage at the end of the regular season and earned its 14th win on Saturday.

"It is rewarding to know that we are heading in the right direction. It's truly the result of the culture of what the women do on a daily basis," Voss continued. "Winning is the byproduct of the team's hard work and careful planning. I'm excited to see the women so unified in what we are doing."

The game was deadlocked 0-0 for the first 40 minutes when Burau jumpstarted the Lady Lancer offense. Moments after Burau subbed in for Elizabeth Heuss, Grace's leader in goals scored, Amy Abbitt sent a corner kick deep in the box which Burau headed into the net to give Grace a 1-0 lead. The goal was Burau's first since Grace's Aug. 29 victory over Concordia University. But she didn't stop there.

Just over a minute later, Grace's Rebecca Mondich dribbled into the box, drew the goalie out and assisted Burau for the easy finish, her third of the year.

Saint Francis earned their first goal of the game in the 65th minute to edge within one of the Lady Lancers. Although the ball did not touch the net, the line judge ruled that the Lady Cougars' (6-13; 4-4 MCC) corner kick crossed the goal line.

Throughout the remainder of the second half, freshman Abigail Burns stopped several Saint Francis attacks. She tallied eight saves on the day, her biggest coming at the 79:30 mark when Saint Francis' Katie Christian took a shot from 30-yards out. Burns backpedalled, lunged in the air with one hand and deflected the high-attempt off the top of the crossbar to preserve the win.

Grace will play in the semifinal game next Saturday against No. 15 Marian, the top seed in the MCC tournament. On Oct. 24, the Lady Knights (16-1-1; 7-1 MCC) defeated Grace 3-0 in Indianapolis.

Lady Lancers Cut Down Foresters on Senior Day


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Grace College's women's soccer team finished its most successful regular season in the program's history with a 3-0 win over Huntington University on Senior Day at Miller Field.

Seniors Amy Abbitt and Sara Morgan were main contributors to their Senior Day win. Abbitt, a former Warsaw Tiger standout, scored the first goal three minutes into the game, and Morgan recorded two assists. The Lady Lancers (13-3-1; 4-3-1 MCC) finished the regular season with the highest winning percentage ever.

The win also put Grace in fourth place in the Mid-Central College Conference, giving the women an important first-round home game in the MCC tournament at 1 p.m. Saturday against St. Francis. Earlier in the season, St. Francis scored the winning goal in the 85th minute in a close 3-2 victory over Grace at Miller Field.

"Today was really good for us as a team," said head coach Michael Voss. "We have battled ourselves recently, and I feel we've been drawn too much into the drama of the MCC. I'm excited to see the focus that we all want back -- balling it up for Christ. No other distractions."

Grace scored all three of its goals in the first 26 minutes of action, starting with Abbitt's goal a mere 3:27 into the game off an assist from Joceyln Evans. Freshman Marissa Bo scored her first collegiate goal in the 14th minute from Morgan. Morgan also assisted the last goal nine minutes later to freshman Elizabeth Heuss, her team-leading ninth goal of the season.

Freshman Abigail Burns got her first collegiate shutout in the net with seven saves in 90 minutes. The Lady Lancers recorded 14 shots in the first half, which equaled the Lady Foresters' (3-13-2; 0-6-2 MCC) output for the entire game.

"Our goal is to play Grace College futbol on Saturday and go to church on Sunday as one of the last four teams in the tournament," Voss continued. "We have three days to prepare, so this week's training will be focused."

Lady Lancers Fall to Marian


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The Grace College women’s soccer team traveled to Indianapolis on Saturday afternoon to take on the Knights of Marian University. The Lady Lancers (12-3-1; 3-3-1 MCC), battling for home-field advantage in the MCC tournament, fell to the Lady Knights 3-0.

The Lady Lancers, coming off a big game at Spring Arbor a week ago, dug themselves into an early hole by surrendering two goals in the first 27 minutes of play. Marian added an insurance goal early in the second half, and Grace was not able to close the gap.

“We had three great opportunities, but we could not convert any for a score," said head coach Michael Voss. “We played a very good, nationally ranked team, and we will get back to work this week as we prepare for Huntington on Tuesday.”

Marian (15-0-1; 7-0 MCC), ranked 19th in the country coming into the match, is one of only two undefeated teams left in the NAIA this season. The Lady Lancers, in the midst of the best season in program history, never gave up.

The Lady Lancers next turn their attention to the regular season finale on Tuesday when Grace hosts the Foresters of Huntington for Senior Day at 4 p.m. Five Lady Lancer seniors will be honored before the game, including former Warsaw Community standout Amy Abbitt.

Goal in Final Minute Ties Spring Arbor


SPRING ARBOR, Mich. -- Senior Sara Morgan scored a goal with under a minute remaining in the game to tie Spring Arbor 1-1. The Lady Cougars are receiving votes in the NAIA and are ranked third in the MCC.

"We bounced back under pressure and produced when it was needed," said head coach Michael Voss. "Our possession-attacking futbol was on for much of the day, and it sure was fun to watch."

Spring Arbor scored its goal at the 17:57 mark on a scrum inside the box. A free kick deep in the zone got loose in the box, and the Lady Cougars (8-5-2; 3-1-1 MCC) knocked in their only goal of the day. The Lady Lancers (12-2-1; 3-2-1 MCC) had several good looks the rest of the half, including a shot that bounced off the crossbar, but went into halftime down 1-0.

With twelve minutes left in the game, according to Voss, Grace went all-in to avoid the loss. "We went into attack mode in the end. We threw everything at them," Voss said.

And it worked. Senior Amy Kuhl won a tackle in the Lady Cougar's side of the field and passed the ball over to Elizabeth Heuss. Heuss chipped a bouncing ball over the defender to Morgan who netted the equalizer.

The Lady Lancers had a few more solid looks in both of the overtime periods and possessed the ball well, but neither team was able to score the winning goal. Rochelle Hall recorded 11 saves for the Lady Lancers on the day, who were outshot 18-10 by the Lady Cougars.

"Spring Arbor is #3 in the conference and on the national scene, so a tie for us is huge in the big scheme of things," Voss said. "It's a great step for our program. This is a great place for us to be going into the rest of the season."

Up next for Grace is potentially its biggest test of the season. On Saturday at 1 p.m., the Lady Lancers will play against undefeated Marian University, the top team in the MCC. Marian, who defeated Grace twice last season by a goal each game, has yielded only two goals this season in 14 games.

Lady Lancers Fall to St. Francis in Final Minutes


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Grace's women's soccer team battled back from a 2-1 deficit against St. Francis to tie the game in the second half, only to give up the game-winning goal with under six minutes left in regulation in a 3-2 loss on Tuesday.

"Today was disappointing," said head coach Michael Voss. "I felt we played well at times and even had many opportunities to score, but the truth is, we never really got possession-attacking futbol going today."

The Lady Lancers (12-2; 3-2 MCC) found themselves trailing their opponent for only the second time this season when the Lady Cougars (5-9; 3-1 MCC) scored in the ninth minute to take the 1-0 lead.

In the 26th minute, a late tackle by a Lady Cougar defender in the penalty box gave Grace a penalty kick. Junior Rebecca Mondich took the kick and scored her first goal of the day to tie the game 1-1. A few minutes later, another tackle in the box gave the Lady Lancers their second penalty kick of the match. This time, however, St. Francis' goalkeeper Emma McCoy came up with a huge save to maintain the tied score.

The Lady Cougars scored their second goal of the match with just four minutes to play in the first half, making the halftime score 2-1. It was the first time Grace trailed at halftime this season.

Grace evened the score 15 minutes into the second half. Mondich netted her second goal of the match and fourth of the season on a corner kick with assists coming from Sara Morgan and Amy Abbitt.

After nearly 25 minutes of back-and-forth play and scoring chances from both teams, St. Francis’ Jordan Kyle broke the 2-2 tie with the game-winning goal in the 85th minute.

"We stumbled, but the best part about today is that we are still a very capable possession team," Voss said. "We will get back up and grow stronger from falling down today."

Grace outshot the Lady Cougars 15-2 in the second half and 25-15 overall. Goalkeeper Rochelle Hall recorded six saves on the day for the Lady Lancers.

Grace will be on the road against Spring Arbor on Saturday with game time set for 1:30 p.m.

Grace Nets Three in First Half, Defeats Goshen


GOSHEN, Ind. -- It was an eventful first half in Grace's 3-1 victory over Goshen College on Saturday night. All four of the goals scored in the game came within an 20-minute span in the first half.

Grace senior Amy Abbitt (a former Warsaw Tiger standout) scored a goal in the 20th minute to give the Lady Lancers (12-1; 3-1 MCC) a 1-0 start. The goal came when Elizabeth Heuss made her way through the box and made a short pass around Goshen's goalkeeper to give Bo an easy finish. Natalie Anderson, Grace's co-leader in goals (8), scored her first goal in five games from 20 yards away in the the 32nd minute off an assist by Marissa Bo.

The Lady Maple Leafs (5-7; 0-4 MCC) spoiled Grace's potential tenth shutout of the year two minutes after Anderson's goal to make the score 2-1. Grace responded four minutes later when Heuss finished a shot far post forher eighth goal of the year. Anderson and Jocelyn Evans were credited with the assists on the play.

"Today was a great display of patience and possession for us," said head coach Michael Voss. "Overall, I was pleased to see the women working hard, being patient with our style of possession, and enjoying themselves as they knocked the ball around on the floor."

The Lady Lancers outshot Goshen 15-5 on the day and tallied four more shots on goal. Grace goalie Rochelle Hall earned the victory and made four saves on the day.

Grace continues conference play at home on Tuesday against Saint Francis at 4 p.m.

Lady Lancers Regain Stride with 1-0 Win


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Coming off their first loss of the season, Grace's women's soccer team edged a tough Taylor University team 1-0 on Wednesday.

The Lady Lancers (11-1; 2-1 MCC) were outshot all day by Taylor, but Grace executed when they needed to. Senior Sara Morgan scored the lone goal of the game in the 35th minute off an assist from Amy Abbitt.

"It was great to see our team respond with a tough win like that," said head coach Michael Voss. "Even though we didn't play our best futbal, the team effort was there throughout the game."

Taylor (4-7-1; 0-3 MCC) recorded 11 shots in the first half compared to Grace's four but still found themselves behind at halftime. Grace equaled Taylor's shots in the second half with seven apiece. The Lady Lancers, however, had seven shots on goal for the game compared to Taylor's six.

Junior goalkeeper Rochelle Hall had six saves on the day in her sixth shutout of the season. Grace's defense has nine shutouts on the year so far.

"Our defense has been a rock this year," Voss said. "We allowed very few solid looks for Taylor and pressured the ball well."

Abbitt's assist was her fifth of the year, which ties her for first on the team with Jocelyn Evans and Laura Burns. Morgan's goal was her fifth of the year, three away from her total last season.

Grace returns to action under the lights at Goshen. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday.

Lady Lancers Lose First of the Year


MARION, Ind. -- After winning their first 10 games of the year, Grace's women's soccer team fell to No. 11 Indiana Wesleyan on Saturday.

The Lady Lancers (10-1; 1-1 MCC) played even with Indiana Wesleyan in the first half and entered halftime with the score tied 0-0. The Lady Wildcats (8-1-1; 2-0 MCC) however, scored three goals in a 15-minute span in the second half to defeat Grace 3-0.

"Today we learned a few valuable lessons," said head coach Michael Voss. "The biggest is that our style works against good teams. We just need to put it together for 90 minutes of futbol in these types of matches. We allowed our opponent to play their style for 20 continuous minutes."

The Lady Wildcats outshot Grace 21-9 on the day and had 12 shots on goal compared to Grace's five. Indiana Wesleyan outshot the Lady Lancers 12-4 in the second half.

"We had six golden opportunities, and if we could have finished one of those shots, it would have been a completely different match," Voss continued. "We had some great possession today. We will stick with that and move into the second week of conference."

Goalkeeper Rochelle Hall gave up her first goal of the year in the 57th minute of play. She tallied nine saves on the day.

Jocelyn Evans and Elizabeth Heuss both recorded three shots and two shots on goal apiece. Indiana Wesleyan's Kylie Dial scored the Lady Wildcats' first goal and assisted their last two goals.

Grace continues conference play at home against Taylor on Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Lady Lancers Earn First Conference Win


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- After winning their first nine non-conference games, Grace's women's soccer team picked up where they left off with a 1-0 victory over Bethel College to open conference play.

Grace recorded their eighth shutout of the year, which ranks at the top of the NAIA. Rochelle Hall had three saves on the game and has yet to yield a goal this season.

"It was good to play well against a legit team," Voss continued. "We dominated possession most of the game but overall, it was a good conference win."

Grace picked up their first goal in the 36th minute of play. Sara Morgan, minutes after coming off the bench, crossed the ball to Elizabeth Heuss in the box, who tapped it in for the game's only goal.

The Lady Lancers continued their offensive pressure in the second half with several near-goals. In the 59th minute, Heuss had a one-on-one opportunity but couldn't convert. Three minutes later, Heuss led another breakaway and crossed the ball to Kristin Yocum whose shot attempt in the box was also saved. Seven of Grace's 11 shots on goal were in the second half.

The Lady Lancers (10-0; 1-0 MCC) dominated offensively with 16 shots to Bethel's seven. But the Lady Pilots' (3-5; 0-1 MCC) goalie made 10 saves on the day to keep the game close.

"It's great for the team to push hard for 90 minutes," said head coach Michael Voss. "It would have been a little less stressful if we would've put some in. We need to knock those home, especially as we get into MCC play."

The Lady Lancers will put their undefeated record on the line against Indiana Wesleyan in their toughest match of the year thus far. The Lady Wildcats (7-1-1; 1-0 MCC) are ranked 12th in the nation. Grace plays at Marion for a 1 p.m. start.

Perfect Nine


FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- The Grace College women's soccer team completed its perfect non-conference season with a hard-fought, physical 1-0 win over Indiana Tech.

The game remained scoreless through the first 65 minutes until Grace senior Laura Burns slipped a ball through the Indiana Tech (2-6) defense to freshman Elizabeth Heuss, who poked the game-winning goal past the goalkeeper.

"It’s good to win and not play very well," said head coach Michael Voss. "There's a handful of things to take from this game and implement when we play next week."

On a rare occasion, the Lady Lancers (9-0) were outshot 6 to 15 in the game. Junior goalie Rochelle Hall recorded a season-high five saves to preserve Grace's seventh shutout in nine games. Heuss's goal was her sixth of the season, which is second on the team to Natalie Anderson's seven.

"People are starting to play us differently now," Voss said. "But to not play well and still win games is a great building block for our program. Sometimes wins aren't pretty."

After flying through the non-conference season in dominating fashion, the Lady Lancers now must prove it can continue winning in MCC play. The Lady Lancers open the MCC season on Tuesday when the Bethel Pilots travel to Miller Field. Game time is scheduled for 4 p.m.

Six Goals, Six Assists in Victory


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Beyond Grace’s conference statistical leaders in six categories on offense, and their top-notch defensive NAIA rankings (shutouts and goals surrendered), there is one emerging theme on Grace's women's soccer team: their teamwork.

Each goal Grace scored was accompanied by an assist in their 6-0 victory over Holy Cross College on Saturday.

“I am proud to be undefeated but the women’s teamwork has been even more impressive to me,” said head coach Michael Voss. “Having six assists today just shows how well this team works together.”

Before their win over Holy Cross, the Lady Lancers (8-0) were ranked 16th in the NAIA in assists per game (3.140), and four players (Jocelyn Evans, Laura Burns, Holly Tetro and Amy Abbitt) were ranked in the MCC’s top ten in assists per game. Those stats will only grow after their latest victory.

The Lady Saints (0-6-1) didn’t have a single shot the entire game but were led by their goalkeeper, Ashleigh Lemp. She tallied 27 saves on the day, five more than Grace’s total saves the entire year.

Because of Lemp’s stellar performance, it took 24 minutes for Grace to score. But once Natalie Anderson knocked the ball in off Burns’ assist, the Lady Lancers began to pull away.

Sara Morgan earned two more goals in the first half for Grace, assisted by Evans in the 37th minute and Marissa Bo in the 39th minute, to give Grace a 3-0 lead.

Ryann Casciari scored her first goal of the year off Rachel Roe’s assist 35 minutes into the second half; Tetro scored three minutes later off Anne Janavich’s assist, her first assist of the year; and Kaala Pauley scored with 13 seconds left in the game off Abbitt’s assist to give Grace the 6-0 victory.

The Lady Lancers outshot Holy Cross 54-0 on the day and had 33 shots on goal. Evans led Grace with five shots on goal.

For the year, Grace has outscored their opponents 33-2; they have 125 shots on goal compared to their opponents’ 23; and they have six shutouts in their eight games this year.

Tetro was injured late in the second half. The Lady Lancer midfielder went down with a possibly season-ending ankle injury.

Grace plays their final non-conference game of the year at Indiana Tech on Tuesday. Game time is under the lights at 7 p.m.

Women's Soccer Sets All-Time Record


JOLIET, Ill. – In the best start in Grace College women's soccer history, the Lady Lancers defeated St. Francis, Illinois, 2-1 to improve its record to 7-0.

In the 28th minute, senior Amy Abbitt scored the game's first goal off an assist from Elizabeth Heuss. In the 37th minute, the Lady Lancers's defense gave up only its second goal of the season. At halftime, the score was even 1-1.

But the women were not content with a tie. In the second half, Heuss scored the game-winning goal (her fifth goal of the season) off a pass from senior Laura Burns.

"Overall it was a good road win," said head coach Michael Voss. "I was pleased to see the ability of the women overcome a set of difficult situations and conditions for the game."

The win on Wednesday topped Grace's previous record of six straight victories to open a season (2002). The Lady Lancers are now approaching the all-time record for wins in a season when Grace recorded 13 wins in 1998.

"I think this particular season's start is a product of the players who have taken ownership of the daily business of loving God first and then focusing on being the best futballers that they can be individually and collectively," Voss said. "It's great to see fruit from the labor that the entire team has put into the culture of Grace College women's soccer."

Anderson's Goal Gives Grace Its Sixth Win


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s 1-0 victory over Oakland City University on Saturday most likely felt more dominant than what the scoreboard read.

The Lady Lancers (6-0) outshot Oakland City 22-3 on the day and the Lady Mighty Oaks had eleven saves compared to Grace’s one. The solo goal of the game came from Natalie Anderson’s free kick that sailed over the goalie’s head in the fourth minute.

The goal was Anderson’s sixth of the year, including a hat trick against Cincinnati Christian in Grace’s season opener. She leads the MCC in goals, averaging one a game.

Anderson, Laura Burns, Amy Kuhl and Nikki Burau each recorded three shots on the day while Marissa Bo, Elizabeth Heuss, Kristin Yocum and Sara Morgan each recorded two.

As a team, Grace has recorded over 20 shots in five of their six games and is ranked 20th in the NAIA, averaging 22.6 shots per game. They are ranked 10th in the nation in shots on goal per game, averaging 14.8.

Their victory over Oakland City was their first game of the year that they didn’t score more than two goals.

Grace plays at Saint Francis of Illinois on Wednesday at 2 p.m.

Five Players Score in Lady Lancers Victory


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace College’s women’s soccer team defeated Marygrove College 6-0 on Tuesday in the Lady Lancers’ fourth shutout of the year.

The Lady Lancers (5-0) outshot Marygrove 25-2 on the day and scored five of their six goals in the first half.

After 17 minutes of stellar Lady Mustang (0-2) defense, Elizabeth Heuss scored Grace’s first goal of the game, her fourth goal this year, off Natalie Anderson’s assist in the 17th minute of play. After that, Grace was off and running.

Kristin Yocum scored in the 28th minute off Laura Burns’ assist, and there was an own goal three minutes later to give Grace a 3-0 lead with fifteen minutes to play in the first half.

Later in the half, Sara Morgan scored off Kristin Yocum’s assist, and Amy Kuhl scored off a deflection to give Grace a demanding 5-0 halftime lead.

Grace’s solo goal in the second half came from Kaala Pauley at the 57-minute mark. Marissa Bo was credited with the assist.

Cumulatively, Grace has outscored their opponent 24-1 this year. The Lady Lancers’ solid performance in the first five games of the season has led to several MCC individual leaders.

Natalie Anderson leads the conference in goals per game and points per game. Heuss and Yocum join Anderson in the top five for goals per game, while Joscelyn Evans, Holly Tetro, and Abbitt rank among the top five in assists per game.

Grace plays Oakland City University at home on Saturday. Game time is 3 p.m.

Undefeated Season Continues with Fourth Straight Win


ANGOLA -- In the eighth half and the 329th minute of the season, Grace's women's soccer team finally surrendered a goal. Fortunately for the Lady Lancers (4-0), Grace scored two of their own in a 2-1 victory over NCAA Div. III Olivet College (1-2) on Saturday.

Natalie Anderson earned her fifth goal of the season in the 20th minute to give Grace a 1-0 lead that stood until halftime.

After scoring 17 goals in a row without allowing their opponent to score, Olivet's Samantha Spiteri scored the first goal of the year against Grace's defense 14 minutes into the second half to tie the score 1-1.

Grace promptly responded four minutes later with an Elizabeth Heuss goal (third of the season) off an assist by Amy Abbitt.

Grace outshot Olivet 22-11. Olivet's goalie had 16 saves on the day compared to five saves for the Lady Lancers' goalies Rochelle Hall and Abigail Burns.

The Lady Lancers play Marygrove College at home on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.

Dominate Play Continues For Lady Lancers


ANGOLA -- The Lady Lancers scored early, and they scored often.

The Grace College women's soccer team continued its red-hot start to the season with a 5-0 shutout of Trine University (0-2).

Within the first twenty seconds of the game, forward Elizabeth Heuss raced the ball into Trine's net for the first goal of the game from Jocelyn Evans. In the fifth minute, Evans assisted Natalie Anderson. Grace then took a 3-0 halftime lead thanks to a Kristin Yocum goal from Heuss and junior Holly Tetro.

In the second half, Yocum scored again from a Rachel Roe assist in the 65th minute, and Evans recorded her third assist of the game by feeding Tetro for a goal in the 75th minute.

"It's been a good year so far because we are producing goals from a wide variety of people," said head coach Michael Voss. "We're spreading out the scoring. Our goals are coming from team possessions and not just one person."

Through three games this season, Grace has yet to allow a single goal yet has scored 16 of their own.

The Lady Lancers are back in action tomorrow in the second day of the Trine Tournament. The women face Olivet College at 1 p.m.

Lady Lancers Dominate In Second Win

Grace’s women’s soccer team earned their second win of the season on Saturday afternoon, defeating Concordia University 6-0.

Two games into the season, the Lady Lancers (2-0) have held their opponents scoreless and have tallied eleven goals.

Eight different players have scored in the Lady Lancers’ first two games. Against Cincinnati Christian on Thursday, Natalie Anderson earned a hat trick, and Kristin Yocum and Kaala Pauley each scored one. On Saturday, Rebecca Mondich scored two, and Elizabeth Heuss, Sara Morgan, Rachel Roe and Nikki Burau scored one apiece. Heuss’s and Burau’s goals were their first at Grace.

“It was good to see we have a lot of people producing goals,” said head coach Michael Voss. “A lot of people are getting involved. Overall I thought it was a good performance on the day, and it was against a good team as well.”

Mondich scored Grace’s first goal on the day at the 10:45 mark off a penalty kick and Heuss scored the Lady Lancers’ second goal off a Jocelyn Evans’ assist. At halftime, Grace led Concordia 2-0. The Lady Cardinals (1-1) could only muster two shots the first half, neither of which were on goal.

The Lady Lancers started the second half strong with Mondich’s goal in the first 16 seconds, her second goal on the day. Morgan scored nine minutes later to give Grace a 4-0 lead.

At the 71:47 mark, Holly Tetro’s corner kick set up a perfect header for Roe. Burau scored Grace’s final goal eleven minutes later off Ryann Casciari’s assist.

Grace had 21 shots on the day while Concordia had five.

Abigail Burns replaced Rochelle Hall at goalie in the second half and had two saves.

The Lady Lancers are back in action on September 4 in the Trine University tournament at 3 p.m.

Women's Soccer Impress in first Win of the Season

The 2009 Grace College women’s soccer team opened up the year on the road against Cincinnati Christian at DI Xavier University.

The Lady Lancers wasted no time picking up two first half goals on the foot of junior Natalie Anderson (Three Rivers, MI/Three Rivers). The first goal in the 20th minute of play came off the assists of former Warsaw standout Amy Abbitt. The second goal came off the assist of Rebecca Mondich (Edwardsburg, MI/University of Michigan) in the 22nd minute of play.

The Lady Lancers went into the locker room with a 2-0 lead. After the intermission they picked up right where they left off netting 3 more goals in the 2nd half to pull away for the 5-0 win.

Natalie Anderson picked up her third goal of the game and freshmen Kristin Yocum (Warsaw, IN/Lakeland Christian) and Kaala Pauley (Ft. Rucker, AL/Enterprise) both picked up their first collegiate goals in the win.

“It was a good start to get a win right out of the gate,” said Grace head soccer coach Michael Voss. “It was important to see up implement our style of soccer for 90 minutes.”

The Lancers (1-0-0) return to action at home this Saturday at 1:00 pm as they host Concordia University at Miller field.

Mediocrity No Longer An Option For Women's Soccer

The 2009 Grace College women’s soccer team looks to improve on last year’s season (8-12; 1-7 Mid-Central College Conference). Although last year was a building year, the Lady Lancers recorded the 4th most victories in the history of the 13 year program. However, according to third-year head coach Michael Voss, that success was just the beginning of what the program can accomplish.

“Last season I was pleased with our ability to imprint our style of soccer and to legitimately play within the attractive brand of possession-attacking futbol,” he said. “We are by no means satisfied with just that.”

This season, Voss is ready to continue a change in the entire culture of Grace soccer. Voss has brought in 10 recruits for the season, hoping to increase the intensity in practice as well as the overall depth of the team. As a result, the team’s style on the field should be fast-paced and relentless, which translates to exciting action for the fans. Last year, the women played exceptionally well at Miller Field with a 6-3 record. According to Voss, the next step is to start hosting MCC tournament games at Miller Field.

On the field, the Lady Lancers will be led by seniors Sara Morgan, Amy Kuhl, Laura Burns, and Amy Abbitt. Morgan’s eight goals last season were second on the team to junior forward Natalie Anderson, who tallied nine. Also returning to the roster this year are juniors midfielders Holly Tetro (six assists) and Rebecca Mondich (seven goals). Junior Rochelle Hall returns to her goalkeeping duties for the third season. Last year, she ranked third in the MCC with 104 saves.

One new player, in particular, is one that may turn some heads this year. Senior forward Nikki Burau, a transfer from Union University, will add blinding speed to the Lady Lancers this year, evidenced by the All-American honors she won on the track this past spring. Among the nine freshmen joining the team are local products Kristin Yocum and Jocelyn Evans.

“Quite simply, a complete lack of complacency with mediocrity is what has become the culture of the women’s soccer team,” Voss said. “In two seasons we have redefined what it means to hold a spot on this team. We are passionate about loving God and passionate about being the best players possible. The combination of hard work, careful planning, and just a relentless desire to seek the Lord is who we are.”