Evans, Casey Achieve All-American Status


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Victoria Casey and Jocelyn Evans capped off their superb seasons for Grace's women's soccer team with All-American honors by the NCCAA and NAIA.

Casey captained the Lady Lancers as a defender and won her second consecutive NCCAA First Team All-American award. Casey also was named an NAIA All-American Honorable Mention -- the first national award she has received from the NAIA. She was second on the team in goals scored with six despite playing primarily in defense.

Evans, a sophomore midfielder, was awarded her first national award with an NCCAA All-American Honorable Mention. She controlled the middle of the field and was a key distributor for Grace's attack this season.

Lady Lancers Receive Academic Honors


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Nine juniors and seniors on the Grace women’s soccer team received Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete honors last week: Elizabeth Heuss, Victoria Casey, Samantha Dekker, Rachel Roe, Kayla Alcorn, Rebecca Mondich, Natalie Anderson, Holly Tetro and Anne Janavich.

“It’s not surprising that these women were honored with this award.  They genuinely care about their academics and are conscientious students,” said head coach Michael Voss. “I am proud that all but one of our juniors and seniors received the scholar-athlete award.  This is a great honor and demonstrates their ability to be a “baller” in the classroom as well as in possession-attacking futbol.”

With nine players receiving the award, Grace sits at the top of the Mid-Central College Conference. The Lady Lancers accounted for nearly one-quarter of the award winners from the MCC.

Victoria Casey Named ESPN Academic All-America


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Junior Victoria Casey was named to the ESPN Academic All-America Women’s Soccer Third Team in the College Division on Friday.

The prestigious award is a combination of academic and athletic performance. Student-athletes must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.30 on a scale of 4.00, and be at least a sophomore in athletic and academic standings at the current institution.

Nominations and voting are conducted by members of the College Sports Information Directors of America amongst NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA programs. The College Division consists of institutions from the NAIA and NCAA Divisions II and III.

Casey is an outstanding student who currently has a 3.97 GPA as a counseling major and Spanish minor.

She was named to the First Team in Grace’s district after playing an increased offensive role in 2010. Despite playing primarily on the defensive end of the field, Casey was second on the team in goals scored with six. She also recorded one assist for a total of 13 points. She has been named to the Mid-Central College All-Conference Team the past two seasons.

“Vic’s leadership and character both on and off the field set a great standard for our program,” said head coach Michael Voss. “She always leads us to compete at a high level.”

Casey is in her second season as a captain of the Lady Lancers and is a graduate of Heritage Christian School. She is the epitome of sportsmanship and character, commonly befriending opponents after games.

 “Victoria is a standout student-athlete on our campus,” said Grace athletic director Chad Briscoe. “Her work ethic both in the classroom and on the field are very evident in being bestowed this honor. She’s a great ambassador for our institution, and we look forward to what she will continue to add to our program in the future.”

Two Receive All-Conference Honors for Women's Soccer


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Junior Victoria Casey and sophomore Jocelyn Evans were named to the Mid-Central College All-Conference team this week.

Casey was the top defender for the Lady Lancers this season. An NCCAA All-American defender one year ago, she finished second on the team with six goals after not scoring a goal in her first two years. She recorded one assist, as well.

Evans, a graduate of Warsaw Community High School, earned her first All-Conference honors as a midfielder. She was second on the team in shots with 31, including 14 on goal. She also tallied a goal and two assists on the season. 

The Lady Lancers finished the season 8-10-1 and 3-4-1 in the MCC. Grace College is a member of the MCC and is affiliated with the NAIA and the NCCAA.

Lady Lancers Fall to Huntington in First Round


HUNTINGTON, Ind. – The Grace women’s soccer team fell to Huntington University 2-1 in the first round of the MCC conference tournament on Saturday.

The fifth-seeded Lady Lancers (8-10-1) yielded an unlucky goal in the fifth minute when Huntington ripped a shot from 30 yards out that hit the crossbar and bounced down across the goal line.

With a strong wind in their face, Grace sparked an attack and Rachel Roe netted the equalizer in the 22nd minute, her second goal of the season (both against Huntington). Keeley Booher possessed the ball in the right side of the box and found Roe, who slotted it into the right side of the net. Grace entered halftime with the score tied 1-1.

With a favorable wind pushing Grace in the second period, their chances of pulling off a victory looked promising. The fourth-seeded Lady Foresters (10-8-1), however, scored the game-winning goal in the 72nd minute to take the 2-1 win.

“The women gave a dominant display of possession and generated numerous attacks,” said head coach Michael Voss. “We were very patient, and I’m pleased with the progress this group has made this year in exercising composure.”

Huntington outshot the Lady Lancers 13-6. Carmen Barnhill tallied five assists.

The Lady Foresters had 18 fouls to Grace’s 10.

“We had opportunities today,” Voss said. “We needed to win the match. Sometimes the game treats you this way. This program has found the way of possession-attacking futbol. Now we must build on it exponentially.”

The loss terminates Grace’s hopes of a .500 record that would qualify them for the NCCAA national tournament.

Yocum's Goal Sends Grace Past Taylor


UPLAND, Ind. -- With fifth place on the line in the Mid-Central College Conference, Kristin Yocum scored the game's only goal in Grace's 1-0 victory over Taylor.

In the regular season finale, the Lady Lancers (8-9-1; 3-4-1 MCC) held the Lady Trojans (10-7; 3-5 MCC) scoreless to clinch the fifth seed in the postseason tournament. Taylor fell to sixth place with the loss.

"This was a good win for us today," said head coach Michael Voss. "We had good composure on the ball and a really well-timed goal."

Five minutes into the second half, Victoria Casey dribbled the ball down the left sideline and put a ball behind the defensive line to Yocum. Yocum took care of the rest, putting her right foot into the ball outside of the 18 and slotting it past the keeper for the first and only score of the game.

Grace's offense continued to pressure, however. Natalie Anderson put a set play shot off the crossbar, which had to be cleared off the goal line by Taylor's defense. Elizabeth Heuss also performed well on offense, just missing on a couple of opportunities in the second period.

Taylor pressured at the end of regulation, but the Lady Lancers weathered the storm and limited Taylor's quality looks.

"I was super pleased with the women and their possession-attacking futbol," Voss continued. "This was a good performance, and we're looking forward to this weekend."

Freshman goalkeeper Carmen Barnhill recorded the shutout with 12 saves. Although the majority of Taylor's shots were directly at Barnhill, she did make a few spectacular saves in each period.

The Lady Lancers will face fourth-seed Huntington University at Huntington on Satuday. During the regular season, Grace and Huntington tied 2-2 through two overtime periods.

Lady Lancers Fall to No. 8 Indiana Wesleyan


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- The Lady Lancer defense kept the score line close, but couldn't net a goal against No. 8 Indiana Wesleyan in their 2-0 loss on Saturday.

Grace got off to a rocky start and surrendered a goal in the second minute of the game when Brittany Horswell ripped a shot from the 18-yard line that deflected in off the gloves of Grace's keeper. Despite 12 IWU shots in the first half, the Lady Lancers (7-9-1; 2-4-1 MCC) hung tough with one of the top teams in the nation and entered halftime only trailing by one goal.

After playing primarily in a defensive formation and possessing the ball in the backfield in the first half, Grace played more offensive in the second period. The Lady Wildcats (14-2; 7-0 MCC), however, put the game out of reach with a goal in the 70th minute when Kylie Dial got the edge on a Grace defender and drained the second goal of the match.

Victoria Casey did a nice job marking the No. 3 goal scorer in the nation, Megan Marshall, throughout the entire match, and Natalie Anderson had Grace's lone shot on frame on the offensive end. Carmen Barnhill tallied eight saves.

Indiana Wesleyan totaled 22 shots to Grace's three, and had five corner kicks to Grace's zero. The Wildcats also racked up 17 fouls to the Lady Lancers' 10.

The Lady Lancers sit in seventh place in the MCC and have lost three matches in a row. Indiana Wesleyan comfortably sits in first place in the MCC. They are undefeated in conference play and are on a 10-game winning streak.

Grace will finish their regular season when they travel to Taylor University at 3 p.m. on Tuesday. The Lady Lancers need a win to avoid finishing eighth in the MCC and playing Indiana Wesleyan in the first round of the conference tournament.

Bethel's Defense Holds Off Grace


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Bethel scored an early goal in the seventh minute and clung to their 1-0 lead the remainder of the match to take the win over Grace's women's soccer team.

The Lady Lancers (7-8-1; 2-3-1 MCC) controlled possession the entire game and kept it on Bethel's defensive end, but couldn't find the net in their second straight conference loss. Grace had 22 shots to Bethel's 9 and 10 shots on frame to their three.

"Sometimes you do everything you can, and the result just does not come," said head Michael Voss. "We were dangerous and had great possession with great chances but did not finish. We still play an awesome brand of soccer, and we will never change that."

Bethel scored on their first shot of the game after a breakdown in Grace's defense. The Lady Pilots (4-11; 3-4 MCC) made a quick counterattack, and Lindsey Hyduk played a nice through ball to Nicole Steller, who knocked it in the net for her eighth goal of the year.

Keeley Booher gave Grace a spark off the bench at the end of the first half, nearly converting a couple of goals that would have been the equalizer. She rocketed a shot off the post late in the period and nearly scored with the outside of her foot on a breakaway. Grace, however, entered halftime trailing 1-0.

Grace continued to dominate possession in the second half and had several more close calls. Natalie Anderson almost nailed a free kick just outside Bethel's box, and Victoria Casey almost connected with two of Grace's strikers on a cross in the box; but Grace couldn't convert.

Heuss had three shots on goal and Booher, Casey, Yocum, and Heuss each had two. Grace totaled 11 shots and 5 on goal in both periods.

Grace fell to sixth in the MCC with the loss, and Bethel took Grace's slot in fifth.

The Lady Lancers will honor its seven seniors on Saturday against No. 8 Indiana Wesleyan at 1 p.m. The senior class includes Rochelle Hall, Natalie Anderson, Rebecca Mondich, Holly Tetro, Rachel Roe, Kayla Alcorn and Anne Janavich.

Grace Can't Keep Pace with Spring Arbor


SPRING ARBOR, Mich. -- The Grace College women's soccer team dropped a 4-0 game to Spring Arbor on Saturday.

The Lady Lancers (7-7-1; 2-2-1 MCC) were shutout for the second time in conference play after scoring a trio of goals last game against Goshen College.

Grace could only manage four shots during the game, none of which were on goal. The Lady Cougars (11-4; 4-1 MCC), who are receiving votes in the latest NAIA poll, tallied 24 shots including 14 on goal.

Spring Arbor set the tone early for the game with a goal at the 3:14 mark and continued that trend with another goal in the seventh minute. The Lady Lancers surrendered another goal before the half to go down by three at the break.

Grace did record three of their shots and their only corner kick in the second period, but it proved too little too late. Freshman Carmen Barnhill played all 90 minutes in goal, tallying eight saves on the day.

Grace's next game is on Wednesday, when the Lady Lancers take on Bethel College at Miller Field at 3 p.m.

Grace Dominates Goshen


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Elizabeth Heuss netted two goals against Goshen in Grace's 3-0 win over the visiting Maple Leafs on Saturday.

The Lady Lancers (7-6-1; 2-1-1 MCC) dominated offensively from the start of the game, controlling possession and keeping the ball on Goshen's defensive end. Elizabeth Heuss netted the match's first goal in the 20th minute and scored again in the 42nd minute to give Grace a 2-0 advantage at halftime. Victoria Casey scored in the 67th minute to put the game out of reach for the Maple Leafs (4-8; 0-4 MCC).

"Today we made the adjustment to not just possessing but attacking," said head coach Michael Voss. "I was excited to watch this match unfold. I love to see the women play with this kind of joy and pizzazz."

The first goal came after Kristin Yocum went after a scrum in the box and collided with Goshen's keeper. Heuss got the rebound off the deflection and easily converted her first goal in conference season.

Goshen began to press hard offensively the remaining 20 minutes of the first half, but Grace was able to net a dagger at the end of the second half thanks to a beautiful through ball from Jocelyn Evans. Heuss received the through ball, broke free, and beat three Goshen defenders to force a one-on-one with the keeper. Evans was credited with the assist, and the goal was Heuss's eighth of the season, good enough for fourth in the MCC.

Again, Goshen tried to make something happen offensively at the start of the second half, but Grace's defense prevented the Maple Leafs from earning any quality looks on frame. Victoria Casey put the game out of reach when she received another well-placed through ball from Natalie Anderson at Goshen's own 18. Casey got the pass and juked a Goshen defender on the endline before left-footing one over the keeper from a difficult angle.

Grace's defense, spearheaded by Ryan Casciari, Jalisa Thayer, Samantha Dekker and Casey recorded their fourth shutout of the season. Carmen Barnhill played for 70 minutes and tallied three saves, and Abigail Burns had three saves as well in the final 20 minutes of play.

The Lady Lancers had five shots on goal to Goshen's seven. Both teams had 11 total shots.

Grace is back in action at Spring Arbor University next Saturday to take on the Lady Cougars at 3 p.m. Spring Arbor is receiving votes in the latest NAIA poll.

Lady Lancers Held Scoreless


FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- A lone goal was all that was needed to give Grace's women's soccer team its first loss in four games, and the Lady Lancers (6-6-1; 1-1-1 MCC) dropped a 1-0 game to Saint Francis.

While freshman goalkeeper Carmen Barnhill made 11 saves on the day, the Lady Cougars (3-9; 1-1 MCC) snuck one in the net in the 38th minute. Grace came up with eight shots and four on goal but were not able to come up with the equalizer. Saint Francis's defense limited Grace to four shots in the final period.

"We had very good possession today and were dangerous all day," said head coach Michael Voss. "We just did not convert that into goals. I felt at times we should have hit more shots, but we had extremely patient possession. Striking a balance will be the key moving forward."

Kristin Yocum and Elizabeth Heuss each recorded two shots and one shot on goal to lead Grace's attack. Overall, Saint Francis outshot Grace with 15 strikes, but the Lady Lancers recorded more corner kicks (8 to 5).

The Lady Lancers return to Miller Field on Saturday for a matchup with Goshen College. The game will start at 1 p.m. as part of the Red & White Day on Grace's campus.

MCC Match Results in Frustrating Draw


HUNTINGTON, Ind. -- Grace had to settle for a draw in their conference game against Huntington University on Saturday.

The Lady Lancers (6-5-1; 1-0-1 MCC) had two one-goal leads throughout the match but gave up two equalizers in the second half that resulted in a 2-2 tie.

"It was a tough day for us today," said head coach Michael Voss. "None of us are pleased with our possession today."

Grace's first goal came in the closing minutes of the first half when Elizabeth Heuss penetrated down the end line and made a pretty pass to Rachel Roe, who netted her first goal of the season. Grace maintained a 1-0 advantage over the Lady Foresters (5-5-1; 1-0-1 MCC) for the remainder of the first half.

Huntington, however, pressed hard at the start of the second period and eventually netted the equalizer in the 56th minute.

Thirteen minutes later, Heuss drove past a Huntington defender on a breakaway and drew a foul in the box. Victoria Casey stepped in and netted her fifth goal of the season on the penalty kick. But again, the Lady Foresters responded with the match's final goal in the 80th minute.

Neither team was able to score in the two overtime periods.

"We had several spurts of greatness and two good goals," Voss continued. "At the end of the day, it's a MCC tie. We'll move on. We'll get after it in training and focus on Saint Francis."

Huntington outshot Grace 26-8 overall and 15-8 on goal. Grace's goalkeeper Carmen Barnhill tallied 13 saves, including seven in the first half.

Grace returns to action in Fort Wayne against Saint Francis on Wednesday. Match time is schedule for 3 p.m.

Casey Stuns Marian


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- The last time Grace met Marian, the Lady Lancers (6-5; 1-0 MCC) yielded a goal with 31 seconds left in the game to fall to the Lady Knights 2-1, eliminating them from the 2009 MCC tournament. The memory remained fresh in the Lady Lancers' minds when they took on Marian again on Tuesday.

After giving up a Marian goal in the first half, it looked as if the Lady Knights (6-3; 0-1 MCC) would build on their five-match winning streak against Grace. Victoria Casey, however, scored two second-half goals to lift Grace to a 2-1 victory over their conference rival. Casey left-footed a rocket into the right side of the net in the 64th minute from the 18 for the equalizer, then scored off of a penalty kick in the 79th minute after Kristin Yocum went down in the box on a quick counterattack.

"The memory of last year's loss really helped motivate us in the second half," said Victoria Casey in a post-game radio interview. "We really wanted and needed to win this one. It just feels good to be out here again."

The match's turning point, perhaps, came in the first half. After giving up a Marian goal in the 18th minute of the game, Grace was whistled for a foul in their own box which led to a Marian penalty kick. Freshman goalkeeper Carmen Barnhill, however, made a stellar diving save on Marian's penalty kick to give Grace some much-needed momentum.

"It was great to see the team come together with such fortitude today," said head coach Michael Voss said. "Today was a good win against a very good team."

Thanks to Jocelyn Evans' return to the pitch in the second half after missing the last two games, Casey had more freedom to help out the offense, which led to the equalizer in the 65th minute. Rachel Roe was credited with the assist.

"I'm proud of the passion the girls played within our system," Voss continued. "And that shot - wow, what a hit!"

Barnhill recorded 11 saves in the match. The Lady Knights (6-3; 0-1 MCC) outshot Grace 26-15 overall and 13-9 on frame.

Marian is receiving votes in the latest NAIA national poll.

Grace will continue their conference season at Huntington on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Grace Goalies Named Players of the Week


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

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

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

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

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

Defense Performs, Barnhill Records Shutout


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Despite Indiana Tech's 31 shots and 17 on goal, freshman Carmen Barnhill still managed to record her first collegiate shutout on Wednesday, tallying 16 saves and leading the Lady Lancers (5-5) to a 2-0 victory.

"We have three very talented goalkeepers that all excel in different areas," said head coach Michael Voss in a post-game radio interview. "Carmen certainly did her job today. This gives our defense a lot of confidence as we enter conference season."

Elizabeth Heuss gave Grace a spark at the start of the game, scoring on one-on-one opportunities in the seventh minute and 18th minute. Heuss' first goal was the result off of a misplay in the backfield. She intercepted a Tech pass and sent a low ball into the left side of the net past the keeper. Her second goal came 10 minutes later when Emily Hickerson sent a nice through ball to Heuss, who beat the keeper again.

"Every time she was presented with an opportunity, she netted a goal," Voss continued. "She converted every chance she had and helped us get off to a solid start."

The Lady Warriors (3-6) pressed hard in the second half, but still struggled to get past Grace's defense. Late in the period, Tech's striker had a clear shot at the goal in a one-on-one with Barnhill, but Grace's keeper made an impressive sliding save to hold the Lady Warriors scoreless. One minute later, Tech had a wide open look when Barnhill came out of the box, but Victoria Casey made a clutch heading save on the goal line.

Grace, playing without starting midfielder Jocelyn Evans, was outshot 31-8 overall and 17-4 on goal.

The victory gets Grace back on the winning track after dropping their last three games against No. 20 Trinity Christian, No. 12 Embry Riddle and Savannah College of Art & Design (RV).

The women will return to action at home against Marian University on Tuesday to kick off the conference season. Grace has lost their last six matches against Marian, their last win dating back to Sept. 25 of 2007. Match time is scheduled for 3 p.m.

Hall Records 19 Saves in 2-0 Loss


HARDEEVILLE, S.C. -- Senior goalkeeper Rochelle Hall recorded a season-high 19 saves against Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), but the Lady Lancers still lost 0-2.

The Lady Lancers (4-5) were outshot 37 to 7, including 21 shots on goal for SCAD. Two first-half goals for SCAD (5-2-1) was all the margin needed for victory. Grace also managed only two corner kicks the entire game compared to 15 for SCAD.

"This was an extremely difficult game to play in considering the circumstances," said head coach Michael Voss, "but I'm very proud of the team's effort nonetheless."

Elizabeth Heuss recorded almost half of Grace's shots with two on goal and three overall.

The Lady Lancers return to action on Wednesday, when they welcome Indiana Tech to Miller Field.

No. 12 Embry-Riddle Handles Grace


HARDEEVILLE, S.C. -- Grace's women's soccer team proved no match against No. 12 Embry-Riddle University, falling 6-0 in a physical game of the SCAD Invitational.

The Lady Eagles (6-1) scored their first goal in the sixth minute, then added two more before the half. Grace was outshot 13-2 in the first half. Freshman Emily Hickerson recorded both of Grace's shots in the half.

The second half was much like the first. Rachel Roe and Keeley Booher recorded the only two shots the Lady Lancers (4-4) could muster in the period, and Embry-Riddle added three more goals. The Lady Eagles scored four of their goals within a ten minute span, between the 38th and 47th minutes.

"The women worked hard today in the midst of some difficult circumstances," said head coach Michael Voss. "It would have been great to convert one of our early chances, but we gained valuable experience today."

The physical game resulted in 31 fouls being called, 17 against the Lady Eagles. Grace was outdone in corner kicks -- eight to one in favor of Embry-Riddle.

The Lady Lancers will look to regain their momentum on Saturday against Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) at 5:30 p.m.

Grace Can't Keep Pace with Trinity Christian


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Grace's women's soccer team never regained momentum after giving up two goals in the first six minutes to Trinity Christian, falling 4-0 on Friday afternoon.

The Lady Lancers (4-3), still recovering from injuries at key positions, struggled from the onset against the Lady Trolls (4-1), who are receiving votes in the NAIA national poll. Grace had trouble limiting Trinity's Allison Doyle and Trisha Airth, who each recorded a pair of goals.

Off a misplay in the backfield for Grace, Airth netted the opening goal for Trinity at the 2:58 mark. Less than three minutes later, Doyle dribbled through the middle of Grace's defense for the second goal of the half.

Trinity's third goal came from a cross into the box, which Airth finished with her head, and Doyle tallied the final goal in the 52nd minute.

Trinity outshot Grace 22-8 on the day, with the Lady Lancers only able to muster three shots on goal. Freshman Carmen Barnhill played the entire 90 minutes in goal, recording seven saves.

Grace will look to bounce back next weekend, when they travel down to Georgia for a pair of games. They play Embry-Riddle on Friday and Savannah College of Art and Design on Saturday.

Lady Lancers Roll Past Holy Cross


NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Sophomore Elizabeth Heuss led Grace's attack with a pair of goals in a 3-0 victory over Holy Cross College on Monday.

Although Grace outshot Holy Cross 39-3 on the day, they entered halftime with a slim 1-0 lead. The Lady Lancers (4-2) scored the opening tally on a strike from Heuss in the 35th minute. Freshman Emily Hickerson was credited with the assist on the play.

Kristin Yocum sparked Grace's next goal, which came two and a half minutes into the second half. After splitting a pair of Lady Saint (0-2) defenders, Yocum slotted a pass into the box to Hickerson, who scored on the rebound from 12 yards out after her initial shot was deflected out by Holy Cross's goalkeeper.

Grace did not have to wait long to net the third score of the game. Natalie Anderson made a run from the backfield two minutes later, finding Heuss with a pass in the box for her second goal of the day and fourth goal of the season.

"Overall, it was a fairly dominant performance," said head coach Michael Voss. "I was very satisfied with the way we knocked the ball around today, maintaining possession throughout the game."

Voss substituted players liberally throughout both halves, playing 11 women off the bench, including freshman Hannah Alcorn -- who saw her first action of the year after struggling through a foot injury.

Freshman Carmen Barnhill started in goal for the Lady Lancers, recording the shutout with one save. Grace had 23 shots on goal, led by Heuss with five, Yocum with three, and two apiece for Jocelyn Evans, Hickerson, Courtney Grant, and Kayla Alcorn.

"It was a great team performance for us," Voss continued. "A lot of players put in significant minutes, and it was good to see them develop our bench while working possession-attacking football."

The Lady Lancers return to action Friday at Miller Field as they host Trinity Christian College at 3 p.m. 

Offense Click, Grace Defeats Aquinas


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Last Friday, it was Victoria Casey that scored after returning from an injury. On Saturday, it was Rebecca Mondich's turn.

In her first game back after surgery, Mondich scored a big goal in the 71st minute to give Grace a 3-1 cushion against Aquinas College, a match that concluded with a 4-2 win for the Lady Lancers (3-2).

The goal came after Jocelyn Evans juked an Aquinas defender and took a shot on goal. The ball bounced off of the goalkeeper's hands, and Mondich netted it on the rebound.

"My teammate Joscelyn Evans did all of the work," Mondich said in a post-game radio interview. "I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. It does feel good to score after being injured for so long, though. I give all of the glory and honor to Christ."

From the outset, it didn't look like the match would end so positively for Grace. The Lady Saints (0-3) jumped to an early 1-0 lead, scoring in the fourth minute of the game. Eleven minutes later, Aquinas was whistled for a foul in the box, and Casey rocketed a penalty kick into the upper-90 for the equalizer.

Elizabeth Heuss gave Grace a 2-1 lead in the 39th minute when she trapped a pass from Rachel Roe and dribbled past several defenders to net a shot on the run inside the box. Roe was credited with the assist.

The Lady Lancers maintained their one-goal advantage throughout much of the second half until Grace's offense began to dominate late in the game. Mondich scored off Evans' assist, and Evans scored 10 minutes later off an assist by Natalie Anderson to build a 4-1 lead.

"It's exciting to get some of our injured players back," said head coach Michael Voss in a post-game radio interview. "Vic's goal against Bethel and Rebie's goal today were special. I thought our offense looked really good down the stretch, and we are beginning to play possession-attacking football like I know we can."

Aquinas scored the match's final goal in the 90th minute to make the scoreline more respectable.

Grace outshot the Lady Saints 22-17 overall and 14-13 in shots on goal. Goalkeeper Abigail Burns tallied 11 saves on the day.

The Lady Lancers are back in action at Holy Cross College on Monday at 5 p.m.

First-Half Goal Dooms Grace


ADRIAN, Mich. -- A goal in the 22nd minute was all the cushion Siena Heights needed on Wednesday against Grace's women's soccer team as the Lady Lancers (2-2) lost 0-1.

A misplayed clearance by Grace's defense yielded a Lady Saint (0-1) goal from the top of the 18. Siena Heights outplayed Grace in the first half, taking 16 shots compared to four for the Lady Lancers.

The Lady Lancers responded with an offensive outburst in the second half, managing 12 shots after halftime but were unable to come up with the equalizer.

Grace was playing with "a heavy heart," according to head coach Michael Voss, because of the passing of assistant coach Amy Abbitt's mother on Tuesday. Abbitt graduated from Grace in May and is in her first year on the coaching staff.

"Our heart is with our extended family of Grace," Voss said. "We were definitely distracted in the first half, and it's just unfortunate that we could not net a goal."

All in all, Siena Heights outshot Grace 27-16 on the day. Grace had eight corners to seven for Siena and had six fewer fouls than the Lady Saints (11 to 17). Siena Heights also picked up a pair of yellow cards within two minutes of each other in the second half.

Jocelyn Evans (4 shots, 2 shots on goal) and Natalie Anderson (3 shots, 2 shots on goal) led the Lady Lancer offensive attack. Sophomore Abigail Burns had a big day in goal, totaling 10 saves in 90 minutes.

"We made another good stride forward today," Voss continued. "I'm proud of the women for representing the Lord well today."

The Lady Lancers return to action at home on Saturday at 4 p.m. 

Casey's Return Sparks Lancer Victory


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Victoria Casey is back.

After missing Grace's first two matches due to an injured back, the NCCAA All-American scored a game-winning goal in the 84th minute to give Grace a 2-1 victory against Bethel University (Tenn.) on Friday.

The goal came late in the game when Elizabeth Heuss received a cross from Holly Tetro in the goalie's box. Heuss somehow controlled the ball and dropped it back to Casey, who netted a rocket from the 18 into the top of the goal. Heuss and Tetro were both credited with the assist. As a defender, it was Casey's first career goal in her third season with Grace.

"It feels good to be back on the field," Casey said in a post-game radio interview. "We've practiced those types of shots several times. It felt very natural."

Kristin Yocum gave the Lady Lancers (2-1) a stellar start, scoring in the fourth minute of the match. Yocum drove past two defenders on the right side and sent a shot over the goalkeeper to give Grace a 1-0 lead. It was Yocum's first goal of the year and fifth career goal.

The Lady Wildcats (0-1) couldn't capitalize on several silly Grace defensive errors, and the Lady Lancers maintained their 1-0 advantage at halftime.

Bethel scored the equalizer early in the second half (52nd minute) when Rachel Dooling took a surprising shot from 40 yards out that barely flew over Abigail Burns' outstretched hands.

Toward the end of the second half, the Lady Lancers took advantage of Bethel's fatigue and had several looks on goal. They finally hit the game-winner late in the game and avoided the 1-1 draw.

"I was really pleased with the effort and their ability to possess the ball throughout the game," said head coach Michael Voss in a post-game radio interview. "It was really good to see some of our injured players get back on the field."

Marissa Bo, Rachel Roe, and Burns also saw minutes for the first time this season after recovering from injuries. Yocum returned after missing Grace's game against Marygrove on Tuesday.

The Lady Lancers had six shots on goal to Bethel's three and five corner kicks to Bethel's two. Grace kept their cool and pursued in their possession style of play in a physical game that featured 19 Lady Wildcat fouls to Grace's nine.

"I was pleased with how they responded to the physicality," Voss continued. "I think the girls were prepared for it. They didn't get frustrated and continued to play possession-attacking football. That was good to see."

The Lady Lancers are back in action at Siena Heights University next Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Lady Lancers Rebound Over Marygrove


DETROIT, Mich. -- After a tough loss in their season opener on Saturday, Grace’s women’s soccer team rebounded with a 2-0 win against Marygrove on Tuesday evening.

The Lady Lancers (1-1) scored on an own goal in the 21st minute, and Elizabeth Heuss put one in the net off of a set play in the 62nd minute.

The 21st minute goal came after Keeley Booher drove down the sideline and crossed one into the box. Heuss streaked toward the goal and nearly put a foot on it, but the ball bounced off a Marygrove defender and across the goal line.

In the 62nd minute, Holly Tetro passed the ball to Natalie Anderson off of a set piece, who, in turn, dished it to Heuss. Grace’s 2009 leading goal scorer beat the keeper and tallied her first goal of the year. Anderson was credited with the assist.

“We did a great job of possessing the ball today,” said head coach Michael Voss. “It was a good match. Marygrove is much improved from last year. We got some good looks on goal, and there were improvements in our possession and attacking. We made some great adjustments from Saturday.”

Grace started four freshmen and three sophomores, most of them being first-time starters. Freshmen Cassie Gareiss and Courtney Grant also earned significant minutes.

“It was a successful outing for our young ladies to handle the pressure,” Voss continued. “Overall, we are getting great experience with a lot of new players. Weeks from now, we will be better because they are playing hard amidst the adversity and going the distance.”

Goalkeeper Rochelle Hall recorded her first shutout of the year and made a key save at the end of the first half when the Lady Mustangs (0-1) almost tied the game off of a dangerous corner kick. Anderson continued her stellar play in a new defensive role and lasted all 90 minutes.

Starting midfielder Kristin Yocum did not play because of a stiff back. Projected starters Victoria Casey, Marissa Bo, Rebecca Mondich and Abigail Burns missed their second game of the season.

The Lady Lancers return to action Friday at Miller Field against Bethel University (Tenn.). Kick-off is scheduled for 4 p.m.

Women's Soccer Slips in Season Opener


FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- Grace's women's soccer team opened up the season with a 2-0 loss to Illinois Tech on Saturday evening.

The Lady Lancers (0-1) gave up an unlucky own goal with one minute remaining in the first half and a second goal in the 87th minute that extinguished any hope of a late-game charge. 

"It was an unfortunate result, but I'm very proud of the women's effort," said head coach Michael Voss. "I was hoping to produce some goals, but it was good to see us attacking still."

Plagued with injuries, the Lady Lancers (0-1) struggled to get offensive looks throughout the game, tallying three shots on goal. The Lady Scarlet Hawks (1-0) had six shots on target, including a talented goal by Lauren Capuano from beyond the 18 to finish off the Lady Lancers. Natalie Anderson's free kick in the first half and Jocelyn Evans' free kick in the second half were Grace's closest opportunities.

Grace played without several probable starters including NCCAA All-American sweeper Victoria Casey (lower back), NCCAA Second Team All-American goalkeeper Abigail Burns (strained hip flexor), midfielder Marissa Bo (back problems), forward Rebecca Mondich (recovering from surgery) and freshman midfielder Jackie Seal (ACL tear). 

"Our young team is getting valuable minutes this early in the season," Voss continued. "They will be much better off in the long run. We'll be ready to get after it in practice next week."

After receiving one vote in the NAIA preseason poll, the Lady Lancers will try to redeem themselves on Tuesday when they travel to Detroit to take on Marygrove College at 4 p.m.

Lady Lancers Ready for the Next Step


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- The 2010 Grace College women’s soccer team will enter this season without a certain aspect they had last year – the element of surprise.

Before last season, the soccer program had not finished above .500 in a decade. In 2009, the Lady Lancers enjoyed their breakout season under head coach Michael Voss. The women cruised through the nonconference season with a perfect record, and they ran their undefeated streak to 10 games before first tasting defeat. Grace finished the season at 14-6-3 (4-3-1 MCC), the best record in program history.

They also advanced to the NCCAA National Tournament after a thrilling, sudden-death shootout victory over Spring Arbor University in the regional qualifier. The young Lady Lancers finished tied for seventh in the tourney and gained valuable postseason experience in the process.

Voss, entering his fourth year as head coach, called this season a proving year. He has scheduled an extremely aggressive set of nonconference opponents, all of whom he believes have potential to be ranked nationally.

“While some might see us as the underdog, people take us seriously now,” he said. “As our program continues to improve from here on out, we’ll be more and more of a force to be reckoned with. It’s time for us to take the next step as a program.”

Grace returns many of their key performers, including junior defender Victoria Casey, who was named an NCCAA All-American last year. She will lead a strong defensive line with fellow returners Samantha Dekker, Ryann Casciari, and Aletheia Stroup.

On the attacking side of the ball, Grace’s top two goal scorers return in sophomore Elizabeth Heuss (10 goals, 3 assists) and Natalie Anderson (8 goals, 2 assists). Kristin Yocum also returns to the offense after scoring four goals primarily as a substitute. Jalisa Thayer, Beth Kuhl, and Emily Hickerson are just a few of the freshmen who hope to contribute on a much-deeper lineup.

“We are going to be more fit and faster this year,” Voss said. “This incoming crew gives us more speed at key positions. It’s going to be a fun system to play in with so many different arrows in the quiver.”

Sophomores Jocelyn Evans and Marissa Bo will once again team up as the center midfielders, where they started every game but one during their freshmen campaigns. Voss will look for both players to continue growing in their playmaking abilities after tallying 11 combined assists last year.

A position battle to watch comes at the starting goalkeeper spot. Incumbents Rochelle Hall and Abigail Burns split time last year and both have made improvements in the offseason. Talented freshman Carmen Barnhill is the final keeper vying for time tending the net. Voss hopes the competition raises each player’s performance throughout the season.

One of the team’s goals is to host a semifinal conference tournament game, in other words, to be in the top two of the Mid-Central College Conference – not a small feat considering the MCC features two teams (Marian, Indiana Wesleyan) who finished 2009 in the top 20 of the nation. Another goal is to make the NAIA National Tournament in Decatur, Ala. While these goals seem ambitious, Voss is confident that Grace’s style of play can match up against any team in the nation.

“It’ll be fun to see what our possession-attacking football will do,” he said. “Going into next season, we will see what possession-attacking football can do on a national scene. It’ll be hard, but I know we’re ready for it.”

But beyond all the successes and ambitions, the Lady Lancers stay committed to their purpose: “Our mission is true – we want to glorify God by playing this game and to draw others to Him through soccer,” Voss continued. “That’s the basis and premise of our program, which the veterans have seen and tasted. Winning and losing is secondary. But we give our best for God because He gave His best for us.”

The Lady Lancers begin their season on Saturday at the IPFW Sports Festival in Fort Wayne, Ind., against Illinois Tech at 7:30 p.m.

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.