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Volleyball Stories

NCCAA honors Johnston, Walters

12/3/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Dana Johnston and Arielle Walters were both named Second Team NCCAA All-American at the end of the 2012 campaign for Grace.

Johnson and Walters helped lead the Lady Lancers to their second consecutive 20-win season and second straight berth into the NCCAA National Championships.

Johnston, a junior middle hitter, led Grace with 447 kills on the season. She finished with a .297 hitting percentage to go along with 24 solo blocks and 64 block assists.

Walters, a senior outside hitter, was Grace's most dominant blocking force. She tallied 37 solo blocks and 113 block assists to average nearly one block per set (0.96/set). She also finished second on the team with 291 kills.


Trio of Lady Lancers named Scholar-Athletes

12/1/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Three members of Grace's volleyball team were named Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes.

Seniors Stefanie Bolt and Bethany Whitcraft as well as junior Dana Johnston earned Scholar-Athlete status for the Lady Lancers, as Bolt and Whitcraft earned their second straight Scholar-Athlete honor.

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


Volleyball season ends in NCCAA Nationals

11/30/12

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Grace’s volleyball team wrapped up its 2012 campaign at the NCCAA National Championships on Friday.

The Lady Lancers (23-19) dropped a pair of matches to conclude pool play from the Kissimmee Civic Center.

In their first match of the day, Grace’s offense was slow to get on track in a three-set loss to Fresno Pacific.

The Lady Lancers totaled 25 kills on a .111 hitting percentage as they fell 25-15, 25-17 and 25-18.

Grace’s strongest offensive set came in the second as they pounded out 10 kills on two errors. But they couldn’t keep pace with the Sunbirds’ (26-3) offense in an eight-point defeat.

Grace was neck-and-neck with Fresno Pacific in the third set and trailed by just one point midway through. The Sunbirds, however, concluded the match by pulling away for a seven-point win.

Annie Salazar led all players with 16 digs, Dana Johnston recorded six kills and two block assists, and Arielle Walters added four block assists.

Grace’s scores were much closer in their final match of the day in a loss to Oakland City.

The Lady Lancers jumped out in front to start the match, ahead 14-11. Oakland City charged back with five straight points, however, and continued their momentum to a 25-22 win.

Grace started slowly in the second set by losing five of the game’s first six points, but the team rallied back to level the score. The set battled back-and-forth until the Oaks (30-4) scored three straight late to take a 22-19 lead.

Head coach Andria Harshman called a timeout, and the strategy appeared to work as the Lady Lancers responded by cutting the Oaks’ lead to 23-22. But Oakland City eventually closed the door in a 25-23 win.

Oakland City held a comfortable lead early in the third set before Grace made a push to come within two points at 17-15. The Oaks proved to be too much to handle, however, as they closed out the match with a 25-21 victory.

Hannah Clemmons highlighted Grace’s match against Oakland City with a double-double of 11 kills and a match-high 17 digs.

Johnston recorded 12 kills on a .308 percentage, and Walters added two solo blocks and three block assists.

The defeat ends the careers of standout seniors Bethany Whitcraft, Arielle Walters and Stefanie Bolt. The trio, under head coach Andria Harshman, helped transform the Lady Lancers from a bottom feeder in the Crossroads League into a perennial league contender. Grace earned two straight berths into the NCCAA Nationals during the seniors’ junior and senior seasons.


Grace loses twice in opening day of NCCAA Nationals

11/29/12

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Grace’s volleyball team opened up the NCCAA National Championships with a pair of losses on Thursday.

The Lady Lancers (23-17) were swept by Campbellsville in the opener of pool play before falling to Southern Wesleyan in four sets.

In their opening match of the NCCAA Nationals, Grace lost in straight sets to Campbellsville University.

The Tigers (29-10) got off to a fast start in the opening set and held a comfortable lead. The Lady Lancers battled back to cut Campbellsville’s lead to 16-14 before the Tigers eased away for a 25-20 win.

Grace started off much stronger in the second set but lost their momentum midway through in a 25-19 defeat.

The third set belonged to Campbellsville as they allowed Grace to record just three kills on the offensive side of the net in a nine-point loss for Grace.

Dana Johnston and Alix Underwood led Grace offensively with seven kills apiece, and Hannah Clemmons tallied a match-best 11 digs. The Tigers recorded 13 service aces in the match.

Grace had a much stronger performance in their second match of the day, despite falling 3-1 to Southern Wesleyan.

The Warriors (21-15) had their best offensive set in the opener and held on for a 25-23 win to take an early advantage.

Grace battled back to even the set count with a definitive 25-15 win in the second set. The Lady Lancers held Southern Wesleyan to a -0.226 team hitting percentage.

Southern Wesleyan responded with an eight-point win in the third set to set up a thrilling final set.

Both squads were clicking on the offensive side of the net as Grace pounded out 15 fourth-set kills compared to 18 for Southern Nazarene. The set eventually went to extra points when the Warriors pulled away late for a 30-28 victory.

Johnston’s 13 kills and Clemmons’s 12 kills paced Grace’s offense as Bethany Whitcraft handed out 44 digs.

Annie Salazar recorded 13 digs, and Arielle Walters added two solo blocks and three block assists.

The Lady Lancers will play their final two pool play matches on Friday against Fresno Pacific at 10 a.m. and Oakland City at 2 p.m. Listen to both matches live here.


Grace splits two at NCCAA Regionals

11/17/12

OAKLAND CITY, Ind. – Grace’s women’s volleyball team split its two matches in the NCCAA Midwest Regional  Tournament on Saturday.

The Lady Lancers (23-15) swept Cincinnati Christian in the morning before falling in three hard-fought sets to the host Oakland City in the evening.

Grace’s defense held Cincinnati Christian to a .037 hitting percentage as a team in the first match.

Grace held on for a 25-22 win in the first set and continued with the sweep with a 25-17 win in the second set and a 25-20 win in the third.

Dana Johnston led all players with 10 kills, and Alix Underwood tallied seven kills.

Annie Salazar recorded 19 digs and three service aces, and Arielle Walters added one solo block and four block assists.

The Lady Lancers’ defense was not as stout in the second match of the day, however, as Oakland City recorded a team hitting percentage of .248.

Johnston did her best to keep Grace close with a match-high 11 kills and three block assists, and Walters recorded nine kills and two block assists.

Underwood finished with nine kills, Hannah Clemmons added eight kills and 12 digs, and Salazar tallied 21 digs and three aces.


Lady Lancers earn individual accolades

11/12/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s volleyball team racked up their second straight 20-win regular season as several Lady Lancers picked up individual awards at the league and national level.

Dana Johnston earned her third First Team All-Crossroads League honor, and Bethany Whitcraft was named CoSIDA Academic All-District to highlight Grace’s awards.

Arielle Walters and Stefanie Bolt were named Second Team All-League, Calah Kruse was honorable mention for the All-League Team, and Alix Underwood earned a spot on the Crossroads League All-Freshman Team.

For Johnston, she has been named First Team All-CL all three years for Grace. She leads Grace’s team with 388 kills on a .288 percentage.

Whitcraft was given the CoSIDA Academic All-District honor for her performance both on and off the court. She currently is No. 4 in Grace’s record books for career digs, amassing 1,645 digs in four years. To achieve the award, a student-athlete must be at least a sophomore academically and hold a minimum GPA of 3.30. The College Sports Information Directors of America then vote on deserving student-athletes based on both academic and athletic accomplishments.

Walters and Bolt earned spots on the CL’s Second Team after leading the Lady Lancers in blocks. Walters boasts 128 block points to go along with 258 kills, and Bolt has recorded 79 block points and 228 kills.

Kruse, who appeared on the League’s Freshman Team last season, improved to be an honorable mention in 2012. She currently has 216 kills, 439 digs and 20 service aces.

Underwood has been an offensive sparkplug for Grace this season, tallying 1.89 kills per set in her first collegiate season.

The Lady Lancers (22-14) will compete in the NCCAA Midwest Regional Tournament this weekend from Oakland City University. If Grace wins both of their matches on Saturday against Cincinnati Christian and Oakland City, the team will advance to the NCCAA National Championships from Kissimmee, Fla.


Grace bows out of tournament in semifinals

11/8/12

MARION, Ind. – Grace’s run in the 2012 Crossroads League Tournament ended on Thursday night with a 3-0 defeat to top-seeded Indiana Wesleyan in the semifinals.

The Lady Lancers (22-14) lost a tough set in the opener and couldn’t fully recover against the Wildcats.

Grace trailed the Wildcats (34-2) by the score of 9-7 in the first set but seized the lead with seven unanswered points. Indiana Wesleyan battled back to tie the score, but Hannah Clemmons won back-to-back points for Grace with a kill and service ace to give the Lady Lancers a 22-19 lead.

The Wildcats called timeout to regroup and managed to take four of the next five points. Grace used a timeout as they led 23-22, but Indiana Wesleyan had too much momentum and rallied late to steal a 25-23 win.

Arielle Walters registered five of her team-high 11 kills in the first set.

The Wildcats had their strongest offensive game in the second set, totaling 13 kills on three errors to cruise to a 25-18 win.

Indiana Wesleyan claimed a 15-11 lead midway into the third set and never relinquished it. Grace did their best to cut into the Wildcats’ advantage, but they could not come closer than to within three points for the duration of the match in a 25-20 defeat.

Walters paced Grace statistically with 11 kills on a .350 percentage to go along with a solo block and three block assists. Clemmons had a strong outing with 7 kills, 2 service aces and a match-high 16 digs.

Alix Underwood tallied seven kills and seven digs, Stefanie Bolt had six kills and three block assists, and Annie Salazar produced 15 digs.

The Lady Lancers will shift their focus to qualifying for the NCCAA National Championships. Grace will need to win the Midwest region in tournament play next weekend to earn their second straight trip to Kissimmee, Fla.


Grace downs Marian, advances to semifinals

11/6/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Hannah Clemmons highlighted a strong performance from Grace’s volleyball team as the Lady Lancers won in four tough sets against Marian on Tuesday in the first round of the Crossroads League Tournament.

The Lady Lancers (22-13) next advance to the tournament semifinals with a matchup at rival Indiana Wesleyan on Thursday at 7 p.m. Grace and the NAIA No. 8-ranked Wildcats split their two matches in the regular season.

Clemmons tallied a double-double with a match-high 14 kills to go along with 14 digs to pace Grace’s efforts.

The Lady Lancers found themselves in a hole in the first set, falling behind early to the Knights (14-14). But freshman Alix Underwood provided a tremendous spark off the bench with five kills in the opening set as the Lady Lancers rallied late for a 25-23 win.

Grace was forced to make up ground in the final stages of set two to force extra points. Clemmons registered seven kills in the second set, many of which in timely situations, to lead Grace’s comeback. But the Knights were up for the challenge this time as they held on for a 29-27 win.

The defense of the Lady Lancers paved the way for a third-set win as Marian was held to a .029 team hitting percentage. Grace tallied eight more kills in a 25-18 victory.

Grace gathered an early lead against Marian in the fourth set, eventually serving for match point at 24-17. Marian did not go down without a fight as they won four pressure-packed points before an Arielle Walters’s kill ended the match 25-21.

The two-setter attack for Grace allowed the Lady Lancers to record 15 more kills than Marian. Three Lady Lancers joined Clemmons in double-digit kills, including Underwood and Walters with 11 kills and Dana Johnston with 10.

Walters had a career-best seven block assists, Johnston had five solo blocks, and Stefanie Bolt added five block assists.

Annie Salazar produced a team-best 23 digs, and Sarah Tullis (25 assists) and Bethany Whitcraft (24 assists).


Lady Lancers sweep St. Francis in regular-season finale

10/31/12

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Grace’s volleyball team ended its 2012 regular season on a strong note with a convincing 3-0 victory over host Saint Francis on Wednesday.

With the win, the Lady Lancers clinched the No. 4 seed in the Crossroads League, assuring themselves a home match in the first round of the CL Tournament.

Dana Johnston tallied a match-high 13 kills on a .440 percentage as the Lady Lancers (21-13; 11-7 CL) bested Saint Francis in nearly every statistical category.

The Cougars (10-23; 4-14 CL) appeared on their way to an opening-set win as they pulled ahead 23-20 in the final stages of the first set. But the Lady Lancers showed their resiliency as two kills from Johnston sparked Grace to five straight points and a 25-23 win.

Grace used that momentum to open up a 10-2 lead in the second half and did not look back. The defense of the Lady Lancers held Saint Francis to a -.051 team hitting percentage as Grace won the second set 25-16.

In the third and final set, Grace’s offense tallied 17 kills as the Lady Lancers never trailed in a six-point victory.

As a team, Grace recorded 11 more kills, 10 more assists and 12 more digs than Saint Francis.

Calah Kruse recorded seven kills and 11 digs for Grace, and Annie Salazar chipped in with 13 digs. Bethany Whitcraft (19 assists) and Sarah Tullis (17 assists) paced Grace from the setter position, and Arielle Walters led all players with four block assists.

Grace will host fifth-seeded Marian University in the opening round of the CL Tournament on Tuesday at 7 p.m.


Grace spikers win three at weekend tournament

10/27/12

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Lady Lancers secured their 20th win of the season as they finished 3-1 over the weekend at the Aquinas/Cornerstone Classic.

Grace defeated Michigan-Dearborn on Friday before earning two wins on Saturday against Marygrove and Shawnee State.

The Lady Lancers (20-13) kicked off the tournament on Friday with a sweep of Michigan-Dearborn. Grace held the Wolves (15-17) to a .000 hitting percentage.

Dana Johnston pounded out 13 kills on a .458 percentage to lead all players, and Calah Kruse added seven kills and 15 digs. Katie Brueck tallied three of Grace’s seven service aces to go along with nine digs.

Grace suffered their only defeat of the tournament Friday evening to Davenport. The Panthers (25-5) slowed down Grace’s offense with 11 block points in a tightly contested 3-1 victory.

Grace lost 25-20 in the first and third sets before narrowly falling 25-23 in the fourth. The Lady Lancers served up nine service aces in defeat with Brueck recording four.

Annie Salazar led all players with 20 digs, and Kruse added 17 digs of her own. Johnston led Grace’s attack with 12 digs, and Arielle Walters added 6 kills, 2 solo blocks and 2 block assists.

The Lady Lancers started out strong with a sweep of Marygrove on Saturday morning. Grace’s offense was clicking on all cylinders as they recorded 25 more kills than the Mustangs (9-18) while hitting at a .327 percentage.

Grace won 25-18, 25-17 and 25-17 as a trio of Lady Lancers reached double-digit kills. Alicia Gosney and Walters led all players with 11 kills, and Hannah Clemmons tallied 10 kills and 12 digs. Annie Salazar added 13 digs and three service aces.

In their final match of the tournament, Grace found itself in a fight with Shawnee State after taking the first two sets. The final two sets both went into extra points as Grace lost the third 28-26 before clinching the match 27-25 in the fourth set.

Grace recorded eight more digs and five more block points to aid their cause, and Kruse had a strong performance with 12 kills and 18 digs. Walters tallied 7 kills, 2 solo blocks and 3 block assists, Johnston added 10 kills, and Salazar and Brueck each finished with 16 digs.

The Lady Lancers wrap up the regular season on Wednesday with an away match versus Saint Francis at 7 p.m. With a win, Grace will move into a three-way tie for fourth place in the Crossroads League.


Lady Lancers falter to Knights

10/24/12

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Grace’s volleyball team struggled on the offensive end on Wednesday night, losing in four sets to Marian University.

The Lady Lancers (17-12; 10-7 Crossroads League) tallied 11 block points defensively but connected at a .141 hitting percentage offensively as a team.

Calah Kruse led Grace in a losing effort with the only double-double of the night. Kruse had 14 kills on a .300 percentage to go along with 15 digs to lead Grace in both categories.

The Knights (14-13; 11-7 CL) put the Lady Lancers in an early hole to start the match, leading 6-1 out of the gate. Grace could not pushed closer than four points of Marian’s lead after that point in a 25-17 defeat.

The second set was a reversal as Grace jumped out to a commanding 12-3 lead. The Knights cut Grace’s lead to 23-20 in the final stages, but a pair of kills from Alix Underwood clinched a 25-21 win for Grace.

Marian responded with a dominant 25-15 win in the third set and took the match in the fourth set by the score of 25-19.

Grace held a 9-7 lead in the fourth set before surrendering an 8-2 run to allow the Knights to run away with the set and the match.

Bethany Whitcraft handed out 34 assists in the match, and Arielle Walters added 8 kills, 2 solo blocks and 6 block assists.

Allyssa Johnson tallied 10 digs in two sets, and Hannah Clemmons and Katie Brueck added nine digs.

Dana Johnston recorded nine kills and three block assists, and Stefanie Bolt chipped in with four kills and four block assists.

The Lady Lancers wrap up their nonleague schedule over the weekend with four matches on Friday and Saturday at the Aquinas/Cornerstone Classic.


Grace lets match with Taylor slip away

10/20/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s volleyball team had Taylor University up against the ropes leading two sets to none on Saturday afternoon at the Orthopaedic Capital Center.

But the Trojans held onto second place in the Crossroads League with a come-from-behind 3-2 victory.

The Lady Lancers (17-11; 10-6 CL) imposed their will in front of an energetic home crowd in the first set, dominating in a 25-12 win. Grace recorded 15 kills on just one attacking error for a pristine hitting percentage of .519 while holding Taylor to a .000 hitting percentage.

Grace continued to impress with a seven-point win in the second set that was clinched on a kill from Alicia Gosney. Grace’s defense once again came up strong as the Trojans (19-11; 12-4 CL) struggled to a .049 team hitting percentage.

Taylor made adjustments and found their rhythm on offense with their backs against the wall. The Trojans won the third set 25-19 and the fourth set 25-18.

The Trojans got off to a fast start in the tiebreaking fifth set with the first four points. Grace responded with a clutch run to cut the lead to 8-7, and the match went back-and-forth down the stretch with the Trojans holding on for a 15-13 win.

Grace recorded 55 kills as a team with 92 digs, their third highest total for digs on the season.

Dana Johnston led Grace’s offense with 15 kills on a .353 percentage, and Hannah Clemmons had a double-double with 13 kills and 15 digs.

Arielle Walters led the team with two solo blocks and four block assists, Alix Underwood produced 10 kills, and Calah Kruse had a career-high 24 digs.

Bethany Whitcraft had 21 assists and 15 digs, and Sarah Tullis handed out 25 assists.

The Lady Lancers continue Crossroads League play on Wednesday with an away match against Marian at 7 p.m.


Grace too much for Spring Arbor to handle

10/19/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Dana Johnston’s 12 kills paced Grace’s efforts as the Lady Lancers swept Spring Arbor on Grace’s “Senior Night” on Friday.

The Lady Lancers (17-10; 10-5 Crossroads League) pounded out 42 kills in three sets while holding the Cougars (1-25; 0-15 CL) to a .101 hitting percentage in a dominant display.

In Grace’s first game, the Lady Lancers recorded just one attack error en route to a 25-16 victory.

In the second set, Spring Arbor provided their strongest effort of the night. The Cougars led the set midway through with the score at 16-15, but a thunderous block point by Grace sparked the Lady Lancers.

Grace went on to win the set by five points on a kill from Arielle Walters.

Spring Arbor trimmed an early lead from Grace in the third set until they trailed by just one at 16-15. But Grace shut the door on the Cougars from that point on, closing out the match on a 9-2 run.

Johnston’s 12 kills came with a single error on 19 attempts, resulting in an impressive hitting percentage of .579.

Freshman setter Sarah Tullis handed out a match-high 22 assists, nine of which went to her classmate Alix Underwood.

Hannah Clemmons tallied eight kills and nine digs, Stefanie Bolt added one solo block and three block assists, and Calah Kruse led all players with 13 digs.

Grace’s three seniors – Bethany Whitcraft, Arielle Walters and Stefanie Bolt – were honored before the Lady Lancers’ match on Friday night.

The Lady Lancers continue action tomorrow with a crucial home match with Taylor at 3 p.m. The Trojans currently sit one game ahead of Grace for second place in the league standings.


Well-balanced attack overcomes Mount Vernon

10/16/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Four players reached double-digit kills for Grace as the Lady Lancers’ volleyball team snapped a three-match losing streak in their 3-1 win over Mount Vernon on Tuesday.

Freshman setter Sarah Tullis stepped up to distribute 29 assists as the Lady Lancers leapfrogged the Cougars in the Crossroads League standings for third place.

The Lady Lancers (16-10; 9-5 CL) overcame a slow start in the opening set to win 25-22. The Cougars (17-10; 9-6 CL) led 18-13 before Grace responded with five straight points to spark their three-point win.

Grace’s offense sputtered in the second set, however. The Lady Lancers struggled to find a rhythm in their rotation as the Cougars took a 25-18 win to even the set count.

Strong serving in the third set helped the Lady Lancers to their most impressive performance of the night. With the score knotted at 7-7, the Lady Lancers went on a 10-3 run to pull away in their 25-15 victory.

Grace pounded out 16 kills on just four errors in the third set. They also added three service aces.

In the fourth and final set of the night, Grace was forced to hold off a late charge from the Cougars. Grace was serving for the match at 24-21 before Mount Vernon sliced the lead to 24-23. A service error from Mount Vernon ended the match, however, as Grace ended their longest losing streak of the season.

Alix Underwood led Grace offensively with 12 kills to go along with 8 digs and 3 block assists. Dana Johnston pounded out 11 kills on an efficient .320 percentage. She also led all players with five block assists.

Stefanie Bolt and Arielle Walters each recorded 10 kills as Walters added four block assists.

Freshman Annie Salazar led Grace’s team with 11 digs, and Hannah Clemmons stuffed the stat sheet with 9 kills, 8 digs, 2 service aces and 2 block assists.

As a team, Grace recorded nine block points and had 12 more kills than Mount Vernon.

The Lady Lancers continue league action on Friday for their “Senior Night” against Spring Arbor at 7 p.m. Listen to the match live here.


Johnston, LeBlanc set career highs in defeat

10/13/12

GOSHEN, Ind. – Grace’s volleyball team squandered career-high performances from Dana Johnston and Christina LeBlanc in a 3-2 loss to Goshen College on Saturday.

Johnston pounded out 20 kills for the Lady Lancers (15-10; 8-5 Crossroads League), and LeBlanc handed out 55 assists as both players reached their career marks in a losing effort.

Goshen had its most efficient set in the opener, tallying 10 kills and only two errors to jump ahead with a 25-20 victory.

Grace played from behind for much of the second set. They trailed by four midway into the set before rallying to within one point on a few occasions. The Maple Leafs (11-15; 6-8 CL) had the answer at the end, however, pulling ahead by two sets with a three-point win.

The Lady Lancers started slowly in the third set and found themselves behind 14-11. Grace went on a 6-1 run at that point to grab the lead and did not let go. Grace ended the set with seven unanswered points to win 25-18.

The fourth set was a back-and-forth affair as the teams found themselves tied late 19-19. Grace, who amassed 17 kills in the fourth set, played inspired volleyball down the stretch as Dana Johnston’s kill capped off a 25-23 win.

In the decisive fifth set, Goshen looked to put Grace away early by taking a 9-5 lead. The Lady Lancers showed their resiliency with five straight points to retake the lead, but Goshen matched their run with a 5-0 spurt to go ahead 14-10. Grace managed to win three pressure-packed points with their backs to the wall but ultimately fell 15-13.

Overall, Grace outplayed Goshen in nearly every statistical category. The Lady Lancers tallied 8 more kills, 4 more digs, 8 more assists and 2 more block points than the Maple Leafs.

Alicia Gosney and Stefanie Bolt recorded 13 kills as Bolt added five block assists to her line. Arielle Walters led all players in block points with two solo blocks and five block assists, Bethany Whitcraft amassed a match-high 28 digs, and Hannah Clemmons chipped in 13 digs.

The Lady Lancers will hope to turn things around next week with their final three home matches of the season. Grace hosts Mount Vernon on Tuesday, Spring Arbor on Friday for “Senior Night” and Taylor on Saturday.


Grace flat in defeat to Bethel

10/12/12

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – Grace’s volleyball team struggled to find its rhythm on Friday night, falling in three sets to Bethel College.

The Lady Lancers were held to a .095 hitting percentage as a team with no player recording more than six kills.

The Pilots (13-10; 7-6 Crossroads League) found their revenge from an earlier loss in the season to the Lady Lancers (15-9; 8-4 CL). Bethel recorded 11 more kills, 9 more assists and 5 more digs to ease past Grace.

Bethel won the first set 25-19 before taking the final two sets by the score of 25-20.

Freshman Alix Underwood recorded six kills on a .333 percentage for Grace, and Dana Johnston had five kills to go along with a solo block and block assist.

Bethany Whitcraft led all players with 11 digs, and Christina LeBlanc tallied 29 assists and six digs.

The Lady Lancers continue league action on Saturday with an away match against Goshen at 3 p.m.


Grace comes up short against No. 9 Indiana Wesleyan

10/10/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s volleyball team seemed to be on its way to a season sweep of No. 9 Indiana Wesleyan on Wednesday night, but the Wildcats rallied from a 2-1 set deficit to win 3-2 in a nailbiter.

Entering Wednesday’s match, the Lady Lancers (15-8; 8-3 Crossroads League) were the only defeat on the record of the Wildcats (23-1; 11-1 CL), but Grace’s upset bid proved to be a few points short.

In the opening set, the teams found themselves even at 21 apiece as the Lady Lancers ended the set by winning four of the final five points to win 25-22.

Grace held IWU to a hitting percentage of .091 in their opening-set win.

The Wildcats responded with a 25-19 win in the second set after closing out the game on a 6-0 win.

In the third set, Grace proved to be resilient by bouncing back with a clutch 25-22 win. Grace’s offense was in full swing in the third set as they pounded out 17 kills on a .255 percentage.

The teams played a back-and-forth set in the fourth as the squads traded points down the stretch. But the Wildcats avoided defeat by pulling out a 25-23 win.

Grace started out strongly in the decisive fifth set. The Lady Lancers led 7-3 early on before the Wildcats pulled even at 9-9. The score remained tied until 12-12, but the Wildcats made the final rally of the match to win 15-13.

Four Lady Lancers reached double-digit kills led by Alicia Gosney’s 15 kills on a .317 percentage. She also added 10 digs and two block assists.

Dana Johnston recorded 14 kills, Stefanie Bolt tallied 13 kills, 2 block assists and 1 solo block, and Calah Kruse added a double-double with 12 kills and 21 digs.

Christina LeBlanc dished out 53 assists in the loss to go along with 11 digs.

Bethany Whitcraft led Grace with 22 digs, Jessica Scherb added 16 digs, and Hannah Clemmons finished with 13 digs.

The Lady Lancers currently sit in third place in the Crossroads League. The team concludes the week with away matches against Bethel on Friday and Goshen on Saturday.


Volleyball to host "Dig for the Cure" match on Wednesday

10/8/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – The Grace College volleyball team will host its annual “Dig for the Cure” event on Wednesday during their match with NAIA No. 9 Indiana Wesleyan at 7 p.m. The Lady Lancers are holding this event to support those who are currently battling cancer as well as to honor cancer survivors.

Those attending Wednesday night’s match may give flat donations with all proceeds from the event to be given to the family of Spencer Meyer. Spencer Meyer is a seven-year-old boy from Hudsonville, Mich., who was diagnosed with leukemia.

Grace College Volleyball invites all those who are currently battling cancer, cancer survivors and the community to join us for a night of community support and volleyball.

The main event of the evening will be the volleyball match between league rivals Grace and Indiana Wesleyan. Everyone is invited to cheer and participate in this "pink out" by wearing pink. Pink "Dig for the Cure" shirts will be for sale at the match for $10. Students can purchase the shirts for $6.

Wednesday's match with IWU will be videostreamed live for free at http://new.livestream.com/accounts/235730.


Lady Lancers rise above Foresters

10/3/12

HUNTINGTON, Ind. – After suffering a first-set defeat to Huntington in Crossroads League play, Grace’s volleyball team kicked into high gear en route to a 3-1 win on Wednesday.

The Lady Lancers (15-7; 8-2 CL) scored 10 block points to stifle the Foresters’ offense to a .040 hitting percentage.

Huntington turned in its strongest performance of the night in the opening set. The Foresters (3-14; 2-8 CL) tallied 13 kills and held off the Lady Lancers down the stretch for a 25-21 win.

Grace responded with 13 kills and five errors in the second set to win 25-18. The Lady Lancers’ defense was on display in the third set. Huntington was held to a negative hitting percentage of -.217 as Grace won by 11 points.

Their momentum continued into the fourth set as Grace pounded out 13 kills in a 25-19 victory.

Overall, Dana Johnston led all players with 13 kills on a .296 percentage. Johnston had two service aces and five block assists as well.

Alix Underwood impressed with 10 kills, 5 digs, 4 block assists and 1 solo block, and Stefanie Bolt added eight kills and four block assists.

Katie Brueck tied for match honors with 11 digs, Hannah Clemmons chipped in with nine digs, and Christina LeBlanc totaled 37 assists in four sets.

The Lady Lancers will have a week off before welcoming No. 9 Indiana Wesleyan to the Orthopaedic Capital Center on Wednesday at 7 p.m.


LeBlanc nabs second CL Setter of Week honor

10/1/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Sophomore Christina LeBlanc earned her second Setter of the Week award from the Crossroads League on Monday after a standout performance.

LeBlanc led a dynamic Grace attack on the week, averaging 10.4 assists per set. In five matches, LeBlanc tallied 218 assists.

She started the week by handing out 45 assists in back-to-back Grace victories against Saint Francis and Olivet Nazarene. She then had a double-double with 37 assists and 10 digs against No. 22 Cornerstone.

In a four-set loss to Indiana Tech, LeBlanc poured in 50 assists for her highest output of the week.

LeBlanc also added 2 service aces and 33 digs in the week.

The Lady Lancers have one match this week when they travel to Huntington on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. first serve.


Grace Volleyball to hold "Day with the Lancers" Oct. 20

10/1/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s volleyball team is pleased to announce its “Day with the Lancers” this year is Saturday, Oct. 20.

Sign up now for this unique opportunity for 3rd-8th grade girls to meet and learn from Grace’s nationally recognized volleyball players.

All registered students will participate in a volleyball clinic put on by Grace’s coaching staff and players on Saturday morning.

Students can then enjoy lunch with the team and make posters for the Lady Lancers’ match that evening with rival Taylor University at 3 p.m. from the Orthopaedic Capital Center.

Registration is due Oct. 10. Contact head coach Andria Harshman with questions at 574-372-5100 ext. 6268.

Registration Form


Offense strong on second day of Indiana Tech Tournament

9/29/12

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Grace’s offense was showcased in their final two matches of the Indiana Tech Tournament on Saturday as the Lady Lancers outhit their opponent each match.

But Grace had to settle for a split on the day, losing in four sets to host Indiana Tech before holding off Aquinas in a five-set thriller.

In an early-morning defeat to Indiana Tech, Grace had the advantage in nearly every statistical category. The Lady Lancers tallied seven more kills on a higher percentage, recorded three more block points and eight more digs.

The teams entered the third game tied at one set apiece, but the Lady Lancers (14-7) had their worst set of the match in the third to hand the Warriors (11-7) a nine-point win.

The Warriors jumped out to a quick 7-1 lead in the fourth set, but the Lady Lancers battled back into contention. During the final 16 plays of the set, neither team led by more than a point until back-to-back kills from Indiana Tech finished the match with a 28-26 win.

Christina LeBlanc led Grace’s lethal attack with 50 assists in four sets. Arielle Walters was strong in defeat with 13 kills on a .323 hitting percentage to go along with five solo blocks and two block assists.

Dana Johnston added 12 kills, 2 solo blocks and 1 block assists, and Alicia Gosney tallied 10 kills. Bethany Whitcraft led all players with 24 digs.

The Lady Lancers continued their offensive execution in their second match with Aquinas. Grace had a team hitting percentage of .222, led freshman Alix Underwood’s season-best performance with 18 kills on a .275 percentage.

The two wins for the Saints (4-9) were both scrappy victories including a 26-24 win in the opening set and a 25-23 win in the fourth set to stave off defeat.

Grace recorded 16 kills and 15 kills respectively in the second and third sets to win 25-17 and 25-18.

In the decisive fifth set, Grace did not mess around with eight kills and zero errors to win 15-8.

In the end, the three-headed attack of Underwood, Johnston (14 kills) and Calah Kruse (13 kills) was too much for Aquinas to handle as each player hit at a percentage better than .200. Kruse recorded a double-double with 13 kills and 20 digs.

Whitcraft had a match-high 24 digs, Hannah Clemmons chipped in with 16 digs, and Walters led Grace’s defense at the net with a pair of solo blocks and a pair of block assists

The Lady Lancers resume league action with an away match on Wednesday against Huntington at 7 p.m.


Lady Lancers split two at Indiana Tech Tournament

9/28/12

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Grace’s volleyball team opened up the Indiana Tech Tournament on Friday with a pair of matches. The Lady Lancers took down Olivet Nazarene 3-1 before falling in four sets to No. 22 Cornerstone.

The Lady Lancers (13-6) dropped the first set to Olivet Nazarene before rattling off three consecutive wins in convincing fashion.

The Tigers (4-14) had their best set of the match in the opener, tallying 13 kills in an eight-point win. Olivet Nazarene could not manage more than eight kills in a set over their final three losses, however.

Grace responded with a fury, winning 25-19 and 25-21. The Lady Lancers peaked in the fourth set with 17 kills in a 25-17 win.

Christina LeBlanc handed out 45 assists, including 15 to Dana Johnston, who took home match honors in kills.

Arielle Walters tallied 11 kills and three block assists, and Alicia Gosney had 10 kills and two block assists.

Bethany Whitcraft amassed a match-high 15 digs, and Hannah Clemmons added 14 digs and six kills.

Grace struggled mightily in the early stages of their second match of the day with No. 22 Cornerstone. The Lady Lancers had eight errors in the first set to allow the Golden Eagles (11-3) an easy win.

The Lady Lancers countered with a dramatic come-from-behind win in the second set. Grace was on the verge of defeat as Cornerstone was serving for the set with a 24-22 lead. The Lady Lancers showed their mettle with four straight points to even the sets at one apiece.

The third and fourth sets were neck-and-neck to the end, but the Golden Eagles eked away with 25-20 and 25-23 wins to take the match.

Freshman Katie Brueck had a breakout performance, pouring in a team-high 20 digs in four sets. Walters had her second strong performance of the day with 11 kills on a .526 hitting percentage.

Johnston recorded 10 kills, 1 solo block and 2 block assists, Calah Kruse had seven kills and 17 digs, and Stefanie Bolt added six kills and four block assists.

The Lady Lancers conclude the weekend with early matches against the host Indiana Tech at 10 a.m. and Aquinas at noon.


Grace outpaces St. Francis in four sets

9/26/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s volleyball team recorded 56 kills in a 3-1 victory over the University of Saint Francis on Wednesday night.

The Lady Lancers (12-5; 7-2 Crossroads League) had a plus-20 advantage in kills, led by 15 kills from sophomore Alicia Gosney. 

In the opening set, Grace broke open a back-and-forth game with a short spurt to lead by four and force a timeout. The Lady Lancers maintained their distance en route to a 25-17 win.

Grace tallied 3 service aces, 1 solo block and 2 block assists to aid their cause in the first set.

Saint Francis responded by leveling the set count with a 25-17 win in set two. The Cougars scored four points in a row to take a 15-14 lead and continued their momentum to win by eight.

Grace came out firing in the third set, doubling the Cougars’ score midway through the set. The Lady Lancer offense was nearly unstoppable with 16 kills and one error for a team percentage of .625.

St. Francis made their push midway through the set to cut Grace’s lead to four, but the Lady Lancers used an 8-1 run to put the game out of reach. Gosney’s kill finished the third set as Grace won 25-14.

The Lady Lancers looked to ease away in the fourth set as they led 16-10. The Cougars would not go down without a fight, however, as they continually battled back into contention down the stretch.

Gosney provided a pair of timely kills late in the set to keep St. Francis at bay as Grace clinched the match with a 25-22 win.

Christina LeBlanc’s 45 assists allowed three Lady Lancers to reach double-digit kills. Gosney tied for match honors with 15 kills on a .357 percentage. She also added two block assists.

Dana Johnston pounded out 12 kills on a .364 percentage, and Stefanie Bolt added 12 kills on a .321 percentage.

Arielle Walters was strong on both sides of the net as she totaled 7 kills, 5 block assists and 1 solo block. Alix Underwood provided a spark off the bench with five kills and a solo block.

Calah Kruse and Bethany Whitcraft led all players with 12 digs, and Hannah Clemmons chipped in with six digs.

Overall, Grace’s team connected at a .289 hitting percentage while St. Francis hit at a .132 clip. Grace also earned a 9-1 advantage in block points and a 56-36 advantage in kills.

The Lady Lancers wrap up the weekend with four matches at the Indiana Tech Tournament. Grace will play Olivet Nazarene and No. 22 Cornerstone on Friday before facing Indiana Tech and Aquinas on Saturday.


Grace unable to knock off No. 20 Taylor

9/22/12

UPLAND, Ind. – Grace’s volleyball team saw its winning streak snapped at four as No. 20 Taylor topped the Lady Lancers in three sets on Saturday.

The Lady Lancers (11-5; 6-2 Crossroads League) could not find their rhythm on the offensive side of the net, allowing the Trojans (12-4; 7-2 CL) to win in three sets.

Taylor made a spurt midway through the first set to break open a 9-9 tie. Grace’s offense never fully clicked as the Lady Lancers recorded more attacking errors (9) than kills (6) in their eight-point loss in the first set.

Grace kicked back into gear with a team hitting percentage of .219 in the second set. Despite an improved offensive display, Grace found themselves trailing by two sets with a 25-19 defeat.

The Lady Lancers never tasted the lead in the third set as the Trojans closed out the sweep with a 25-18 win.

Dana Johnston was Grace’s most reliable offensive weapon in the loss. She tallied seven kills on 19 attempts to go along with one block and one block assist.

Alicia Gosney added seven kills and two block assists, and Arielle Walters chipped in with five kills and two block assists.

Calah Kruse led all players with 15 digs, and Bethany Whitcraft had 11.

Christina LeBlanc dished out 26 assists – five of which went to Stefanie Bolt.

The Lady Lancers will look to refocus on Wednesday for a home match against Saint Francis at 7 p.m. Listen to the game live here.


Cougars can't keep pace with Grace

9/21/12

SPRING ARBOR, Mich. – Grace’s volleyball team won its fourth straight match in Crossroads League play with a 3-0 win over Spring Arbor on Friday.

The Lady Lancers (11-4; 6-1 CL) put on an offensive showcase with a team hitting percentage of .303 while holding the Cougars (1-16; 0-7 CL) to a .122 percentage.

Grace recorded 18 kills in the first set on just two errors to ease away to a 25-17 victory.

Their defensive effort fueled the second set as the Lady Lancers won by seven points. Spring Arbor could only manage six kills with six errors in the second set.

The Lady Lancers sealed the sweep with a 25-17 win in the third set as Grace moved into a two-way tie for first place in the Crossroads League with Indiana Wesleyan.

Twelve players saw the playing floor for Grace in the 3-0 win as Christina LeBlanc led all players with 31 assists.

Stefanie Bolt paced Grace’s attack with nine kills on a .444 percentage.

Dana Johnston pounded out eight kills on a .400 percentage, and Calah Kruse was right behind with seven kills on a .350 percentage.

Arielle Walters provided a well-rounded match with 6 kills, 2 solo blocks and 1 block assists, and Alix Underwood added four kills on eight attempts.

Bethany Whitcraft led Grace with 10 digs, and Hannah Clemmons chipped in with eight digs.

Freshman Katie Brueck tallied four digs and two service aces for the Lady Lancers.

Grace will travel to Upland, Ind., tomorrow for a marquee matchup with No. 20 Taylor at 7 p.m.


Grace sweeps Marian in convincing fashion

9/19/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s volleyball team used a dominant offensive and defensive display to top Marian 3-0 on Wednesday evening in a crucial Crossroads League match.

With the win, the Lady Lancers (10-4; 5-1 CL) separated themselves from the Knights (7-5; 5-2 CL) to remain a co-leader atop the league standings.

The Lady Lancers recorded 40 kills on only 13 errors in the sweep while holding the Knights to 28 kills.

In the opening set, Grace starting picking up momentum with a 16-12 lead to force a timeout from Marian. The Lady Lancers would not be slowed down, however, as Calah Kruse’s four first-set kills paced Grace to a 25-19 win.

The second set was nearly identical as Grace distanced themselves from Marian midway into the set. Grace led by 16-13 and closed out the set on a 9-4 run to win by eight points.

Setter Christina LeBlanc led a lively attack in the third set as Grace tallied 15 kills with three errors as Grace clinched the sweep in a 25-19 victory.

Alicia Gosney pounded out five of her nine kills in the third set.

Dana Johnston tied for the team lead with nine kills on a .250 hitting percentage.

Arielle Walters (1 solo block, 4 block assists) and Stefanie Bolt (3 block assists) led a stout defense at the net for the Lady Lancers. Overall, Grace amassed one solo block and 10 block assists in the win.

Freshman Jessica Scherb paced Grace with 14 digs, and Bethany Whitcraft (12) and Kruse (11) each reached double-digit digs as well.

LeBlanc dished out a match-high 32 assists to go along with two kills and seven digs.

The Lady Lancers will continue league action with a road match on Friday against Spring Arbor at 7 p.m. Grace will then square off with No. 20 Taylor on the road on Saturday in a clash of league co-leaders.


Well-balanced attack leads to Grace win

9/15/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s offensive attack wore down Goshen College as the Lady Lancers won in four sets on Saturday afternoon.

The Christina LeBlanc-led offense placed three Lady Lancers (9-4; 4-1 Crossroads League) in double-digit kills to help Grace recover from an early deficit.

The Maple Leafs (5-10; 1-5 CL) made a late push in the first half to take the lead and held on to win 25-23 to go ahead by a set.

The Lady Lancers stormed back, however, to lead 17-9 and force a Goshen timeout. Grace’s offense was too much for Goshen to handle as the Lady Lancers won 25-16. Grace tallied 11 kills with two errors in the second set, led by five kills from Stefanie Bolt.

Grace held an early lead in the third set only to see Goshen battle back to knot the score at 14-14. The Lady Lancers recovered to end the set on an 11-4 run to win by seven.

Grace led for much of the fourth set and clinched the match with a 25-19 win. The Lady Lancers were aided by three service aces in the fourth set.

Bolt led all players with 12 kills on a .308 percentage. She also recorded a match-high five block assists.

Hannah Clemmons stepped up offensively to produce 11 kills on a .233 percentage, and Arielle Walters had 10 kills (.318) to go along with three block assists.

Bethany Whitcraft (18 digs) was one of four Lady Lancers to reach double-digit digs. Clemmons and Calah Kruse tallied 11 digs, and LeBlanc recorded 10 digs in addition to her 39 assists.

As a team, Grace had seven service aces in the match. Kruse and LeBlanc each aced twice for Grace.

Grace's defense held the Maple Leafs to a .103 hitting percentage as a team.

The Lady Lancers will welcome Marian University to the Orthopaedic Capital Center on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. match.


Grace shuts down Bethel in 3-0 win

9/14/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s defense was suffocating in the Lady Lancers’ sweep over Bethel College on Friday night.

The Lady Lancers (8-4; 3-1 Crossroads League) recorded two solo blocks and 12 block assists as the Pilots struggled to a .000 team hitting percentage.

Arielle Walters led all players with four block assists, and Alicia Gosney tallied 3 block assists, 1 solo block and 5 kills.

Grace got out to a strong start in the opening set to take a 19-12 lead. After a Bethel timeout, the Lady Lancers dominated the action by scoring six of the next seven points to win by 12.

The Pilots (5-9; 0-5 CL) jumped ahead in the second set by the score of 9-3. Grace battled back, however, and knotted the score at 11 apiece.

The score stayed close for the remainder of the set, but it was Grace who clinched the 25-22 win with a Christina LeBlanc service ace. LeBlanc finished the match with three service aces to go along with 19 assists.

Grace continued their momentum into the third and final set. The Lady Lancers tallied 11 kills on four errors to ease away for a 25-16 win.

Dana Johnston led Grace offensively with eight kills on a .211 percentage. She also added a solo block and two block assists.

Four Lady Lancers recorded double-digit digs, paced by freshman Jessica Scherb’s match-high 11 digs. Calah Kruse, Bethany Whitcraft and LeBlanc added 10 digs apiece.

Grace finished with a .167 team hitting percentage. Walters led all players with a .500 percentage as she recorded three kills on six attempts.

Overall, 15 players saw playing time for the Lady Lancers.

The Lady Lancers continue league play with a home match Saturday against Goshen College at 3 p.m.


Grace falters to Mount Vernon Nazarene

9/12/12

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio – Grace’s volleyball team saw its five-match winning streak snapped against Mount Vernon Nazarene on Wednesday.

The Lady Lancers (7-4; 2-1 Crossroads League) were even in most statistical categories with Mount Vernon in the match but ultimately fell 3-1 to the Cougars.

The opening set between Grace and Mount Vernon was tightly contested. Grace took a late 19-18 lead, but the Cougars closed the game on a 7-2 run to win by four.

Grace responded with a fury, doubling the Cougars’ score early en route to a 25-14 victory. The Lancers pounded out 16 kills with zero errors for an incredible .640 hitting percentage as a team.

The Cougars (9-3; 4-0 CL) pulled away halfway into the third set to go ahead 19-13. The Lady Lancers charged back into contention behind the lethal serving of freshman Annie Salazar, but Grace ran out of steam soon afterwards to allow Mount Vernon to ease away for the win.

Grace made several unforced errors in the fourth set to keep themselves out of rhythm, and the Cougars clinched the match with a 25-17 win.

Overall, the Lady Lancers recorded eight more kills than the Cougars in the match and hit at a higher percentage (.238). Mount Vernon tallied 10 service aces against Grace and amassed 13 more digs as a team.

Alicia Gosney led Grace in kills with 12. Dana Johnston (.364 percentage) and Arielle Walters (.500) both recorded 10 kills at a high percentage for the Lady Lancers. Johnston also added a match-high four block assists.

Christina LeBlanc led all players with 39 assists, and Calah Kruse paced Grace with 12 digs.

Salazar finished with three service aces for the Lady Lancers.

The Lady Lancers will look to rebound with a pair of home matches. Grace welcomes Bethel Friday at 7 p.m. before facing Goshen on Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Orthopaedic Capital Center.


Grace eases past Huntington

9/7/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s volleyball team cruised by Huntington University in their 2012 home opener from the Orthopaedic Capital Center.

The Lady Lancers (7-3; 2-0 Crossroads League) swept the Foresters by the scores of 25-13, 25-15 and 25-19.

Grace’s offense was kicking on all cylinders on Friday evening as the team finished with a .302 hitting percentage. Their defense was equally impressive by holding the Foresters (0-7; 0-2 CL) to a .013 percentage.

In each of the three sets, Grace never hit below a .250 hitting percentage as a team. In the opening set, the Foresters were held to four kills and eight errors en route to Grace’s 12-point victory.

In their final set, Grace recorded 15 kills on just four errors to clinch the sweep with a 25-19 win.

Arielle Walters highlighted Grace’s win with 8 kills, 2 solo blocks and 3 block assists. Stefanie Bolt recorded eight kills on a .500 percentage, and Calah Kruse added eight kills.

Bethany Whitcraft led all players with 12 digs, and Christina LeBlanc handed out a match-high 24 assists.

Alicia Gosney and Annie Salazar each tallied three service aces, and Gosney also added seven kills and three block assists.

The Lady Lancers continue Crossroads League action with a match at Mount Vernon Nazarene on Wednesday at 7 p.m.


Lady Lancers upset No. 7 Indiana Wesleyan

9/5/12

MARION, Ind. – Grace continued its upset trend by taking down its second ranked opponent of the young season in a 3-1 triumph over No. 7 Indiana Wesleyan.

The Lady Lancers (6-3; 1-0 Crossroads League) held IWU to a .100 team hitting percentage to give the Wildcats (7-1; 0-1 CL) their first loss of the season.

“We executed our game plan extremely well tonight, and we put a lot of pressure on [IWU],” said Grace head coach Andria Harshman. “I’m really proud of this team for the way we prepared and planned. The women played against a great program tonight and rose to the level we needed to.”

With the score knotted at eight in the opening set, Grace made the first significant run of the match to spring ahead 19-11. The Wildcats did their best to claw back, but the damage was already done as Grace held on for a 25-19 win.

IWU proved their ranking with a strong rebuttal, scoring seven straight points early in the second set to seize momentum and take the second set, 25-15.

The Lady Lancers were undaunted, however, and used a 12-4 run midway through the third set to grab an 18-9 advantage. The team went on to coast to a 25-16 victory.

The fourth set started evenly until Grace burst ahead 18-12.Grace appeared to be on the verge of an easy victory until the Wildcats made a late push to cut Grace’s lead to three points.

But a well-placed timeout for Grace allowed the Lady Lancers to regain control and clinch the upset with a 25-19 victory on a kill from Calah Kruse.

Alicia Gosney put in a strong performance by tallying 13 kills on a .200 percentage to go along with 12 digs, 2 solo blocks and 3 block assists.

Grace’s defense proved to be a major advantage as the team racked up 10 team blocks. Arielle Walters had one solo block and four block assists, Stefanie Bolt recorded three block assists and Dana Johnston added two block assists to her nine kills.

Bethany Whitcraft led Grace with 17 digs, and Calah Kruse added 13 digs and eight kills. Christina LeBlanc, the reigning CL Setter of the Week, dished out 39 assists.

The Lady Lancers return to the OCC for their 2012 home opener on Friday. Grace’s match with Huntington will start at 7 p.m.


Whitcraft, LeBlanc earn Player of Week honors

9/3/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Senior libero Bethany Whitcraft and sophomore setter Christina LeBlanc were honored as Players of the Week by the Crossroads League on Monday.

LeBlanc earned the CL’s Setter of the Week award. She has gotten the Lady Lancers (5-3) off to a strong start in her first full year as the starting setter. The LeBlanc-led attack helped Grace to a 3-1 record over the weekend, including wins over No. 20 Lindsey Wilson and (RV) Park, Mo.

She set a career-high with 52 assists in a four-set victory over Park, who was 7-2 entering their match with Grace. For the week, LeBlanc tallied 170 assists (most in Crossroads League) to go along with 42 digs.

Whitcraft was named the Libero of the Week after tallying double-digit digs in all four of Grace’s matches.

She amassed 34 digs against Bethel (Tenn.)  in a five-set victory for Grace. For the week, she tallied 81 digs in 17 sets (4.8 digs/game). She also added 13 assists and served 69 times on a .986 percentage.

The Lady Lancers, who are receiving votes in the NAIA Top 25 poll, have their home opener on Friday against Huntington University at 7 p.m.


Grace wraps up tourney with two more wins

9/1/12

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Grace wrapped up its second weekend of national competition by taking a pair of wins over Bethel (Tenn.) and Park (Mo.) in the Quality Inn Classic.

The Lady Lancers (5-3) defeated Bethel in five sets before taking down Park, who is receiving votes in the Top 25 poll.

“I’m really proud of the girls for persevering through two tough weekends of competition as they started school. We were kind of flat all weekend as we were in our system but not connecting. Yet we were still in every set,” said Grace head coach Andria Harshman. “We stayed focused, pressed on and took three big teams this weekend. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Grace found themselves in a battle with Bethel in their first match of the day. The Wildcats (0-3) won the first set by three points thanks to a .213 hitting percentage.

The Lady Lancers forced a fifth set, however, by winning two of the next three sets, including a 26-24 win in the second set and a 25-20 win in the fourth.

Grace displayed a dominant effort in the decisive fifth set, tallying 12 kills with only one error to clinch a 15-7 victory.

Alicia Gosney turned in one of the best performances of her young career with a career-high 18 kills in the win. Dana Johnston tallied 15 kills on a .270 percentage.

“Alicia Gosney and Dana Johnston were key players for us throughout the weekend,” Harshman continued. “They really connected well as we ended the tournament.”

Bethany Whitcraft led all players with 34 digs, and Christina LeBlanc handed out a match-best 48 assists. LeBlanc also tallied 19 digs, Hannah Clemmons added 16 digs and Calah Kruse chipped in with 15.

In their second set, the Lady Lancers again fell behind 1-0 as Park took the opening set, 25-22. But the LeBlanc-led offense proved too lethal for the Pirates (7-3) to deal with as Grace won the final three sets.

Grace won the second and fourth sets by the score of 25-18 and took the third set in extra points, 28-26.

LeBlanc dished out a career-high 52 assists in the four-set victory. She helped four Lady Lancers reach double-digit kills, led by 17 apiece from Johnston (.467 percentage) and Gosney (.239).

Kruse recorded a double-double with 12 kills and 16 digs, and Arielle Walters added 11 kills on a .429 percentage.

Three Lady Lancers were named to the All-Tournament Team, including Arielle Walters, Dana Johnston and Alicia Gosney. Grace's three members were tied for the most in the tournament.

The Lady Lancers will start their Crossroads League schedule when they return to Indiana, starting with a match at No. 9 Indiana Wesleyan at 7 p.m.


Grace scores big win over No. 20 Lindsey Wilson

8/31/12

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Grace’s volleyball team continued its challenging nonconference schedule on Friday against two ranked teams at the Quality Inn Classic.

While the Lady Lancers fell to NAIA No. 3 Columbia (Mo.) in three sets, they bounced back hours later to upset No. 20 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) in five thrilling sets.

The Lady Lancers (3-3) started out their match with Lindsey Wilson with a four-point victory in the opening set. Grace tallied 15 kills on a .205 percentage.

The Blue Raiders (2-4) bounced back to take a 2-1 advantage, however, with a 25-18 win in the second set and a 25-20 win in the third. In both sets, Grace was held to single-digit kills.

After a tense battle in the fourth, the Lady Lancers held on for a critical 25-23 victory to force a fifth set.

Grace had their finest performance in the fifth set, pounding out nine kills on only two errors to win 15-11 to seal the upset. Lindsey Wilson could only manage a .080 hitting percentage against Grace’s defense in the fifth set.

Dana Johnston proved to be a tough matchup for the Blue Raiders as she recorded 14 kills on a .379 percentage. Stefanie Bolt also impressed with 13 kills, 1 solo block and 1 block assist.

Christina LeBlanc dished out 47 assists, Alicia Gosney tallied 11 kills and Bethany Whitcraft had 17 digs. Calah Kruse (15) and Hannah Clemmons (12) also had double-digit digs.

In the opener, Columbia appeared to be flexing their muscles early in the first set when they took a 16-11 lead. But the Lady Lancers refused to be intimidated by the moment, rallying to tie the score at 17-17.

The teams stayed level until the score was knotted at 20 apiece, but the Cougars (1-0) ended the opening set with five straight points to win 25-20.

The second set provided a heightened sense of drama as the set went into extra points. Grace fell behind early again to trail 16-10. The Lady Lancers showed their resolve with seven straight points to erase that deficit. From that point forward, the score was never more than two points in either team’s favor.

A well-placed serve from Clemmons forced a double hit from Columbia to give Grace a 25-24 advantage. The Cougars recovered, however, to net four of the next five points to take a 28-26 victory.

Grace started slowly in the third set and trailed 14-3 midway through the set. The Lady Lancers never fully regain composure from their opening deficit and lost 25-10 in the decisive third set.

As a team, Grace was held to a .114 hitting percentage with only 18 team kills to their credit. Gosney and Johnston each tallied seven kills to lead the team.

Arielle Walters and Bolt were outstanding in the block for Grace as each player was credited with four block assists.

Grace continues action tomorrow morning against Bethel (Tenn.) at 9 a.m. before ending the tournament against Park (Mo.) at 1 p.m.


Johnston paces Grace in second day of Red Raider Classic

8/25/12

ORANGE CITY, Iowa – Junior middle hitter Dana Johnston highlighted Grace’s second day of matches in the 2012 season, leading Grace to a victory over Dordt (Iowa) and a four-set loss to Northwestern (Iowa) on Saturday.

Johnston led all players with 12 kills in their 3-1 win versus Dordt before pounding out 18 kills against Northwestern in the second match of the day.

The Lady Lancers (2-2) got off to a torrid start against Dordt, tallying 14 kills as a team with only three errors in a dominant 25-12 win. They went on to win the second set (25-19) and fourth set (25-20) to take down the Defenders.

Arielle Walters had a stellar performance in the win, recording 10 kills on a .556 percentage to go along with 3 solo blocks and 1 block assist.

As a team, Grace had a .213 hitting percentage compared to .140 for Dordt.

Bethany Whitcraft had 26 digs, Calah Kruse added eight kills and 14 digs, and Christina LeBlanc ended with 43 assists.

“We played a really tough and physical team and stayed in control most of the match,” said Grace head coach Andria Harshman. “We responded well to Dordt’s run in game three and pulled together to win in four. I’m really glad to see how we’ve started this season off strong.”

The Lady Lancers then faced a talented Northwestern squad in their final match of the Red Raider Classic and lost in four evenly played sets.

After losing the first two sets by the scores of 25-18 and 25-23, Grace refocused to take the third set in extra points (26-24). The Red Raiders clinched the decisive fourth set, however, with a three-point victory (25-22).

Johnston proved nearly unstoppable for the Red Raiders in defeat. She led all players with 18 kills on a .400 percentage, adding a pair of service aces and solo blocks to her statline.

Kruse (15 kills, 15 digs) and Alicia Gosney (10 kills, 15 digs) played significant roles in the match, and LeBlanc set a career high with 44 assists.

The Lady Lancers continue their nonconference schedule with the Columbia College Quality Inn Classic next weekend in Columbia, Mo.


Lady Lancers split pair to start season

8/24/12

ORANGE CITY, Iowa – Grace’s volleyball team kicked off the 2012 season at the Red Raider Classic on Friday, earning a split on the day.

The Lady Lancers swept Baker (Kan.) in their first match of the day before falling to Doane (Neb.) in four sets.

In their opener against Baker, the Lady Lancers (1-1) got off to a strong start by recording 13 kills on only six errors to win 25-18. They used that momentum to take the final two sets by the score of 25-16 and 25-22.

Junior Dana Johnston impressed with a team-high nine kills on a .500 hitting percentage. Calah Kruse added seven kills and a pair of service aces, and Alicia Gosney chipped in with 5 kills, 3 aces and 12 digs.

Sophomore setter Christina LeBlanc tallied 25 assists, and Bethany Whitcraft recorded 10 digs.

Their second match of the day with Doane seemed to be headed Grace’s direction as the Lady Lancers started out with a 25-17 win in the first set. As a team, Grace tallied 12 kills on four errors.

The Lady Lancers were not able to keep pace with the Tigers (2-0) after that point, however. Doane went on to take the next three sets by the scores of 25-18, 25-11 and 25-21 to win the match.

Stefanie Bolt led the Lady Lancers in the loss with 11 kills on a .240 percentage. Whitcraft led all players with 17 digs, and Johnston recorded 9 kills, 2 solo blocks and 1 block assist.

Kruse chipped in with eight kills, and LeBlanc dished out 35 assists with five digs.

“We started the day looking strong. Our team was simply ready to play their first match after a long three-week preseason,” said Grace head coach Andria Harshman. “We were really gelling and in system through the opening match. Overall, we are a team that can compete at this level, even with three sophomore starters and one junior starter. This is a group to watch for big things to come out of this year.”

The Lady Lancers will continue tournament action on Saturday when they play Dordt and Northwestern.


Grace spikers return deep, talented squad for 2012

8/22/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s volleyball team gained national exposure last season when they finished as semifinalists in the NCCAA National Championships. This year they are prepared to test themselves against some of the toughest competition in the nation.

The Lady Lancers, under fifth-year head coach Andria Harshman, have established high goals for themselves in both the Crossroads League and in the national scene for 2012.

Harshman wants the Lady Lancers to contend for both the regular season and tournament titles for the Crossroads League, saying “the goal is to be in the mix for both. We believe we should be there this year.”

On top of that, Grace is aiming to earn a spot in the NAIA National Championships for the first time since 2001.

“We want to set our goals high, and we feel like we have the team to accomplish those goals. This is going to be a great year. We have an exciting group of players to watch play volleyball.”

In addition to the always competitive league schedule, Harshman has arranged a rigorous nonconference schedule for the Lady Lancers to prepare for a potential NAIA tournament appearance.

Grace will play seven nonconference opponents that are ranked or receiving votes in the NAIA Preseason Top 25 Poll, including matches against No. 3 Columbia (Mo.), No. 20 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) and No. 22 Cornerstone (Mich.).

“Our biggest weakness this year is the schedule we have to play. They will have to rise to the occasion daily,” Harshman explained. “The goal is to grow through a difficult stretch of games, but we will see exactly where we need to be.”

Grace plans to lean on their two strongest offensive forces this year in junior middle hitter Dana Johnston and sophomore outside hitter Alicia Gosney. Johnston earned NCCAA First Team All-American honors in 2011 after leading the team and the conference with a .351 hitting percentage (387 kills).

Gosney was named the Freshman of the Year in the Crossroads League last season after racking up 296 kills, 22 solo blocks and 22 block assists.

“[Johnston and Gosney] look really strong and dominant right now,” Harshman continued. “Dana is leading well and playing smart. She looks for the right shot to win the point. Gosney will have an increased role this year so her numbers are going to be that much better.”

Although Grace’s top two hitters last year in terms of kills have graduated (Stephanie Lawson, Enrica Verrett), Harshman is confident those numbers will be replaced in 2012.

Sophomore outside hitters Calah Kruse and Hannah Clemmons bring tremendous athleticism and versatility to Grace’s lineup. Seniors Stefanie Bolt and Arielle Walters provide leadership and a significant source of blocking ability to the front line. Freshman Alix Underwood, according to Harshman, will be the “first off the bench” for her ability to excel in any position on the front row.

In the setter role, sophomore Christina LeBlanc hopes to fill the void left by graduated senior Rachel Bult. And although Bult graduated second for Grace all-time in career assists, Harshman firmly believes in LeBlanc’s ability: “Christina knows the game well. She’s young and has more to learn, but she’s a great coach on the court.”

Grace’s depth in the back line will be anchored by senior libero/defensive specialist Bethany Whitcraft, who led the team with 566 digs in 2011. A pair of freshmen in Annie Salazar and Jessica Scherb will also vie for time in the back row.

Despite the goals for wins and national tournaments, the Lady Lancers’ higher mission of glorifying God still remains. Harshman described the squad as one driven by community and service, and the team has already put on three service projects before the start of the season.

“This is a competitive group of women who love the Lord. They are competing daily for positions and are constantly pushing each other and holding each other accountable,” Harshman said. “Our enthusiasm is contagious, so they’ll be a great group to watch.”

The Lady Lancers will begin their 2012 campaign in Orange City, Iowa, for the Red Raider Classic. Grace will play Baker (Kan.) and Doane (Neb.) on Aug. 24 before facing Dordt (Iowa) and Northwestern (Iowa) on Aug. 25.