Lady Lancers End Season in MCC Tourney


UPLAND, Ind. -- Grace's women's volleyball team showed its youth in a 3-0 loss to No. 16 Taylor University in the first round of the Mid-Central College Conference tournament on Tuesday.

Grace's young roster, compiled solely of freshmen and sophomores, fell behind early to the top-seeded Lady Trojans (32-5), eventually losing the first set 25-8. Grace recorded a mere four kills in that set at a clip of -.107 compared to 14 kills for Taylor at .545.

"It was a difficult match to end the season on," said head coach Andria Harshman, "but it will be a good learning tool for us moving into the offseason."

The Lady Lancers (9-24; 2-6 MCC) were outblocked 11-1 on the day and had 15 fewer kills than Taylor. Enrica Verrett led the team with 10 kills, followed by Stephanie Lawson's eight. Freshman Bethany Whitcraft finished her strong freshman campaign as setter with 21 assists, and Rachel Bult added a team-high eight digs.

Grace's season ends on a disappointing three-game losing streak, but the young sqaud had several high points in the season, including earning a berth to the MCC tourney for the first time since 2007 by virtue of a win in the final regular season game against Spring Arbor.

"The future is bright for Grace volleyball," Harshman said. "Our young players got a ton of experience this season, and when we add some new recruits into the mix, we could be a very surprising team next season."

Grace vs. Taylor
Game 1: Taylor 25-8
Game 2: Taylor 25-20
Game 3: Taylor 25-18

Winning Streak Snapped in NCCAA Regionals


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- The Grace College women's volleyball team hosted the 2009 NCCAA Regional Tournament at the Orthopaedic Capital Center on Friday and was coming off the team's second two-game winning streak of the season.

However, Grace fell in four sets to Cedarville in the opening game of the tournament and was defeated by Spring Arbor in three straight in the final game. The Lady Lancers (9-24; 2-6 MCC) lost their first two games to Cedarville (15-20) but came back big with a 25-17 win in game three. Grace looked poised to continue the comeback in game four and took the fourth game into extra points, but the women were unable to complete the rally and lost 29-27.

Sophomore Enrica Verrett led Grace in the first game with 11 kills, one stuff block, and 4 block assists. The Lady Lancers had better numbers than the Yellow Jackets in blocking (9.0 team blocks) and serving (eight service aces).

Sophomore Bethany Michalski played maybe her best game of the season with six kills on a .667 kill efficiency to go along with one stuff block and two block assists. Stefanie Bolt recorded a game-high five block assists for Grace.

In the second game, Stephanie Lawson recorded a game-high 12 kills, and Verrett added ten more on a .421 kill efficiency, but the Lady Lancers still lost three straight games to Spring Arbor. Bethany Whitcraft had a game-high 29 assists, Rachel Bult led Grace 12 digs and Michalski added two block stuffs and two kills.

The matchup with Spring Arbor was the third game between the schools this year. The Lady Lancers and the Lady Cougars split the first two games, with Grace winning 3-1 just three days earlier.

The Lady Lancers return to action Tuesday for the opening round of the Mid-Central College volleyball tournament. Grace will travel to top-seeded Taylor for a 7 p.m. start. Grace lost to Taylor 0-3 on Oct. 7.

Grace vs. Cedarville
Game 1: Cedarvile 25-18
Game 2: Cedarville 25-16
Game 3: Grace 25-17
Game 4: Cedarville 29-27

Grace vs. Spring Arbor
Game 1: Spring Arbor 26-24
Game 2: Spring Arbor 25-21
Game 3: Spring Arbor 26-24

Grace Clinches MCC Tourney Berth


SPRING ARBOR, Mich. -- On the final day of the regular season for Grace's volleyball team, the Lady Lancers knocked off Spring Arbor in four sets to clinch the final spot in the Mid-Central College Conference tournament next week.

The Lady Lancers (9-22; 2-6 MCC) used improved blocking, serving and serve receive to defeat the Lady Cougars (22-13; 4-4 MCC) in a win that assistant coach Mike Alejado called "amazing."

"This type of game is what I expected out of the team the whole year. With two wins in a row, I think we're peaking at the right time," Alejado said.

After a close 26-24 win in the first game, Grace fell by 11 in game two. But the women responded with two close wins in the next two games to seal the upset.

With the win, the Lady Lancers secure the eighth seed in the MCC tournament and will face the top seed and nationally ranked Taylor Lady Trojans in the first round next Tuesday.

"This was big for us," Alejado continued. "One of our goals at the beginning of the season was to make the conference tournament for the first time since 2007. Everybody was fired up knowing that we just made the tourney."

The Lady Lancers were led in kills by the threesome of Enrica Verrett (15 kills), Stephanie Lawson (14) and Heidi Eastep (13). Lawson also added a team-high 13 digs.

Sophomore Rachel Bult, starting her second straight game as libero, recorded 12 digs to lead the improved Grace defense. And the unsung hero of the day, according to Alejado, was Melissa Carter. Playing her first substantial minutes of the season, Carter used a .900 serve percentage (including two service aces in 20 attempts) to help Grace take the victory.

"We beat a legitimately good team, take nothing away from them," Alejado said. "But with our improved blocking and serve receive, we're also playing really good right now. I expect to see this type of play the rest of the season."

The Lady Lancers face Taylor in the first round of the MCC tournament next Tuesday. Game time has yet to be announced.

Grace vs. Spring Arbor
Game 1: Grace 26-24
Game 2: Spring Arbor 25-14
Game 3: Grace 25-22
Game 4: Grace 25-22

Lady Lancers Sweep Calumet


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Grace's women's volleyball team swept Calumet College of St. Joseph on Saturday. Their Senior Day victory was the Lady Lancers' second win over Calumet this season.

The Lady Lancers (8-22; 1-6 MCC) improved their blocking and consequently, the Crimson Wave (1-34) never scored more than 17 points in a game. Grace held them to seven points in the second game.

Enrica Verrett and Stefanie Bolt led the defensive effort with five block assists apiece. Verrett also led Grace in kills with nine on a .400 kill efficiency.

Rachel Bult, playing libero for the first time this season, had a game-high 15 digs. Whitcraft also had a well-rounded game with 27 assists, seven digs and three service aces. Stephanie Lawson and Heidi Eastep each recorded eight kills.

Eastep, Valerie Embree and Ashley Read were honored on Saturday's Senior Day. Embree is a manager for the Lady Lancers and Read is a statistician.

Grace vs. Calumet College of St. Joseph
Game 1: Grace 25-17
Game 2: Grace 25-7
Game 3: Grace 25-13

Illinois Tech Knocks Off Grace in Three


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Grace's women's volleyball team fell in three straight sets to Illinois Tech on Friday, Grace's second straight loss. Illinois Tech's defense at the net proved too much to handle, as the Scarlet Hawks recorded nine team blocks against Grace's attacks.

Against Illinois Tech's (15-17) blocking defense, the Lady Lancers (7-22; 1-6 MCC) struggled to maintain a consistent offensive attack, struggling to a .120 kill efficiency for the match. Grace played their best game in the third set, but still eventually fell 25-22.

Stephanie Lawson led the Lady Lancers statistically with 12 kills and 10 digs. Enrica Verret added 10 kills, and Heidi Eastep chipped in 7 of her own. Bethany Whitcraft accounted for 25 of the team's 31 assists on the game.

Grace was playing its second of three home games this week. Earlier in the week, Grace lost to St. Francis in straight sets. On Saturday, the Lady Lancers will host Calumet College of St. Joseph. The Lady Lancers swept Calumet on Oct. 23 at Calumet's Crimson Wave Invitational.

Saturday is also Senior Day for the Lady Lancers. Grace will honor Heidi Eastep, as well as managers Val Embree and Ashley Read at the game.

Grace vs. Illinois Tech
Game 1: Ill. Tech 25-14
Game 2: Ill. Tech 25-18
Game 3: Ill. Tech 25-22

Grace Drops Sixth MCC Match


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Grace's women's volleyball team fell to the University of Saint Francis 3-0 on Wednesday, their sixth conference loss of the season. The Lady Lancers (7-21; 1-6 MCC) came close to defeating the Lady Cougars (13-18; 4-3 MCC) in the third game, but fell 32-30. Grace scored 16 the first game and 17 the second game.

"We fought really hard in game three, which is a great takeaway for us," said assistant coach Mike Alejado. "We took them beyond 25 points, but we just decided to start playing volleyball a little too late."

Heidi Eastep was Grace's standout player with six kills in nine attempts for a .556 kill-efficiency. Stephanie Lawson had 10 kills while Enrica Verrett added eight kills. Bethany Whitcraft, who recently began playing the setter position, had another solid performance with 25 assists. Missy Cooper tallied 10 digs while Lawson added eight.

Grace is back in action at home against Illinois Tech on Saturday for a 6 p.m. start. The Lady Lancers play their last match of the year against MCC opponent Spring Arbor next Tuesday. They need a win over Spring Arbor if they want to make the conference tournament on Nov. 10. The last time they won a conference game was against Indiana Wesleyan on Sept. 22, their first MCC win in two seasons.

Grace vs. St. Francis
Game 1: USF 25-17
Game 2: USF 25-16
Game 3: USF 32-30

Lady Lancers Split Second Day of Tourney


WHITING, Ind. -- In the second day of the Crimson Wave Invitational at Calumet College of St. Joseph, the Grace College volleyball team split two games, losing to the University of Northwest Ohio and defeating Mt. Mercy College (Iowa).

In the first game against UNOH, sophomore Enrica Verrett led the team with 9 kills in a 0-3 loss. Freshman Stefanie Bolt was right behind with 8 kills and 5 block assists. Freshmen Bethany Whitcraft (26 assists) and Missy Cooper (10 digs) played well in a losing effort. UNOH (22-10) finished the tournament as the champions.

The second game against Mt. Mercy saw the Lady Lancers battle to pull out a 3-0 victory including a pair of 26-24 wins. Sophomore Stephanie Lawson led the way with 14 kills and .462 kill efficiency, 4 aces, and 8 digs. Lawson recorded 10 aces in the two-day tournament. Verrett played well again with 12 kills. Whitcraft recorded a game-high 35 assists, and Cooper added 20 digs.

The weekend was extra special for the Lady Lancers as head coach Andria Harshman gave birth to her first child, Gaige Nathaniel Harshman, on Saturday morning.

The Lady Lancers return to action at home Wednesday night against St. Francis. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Grace vs. UNOH
Game 1: UNOH 25-13
Game 2: UNOH 25-22
Game 3: UNOH 25-20

Grace vs. Mt. Mercy College
Game 1: Grace 26-24
Game 2: Grace 25-21
Game 3: Grace 26-24

Lady Lancers Snap Four-Match Losing Streak


WHITING, Ind. -- The Grace College volleyball team split the first day at the Crimson Wave Invite at Calumet College of St. Joseph. In the first match, the Lady Lancers swept the host school in three sets, breaking their four-match losing streak.

Grace won each game over Calumet (1-20) by five points or less, including a 25-23 win in the first game. The Lady Lancers were led by 12 kills from Enrica Verrett. Arielle Walters also played well on the day with eight kills on a .727 kill efficiency. Bethany Whitcraft, who recently began running the Lady Lancers' offense, continued her solid play as the setter with a game-high 35 assists. Stefanie Bolt had eight kills, three stuff blocks, and one block assist. Defensively, Missy Cooper had 12 digs and Andrea Knight added 10. Stephanie Lawson recorded three service aces on the day.

The second match was a different story. Grace fell to William Penn (20-17) in three games. The women improved their score each game, but never scored more than 19 points in any game. Verrett played another solid game, leading the Lady Lancers (6-19; 1-5 MCC) with nine kills. Knight added seven kills of her own, Whitcraft recorded 24 assists, and Cooper added nine digs. Lawson served well again, picking up two more service aces to total five for the first day.

The Lady Lancers are back in action Saturday against Northwestern Ohio at 11 a.m. Northwestern Ohio defeated Grace 3-1 on Sept. 19. Grace will play a second game afterwards, determined by their seeding in the invite.

Grace vs. Calumet College of St. Joseph
Game 1: Grace 25-23
Game 2: Grace 25-21
Game 3: Grace 25-20

Grace vs. William Penn
Game 1: William Penn 25-16
Game 2: William Penn 25-18
Game 3: William Penn 25-19

Women Struggle at Bluffton Tourney


BLUFFTON, Ohio -- In the Lady Lancers' fourth tournament this year, Grace dropped two matches to NCAA Div. III forces Bluffton University and Otterbein College on Saturday.

The three-team tournament, held Saturday at Bluffton University, scheduled Grace to play back-to-back matches. The Lady Lancers (5-18; 1-5 MCC) squared off against the host Bluffton in the first match and struggled at the start. In game one, Bluffton (16-5) recorded 15 kills and zero errors in a 25-9 win. Grace responded with its best effort in game two with 14 kills in a four-point loss; however, the women could not overcome their lack of blocking (zero kills in all three games) to pull out a win.

Sophomore Stephanie Lawson led Grace in the first match with a game-high 15 kills and 12 digs. Freshman Bethany Whitcraft recorded 25 assists, and Enrica Verrett and Andrea Knight also added six kills apiece for the Lady Lancers.

In the second match against Otterbein, Grace's second game was once again its best. Despite 13 kills on only four errors, the Lady Lancers still fell short in a three-point loss. Grace revamped its defense from the first match (seven total team blocks), but the women only managed to score 17 points in game one and game three losses to Otterbein (18-7).

Arielle Walters tallied four block assists and a solo block while Lawson added three block assists to lead Grace's much-improved defense in the second match. Whitcraft led the both teams with 20 assists to go along with five digs. Missy Cooper, Grace's leader in digs, recorded eight to top the Lady Lancers, and Verrett added eight kills.

The Lady Lancers will look to bounce back next weekend in their fifth tournament of the year. The Crimson Wave Invite will be held at Calumet College of St. Joseph on Friday and Saturday. Grace's first game begins at 2 p.m. Friday against the host Calumet College of St. Joseph.

Game 1: Bluffton 25-9
Game 2: Bluffton 25-21
Game 3: Bluffton 25-20

Game 1: Otterbein 25-17
Game 2: Otterbein 25-22
Game 3: Otterbein 25-17

Grace Can't Keep Up With Lady Foresters


HUNTINGTON, Ind. -- Grace's women's volleyball team fell in three straight games Wednesday night to Huntington. After beating Indiana Wesleyan on Sept. 22, the Lady Lancers have lost three straight Mid-Central College Conference games.

The Lady Lancers (5-16; 1-5 MCC) beat the Lady Foresters (12-10; 1-4 MCC) three games to one in the Ramada Plaza Tournament on Aug. 21. This time, however, Grace could not score more than nineteen points in a game, allowing Huntington its first MCC win of the year.

Stefanie Bolt led the Lady Lancers with 11 kills on a .73 kill efficiency to go along with two blocks. Stephanie Lawson recorded ten kills, four aces, and eight digs in her well-rounded effort, and Rachel Bult had 23 assists.

"After beating HU earlier this season, this was not the type of performance we wanted," said head coach Andria Harshman. "We'll work on improving some of our weak spots this week in practice and shift our focus to the tournament Saturday."

The Lady Lancers return to action Saturday for two games in a three-team tournament at Bluffton University. Grace plays Bluffton at 1 p.m. and Otterbein at 3 p.m.

Game 1: Huntington 19-25
Game 2: Huntington 18-25
Game 3: Huntington 19-25

Grace Falls to #23 Taylor


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- The Lady Lancers were within one point of winning the pivotal second game against #23 Taylor University. However, Grace's women's volleyball team couldn't come up with the win and fell in three games to Taylor.

Taylor proved too much to handle in the first and third games, winning 25-15 and 25-11 respectively. In the second game, the young Lady Lancers found themselves in a quick 5-0 hole.

The women showed poise by battling back and playing neck-and-neck with Taylor. Grace had an opportunity to win the game when serving at 27-26 but couldn't convert and ultimately lost 27-29.

"We competed very well tonight. We weren't afraid," said head coach Andria Harshman. "We played point-to-point with the #1 team in conference. Taylor played really well, but it was great to compete with the 23rd-ranked team in the NAIA."

Sophomore Rachel Bult led the Lancers with 26 assists and 10 digs. Missy Cooper recorded nine digs in the game, and Andrea Knight added eight. Enrica Verrett also tallied 11 kills.

The Lady Lancers return to action next Wednesday at Huntington University at 7 p.m.

Game 1: Taylor 25-15
Game 2: Taylor 29-27
Game 3: Taylor 25-11

Eastep Leads Lady Lancers in Victory over Trinity


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Entering Friday's volleyball match against Trinity Christian College, Grace College's Heidi Eastep only had 17 kills the entire year.

Eastep tallied 12 kills in the Lady Lancers (5-14; 1-3 MCC) 3-2 win over the Lady Trolls, increasing her cumulative kills statistic by 41-percent. Eastep also had a 32-percent kill efficiency on the match.

"Heidi just played out of her mind," said head coach Andria Harshman. "We called her name tonight and she responded. She really stepped up for us."

The last time the two teams met, Grace scored a mere 15 points in one game and 16 in another. The Lady Trolls (6-10) are also ranked 14th in the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) while Grace is ranked 30th.

"That was a big win for us," Harshman said. "They are a top contender in the NCCAA and it felt good to get the victory, especially after we lost to them earlier this year."

After losing the first game 20-25, Grace responded with victories in games two and three to take a 2-1 lead. Trinity forced a game five with their 28-26 win in game four.

Grace came out strong in game five. They led Trinity 14-8 and it looked as if the Lady Lancers would hold on for an easy game five victory. The Lady Trolls, however, responded with a 6-0 run to tie the game at 14.

The Lady Lancers, a team consisting of all freshmen and sophomores, kept their poise and scored the next two points to earn the win. Eastep put the Lady Trolls away in the game's final point with her 12th kill of the match.

Enrica Verrett also added 11 kills for a 22-percent kill efficiency. Rachel Bult had 38 assists and Andrea Knight had three service aces. Missy Cooper led the match with 24 digs while Bethany Whitcraft had 13 digs.

Grace continues conference play against No. 22 Taylor University at home on Wednesday. The match is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

Game 1: Trinity 25-20
Game 2: Grace 25-22
Game 3: Grace 25-19
Game 4: Trinity 28-26
Game 5: Grace 16-14

Maple Leafs Too Much to Handle for Grace


GOSHEN, Ind. -- The women's volleyball team fell to Goshen in three games on Tuesday. After coming off a big win against Indiana Wesleyan, the Lady Lancers (4-14; 1-3 MCC) struggled to earn their second conference win in a row.

Rachel Bult led Grace with 29 assists and nine digs. Missy Cooper recorded 10 digs and Stephanie Lawson had 10 kills.

"It was a tough loss against a very good conference team," said head coach Andria Harshman. "We definitely have some things to work on in preparation for Saturday's match."

Goshen improves to 8-10 overall and 2-1 in MCC play.

Grace plays at home against Trinity Christian on Saturday for a 6 p.m. start.

Game 1: Goshen 25-21
Game 2: Goshen 25-20
Game 3: Goshen 25-20

Harshman Gets First MCC Win


MARION, Ind. -- Andria Harshman, head coach of Grace College's women's volleyball team, finally earned her first conference victory at Grace with a 3-2 win over Indiana Wesleyan. The Lady Lancers had lost nine straight prior to Tuesday's win in Marion.

The win snaps a 13-match losing streak in MCC play for Grace's volleyball program -- a streak stretching back to a win over Goshen on Oct. 9, 2007.

Harshman's win over the Lady Wildcats (4-13; 1-2 MCC) was also her first over her former coach at Grace, Candace Moats. Harshman played at Grace from 1998-2001, where she helped lead the Lady Lancers to three MCC championships under Moats.

Highlighting the game was Stephanie Lawson with 19 kills for the Lady Lancers. Enrica Verret also recorded 11 kills and a .308 kill percentage. Rachel Bult had 42 assists and 12 digs, while freshman Missy Cooper led all players with 14 digs.

"We were down in game five 8-4, but we fought back to pull out the win," Harshman said. "We did a really good job at executing our offense. Serving accuracy was huge. Overall, I was pleased with how we played as a team."

After falling behind two games to one, the young Lady Lancers (4-13; 1-2 MCC) responded with a 25-22 win in game four and a 15-12 win in the tiebreaker.

IWU sophomore Kate Denlinger, a former Warsaw Tiger standout, led the Lady Wildcats with 12 kills and a .647 kill percentage.

Game 1: IWU 25-18
Game 2: Grace 25-17
Game 3: IWU 25-18
Game 4: Grace 25-22
Game 5: Grace 15-12

Lady Lancers Lose Two on Second Day


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Grace concluded the Malone Invitational on Saturday with losses to Daemen College and the University of Northwestern Ohio.

Daemen College (11-9) defeated Grace in three games. After missing the previous game because of an ankle sprain, Rachel Bult returned and tallied 18 assists. Stefanie Bolt led Grace with eight kills.

Later that evening, the University of Northwestern Ohio (11-5), the best team the Lady Lancers have faced according to head coach Andria Harshman, defeated Grace in four games.

The Lady Lancers (3-13; 0-2 MCC) played competitively the entire match. After losing the first game by two, Grace evened the series after winning by three points the following game. They lost by six in game three and lost by two in game four.

Bult again led with 39 assists, Missy Cooper had 22 digs and Enrica Verrett had 17 kills with just three attack errors.

Grace continues their conference season at Indiana Wesleyan on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. start.

Grace vs. Daemen
Game 1: Daemen 25-17
Game 2: Daemen 25-9
Game 3: Daemen 25-16

Grace vs. UNOH
Game 1: UNOH 26-24
Game 2: Grace 25-22
Game 3: UNOH 25-19
Game 4: UNOH 26-24

Volleyball Drops Two in Malone Invitational


Canton, Ohio -- Grace’s women’s volleyball team fell to Malone University 1-3 and was swept by Shawnee State University on the first day of the Malone Invitational on Friday.

The Lady Lancers (3-11; 0-2 MCC) lost the first two games against Malone in their first match before defeating them 28-26 in the third game. The Lady Pioneers (10-3) finished Grace 25-18 in game four.

Rachel Bult led Grace with 31 assists, Stephanie Lawson had 13 kills, Andrea Knight added 13 digs and Bethany Whitcraft had 11 digs.

In the second match, Grace took on Shawnee State without Rachel Bult, the Lady Lancers’ leader in assists and vocal leader on the floor.

Bult’s presence was obviously missed. Grace’s attacks were sporadically divided among four different individuals, and the Lady Lancers fell in three games to the Lady Bears (7-3).

Whitcraft stepped up in Bult's absence and led the team with 20 assists while Missy Cooper had 11 digs for the Lady Lancers.

Grace plays Daemen College at 5 p.m. and the University of Northwestern Ohio at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Volleyball Loses Heartbreaker to Marian


WINONA LAKE -- The women’s volleyball team lost a heartbreaker to Marian University 2-3 on Tuesday night.

The Lady Lancers (3-9; 0-2 MCC) led the match 2-1 upon entering game four. The score was tied 18 to 18 in the fourth game when Grace took a 21-18 lead.

Grace was on the brink of earning head coach Andria Harshman’s first conference victory at Grace, when Marian University went on a 5-1 run to take a one point lead. The Lady Knights (7-4; 1-1 MCC) pulled off the 25-23 victory to tie the match 2-2.

In the fifth game, Grace fell behind early and lost 15-8, their fifth loss in a row.

“The ladies came out tonight with an intensity and excitement that took us to a whole new level of volleyball for the first time this season," said Harshman. "We are starting to execute the things we do well and are zoning in on eliminating the errors we saw earlier this season. We practiced executing our serve receive options all week, and we came out tonight unified as a team and really showed that we can play at this level in a tough conference."

Grace lost the first game of the night 25-18 before winning two in a row, 25-16 and 25-18.

Rachel Bult led the match with 44 assists, twice as many as Marian’s leader. Knight led the match with 12 digs and Lawson had 10.

Stephanie Lawson led the team with 18 kills, Enrica Verrett added 11 and Andrea Knight added seven. Freshman Stefanie Bolt tallied seven kills, and led the team with the highest kill percentage of (.417).

"Stefanie Bolt as a freshman really stepped into her role by dominating the middle of the court with 7 kills and 3 blocks," Harshman added. "We are encouraged with the improvement we are seeing in this team, and are looking forward to where this match will take us the rest of the season.”

Grace travels to Malone University for the Malone Invitational which begins Friday. The Lady Lancers will play Malone at 5 p.m.

Lady Lancers Fall in MCC Opener


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – The Grace College women’s volleyball team fell short in their Mid-Central College Conference (MCC) opener on Wednesday night, falling to Bethel College in straight sets.

The Lady Lancers (3-8; 0-1 MCC) never scored more than 16 points in the game. The loss against the Lady Pilots (4-2; 1-0 MCC) is Grace’s fourth loss in a row.

“We really struggled with our team service reception this evening, and we just didn’t execute what we’ve been practicing,” said head coach Andria Harshman. “However, without being able to really get into a groove in serve receive, we were still able to execute some strengths of our team by utilizing our right side hitter.”

Stephanie Lawson led the team with eight kills and three service aces, and Rachel Bult recorded 14 assists on the night. Bult and Missy Cooper led the team with nine digs apiece.

“Bethany Michalski came off the bench and really helped lift the spirits of the team with her blocking at the net and quick tempo offense,” Harshman said. “We expect to just continually getting better in the gym in practice at all the little things, and then learn to carry that into matches. Expect this Lady Lancers volleyball team to bounce back from this loss.”

The Lady Lancers are back in action against Marian University on Wednesday, Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. in the OCC.

Grace vs. Bethel College
Game 1: Bethel 25-16
Game 2: Bethel 25-15
Game 3: Bethel 25-14

Lady Lancers Drop Two on Second Day


CHICAGO -- Grace's women's volleyball team dropped both of their matches in the second day of the St. Xavier Crossover Tournament.

In the first match of the day, the Lady Lancers (3-7) faced Trinity Christian College. Trinity handily defeated Grace in the first two games before defeating the Lady Lancers by two in game three.

Rachel Bult had 20 assists, Missy Cooper had 10 digs, and Stephanie Lawson and Enrica Verrett each had six kills.

In the second match against MCC opponent Spring Arbor University, Grace played more competitive despite losing all three games.

Bult led the match with 29 assists while Lawson had 13 digs along with 10 kills. Cooper added 10 digs, and Verrett contributed eight kills along with three blocks.

The Lady Lancers begin MCC play on Wednesday against Bethel College. Game time is 7 p.m. at the Orthopaedic Capital Center.

Grace vs. Trinity Christian College
Game 1: Trinity Christian 25-16
Game 2: Trinity Christian 25-15
Game 3: Trinity Christian 25-23

Grace vs. Spring Arbor University
Game 1: Spring Arbor 25-23
Game 2: Spring Arbor 25-17
Game 3: Spring Arbor 25-20

Grace Splits First Day of St. Xavier Tourney


CHICAGO -- One year ago, the Grace College women's volleyball team didn't record its third win until the second-to-last game of the season. Friday, on the first day of the St. Xavier Crossover Tournament, the Lady Lancers matched last year's win total with a victory over Siena Heights.

Grace put on a strong performance in their first match of the day by sweeping Siena Heights 3-0. In the first game, the young Lady Lancers found themselves down 8-2 before Stephanie Lawson sparked a 7-0 run. The women never looked back.

Freshman Missy Cooper (22 digs) and sophomore Rachel Bult (35 assists) stepped up for the Lady Lancers. Stefanie Bolt recorded ten kills on a 53-percent kill efficiency, and Lawson also recorded 13 kills in the match.

Immediately after their match against Siena Heights, the Lady Lancers had to face Aquinas University, one of the toughest teams in the tournament, according to Grace head coach Andria Harshman.

Aquinas's setter Katie Vander Meer, a transfer from Michigan State University, gave the Lady Lancers trouble all match with seven kills and 25 assists. After losing the first game by thirteen points, Grace decided to make its stand in the second game.

The Lady Lancers gave Aquinas everything it could handle, eventually losing 27-25. Grace also lost the third game, but the women, with a roster consisting of nothing but freshmen and sophomores, got a taste of what it takes to compete against a nationally-competitive team.

"We hung our hat on that second game (against Aquinas)," Harshman said. "We hung with a top team in the NAIA. The girls were really excited to play that way against maybe the best team in the tournament. It was a great day overall -- a lot to be excited about."

Bult (21 assists) and Lawson (8 kills) once again led the women in the second match. Sophomore Enrica Verrett also recorded five kills and four blocks.

Grace (3-5) plays tomorrow in the second day of the tournament, facing Trinity Christian at 10 a.m. and MCC-opponent Spring Arbor at noon.

Grace vs. Siena Heights
Game 1: Grace 25-21
Game 2: Grace 25-22
Game 3: Grace 25-23

Grace vs. Aquinas
Game 1: Aquinas 25-12
Game 2: Aquinas 27-25
Game 3: Aquinas 25-14

Lady Lancers Win Five Game Thriller


WINONA LAKE -- After Trinity International beat Grace 13-25 in game four to even the series at two games apiece, a Lady Lancer victory seemed unlikely. But the Lady Lancers (2-4) put the loss behind them and defeated the Lady Trojans 15-13 in the decisive game five to win the match and earn their second victory of the year.

“I think that now having that first week of season underneath them, the freshmen have adjusted,” said head coach Andrea Harshman. “They realize that this is the college arena and they know what it is like. They have really stepped up as a team. There is a confidence in them and it’s exciting to see where they are going to go.”

Stephanie Lawson led both teams with 18 kills, Enrica Verrett had nine, and Stefanie Bolt had seven on the match. Rachel Bult had 43 of Grace’s 47 assists with no other Lady Lancer recording more than one assist. Missy Cooper led the team in receptions (34) and digs (18).

In game one, Trinity (1-4) defeated Grace 26-24. Grace trailed 13-18 but went on a 4-0 run and a 5-0 run to take a 22-20 lead over the Lady Trojans. Grace led 23-21 before Trinity went on a 5-1 run to steal the victory. Grace had twelve kills but also had 11 errors.

Grace won game two, fueled by Lawson’s five kills and Bult’s 12 assists. Again, Grace trailed at the beginning 2-7, but proceeded to go on a 17-7 run and closed out the 25-17 victory. Grace only had one error in game two.

The Lady Lancers won game three 25-23 before their struggles in the fourth game.

Grace jumped to a 9-5 lead in game five before Trinity went on a 4-0 run to tie the game at nine. Two points later, the game was tied at 11. Missy Cooper’s service ace and Lawson’s kill put Grace up by two, 13-11. Arielle Walters and Lawson each had a clutch kill to finish off the Lady Trojans.

"Game five really showed the athletic ability that we have," Harshman said. "We showed the power of our hitting and our blockers did such a great job in the match.”

Grace is back in action on Sept. 4-5 in the St. Xavier Tournament. The Lady Lancers' first game in the tourney is 4 p.m. against Aquinas at St. Xavier.

Game 1: Trinity International 26-24
Game 2: Grace 25-18
Game 3: Grace 25-23
Game 4: Trinity International 25-13
Game 5: Grace 15-13

Lawson's Effort Not Enough For Lady Lancers


WINONA LAKE, IN- Grace fell to Cedarville 3-1 in the final match of the Ramada Plaza Tournament to finish fourth in the tournament on Saturday.

After losing to the Lady Yellow Jackets (2-2) in game one 20-25, sophomore Stephanie Lawson showed why she was named to the All-Tournament team with her effort in game two. Lawson had six kills, leading the Lady Lancers (1-3) to a 25-22 victory.

Grace trailed game two early 3-8 but made a monumental 9-2 run late in the game to take a 20-15 lead. Cedarville made a 6-1 charge to etch within one of the Lady Lancers 23-22.

From there, it was all Lawson. In the last three points, she had three kills to give Grace the victory.

It’s obvious that Lawson’s role this year has drastically changed. Last year, Lawson led the team in kills with 2.55 per game (171 in 67 games.) In the Ramada Plaza Tournament alone, Lawson has had over a fifth of last year kills (36), an average of nine kills a game.

“Moving her to the outside this year was a challenge but she really took the time and effort to improve,” said head coach Andria Harshman. “She is a young player for us and has become a leader and a go to person.”

Poor starts led to the Lady Lancers’ losses in game one and game three. In game one, Grace trailed 4-11 early; and in game three, Cedarville jumped to a quick 5-0 start.

In game four, Grace hung tough with Cedarville until the Lady Yellow Jackets pulled away at the end to win 25-21.

Lawson had 16 kills on the match, a career high, while Rachel Bult had 42 of the team’s 47 assists. Missy Cooper and Arielle Walters had four service aces apiece. Brittney Adams played libero for the first time this year, replacing Bethany Whitcraft, and led the team with 15 digs.

IU-East went undefeated in the tournament and took first place, IU-Southeast finished second, Cedarville finished third, Grace finished fourth, and Huntington took fifth place.

The Lady Lancers are back in action on Wednesday Aug. 26 at St. Xavier University at 7 p.m. They play Trinity International at home on Sept. 1.

Game 1: Cedarville 25-20
Game 2: Grace 25-22
Game 3: Cedarville 25-18
Game 4: Cedarville 25-21

IU-Southeast Tops Lady Lancers


WINONA LAKE, IN- The Lady Lancers were swept by the IU-Southeast Lady Granadiers in Grace's third game of the Ramada Plaza Tournament on Saturday.

In game one, Grace (1-2) led 1-0 at the very start and didn't lead the rest of the game, falling 21-25. Rachel Bult had nine assists in the first game.

Game two followed a similar pattern. After leading 1-0, the Granadiers (2-1) went on a 6-0 run and pulled off the 25-16 victory.

Grace made it a contest in game three. After leading 3-1 at the start, the Lady Grenadiers went on a 6-1 run. Grace climbed back from a 7-10 deficit with the help of Stephanie Lawson's two service aces and took a 12-11 lead. The teams played neck-and-neck the rest of the game until IU-Southeast pulled away at the end for the 25-21 victory.

Grace had 25 attack errors in the match.

Lawson finished with seven kills, Bethany Whitcraft had eight digs, and Rachel Bult had 21 of the team's 25 assists.

Grace plays Cedarville at 3 p.m. later in the day.

Game 1: IU-Southeast 25-21
Game 2: IU-Southeast 25-16
Game 3: IU-Southeast 25-21

Lady Lancers Beat Foresters for First Win of Season


WINONA LAKE, IN- Late in the second game, Andria Harshman’s Lady Lancers yelled “finish” in the huddle. That’s exactly what they did – two games later.

After winning the first two games against Huntington, they fell to the Lady Foresters 18-25 in game three. The Lady Lancers found themselves down 14-18 in game four, and a game five was looking more and more plausible.

Grace proceeded to go on a 6-2 run to tie the game at 20. The game remained square at 22, when Stephanie Lawson had a clutch service ace to give the Lady Lancers their first lead since their 6-5 lead early in the game.

But Lawson wasn’t finished.

On Grace’s match point, she served another ace to give the Lady Lancers their first victory of the season, and the seven freshmen’s first collegiate win. The win was Harshman’s first win over a conference opponent as Grace’s head coach and the institution’s first victory against a conference team since Goshen on Oct. 9, 2007.

“Tonight we came with a little more enthusiasm and excitement like our team is known for,” Harshman said. “We were prepared for what Huntington was bringing at us. Enrica stepped up and led us with thirteen kills and our two freshmen middles did a great job of blocking on the court.”

Lawson had eight aces on the day while Bethany Whitcraft and Heidi Eastep each had three.

Enrica Verrett led Grace in kills with 13, Lawson added 12, and Stefanie Bolt finished with 10. Rachel Bult had 38 of the team’s 45 assists.

After getting swept earlier that day by IU-East, Grace entered the match with something to prove. They led 5-1 at the start of the game en route to a 25-22 win. In game two, they continued their dominance and won 25-15.

“To come out against a team that is well versed like Huntington and to only have freshmen and sophomores on the court, we executed the things that we practiced and we were able to pull out a victory in four,” Harshman continued.

Grace plays IU-Southeast at noon on Saturday.

Game 1: Grace 25-22
Game 2: Grace 25-15
Game 3: Huntington 25-18
Game 4: Grace 25-22

Young Team Falls in Opening Game


WINONA LAKE, IN- The Lady Lancers took the floor for the first time of the year Friday night with seven freshmen, seven sophomores and no upper classmen against IU-East in the opening round of the Ramada Plaza Tournament. IU-East, another young team with only two juniors, swept the Lady Lancers 3-0.

Grace hung tough with IU-East the first game until the Lady Red Wolves pulled away at the end on their way to a 25-21 victory. Rachel Bult had seven assists while Stefanie Bolt had four kills for the Lady Lancers.

In game two, Grace struggled at the start and consequently trailed the Lady Red Wolves 5-14. IU-East led by as many as 12 and defeated the Lady Lancers 25-16. Bult again led Grace with eight assists while Bolt had four kills. Enrica Verrett also had four kills in her first match since last year’s season-ending ACL tear.

IU-East finished the Lady Lancers in their 25-20 victory in game three. After trailing 8-17 after another slow start, Grace went on a 6-2 run and lost by five. Verrett had four kills, and Bult had seven more assists.

Overall, Bult had 22 of Grace’s 24 assists and Bolt and Verrett had nine kills apiece. Bethany Whitcraft had seven digs on the match.

Grace plays Huntington at 8 p.m.

Game 1: IU-East 25-21
Game 2: IU-East 25-16
Game 3: IU-East 25-20