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.

Lady Lancers garner national awards, 3 NCCAA All-Americans


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – After tying the program record for wins in a single season, Grace’s 2011 women’s soccer team earned a plethora of national honors.

The NCCAA named Victoria Casey, Jocelyn Evans and Carmen Barnhill as First Team All-Americans. For Casey, the senior defender earned her third straight First Team All-American award from the NCCAA.

Barnhill’s award was her first national award. The sophomore goalkeeper posted a  0.961 goals against average, notching 119 saves. She had a hand in eight shutouts this year for the Lady Lancers.

Evans, who tallied a team-best 10 assists to go along with five goals, was also an honorable mention on the NAIA’s All-American Team and made the NCCAA All-Tournament Team.

The trio will be recognized at the annual All-America luncheon in Kansas City, Mo., on Jan. 14. Grace had the highest representation on the All-America Team with three First Team honors.

The Lady Lancers also placed two more All-Americans from the prestigious CoSIDA organization. Casey and Elizabeth Heuss were each named to the First Team of the CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-America Team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

The College Division Academic All-America soccer teams are comprised of student-athletes from NAIA, Canadian and two-year institutions and recognizes both athletic and academic accomplishments across the nation. Casey earned Third Team honors from CoSIDA last season, but it was the first appearance on the First Team for both Heuss and Casey.

Heuss recorded a team-high 12 goals in 2011, finishing her three-year career fifth on Grace’s all-time scoring list with 30 goals.

Grace was equally as impressive in the classroom with four players being named Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes. All three seniors on the team (Casey, Heuss, Sam Dekker) made the list as did Evans, a junior. Casey, Heuss and Dekker each earned their second Scholar-Athlete award from the NAIA after winning it as juniors as well.

The 2011 Lady Lancers earned their second trip to the NCCAA National Championships in the last three years. Grace posted their best record in the tournament, going 2-0-1 for a fifth-place finish.

In their season finale, Grace came from behind to win 2-1 over Colorado Christian University, tying the program record for wins in a season. The Lady Lancers finished the year 14-7-3.

Lady Lancers tie win record in season finale


KISSIMMEE, Fla. – In their final match of the season, Grace’s women’s soccer team came from behind to defeat Colorado Christian University 2-1 to clinch fifth place in the NCCAA National Championships.

With the win, the Lady Lancers tied the program record for single-season wins by finishing 14-7-3.

"I was impressed with the women today and this tournament for taking possession-attacking futbol to another level. We played some good teams here," said head coach Michael Voss. "Grace brought speed of play, precision and defensively eliminated scoring threats from the opposition early and high in the midfield. For a squad that all year rarely outshot teams we really put it together. They were so disciplined in a variety of areas it was a pleasure to watch them play. I am stoked for our women and the program as a whole."

Grace fell behind in the first half when Colorado Christian finished a scrum inside the penalty box. Despite keeping possession primarily in the Cougars’ side of the field throughout the half and tallying six shots and five corner kicks, Grace still faced a 0-1 deficit at halftime.

But the Lady Lancers came out of the second half determined to find the back of the net. The Lady Lancers continued their offensive barrage after halftime and produced the equalizer and the game winner in a matter of minutes.

Kelsey Christner started both goals with her corner-kick placement. Her first one found Jackie Seal, who drilled her right-footed shot from the top of the 18-yard line to the left side of the goal at the 46:55 mark.

Christner’s next corner one minute later produced what turned out to be the game winner. The cross bounced inside the penalty box where Jocelyn Evans laced it in from eight yards away.

Christner was credited with the assist on both goals.

Grace’s defense, led by starters Ryann Casciari, Victoria Casey and Liz Casey, held the Cougars to five shots in the match and only one shot on goal.

Offensively, Grace was led by Evans, Holly Bennett and Elizabeth Heuss with three shots apiece. Evans was named to the NCCAA All-Tournament Team at the conclusion of the week.

The Lady Lancers finished the 2011 NCCAA National Tournament with a record of 2-0-1, their best record at the NCCAA Nationals.

Grace’s senior class of Victoria Casey, Heuss and Samantha Dekker will graduate as three of the key pieces to Grace’s two most-winningest seasons in program history. The trio led Grace to two NCCAA National Tournament appearances, including Grace’s 2009 team that finished 14-6-3. Two of the four winning seasons in program history occurred during their careers as well.

Coach Voss had this to say about the three seniors: "Addressing the seniors after the match was an emotional experience. Sam and Vic have labored with me for four years to follow the dream and vision that the Lord has placed in my heart. They believed, and they have sacrificed. They brought Chee!  The three are passionate about putting Christ first above all other earthly desires. I am so honored at their character, dedication, flare and passion. They have been an integral key to the success not only on the pitch but in God's kingdom. They have preached the gospel with their lives in the daily way of going about playing soccer. They have built a foundation and a legacy of what it means to be a 'baller for Christ' in possession attacking futbol at Grace College.  They are so ready to 'attack the world for Christ.'"

Grace dominates Truett-McConnell in NCCAA Nationals


KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Coming off a disappointing penalty shootout loss in their NCCAA opener, Grace’s women’s soccer team responded with an impressive showing in a 1-0 victory over Truett-McConnell College.

The Lady Lancers controlled possession of the ball nearly the entire match, allowing only a scant few opportunities for the Bears (8-12-1).

Both teams were scoreless through the first 45 minutes despite six shot attempts and five corner kicks by Grace.

The second half featured a similarly one-sided attack by the Lady Lancers (13-7-3), and Grace finally broke through in the 54th minute.

Jocelyn Evans found Holly Bennett with a through ball on the right side of the field that forced Truett-McConnell’s goalkeeper to leave her line. Bennett, however, beat the goalie to the ball near the endline, juked around her, then scored on the untended net.

The Lady Lancers continued to pressure for the insurance goal throughout the rest of the match but came up empty.

Jocelyn Evans drew a penalty kick when she was tripped up in the 18-yard box, but the Bears’ Hayle Swinson kept Truett-McConnell close by making a diving save on Evans’ PK attempt.

Elizabeth Heuss and Courtney Grant both came off the bench to provide an offensive spark for Grace with several close-range shots, and Bennett nearly provided Grace’s second goal late in the second half when she drilled one of her two shots off the crossbar.

Carmen Barnhill earned the shutout in goal for the Lady Lancers but was only needed to make one save.

Overall, Truett-McConnell took five shots compared to 13 for Grace (six on goal). Grace also held a 9-1 advantage in corner kicks in the match.

Evans led all players with four shots and three on goal.

The Lady Lancers will play in the fifth-place match on Saturday at 10 a.m. against Colorado Christian University.

Lady Lancers drop NCCAA opener on PKs


KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Grace’s women’s soccer team dominated possession and the shot count against Asbury University, but it was the Eagles who survived their opening match of the NCCAA National Championships in dramatic fashion.

Despite pounding out 23 shot attempts, the Lady Lancers were not able to separate themselves from the Eagles in regulation or extra periods.

In the ensuing penalty shootout, the second-seeded Lady Lancers fell 5-4 to eliminate their hopes of a national title.

Grace will continue play in the tournament on Thursday when they face Truett McConnell in the consolation bracket.

In a game that featured one of Grace’s best-controlled attacks all season, it was the seventh-seeded Eagles (13-8-2) who struck first. Asbury’s corner kick deflected several times around the six-yard box before Meredith Ury redirected the loose ball into the goal.

Grace turned up the offensive pressure with numerous goal-scoring opportunities before halftime and especially in the second half, when they tallied 12 shots and six shots on goal.

The Lady Lancers finally broke onto the scoreboard when substitute Emily Hickerson scored at the 65:06 mark. Holly Bennett found a crossing lane from the right side of the field, and Hickerson slotted her shot into the net from inside the penalty box.

Grace looked to clinch the match in regulation with several other looks. On multiple occasions Grace brought the ball in close to the goal frame, including twice drawing apparent hand ball violations, but the Lady Lancers (12-7-3) could not find their finishing touch.

In the penalty kick shootout, Grace nailed four of their five attempts, but Asbury was successful on 5-of-5 despite Carmen Barnhill getting her gloves on a few shots.

Overall, Grace outshot Asbury 23-12 including 12-3 in the second half. The Lady Lancers also held a 9-3 advantage in corner kicks.

Kaitlan Wiles led Grace’s offense with seven shots and four on goal. Bennett and Kelsey Christner each tallied five shots, and Jocelyn Evans produced three shots on goal.

The Lady Lancers’ game against Asbury University can be followed live at Game Plan Sports Network.

Grace punches its ticket to NCCAA Nationals


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s women’s soccer team scored two second-half goals against Cedarville University to assure itself a spot in the NCCAA National Championships in Kissimmee, Fla.

The Lady Lancers (12-7-2) used goals from freshmen Kaitlan Wiles and Kelsey Christner to take their NCCAA Regional match with Cedarville, 2-0.

"The women played out a full match today and stayed composed. I was pleased with their Biblical responses," said head coach Michael Voss. "We really turned a corner with our commitment to play good futbol regardless of the variables."

The first half was a defensive deadlock with only five shots combined between the two teams. Ryann Casciari nearly struck first for Grace when she rocketed a volley off the gloves of Cedarville’s goalkeeper Keri Sachtleben and off the crossbar.

Both sides picked up the offensive intensity in the second half, especially the Lady Lancers. Grace took seven shots in the second half and directed four of those shots on goal.

Jocelyn Evans orchestrated Grace’s first goal when she gained advantage on the endline and sent a cross into the box. Elizabeth Heuss headed the cross initially, but it was Wiles who managed to finish the loose ball from close range at the 77:07 mark.

Grace added their insurance goal in the 87th minute from a corner kick. Christner used the wind to her advantage to bend a right-footed corner kick too high and too hard for anyone to stop and into the back of the net at the 86:39 mark.

"It was good to see a unified defensive effort that seriously limited any real scoring opportunities," Voss continued. "Our attacking was strong as well. CU's keeper made a few huge saves that kept the scoreline close into the 70th minute."

Kristin Yocum nearly added to Grace’s goal count with a breakaway attempt just before Christner’s corner-kick goal, but Sachtleben made a tremendous effort to save the goal with her feet.

Carmen Barnhill earned the shutout in goal for the Lady Lancers. She made four saves in 90 minutes of action.

The Yellow Jackets (7-9-2) were limited to four shots on goal and seven shots overall. Grace held an 8-1 advantage in corner kicks overall.

Cedarville was whistled for 14 fouls compared to only three for Grace.

The 2011 NCCAA Women’s Soccer National Championship will be held from Nov. 30-Dec. 3 at the Austin-Tindall Soccer Complex in Kissimmee, Fla.

Grace’s last appearance in the NCCAA tournament was in 2009 when they finished in a tie for seventh place.

Grace potentially playing for NCCAA Tourney berth on Saturday


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace's women's soccer team is set for its NCCAA Regional matchup with Cedarville University on Saturday, a match which in all likelihood will send the winner to the NCCAA National Championship in Kissimmee, Fla.

The Lady Lancers enters Saturday's match with a record of 11-7-2 and hope to shake off their disappointing exit in the semifinals of the MCC Tournament last week.

Grace boasts four players on the 2011 All-MCC Team led by seniors Victoria Casey (defender) and Elizabeth Heuss (forward), who were also named CoSIDA Academic All-District this week.

Cedarville is currently 7-8-2 on the season. They are led individually by Rachel Brownfield, Deanna Bradshaw and Amanda Bunton with four goals apiece.

The match at Miller Field starts at 1 p.m. and can be heard live by clicking here.

Four Lady Lancers honored by CoSIDA, MCC


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Four members of the Grace women's soccer team were given awards after their outstanding regular seasons.

Seniors Victoria Casey and Elizabeth Heuss were named to the All-MCC Team and CoSIDA Academic All-District for the College Division.

Junior Jocelyn Evans was named the Midfielder of the Year by the MCC, and sophomore goalkeeper Carmen Barnhill was also named to the All-MCC Team.

“I think it is fantastic that these women have been honored on the conference and district level,” said head coach Michael Voss. “These players have done well and posted awesome statistics this year, and I am proud of each one of them for their accomplishments.”

Casey earned her second straight CoSIDA Academic All-District award and will hope to be named to the All-America Team as she was in 2010 (Third Team). She also earned her third straight All-MCC award.

Casey was the controlling force in Grace’s defense this year, often marking and shutting down the opponent’s strongest forward. Grace’s defense to date this year has earned six shutouts while averaging one goal against per game.

Heuss was honored by CoSIDA for the first time in her career. It is her second All-MCC award, however, after winning it in her first year in 2009.

Heuss has tallied 12 goals this season, including seven since the start of the MCC season. Overall, she has 30 goals in her three-year career which is fifth for Grace all-time.

Evans was named the premier midfielder in the MCC after orchestrating Grace’s offense. The junior has recorded four goals and eight assists so far in 2011.

She earned her second straight All-MCC award as well. Her 17 career assists are fourth in Grace's record books.

Barnhill’s award is a first for her career. The sophomore goalkeeper was the only goalkeeper to be named All-MCC after recording 108 saves in 19 games. Barnhill boasts a 1.07 goals against average per game.

“We know as a program that behind these four players are a host of other women that make it possible to catapult these four forward into the spotlight,” Voss continued. “We all share the excitement of this honor together as a team.”

The Lady Lancers (11-7-2) will hope to extend their season with a berth into the NCCAA Championships in Kissimmee, Fla. However, Grace will first have to advance past regional play. Matches for the NCCAA Regionals have not yet been determined.

Mount Vernon strikes late to stun Grace


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s women’s soccer team was four minutes away from advancing to the conference championship game, but Mount Vernon Nazarene stole the spotlight and the win with two goals in the final minutes to win 2-1.

For the Lady Lancers (11-7-2), their focus shifts to qualifying for the NCCAA National Tournament after falling short of winning the automatic bid to the NAIA National Tournament.

“I am super disappointed with the result in today’s match. We played well in spurts, had a series of absolutely brilliant stuff and held control of that match for 87 minutes,” said head coach Michael Voss. “To allow one goal in the last three minutes is unacceptable, but we allowed two. We were simply outhustled.”

Grace struck first when Jocelyn Evans was assisted by Jalisa Thayer. Evans received a pass, turned on a defender and lofted a 24-yarder above the Cougars’ goalkeeper from the top-left corner of the penalty box.

The Lady Lancers’ score at the 23:48 mark was the game’s only goal until the final four minutes of play. Although the Cougars (10-7-2) outshot Grace 14-8, few of their attempts were threatening before their furious comeback.

Mount Vernon’s equalizer came in the 87th minute when Jessica Linger slotted a nice ball in the penalty box to Megan Griffith for a clean finish from six yards.

They continued to pressure and found the game-winning goal at the 88:26 mark when Linger’s cross was scored by Amanda Woods. Grace was unable to get a great look in the game’s final 94 seconds and was eliminated by the third-seeded Cougars.

“We are definitely disheartened with our composure and our run in the MCC Tournament, yet we will regroup and stay focused,” Voss continued. “We are pleased to be a part of the NCCAA, and we will now turn our attention to the Midwest regional bid.”

Kristin Yocum was an offensive presence for Grace throughout the match, leading the team with three shots and two shots on goal. Kaitlan Wiles and Elizabeth Heuss added two shots apiece.

Carmen Barnhill made eight saves in goal for Grace in 90 minutes of play.

Grace will try to return to Kissimmee, Fla., for the NCCAA National Tournament. The Lady Lancers’ last appearance there was in 2009.

NCCAA tabs Heuss as Player of the Week


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – After three crucial goals in two games this week for Grace, Elizabeth Heuss was named the NCCAA Student-Athlete of the Week on Wednesday.

Heuss netted two goals against Taylor University in Grace's regular season finale, helping the Lady Lancers to a 2-2 tie.

She then scored the game-winning golden goal in the MCC quarterfinals against Taylor a few days later in double overtime. She flicked a breakaway goal over the hands of the goalkeeper in the 101st minute to send Grace into the MCC semifinals.

Overall, Heuss leads the team with 12 goals this season and has scored seven in Grace's past eight matches. She has tallied 30 goals in her three seasons and currently sits one goal out of fourth place all-time for Grace.

Heuss is the second Lady Lancer to be named the national player of the week by the NCCAA this season. Kelsey Christner was awarded by the NCCAA on Oct. 18. Heuss was named the MCC Offensive Player of the Week during the nonconference season in early September.

Heuss nets winner in double overtime


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – For 100 minutes on Saturday, there was nothing to separate Grace’s women’s soccer team from Taylor University in the quarterfinals of the MCC tournament.

But in the 101st minute, Elizabeth Heuss broke free and sent the Lady Lancers into the MCC semifinals with a golden goal as Grace advanced by the score of 1-0.

"I am happy to see the women rewarded today. After a way too direct first half, they came out and played futbol in the second half and OT," said head coach Michael Voss. "Today was about being patient and composed until we got our golden opportunity. We did this and were rewarded with a goal. I'm proud of their perseverance."

In a game that was a rematch from Tuesday’s 2-2 double overtime draw, the seventh-seeded Trojans (8-6-4) gave Grace everything it could handle.

Taylor was the physical aggressor in the match, as evidenced by the 18-9 foul count. And their style nearly paid off.

The Trojans took 24 shots – most of them from outside the 18-yard line but were not able to connect on any of them.

Grace, who recorded four shots in the opening frame, only managed to take two shots after the halftime break. Fortunately for the Lady Lancers (11-6-2), one of those shots was from Heuss.

After the initial overtime period resulted in sparse goal-scoring opportunities for either squad, freshman Kaitlan Wiles jumpstarted Grace’s attack immediately into the second session with a through ball over the defending line to Heuss.

Under heavy pressure from the Trojans’ defense, Heuss shielded off a defender and flicked the ball just over the outstretched arms of Taylor’s goalkeeper Corri Sehr from close range and into the net for the game winner.

Heuss, who scored Grace’s two goals against Taylor on Tuesday, has tallied four goals in her last three matches. Her golden goal on Saturday was her only shot attempt of the match.

Carmen Barnhill earned the shutout victory for the Lady Lancers. She made 14 saves including a handful of diving plays to secure a scoreless defensive outing.

Wiles led Grace’s offensive output with two shots, one being on frame.

Ryann Casciari played stout defense for the Lady Lancers throughout the match after battling injuries for much of the regular season. She, along with Jocelyn Evans and Kristin Yocum, each recorded one shot for Grace.

The second-seeded Lady Lancers will host Mount Vernon Nazarene on Saturday at Miller Field. Grace topped the Cougars 2-1 on the road in the regular season.

Lady Lancers clinch second in MCC


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace clinched second place in the Mid-Central College Conference after tying Taylor University 2-2 on Tuesday.

Elizabeth Heuss scored both goals for the Lady Lancers (10-6-2; 5-2-2 MCC), including the game-tying goal in the 78th minute.

Although Taylor took 24 shots and 16 shots on goal. Grace’s goalkeeping tandem of Carmen Barnhill and Abigail Burns made 14 saves, and Heuss’ timely goals allowed the Lady Lancers to grab the No. 2 seed in the MCC Tournament starting this weekend.

Heuss scored the game’s first goal. She started her attack from the left side of the penalty box then dribbled her way through Taylor’s defense for a close-range finish at the 18:28 mark.

Although the Lady Lancers took seven first-half shots and three corner kicks, they had to settle for the 1-0 lead at halftime.

The Trojans (8-5-4; 3-3-3 MCC) jumped out of the gate quickly in the second half by finding their equalizer from Molly Drooger at the 46:36 mark.

Taylor Hale then teamed up with Anna Mercaldo for Taylor’s go-ahead goal in the 75th minute, but Grace was not ready to settle for the loss and struck back swiftly.

Courtney Grant found space from the left side of the field to slot a through ball into Heuss who finished beautifully to the back post from around 12 yards away at the 77:05 mark for the match’s final tally.

Neither team was able to break through in the overtime sessions, however, with Taylor holding a 7-1 shots advantage in the extra periods.

“This was not our best outing of the year. We struggled with simple tactics and small technical achievements which is very uncharacteristic of us,” said head coach Michael Voss. “On a very positive note, that was a great ball by Courtney [Grant] and clinical finishes from Chee on both goals. At the very least we did well to finish.”  

The Lady Lancers will have a rematch with Taylor, who finished seventh in the MCC standings. The two teams will face off again on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Miller Field.

“Fortunately, we have played well this year and earned second place in the conference. We are excited about hosting in the MCC tournament,” Voss continued. “I'm proud of how hard these women work on a daily basis.”

Grace’s offense was led by Heuss and Lauren Becker, who each tallied three shots in the match. The Lady Lancers held a 5-2 advantage in corner kicks and recorded 14 shots (9 shots on goal) overall.

Grace drops heartbreaker in overtime


MARION, Ind. – Grace's women's soccer team notched two first-half goals but could not hold on, falling 3-2 to Indiana Wesleyan in overtime.

In a game that was generally controlled by the Lady Lancers in terms of possession and shots, the Wildcats made their shots count and nailed the game winner with the extra period's only shot attempt.

"Tonight's match was a difficult one to be a part of. To play against a style that's main goal is to disrupt possession on and off the ball can be extremely frustrating and taxing on your character," said head coach Michael Voss. "Add the mixture of an opponent that was facing elimination from even making the MCC tournament and you paint part of the picture of what tonight looked like. There was nothing surprising about what they showed us."

Grace got on the board first when Kristin Yocum advanced the ball along the right sideline. She then found Kaitlan Wiles in the penalty box and she scored from close range at the 13:10 mark.

Indiana Wesleyan notched the score on a rare defensive misplay deep in the Lady Lancers' (10-6-1; 5-2-1 MCC) territory, which Kelsey Johnston finished in the 19th minute.

Grace responded with a vengeance, marching down the field systematically and getting the go-ahead goal less than a minute later. Wiles was on the distributing end of this goal, sending a cross into the box which Elizabeth Heuss finished.

Try as they might, Grace was never able to get the insurance goal they needed. The Lady Lancers earned several great looks around Indiana Wesleyan's six-yard box in the second half, but goalkeeper Rachel Fulkerson saved the Wildcats' hopes, making eight saves in the match.

With 16 minutes to play in the match, the Wildcats (8-8-1; 3-4-1 MCC) tied the game when they scored off a set piece into the penalty box.

Extra time did not last long as Kylie Dial slotted the golden goal past goalkeeper Carmen Barnhill less than five minutes into overtime.

Overall, Grace outshot Indiana Wesleyan 16-13 including a 10-6 advantage with shots on goal. The Lady Lancers also earned four corner kicks to three for the Wildcats.

Heuss, Wiles and Holly Bennett each tallied four shots for Grace.

"Quite simply, we were not at our best with possession attacking futbol tonight. We did, however, play well enough to be victorious," Voss continued. "The second half alone produced five creative opportunities that could have changed the flow and pace of the match. We could have put this one out of reach with any of our chances but simply did not. If we are to achieve significance in our mission than we must overcome this style of play with clean, composed, inventive and attractive futbol. We will focus on the pieces that we alone can change and be that much better tomorrow. I'm proud of the women for maintaining character and witness with their futbol tonight."

The Lady Lancers sit in second place in the MCC and can clinch that spot with a victory in their regular-season finale at Miller Field against Taylor. The match is at 4 p.m. on Tuesday and can be heard live at http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/grace.portal.

Five in a row for Lady Lancers


SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Kristin Yocum’s second-half goal was all Grace’s women’s soccer team needed in a 1-0 victory over Bethel College for their fifth straight win.

The Lady Lancers (10-5-1; 5-1-1 MCC) held Bethel to six shots and three shots on goal while tallying 19 shots of their own.

“The game of soccer is played in all conditions. This game would fit into the all-conditions category,” said head coach Michael Voss. “The women had dominant possession and created some great chances at goal. They maintained composure throughout the whole match.”

Despite outshooting the Pilots (4-10-1; 2-5 MCC) 12-4 in the first half, neither team could break through for a score.

But seven minutes into the second half, Yocum won the game with a nifty attack. She received the ball on the left side of the field and weaved her way towards the right side of the penalty box where her shot from the top of the 18-yard line found the back of the net.

Bethel could only manage two shots in the second half in an attempt to tie the score, but neither shot was on frame.

Carmen Barnhill earned the shutout win in goal for the Lady Lancers. She, along with defenders Victoria Casey, Jalisa Thayer, Liz Casey and Samantha Dekker, have only allowed three goals during Grace’s past five victories.

Yocum recorded six shots in the game while Holly Bennett targeted three of her five shots on goal. Jocelyn Evans and Kelsey Christner each added three shots.

Overall, the Lady Lancers recorded 12 corner kicks compared to two for the Pilots. Nine of Grace’s corner kicks were in the first half.

The match was played at Indiana Invaders Complex in South Bend, Ind., due to poor field conditions at Bethel’s home field. Field conditions at the Invaders Complex were above average considering the heavy rain through most of the match.

Grace travels to Marion, Ind., for their second-to-last MCC game of the season against Indiana Wesleyan on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Late-game heroics land Christner as NAIA, NCCAA, MCC Player of the Week


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – After an incredible week highlighted by her game-winning goal to upset No. 10 Spring Arbor, freshman Kelsey Christner was named the Player of the Week by the NAIA, the NCCAA and the MCC.

Christner, a 5-foot-5 midfielder from Topeka, Ind., was a major factor in Grace's come-from-behind win over Mount Vernon Nazarene on Oct. 11. She was credited with the assist after her 30-yard free kick bounced off the crossbar and was finished by Jocelyn Evans in the 83rd minute of Grace's 2-1 win.

She continued her penchant for the clutch moment against Spring Arbor on Saturday. Trailing the 10th-ranked Cougars 1-0 late in the match, Christner launched a 26-yard shot into goal to tie the score in the 82nd minute.

Neither team could net the winner in regulation, but overtime was not to last long. In Grace's first corner kick of the game, Christner curled the ball to the near post and into the back of the net for the golden-goal winner.

Christner's award is the women's soccer program's second MCC Player of the Week winner this season. Elizabeth Heuss was also a MCC Offensive Player of the Week during the nonconference portion of the schedule. The NAIA's Player of the Week article featuring Christner can be accessed at: http://naia.cstv.com/sports/w-soccer/spec-rel/101811aab.html.

The Lady Lancers face two road tests this week -- against Bethel at 7 p.m. on Wednesday and against Indiana Wesleyan at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Grace shocks No. 10 Spring Arbor, Christner nets game winner in OT


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – With 10 minutes remaining in the game, Grace found itself trailing 1-0 to No. 10 Spring Arbor University.

But freshman Kelsey Christner sent a 26-yarder into the back of the net for the equalizer, then curled in a corner kick in overtime to seal the upset over the Cougars (12-2-1; 5-1 MCC) in a comeback for the ages.

“What a fun match to be a part of today. Spring Arbor is a solid team from top to bottom,” said head coach Michael Voss. “We stayed composed and implemented our style for an entire match. This was a well-played match by the women today.”

In an evenly-played first half, Spring Arbor struck first when Meagan Smith found Karly Linton for a finish inside the penalty box in the 37th minute.

Despite strong possession throughout the first half, the Lady Lancers (9-5-1; 4-1-1 MCC) could only manage two shots, both from Kristin Yocum.

Grace increased their pressure after halftime, however, taking nine shots and eight shots on goal in the second half.

But it seemed that the Cougars would hold on for the victory until Christner found herself open outside the 18-yard line. She put her left foot into the shot and sailed it above the goalkeeper’s head for the late equalizer at the 81:20 mark.

The Lady Lancers nearly won the match in regulation, but the Cougars’ Brooklyn Morgan stopped Holly Bennett’s shot from close range in the dying seconds of regulation.

The overtime session did not last long, however. Grace’s first corner kick of the day resulted in the game-winning goal in the 96th minute.

Christner bent her corner kick to the near post, and the ball curled into the net untouched for the golden goal. For Christner, it was her second goal on her second shot attempt.

Carmen Barnhill earned the win in goal for Grace, making 13 saves including eight in the second half.

Grace proved accurate with their shots, putting 10 of their 12 attempts on goal. Spring Arbor outshot Grace with their 24 attempts but were not as accurate with 14 on frame.

The Lady Lancers will look to continue their four-game winning streak when they play Bethel College on the road on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Evans earns game winner in 83rd minute


MOUNT VERNON, Ohio – Just like their last game, Grace’s women’s soccer team scored a late game-winning goal, this time to beat Mount Vernon Nazarene, 2-1.

Jocelyn Evans rebounded a shot into the goal with seven and a half minutes left as Grace completed its comeback to win its third straight conference match.

“I liked the resilience of our team today. It took us 45 minutes to get going, but in the second half we started to get our offense going at pace," said head coach Michael Voss. "We were very persistent by staying in the system and found creative ways to get through our opponents.”

The Lady Lancers (8-5-1; 3-1-1 MCC) outshot Mount Vernon in the first half 10-4, but only one of those shots from Mount Vernon’s Megan Griffith found the back of the net.

Grace turned up the pressure on the Cougars’ (5-7-1; 2-3 MCC) defense after halftime, breaking through in the 52nd minute.

Elizabeth Heuss pressured Mount Vernon’s goalkeeper into a bobble, then took advantage of that misplay to dribble past her for an easy finish.

But it wasn’t until the 83rd minute that Grace earned its first lead of the match.

Kelsey Christner started the action when her 30-yard free kick deflected from the Cougars’ goalkeeper gloves off the crossbar. The loose ball was found by Evans who punched home the game winner.

Overall, Grace outshot Mount Vernon 18-6, holding the Cougars to just two second-half shots. The Lady Lancers held a 7-1 advantage in corner kicks and only needed to make one save in the match.

Kristin Yocum and Evans both tallied four shots with two shots on goal, and Kaitlan Wiles and Heuss each totaled three shots, two on frame.

Grace’s win sets up an important showdown on Saturday with No. 10 Spring Arbor University. Grace will welcome the Cougars to Miller Field for a 2 p.m. kickoff.

Listen to the game live on Stretch Internet here.

Yocum's late goal sends Grace past Goshen


GOSHEN, Ind. – Grace’s women’s soccer team used a late strike from Kristin Yocum to earn their second straight Mid-Central College Conference victory with a 2-1 win over Goshen.

The Lady Lancers (7-5-1; 2-1-1 MCC) doubled Goshen’s offensive output on the day but nearly had to settle for the tie without Yocum’s game-winning goal.

“The women were creative and inventive today. There were quite a few fantastic sessions of possession,” said head coach Michael Voss. “A momentary lapse of composure made it close, but their determination closed out the match.”

Jocelyn Evans started Grace’s first goal with a cross into the box. Heuss found the other end with her head and directed it past the goalkeeper at the 25:42 mark.

Goshen, who was outshot 7-1 in the first half, found an equalizer 12 minutes into the second half when Mara Swartzentruber’s 30-yard free kick hit the crossbar and bounced past the goal line.

The match remained level as both teams took an even number of shots in the second half (9 for Grace, 8 for Goshen), but Yocum saved the day with a goal in the 82nd minute.

Victoria Casey advanced the ball from midfield and found Yocum, who found room to nail the game winner from eight yards.

Carmen Barnhill earned the win in goal for Grace with three saves and one goal surrendered in 90 minutes.

Heuss took five shots and three on goal to lead Grace’s offense, and Kaitlan Wiles added three shots with two on frame.

The Lady Lancers continue MCC play on the road when they travel to Mount Vernon Nazarene (Ohio) on Tuesday at 4 p.m.

Grace's defense holds down Saint Francis


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s women’s soccer team earned their first win in the Mid-Central College Conference courtesy of two long goals by Kelsey Christner and Elizabeth Heuss, one in each half.

The Lady Lancers took the first shot of the game within 30 seconds of kickoff against Saint Francis and continued that trend throughout the match, winning 2-0 on Wednesday.

Christner’s shot was a 27-yarder that she took off-balance from the top of the penalty box. After Jocelyn Evans and Kaitlan Wiles moved the ball quickly across the top of the box, Christner found enough daylight to drive her shot above the Cougars’ (6-6; 1-2 MCC) goalkeeper and into the net at the 28:59 mark.

Overall in the first half, Grace made sure seven of their nine shots were on goal. Grace’s defense was stout and only allowed two shots for Saint Francis in the opening period.

The second half was similar with the Lady Lancers (6-5-1; 1-1-1 MCC) controlling possession throughout. Saint Francis managed to take seven shots after halftime but with only a handful challenging to Carmen Barnhill in goal.

Heuss’ shot was from a similar spot that Christner scored her goal. Heuss found a pass from Kristin Yocum and ripped her shot from behind the 18-yard line and into the left upper-90 for Grace’s insurance goal.

Barnhill had to make six saves in the shutout victory. The defending of Victoria Casey, Liz Casey and Jalisa Thayer among several others proved too much for the Cougars to penetrate.

Grace recorded six corner kicks compared to one for Saint Francis.

The Lady Lancers next travel to Goshen, Ind., to take on the Maple Leafs on Saturday at 4 p.m.

Lady Lancers held scoreless against Huntington


HUNTINGTON, Ind. – Despite tallying 17 shots and seven shots on goal, Grace’s women’s soccer team fell 0-2 to Huntington University on Saturday.

The Lady Lancers (5-5-1; 0-1-1 MCC) outshot the Foresters (8-2-1; 2-0 MCC) by six shots on the day, but they hurt their cause by yielding two goals in the match’s first 30 minutes.

Huntington scored in the eighth minute and the 29th minute, making good on two of their five first-half attempts.

Grace, on the other hand, could not produce a goal although they tallied 10 shots and four shots on goal.

The second half had similar results for the Lady Lancers. The team took seven shots and four corner kicks in the second half but never pierced Huntington’s defense for a goal.

Holly Bennett came up with a game-high four shots. Elizabeth Heuss, Kaitlan Wiles and Kristin Yocum each recorded three shots, and Yocum and Heuss produced four of Grace’s seven shots on goal.

Grace will hope to get their first MCC win of the season against the University of Saint Francis on Wednesday. Kickoff at Miller Field is set for 4 p.m.

Listen to the game live on Stretch Internet here.

Grace, Marian draw in MCC opener


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – In the 2011 Mid-Central College Conference opener, Grace and Marian had to settle for a 1-1 draw in double overtime on Tuesday evening.

Freshman Holly Bennett scored in the second half to bring Grace level following a Marian goal in the opening minute of regulation.

Marian put Grace at an early disadvantage when Samantha Cook deflected in a loose ball in the box in the first 30 seconds. Cook found the loose ball in close range and hit it into the back left of the net.

The Lady Lancers (5-4-1; 0-0-1 MCC) recovered shortly after and began initiating their offense, but Grace was not able to even the score before halftime.

The Knights (6-2-2; 0-0-1 MCC) challenged Grace’s Carmen Barnhill in goal throughout the night taking 27 shots, but most were outside the 18-yard line. Despite 14 shots on goal, Marian was unable to score other than their opening-minute strike.

Grace, however, found their goal midway into the second half. Kaitlan Wiles trapped a pass in the box and laid the ball off to Bennett who powered in her seventh goal of the season into the upper-90 with 23:45 remaining.

Barnhill made a number of strong saves late in regulation off deep shots by the Knights, ensuring the match went into overtime.

The extra sessions proved to be back-and-forth with both teams taking their shots for the win.

Grace had a golden opportunity with three minutes to play. Jocelyn Evans won possession deep in Marian’s territory and was able to play Elizabeth Heuss alone in the box. But Marian’s Jessica Fisher came out to make a brilliant 1v1 save to keep the game tied.  

Overall, Grace tallied 12 shots and nine on goal. Bennett’s five shots (four on goal) led Grace’s attack. Barnhill accounted for 13 saves in 110 minutes at goal.

Grace continues MCC play on Saturday when they welcome Huntington University to Miller Field for a 2 p.m. kickoff.

Listen to the game live on Stretch Internet here.

Grace scores eight against Holy Cross


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – After tallying two goals in their last four matches, Grace’s women’s soccer team erupted with an 8-0 victory over Holy Cross College on Wednesday.

Five players scored for the Lady Lancers (5-4), highlighted by two goals each from freshmen Jackie Seal, Kaitlan Wiles and Holly Bennett. Jocelyn Evans also tallied three assists in the match.

“There was superior discipline from the women today,” said head coach Michael Voss. “We held a great majority of possession and played tactically smart. It was good to get all the players good minutes.”

The scoring started early in the match and continued at a furious pace throughout the first half. Kristin Yocum got the goals started with a rebound tap-in from a Jocelyn Evans shot in the second minute of play.

Bennett continued the scoring shortly after with goals at the 5:10 and 8:39 mark. Both goals were assisted by Samantha Dekker.

Wiles, Seal and Keeley Booher each finished breakaway goals in a 15-minute span in the first half following Bennett’s strikes.

After 28 minutes of action, the Lady Lancers held a 6-0 advantage over the Saints (1-4-1).

Voss substituted freely throughout the match as 20 women saw playing time. The Saints implemented a severe offside trap on defense and managed to hold Grace scoreless until the 71st minute.

Wiles finally punched through the Saints’ offside trap with a goal at the 70:45 mark. Jocelyn Evans fed her with a nifty ball from the baseline for a clean finish from seven yards. It was Evans’ third assist and Bennett's second as she was credited with the double assist.

Seal finished the scoring with a close-range finish in the 85th minute from a pass by Hannah Alcorn.

Wednesday’s output was the most goals scored in a match by the Lady Lancers since an 8-0 victory over Oakland City University on Sept. 23, 2008.

Grace recorded 21 shots compared to 13 for Holy Cross. The Lady Lancers were caught offside 16 times compared to zero for the Saints.

Carmen Barnhill and Abigail Burns combined for the shutout, tallying five saves between the pair.

The Lady Lancers now shift their attention to the Mid-Central College Conference schedule. Their first MCC match is Tuesday, when they travel to Indianapolis, Ind., for a nightcap against Marian University at 7:30 p.m. Follow the action at Marian on Stretch Internet at http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/marian.portal.

Bennett scores as Grace blanks Siena Heights


SIENA HEIGHTS, Mich. – In a physical contest that contained a combined 36 fouls, Grace’s Holly Bennett provided the winning goal for the Lady Lancers against Siena Heights University on Saturday.

Bennett’s shot at the 12:05 mark of the first half was all that Grace needed to separate themselves from the Saints (3-5) in a 1-0 shutout victory.

Grace started the ball from their backfield and moved up the sideline. Heuss received a pass in the middle then spun past her defender and played the ball to Bennett on the left side of the field.

Bennett made a move to find space from her defender then took her attempt from 25 yards away from goal. Her shot chipped high, sailing above the goalkeeper’s head for the lone goal of the match.

“Today was a valiant effort. I am so pleased with our composure today,” said head coach Michael Voss. “We stuck with it and played tactically smart for 90 minutes. We just took another step forward with this program and possession-attacking futbol.”

The Lady Lancers held possession in the first half and afterwards had the composure to withstand an aggressive Saints’ attempt at the equalizer.

Carmen Barnhill came up big in goal for the Lady Lancers (4-4). She made six saves to secure the shutout.

Bennett and Kaitlan Wiles took two shots apiece, and Jocelyn Evans and Lauren Becker each recorded one for Grace.

The Saints took 19 shots but could only manage to put six of those on frame.

Siena Heights had seven corner kicks compared to zero for the Lady Lancers. The Saints also had more fouls (19) than Grace (17).

The Lady Lancers conclude their nonconference season on Wednesday when they play Holy Cross College at Miller Field at 4 p.m.

Listen to the game live on Stretch Internet here.

No. 11 Houghton shuts out Lady Lancers


SIENA HEIGHTS, Mich. – Grace was unable to generate any goals in a 2-0 loss to No. 11 Houghton College (N.Y.) on Friday.

Houghton scored both of their goals in a short span in the first half, getting their first at the 17:05 mark then the second shortly after in the 20th minute. The second goal weakly rolled over the goal line after an unfortunate series of events for the Lady Lancers (3-4).

Although both teams took a similar number of shots in the first half -- six for Houghton, five for Grace -- it was the Highlanders (6-0) who took a 2-0 lead into halftime. Grace, despite strong series of possession, found themselves in a two-goal hole early.

The Lady Lancers pushed hard for a goal and pestered the Highlanders' defense for the final 20 minutes of the match, but Grace was unable to find the back of the net.

Kaitlan Wiles recorded three shots which were all on goal. Jocelyn Evans, Kristin Yocum and Holly Bennett recorded one shot apiece, and all were dangerous attempts, according to head coach Michael Voss.

"This was a fun match to be a part of," Voss continued. "Our women had huge bouts of control and possession. We barely missed on a handful of opportunities in the first and second halves. This was a good team we faced, and Grace really brought it."

The Lady Lancers will face Siena Heights on Saturday at 5 p.m. Grace will look to snap a three-game losing streak -- all against teams that are ranked or receiving votes in the NAIA Top 25 poll.

Grace falters against No. 18 Trinity Christian


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Despite 16 shots and 10 shots on goal, Grace’s women’s soccer team could not find the back of the net and fell 1-0 to No. 18 Trinity Christian on Saturday.

The lone goal came from a deep shot by the Trolls (4-1) early in the second half, and Trinity withstood 10 second-half shots from the Lady Lancers (3-3) to take the victory.

“I am very proud of the women today. They played a clean match with unquestionable work ethic,” said head coach Michael Voss. “The match got a bit sideways for a section in the second half, and I was hoping for a bit more composure. But even with that, we were in this match to the final seconds.”

Grace had several quality looks at the equalizer in the second half, but Trinity Christian’s defense was stout throughout the match. The Trolls proved to be more physical than the Lady Lancers with 20 fouls called against them compared to only five for Grace.

Carmen Barnhill made eight saves in goal for Grace while Trinity’s Hannah Gonzales made nine saves.

Jocelyn Evans and Kristin Yocum each tallied four shots and two on goal, and Kaitlan Wiles and Lauren Becker each recorded two shots on goal.

Victoria Casey and Jessica Bickle played big roles in shutting down Trinity’s Allison Doyle and Rachel Webb, who were held scoreless on Saturday after combining for 12 goals in the team’s first three games.

The Lady Lancers travel to Adrian, Mich., next weekend for the Siena Heights Invitational. Grace will face current-No. 11 Houghton University on Friday at 5 p.m. then take on Siena Heights on Saturday at 5 p.m.

Altimus, Heuss garner MCC Offensive Player of the Week honors


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

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

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

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

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

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

Listen to both games on Stretch Internet here.

Late comeback falls short against SCAD


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – After finding themselves down 2-0 with 25 minutes remaining in the game, Grace’s women’s soccer team almost made a comeback to remember.

But a late goal from Elizabeth Heuss and a red card by a SCAD Savannah defender weren’t enough to propel the Lady Lancers (3-2) to victory on Wednesday.

Grace surrendered two goals on long shots by the Bees (3-1) – one in the first half and one four minutes into the second half.

The Lady Lancers started to show signs of life midway through the second half and found a breakaway goal from Heuss. Holly Bennett found Heuss with a through ball in the penalty box, and Heuss scored her fifth goal in five games this season in the 67th minute.

At the 69:49 mark, Kristin Yocum passed to Heuss again who had sped past her defender and was alone in front of the goal, but Heuss was fouled from behind by the last Bees’ defender just outside the 18-yard line.

After SCAD was given a red card for the offense, Bennett tried a shot from the ensuing free kick but her rocket sailed a few feet high of the crossbar.

The Lady Lancers had a few more opportunities late in the match as they pressed for a second goal, but Grace could not net the equalizer.

“We came out well and were patient and composed most of the match,” said head coach Michael Voss. “I felt like we could have taken more opportunities to shoot, but SCAD defended well and saved a sure goal with the card. We will mature and gain more and more confidence and composure every day we play.”

Grace was outshot 16-10 on the day, but the Lady Lancers had half of their shots (5) on goal. Bennett proved to be the most difficult to handle with four shots, and Kaitlan Wiles tallied two shots on goal.

The Lady Lancers return to action with a chance to take down No. 18 Trinity Christian College on Saturday at Miller Field. Game time is scheduled for 3 p.m.

Lady Lancers score five first-half goals


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace's women's soccer team enjoyed a 6-1 rout over Cincinnati Christian University, sparked by five goals in the opening half on Saturday.

Kaitlan Wiles, Jocelyn Evans, Elizabeth Heuss and Holly Bennett each recorded a goal and an assist in a thorough, well-balanced attack for the Lady Lancers (3-1).

“From start to finish, today was a completely dominant possession outing,” said head coach Michael Voss. “It’s great to see so many players involved in finishing. We were able to get lots of minutes out to those coming back from injury and also build some confidence with our youngsters.”

Grace’s first goal came courtesy of an own goal by Cincinnati Christian in the seventh minute from a corner kick, and more goals came steadily after that in the half.

In the 17th minute, Wiles weaved her way from the right side of the field to the left side of the box, where she snuck a shot to the near post past the keeper.

She was then on the assisting side of Grace’s next goal, making a clean pass to Heuss for her fourth goal in as many games. Evans, who jumpstarted the attack with a through ball to Wiles, was credited with the secondary assist.

Heuss barely missed getting her second goal at the 31:31 mark, but an alert Bennett pounced on the rebound and fed Kristin Yocum for an easy point-blank finish.

Bennett, after a number of strong runs, finished Grace’s five-goal, first-half performance with a strike in the 39th minute from inside the box.

The Eagles (0-4), however, bounced back with an early goal out of halftime off a deep shot from Jackie Esterkamp.

But the Lady Lancers continued to assert control and possession throughout the match, breaking through with their final goal from a corner kick by Courtney Grant. Evans trapped the cross in front of goal, faked out a defender then turned and fired her shot past the keeper from close range.

Overall, Grace outshot Cincinnati Christian 23-6, including 17 first-half shots. Eighteen players saw playing time for the Lady Lancers, and eight women recorded two or more shots.

Abigail Burns took the win in goal for Grace, giving up one goal with five saves in 90 minutes.

The Lady Lancers welcome a pair of top-ranked teams to Miller Field next week for the Lancer Invitational. Grace will take on Savannah College of Art and Design (receiving votes in NAIA poll) on Wednesday at 3 p.m. followed by a showdown with No. 22 Trinity Christian on Saturday at 3 p.m.

Listen to the game live on Stretch Internet here.

Grace misses chances in 3-2 loss


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Grace's women's soccer team struggled to finish their shots for the second straight game and fell short in its comeback bid against Aquinas College, losing 3-2 on Tuesday.

The Lady Lancers (2-1) fell behind early in the 15th minute but managed to find an answer before the half from senior Elizabeth Heuss. At the 37:49 mark, junior Jocelyn Evans found Heuss for her third goal in as many games this season.

Despite outshooting the Saints (2-1) by seven in the first half (10 to 3) and controlling possession, the Lady Lancers were knotted at halftime 1-1.

Aquinas quickly seized control of the game with two goals in the first five minutes of the second half. By the 50th minute, Grace found itself trailing 3-1 in a physical contest.

Grace's freshman striker Holly Bennett helped make up the margin with a goal at the 69:04 mark. Fellow freshman Kesley Christner played a through ball past the outside defender, leaving Bennett alone for a finish past the keeper.

But it was too little, too late for the Lady Lancers who recorded 19 shots and 11 shots on goal in the match.

"We had some great possession today and several quality sets that ended with looks on frame, and it would have made the difference to convert any of those," said head coach Michael Voss. "All in all, this was a challenge to overcome difficult circumstances and maintain composure, and we are on our way with that piece. But we will heal our injured and bounce back with the right attitude, and I'm fired up to see where these women take this."

Overall, the physical game resulted in 31 fouls -- 20 against Aquinas. The Saints earned six corner kicks compared to zero for the Lady Lancers.

Freshman Kaitlan Wiles hit the crossbar with a shot in the match, but the ball bounced straight down just outside the goal line.

Heuss and Bennett led Grace's attack with five shots and four on frame apiece. With Heuss' goal against Aquinas, her career mark raised to 21 goals which places her in a tie for sixth place all-time in Grace's program.

The Lady Lancers' next game is on Saturday when Grace welcomes Cincinnati Christian University to Miller Field for a 5 p.m. kickoff.

Listen to the game live on Stretch Internet here.

Heuss' early goal enough as Grace tops Marygrove


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Although Grace's women's soccer team outshot Marygrove 25-8, it was one play that made all the difference on Saturday.

Senior Elizabeth Heuss received a perfect through pass from junior Jocelyn Evans and made a clinical finish in the box in the 13th minute, and that tally proved to be all the Lady Lancers (2-0) would need.

"Overall I'm very pleased with our possession and style of play on the field," said head coach Michael Voss. "It would have been nice to finish more of our looks, but it's a strong early-season performance."

Grace seemed to control ball possession throughout the game and put a number of shots on frame. The Lady Lancers continued to seek for their second goal, especially in the second half, but Marygrove's defense proved difficult to penetrate.

Freshman Kelsey Christner had a shot from outside the 18-yard line bounce off the goalpost midway through the first half, which was the closest Grace got again before the half.

In the second half Grace poured on the offense again, tallying 16 shots after halftime compared to four for the Mustangs (1-1). Kristin Yocum came off the bench to provide an offensive presence with four shots, but none of Grace's looks could make it past the diving stops of Marygrove's keeper Kristen Jolly.

Jackie Seal, Christner, Evans, and Kaitlan Wiles each took three shots in the match, and Wiles and Evans both had three shots on goal.

The Lady Lancers had the advantage in corner kicks 7-3 and had five corners in the second half alone.

Sophomore goalkeeper Carmen Barnhill earned the shutout with three saves in the match.

Grace returns to action on Tuesday as they travel to Aquinas College for a 6 p.m. kickoff.

Four Lancers score in season-opening victory


CHICAGO, Ill. – Grace's women's soccer team began their season with seven freshmen in the starting lineup and earned an impressive 4-1 victory over Illinois Institute of Technology on Saturday evening.

The Lady Lancers (1-0) struck first late in the opening half when sophomore Keeley Booher came off the bench to record Grace’s first goal of the season. Kristin Yocum beat her Illinois Tech defender to break free. She then slid the ball across to Booher who beat the keeper from 10 yards out.

The Scarlet Hawks (0-1), after losing possession the majority of the first half, changed styles to a more physical, aggressive approach after halftime and found an equalizer in the 58th minute.

But less than three minutes later, junior midfielder Jocelyn Evans put Grace ahead for good. Grace possessed the ball up the field, and freshman Holly Bennett found Evans just inside the 18 yard line for a clean finish.

The Lady Lancers were not finished though. Senior Elizabeth Heuss added another tally to her career total when she broke away in the 69th minute. Victoria Casey played a long through ball to Heuss, who finished the one-on-one play against Illinois Tech's goalkeeper. With the goal, Heuss moved into sole possession of seventh place on Grace's all-time scoring list.

Bennett had a deep goal-scoring strike called off from a foul late in the game, but she refused to be denied a second time. Freshman Kelsey Christner fed Bennett along the baseline and the freshman striker blasted her first collegiate goal from a near-impossible angle at the 87:27 mark.

“I’m very pleased with the outcome. It was a good first outing for us,” said head coach Michael Voss. “We still didn’t play our best soccer, but we played some really good possession-attacking football for our first outing. It’s going to be great to find out where our ceiling is this year.”

Overall, Grace recorded 20 shots in the game and 13 on goal while holding Illinois Tech to a mere two shots on goal. Bennett and Heuss each tallied five shots and three shots on goal.

Sophomore Carmen Barnhill picked up the win in goal for the Lady Lancers with one save.

The Lady Lancers turn their attention to the home opener at Miller Field on Saturday against Marygrove College at 2 p.m. Listen to the game live on Stretch Internet here.

Lady Lancers optimistic for 2011


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – After a season riddled with injuries, the Grace College women’s soccer team looks to regain the form that led them to a program-record 14 wins in 2009.

In 2010, the Lady Lancers struggled to meet their high expectations due to unforeseeable circumstances. Despite losing four players to season-ending injuries, the Lady Lancers battled to an 8-10-1 record and fifth place in the Mid-Central College Conference.

But 2011 brings renewed hopes and anticipation to a program that made the NCCAA national tournament two years ago.

“This team is right on the edge,” said fifth- year head coach Michael Voss. “I don’t even know where the ceiling is for them. We’re in the same place as last year at a whole new speed and whole new level.”

The Lady Lancers will look to a solid upperclassmen core to take the next step. Senior defender Victoria Casey and junior midfielder Jocelyn Evans both received NCCAA All-American recognition last year. Casey also received NAIA All-American Honorable Mention honors after scoring six goals, good for second on the team, while primarily playing defender.

Senior Elizabeth Heuss returns as the Grace’s primary scoring threat after leading the Lady Lancers the past two years in goals (eight in 2010). She will be joined by sophomore Emily Hickerson and junior Kristin Yocum up top to bolster the offense.

Other returning starters include senior Samantha Dekker, junior Ryann Casciari, sophomore Jalisa Thayer and the goalkeeping tandem of Carmen Barnhill and Abigail Burns.

A loaded incoming freshmen class will step in immediately and contribute early on, according to Voss. Forwards Holly Bennett and Kaitlan Wiles should make an immediate impact on the Lady Lancers’ offense, midfielders Jackie Seal, Kelsey Christner and Lauren Becker will hope control ball possession, and defenders Jessica Bickle and Liz Casey add depth and athleticism on the defensive end.

“Our depth is going to be our strength this year,” Voss continued. “We honestly have 16-18 people that can get it done for us. We have so much flexibility because many people can play many positions.”

The Lady Lancers open the season away against Illinois Tech at 6 p.m. on Saturday.