WINONA LAKE, Ind. – After its remarkable 2011 season, Grace’s volleyball team was flooded with national awards for both their on and off the court accomplishments.
The Lady Lancers, who finished 33-12 and advanced to the NCCAA National Semifinals, were given the annual NAIA Buffalo Funds Five Star Champions of Character Team Award, and senior Rachel Bult was given the esteemed Susan R. Hellings Award by the NCCAA.
The NAIA Buffalo Funds Five Star Champions of Character Team Award honors one team across the nation in each NAIA sport. The award was presented to Grace at the NAIA volleyball banquet in Sioux City, Iowa, for their exemplary character and sportsmanship on the court, in the classroom and in the community.
“This team has embraced serving one another on and off the court both in their community and in this campus,” said head coach Andria Harshman. “Through the experiences of the past year, our character has developed into women of high standards with strong values which has led our team to great success on and off the court.”
In the summer of 2011, the Lady Lancers embarked on a ground-breaking missions trip to Liberia, where Grace was allowed to be the first athletic team from outside the nation to enter the war-torn country since Liberia’s civil war.
Grace’s 13-day trip allowed them to use the platform of sports ministry to help build into the youth of the nation, working with local organizations such as the YMCA to teach kids the sport of volleyball and help to start breaking down the gender barrier that exists today.
Senior setter Rachel Bult was given the prestigious Susan R. Hellings Award by the NCCAA. The award is given annually to one outstanding volleyball player who best displays the mission of the NCCAA by combining athletics, academics, leadership and has a clear Christian testimony.
Bult ended her season with 1,686 assists, which ranks fifth all-time in Grace’s record books for a single season and was No. 2 in the NAIA. Her career assist mark of 3,887 is second all-time for Grace. She is the third Susan R. Hellings Award recipient from Grace in the 26-year history of the award.
“Not only is Rachel a three-year captain, but she has helped lead this team from a very weak team into the strength that it now is in our conference and in the nation,” Harshman explained. “She doesn’t want or need the glory, but she serves each member of her team, and they see her strength and choose to follow her. [Rachel] is deeply in love with her Lord Jesus Christ and is a great leader that any coach would want on their team.”
Bult and the Lady Lancers forged an intense bond through the passing of freshman teammate Mallori Kastner midway through the 2010 season. After unifying through the grieving process, Grace was able to use that experience to reach out to other teams during the past year who had undergone similar tragedies.
Individually, Grace’s sophomore Dana Johnston highlighted the national attention when she was named NCCAA First Team All-American after leading the team and the conference in hitting percentage.
Seniors Stephanie Lawson and Enrica Verrett were named to the NCCAA All-Tournament Team after their outstanding performances in the 2011 NCCAA National Championships in leading Grace to the semifinals.
Academically, the Lady Lancers were equally as impressive. Grace landed five players (Stefanie Bolt, Bethany Whitcraft, Bult, Lawson, Bethany Michalski) on the Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete list.
The five Lady Lancers were joined by Grace’s Arielle Walters as NCCAA Scholar-Athletes. Grace’s six NCCAA Scholar-Athletes were the most in the nation.
KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Grace’s volleyball team lost a five-set instant classic to Trinity Christian College on Saturday in the 2011 NCCAA National Semifinals.
The Lady Lancers lost by a scoreline of 25-20, 23-25, 18-25, 25-18, 15-10. Grace finishes the season with a stellar record of 33-12.
In the semifinal’s first set, Trinity Christian opened up a 14-10 lead to prompt a timeout from Grace. The move worked initially as the Lady Lancers rallied to within one at 17-18. But the Trolls eased away in the end for a 25-20 victory.
Grace jumped out of the gate in the second set on a 9-2 run, and the Lady Lancers kept their lead throughout.
Grace held a seven-point lead late in the set and was serving for set point at 24-20, but the Trolls made things interesting with three straight points. Senior Stephanie Lawson, however, evened the set count with a kill on their 25-23 win.
The third set proved to be the easiest for the Lady Lancers as they grabbed the lead early and maintained it. Lawson again had the final kill, one of her six in the set.
Trinity Christian, facing elimination down two sets to one, came back with a 25-18 win in the fourth set to setup the tiebreaker.
Grace dug itself a major hole early, however. Head coach Andria Harshman was forced to call an early timeout with the Lady Lancers behind 3-0, but Trinity Christian ran the score up to 8-0 before an Alicia Gosney kill finally put Grace on the board.
The two teams played even from that point on, but thanks to their early lead Trinity Christian served for match point at 14-5. Grace managed to stave off the loss for five breathtaking points on the strength of Dana Johnston’s serving and Lawson’s attacks before Trinity Christian sealed the deal with a kill at 15-10.
In her final match as a Lady Lancer, Lawson went out strong with a match-high 20 kills on a .372 hitting percentage.
Rachel Bult concluded her career as Grace’s setter with 49 assists, 13 of which went to Dana Johnston and 10 to Alicia Gosney.
Bult ended her senior season with 1,686 assists, which ranks fifth all-time in Grace’s record books. Her career assist mark of 3,887 is second in Lady Lancer history.
The loss ends the careers of Grace’s senior class of Bult, Lawson, Enrica Verrett, Andrea Knight and Bethany Michalski. The class, under the direction of head coach Andria Harshman, helped turn around a program that finished 3-15 their freshman year into a team that was nationally recognized in 2011.
The Lady Lancers, who finished third in the Mid-Central College Conference the past two years, were receiving votes in the NAIA Top 25 Coaches’ Poll throughout the season.
KISSIMMEE, Fla. – In their biggest match of the season, Grace’s volleyball team pulled out a wire-to-wire victory over Colorado Christian University to secure a place in the 2011 NCCAA National Semifinals.
Earlier in the day, Grace swept No. 8 Southwestern Assemblies of God in convincing fashion, but it was the evening match with Colorado Christian that determined Grace’s outcome.
The first set was an indication of the rest of the match with both teams giving each other their best shots throughout the set. Grace led 7-3 before Colorado Christian battled back to tie the score and then forge ahead at 14-11.
The Lady Lancers came back to even the score at 19 and then the madness started. The Cougars refused to give up the lead, but the Lady Lancers refused to lose. The two teams tied at 19 apiece as well as at the 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 24th points. Grace finally took a 25-24 lead on a service ace by Stephanie Lawson, and Grace finished the set on an attack by Alicia Gosney.
With the score tied at 14-14 in the second set, the Cougars looked to break away with two straight points. But Grace ended the set on an 11-3 run to take a six-point win.
Colorado Christian won their only set of the match in the third. The teams were again tied late at 21-21, but the Cougars eased away for a 25-22 victory.
The fourth and decisive set proved to be the toughest one of the night. Grace jumped out to a 7-2 lead, but the Cougars came back to tie the score late at 20-20.
Colorado Christian served for the set point leading 24-22, but two kills in a row from Enrica Verrett pulled Grace even. The teams went back-and-forth for the next four points, and the Lady Lancers clinched the victory 28-26 off a wicked service ace by Stephanie Lawson.
Rachel Bult served up 55 assists in a dynamic attack for Grace. The Lady Lancers hit .295 as a team led by Verrett’s 16 kills (.306 percentage). Lawson and Gosney each tallied 14 kills, and Lawson added five aces in the match.
In their first match, Grace pulled off the sweep of No. 8 Southwestern Assemblies of God in convincing fashion.
The opening set saw the Lady Lancers behind early only to forge ahead 9-6 and force a timeout by the Lions (23-16). The move worked initially as the Lions cut the gap to one at 15-14, but Grace gained its composure and held on for a 25-21 victory.
Grace fired on all cylinders in the second set, totaling 17 kills on a .424 team hitting percentage. The Lady Lancers scored six straight points in the early parts of the set and maintained a double-digit lead most of the way for a 25-16 win.
The match was clinched in the third set as Grace was business as usual. Midway through the match, Grace led by four before easing away for another 25-16 clincher.
Verrett was impressive with 13 kills on 18 attempts for an incredible .611 hitting percentage, and Bult recorded 37 assists.
Grace, who finished in second place in Pool A, will play in the 2011 NCCAA National Semifinals on Saturday at 12 p.m. against Trinity Christian College.
With a victory, Grace will play for the national championship later on Saturday at 3 p.m. against the winner of California Baptist and Palm Beach Atlantic. Listen to both games live on Stretch Internet.
KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Grace's volleyball team began the 2011 NCCAA National Championships with a split on the first day of play. The Lady Lancers swept Malone University in their opening match before falling to California Baptist in three sets.
The Lady Lancers opened up pool play from the Kissimmee Civic Center with a decisive three-set victory against fourth-seeded Malone University. In the opening frame, both teams had their offenses clicking as each team landed 15 or more kills and five or fewer attack errors for the game. Grace’s attack proved to be too much, however, as they battled for a four-point win in set one.
After taking the first set, Grace jumped out to a commanding 11-3 lead in the second set. Malone, however, wouldn’t go down without a fight. Trailing 22-9, the Pioneers rattled off seven straight points to close the gap to six before Stephanie Lawson downed a kill to stop the run. Then, Alicia Gosney closed out the match with a pair of kills to take set two 25-18.
Looking to finish the match in three sets, Grace found themselves behind 11-7. But the ladies stormed back to take a 17-14 advantage. That was all the momentum Grace needed in order to secure the contest winning 25-19 to end the match.
Senior Rachel Bult dished out 41 assists as she directed a potent Lady Lancer attack which only had 10 errors in the match. On the receiving end from Bult, Lawson smashed a game-high 13 kills on a .440 hitting percentage.
Three other players neared double-digit kills as Gosney and Enrica Verrett connected for nine kills apiece, while Dana Johnston added eight kills and a service ace of her own.
In match two of the day, the Lady Lancers had a tall task in front of them in top-seeded California Baptist University. Grace was slow to get out of the gate in the first set but got things going to close the gap to one. California Baptist then proceeded to go on a run of its own midway through the set to put the game out of reach taking the game 25-17.
Set number two came down to the wire. In a back-and-forth battle that featured five ties, Grace trailed 18-16 but rallied to tie the set at 21 apiece. The run sparked a deafening roar from the Lancer faithful in attendance. Grace managed to take a 23-22 lead and looked to steal the momentum, but California Baptist battled to take a 24-23 advantage. That was all CBU needed to take a 26-24 set victory.
In the decisive third set, Grace dug an early 6-0 hole that proved to be too big of a deficit to erase. Grace pulled to within five at 20-15, but California Baptist closed out the game on a 5-2 run to win the set and the match.
Lawson led the Grace front line with eight kills and a block assist. Johnston was right behind her with seven kills and a pair of solo blocks. Libero Bethany Whitcraft was the anchor for the Lancer defense with a game-high 11 digs.
Grace will finish pool play with a pair of matches on Friday. They will first take on eighth-seeded Southwestern Assemblies of God at 2 p.m. followed by a matchup with No. 9 Colorado Christian at 6 p.m. Both matches can be heard on Stretch Internet.
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s volleyball team won its way to the NCCAA National Championships by defeating Cedarville University in a five-set thriller and sweeping Cincinnati Christian on Saturday in the NCCAA Regional Tournament.
The Lady Lancers will play for the NCCAA title from Dec. 1-3 in Kissimmee, Fla.
In Grace’s first match of the day against Cedarville, the Lady Lancers started out strong. Grace sprinted out of the gate with a 5-0 run that forced an early timeout by Cedarville.
The Yellow Jackets clawed back to come within 6-5, but Grace proved too strong in the first set, holding off Cedarville and easing away for a 25-18 win.
Cedarville took control of the second set midway through with a 16-12 lead. The Lady Lancers came back to slice the gap to 18-16, so Cedarville called a timeout to slow Grace’s momentum. The move paid off as Cedarville scored five straight en route to a 25-17 win.
Grace held the lead early in the third set, but a Cedarville run put themselves ahead 12-10 and drew a Grace timeout. The Lady Lancers answered with three consecutive points and forged ahead 17-15.
The Yellow Jackets made several attempts to level the score, but Grace had the answer each time down the stretch. Enrica Verrett powered through with two big kills, and she ended the set with a solo block as Grace won 25-19.
With their backs against the wall, Cedarville responded to take a 15-10 lead in the fourth set. Grace used a 5-1 run to tie the score at 16 and finally took the lead 18-17 off a kill from Dana Johnston.
But Cedarville was not ready to give up yet. The Yellow Jackets tied the set at 21-21 then ripped off three straight to go up 24-21. Grace pulled within one point, but Cedarville finished the set with a kill after a long volley to force a fifth game.
Stephanie Lawson pounded home a few big kills to spark Grace’s 6-2 lead. After Cedarville’s timeout, the Yellow Jackets rallied back to tie the score 10-10 and result in a Lady Lancer timeout.
Grace finally put Cedarville to rest, however. Alicia Gosney recorded a kill and Grace scored two block points as the Lady Lancers pulled away for the 15-11 win.
Lawson led Grace’s attack with 15 kills, Gosney had 14 kills on a .382 percentage and Rachel Bult tallied 47 assists. Johnston came through with 9 kills, 2 solo blocks and 3 block assists.
In the final match of NCCAA Regional play, Grace made short work of Cincinnati Christian University in three sets.
The Lady Lancers won 25-15 in the first set and held a comfortable lead in the second set before the Eagles came back to cut the margin to 14-11. But Grace held on late for a 25-21 win.
Grace came out to end the match in the third set, going ahead 10-1 on their way to an impressive 25-11 victory.
Johnston, Verrett and Bult were named to the NCCAA All-Regional Team, and Lawson was named an honorable mention as well.
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – For the fourth time this season, Grace and Bethel’s volleyball teams have squared off, and for the fourth time this season, the Lady Lancers prevailed.
Grace defeated the Pilots in four sets in the NCCAA Regional Tournament on Friday night.
With two more wins on Saturday, the Lady Lancers (28-10) will win their way to the NCCAA National Championships in Kissimmee, Fla.
The Lady Lancers started off strong in the first set, taking a seven-point lead late and holding on for a 25-20 win.
The Pilots (16-16) came back with their strongest set of the night and took a 18-15 lead. Freshman Alicia Gosney did her best to keep Grace close with a few big kills to level to score at 21, but Bethel closed out the set by the score of 25-23.
Grace shot out of the gate with five of the first six points in the third set. The Pilots recovered with five straight points to retake the lead, but Grace stormed back ahead and never looked back. The Lady Lancers ended the set on a 5-1 run and climaxed their 25-15 win with a kill by Gosney.
Grace made short work of the decisive fourth set with 13 kills compared to only eight for Bethel in a 25-20 win.
Four players had double-digit kills for the Lady Lancers, led by 13 apiece from Enrica Verrett and Dana Johnston. Johnston did her damage on a .360 hitting percentage.
Gosney and Stephanie Lawson both pounded out 12 kills and two solo blocks, and Lawson also had 14 digs.
Rachel Bult tallied 45 assists and two solo blocks, and Bethany Whitcraft had a match-high 16 digs.
Arielle Walters finished with four block assists, Calah Kruse added 11 digs and Hannah Clemmons served up two aces.
The Lady Lancers will finish the NCCAA Regionals on Saturday with a match against Cedarville at 12 p.m. followed by their match with Cincinnati Christian at 4 p.m.
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – After leading the Lady Lancers to an outstanding 27-10 record and a third-place finish in the Mid-Central College Conference, six of Grace’s players were honored in the MCC postseason awards.
Dana Johnston and Stephanie Lawson headlined Grace’s awards with First Team All-MCC selections, and Alicia Gosney was named the MCC Freshman of the Year as well.
Seniors Rachel Bult and Enrica Verrett capped off their MCC seasons by being named to the Second Team All-MCC, and Calah Kruse earned a spot on the All-Freshman Team alongside Gosney.
“I couldn’t be prouder of our ladies for these awards. These individuals put in a lot of time and energy to get where they were today, and I’m glad they were honored for such terrific seasons,” said head coach Andria Harshman. “In order for these players to get honored, other players had to step up and do their jobs, so this is a tribute to our entire team.”
Sophomore middle hitter Johnston led the MCC in hitting percentage for the second straight year as she pounded out 320 kills on a .355 percentage. Her percentage ranked 20th in the NAIA. She also recorded 19 solo blocks and 44 block assists.
Senior outside hitter Lawson was named First Team All-MCC for the first time in her career. She was valuable to the Lady Lancers’ success in all areas of play with a team-best 382 kills (fourth in MCC), 45 service aces (second in MCC), 322 digs, 16 solo blocks and 23 block assists.
Bult and Verrett both earned spots on the MCC’s Second Team in their final campaigns. Bult established herself as one of the premier setters in the nation with 1,364 assists. She ranked 10th in the NAIA in total assists and second in the conference. She tallied 14 matches with at least 30 assists, 9 matches of 40 or more assists and 5 matches with 50-plus assists.
Verrett continued to be a dominant hitting and blocking force for Grace. Her 329 kills and .217 hitting percentage were second on the team. She led the team with 79 total blocks (43 solo, 36 assist).
Gosney and Kruse made up one-third of the MCC’s All-Freshman Team. Gosney, the Freshman of the Year, finished in the top 25 in the MCC in kills with 227, and her .202 hitting percentage was 16th in the conference.
Kruse, on the other hand, served up 27 aces on an impressive .943 percentage and also tallied 349 digs (12th in the MCC).
The Lady Lancers will hope to extend their season by winning the NCCAA Regional Tournament this weekend at the Orthopaedic Capital Center. Grace will play Bethel College on Friday at 7 p.m., then take on Cedarville University (12 p.m.) and Cincinnati Christian University (4 p.m.) on Saturday.
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace's volleyball team has announced that it will host the 2011 NCCAA Regional Tournament at the Orthopaedic Capital Center this weekend.
The Lady Lancers will be one of four teams battling for a spot in the NCCAA National Championships held from Dec. 1-3 in Kissimmee, Fla.
Grace is looking for a return trip to the NCCAA Nationals for the first time in a decade. The Lady Lancers, who enter the regional tournament with a record of 27-10, have not earned a berth in the tournament since 2001.
Joining Grace will be Bethel College, Cincinnati Christian University and Cedarville University.
The schedule for the weekend is as follows:
(5 pm) Cincinnati Christian vs. Cedarville
(7 pm) Grace vs. Bethel
(10 am) Bethel vs. Cincinnati Christian
(12 pm) Grace vs. Cedarville
(2 pm) Bethel vs. Cedarville
(4 pm) Grace vs. Cincinnati Christian
MARION, Ind. – Grace's effort against Indiana Wesleyan in their MCC semifinal match came up short as the Lady Lancers lost in three tough sets.
While Grace's defense was more than ready for the task Thursday night with 10 total blocks, the Lady Lancers (27-10) struggled to find an offensive rhythm.
Grace was stifled into a .046 team hitting percentage against the Wildcats (33-4), who advance to the MCC championship game on Saturday with their 15th straight victory.
Both teams were neck-and-neck midway through the first two sets, but it was the host school who pulled away late each time for identical 25-19 wins.
In their third and final set, Grace appeared to be on the verge of taking their first win. The Lady Lancers led 23-19 before giving up five points in a row to the Wildcats. Grace battled back with another chance to win with the score 25-24 in their favor, but Indiana Wesleyan clinched the sweep with a 27-25 win.
Dana Johnston was the only Grace player to record double-digit kills. She ended up with 12 kills on a .269 percentage to go along with one solo block and two block assists.
Rachel Bult dished out 27 assists, eight of which went to Enrica Verrett and six went to Alicia Gosney. Gosney also stepped up with a pair of solo blocks and block assists.
Calah Kruse and Bethany Whitcraft tied for team honors with 10 digs apiece, and Arielle Walters added three block assists.
The Lady Lancers will next await the regional draw for entrance into the NCCAA National Championships.
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – After dropping the first set in their MCC quarterfinal match with Bethel College, Grace’s volleyball team recovered to take a 3-1 win over the Pilots on their way to the MCC semifinals.
The Lady Lancers (27-9), the third seed in the tourney, will travel to Marion, Ind., to face the second-seeded Indiana Wesleyan University in the semifinals on Thursday. The two teams split in the regular season.
“It is always tough to beat a team three times in a year, and Bethel is a hard team to face,” said head coach Andria Harshman. “It’s really good to see that we rose to the occasion tonight, and Alicia Gosney and Dana Johnston played big roles in tonight’s win.”
In the opening set, Gosney nearly carried the Lady Lancers to victory. With the score tied at 20-20, Gosney’s two kills put Grace ahead 23-22. But the sixth-seeded Pilots (16-15) showed resiliency with three straight points to win 25-23.
Arielle Walters was instrumental with several big points to start the second set as Grace jumped out to a 13-6 lead. Bethel once again bounced back, however, and rattled off seven unanswered points to tie the score. The Lady Lancers edged away late with three straight points and tied the match with a 25-22 win.
Grace scored nine of the first 12 points to open the third set and managed to stay ahead. Bethel closed the gap to three at 18-15, but the Lady Lancers closed the door with a four-point spurt for a 25-20 victory.
The fourth set proved to be the easiest for the Lady Lancers. Johnston put the finishing touches on Grace’s victory with the match's final two kills as Grace won 25-18.
Johnston was a force to be reckoned with a match-high 15 kills on a .538 hitting percentage. She also had three block assists and a solo block.
Gosney finished with 10 kills, and Enrica Verrett had 11. Verrett also had three solo blocks.
Walters recorded 7 kills, 3 solo blocks and 1 block assist, and Rachel Bult dished out 50 assists.
Bethany Whitcraft had a match-high 17 digs, and freshman Hannah Clemmons added 13.
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace seniors Enrica Verrett, Rachel Bult and Stephanie Lawson carried the day in the Lady Lancers’ 3-0 victory over Saint Francis on Wednesday.
The Lady Lancers concluded their regular season with a 25-13, 27-25, 25-20 win over the Cougars (4-18; 2-15 MCC).
“I couldn’t be prouder of the way our seniors have led this team,” said head coach Andria Harshman. “They have helped turn this program around from being in the bottom of the conference to being a nationally competitive team in their four years.”
Grace opened up the first set on a roll, leading 17-6 out of the gate. Saint Francis managed to close the gap to single digits, but the Lady Lancers (26-9; 14-4 MCC) ended the set with six straight points to take the first set.
The second set provided the most drama. The Lady Lancers stayed in front for most of the set and found themselves up 20-13. The Cougars, however, charged back to level the score at 23-23. But Grace edged out Saint Francis down the stretch and finished the set with a service ace by Bult.
Grace grabbed control midway through the final set with a 9-3 run and never looked back, clinching the victory with a five-point win.
Verrett led all players with 11 kills on an impressive .588 percentage. She also had two solo blocks and a block assist to pace Grace’s nine team blocks.
Bult tallied 33 assists and 12 digs, and Lawson added eight kills and 12 digs.
Arielle Walters came through with 8 kills (.300 percentage) to go along with one solo block and two block assists, and Dana Johnston contributed eight kills as well.
Former student and team manager Jeremy Mohr was in attendance and played a big role in the emotional night by announcing Grace’s lineups and broadcasting the event on Stretch Internet. Mohr was injured in an accident near campus last year. He was honored on Grace’s Senior Night and received several ovations from the OCC crowd. To see photos of Mohr during Grace's match, click here.
The Lady Lancers will next await the draw for the MCC tournament. Grace has clinched the third seed in the conference and will host a first-round tournament match.
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Stephanie Lawson’s 17 kills paced Grace’s volleyball team’s attack in a 3-1 victory over Marian University.
In a match in which each of the four sets was decided by six or fewer points, the Lady Lancers (25-9; 13-4 MCC) did what was needed to sweep the season series with the Knights (16-10; 10-8 MCC).
After pulling out a 25-20 victory in the opening set, Grace found themselves down 6-12 to Marian in the second set. But the Lady Lancers rallied for six straight to tie the score and eventually took a 20-19 lead on a solo block point from Arielle Walters.
The Lady Lancers nearly squandered a 24-22 lead but managed to recover to win 26-24.
The third set appeared to be heading towards a sweep with Grace in the lead midway through the set, but Marian charged ahead at the end to grab the 25-23 win.
The final set started similar to the first few – with Marian ahead. The Knights scored five of the set’s first seven points, but Grace quickly responded to take a 13-10 lead and distanced themselves for a six-point victory in the decisive set.
Rachel Bult’s 44 assists were a match-high, and Grace’s blocking effort held Marian’s offense to a .090 hitting percentage.
Walters finished with 9 kills, 4 solo blocks and 2 block assists, and Dana Johnston pounded home 12 kills (.333 percentage) and had two service aces.
Enrica Verrett added seven kills and two solo blocks, and freshman Hannah Clemmons tallied a team-best 15 digs. Calah Kruse also chipped in with 11 digs and a pair of aces.
The Lady Lancers, who are in the midst of their first winning season since 2005, have one regular season MCC match remaining before the postseason begins. Grace has already clinched the third seed in the MCC.
Grace will face Saint Francis to wrap up the regular season next Wednesday at home at 7 p.m.
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – The Grace College volleyball team is hosting a "Dig for the Cure" event on Wednesday during their match with Marian University at 7 p.m. The team is holding this event to support those who are currently battling cancer as well as to honor cancer survivors.
Those attending Wednesday’s night’s match will have the opportunity to donate money for every dig the Lady Lancers record against Marian.
Fans may also give flat donations, and all proceeds from the event will be given to the family of Spencer Meyer and also to the Kosciusko County Care Fund. Spencer Meyer is a six-year-old boy from Hudsonville, Mich., who was diagnosed with cancer one year ago.
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 Grace and Marian. 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.
UPLAND, Ind. – No. 13 Taylor was too much for Grace’s volleyball team to handle, winning in straight sets on Saturday evening.
Unlike the two teams’ previous meeting – a five-set thriller at the Orthopaedic Capital Center – the Lady Lancers (23-9; 11-4 MCC) were held to a .163 hitting percentage and lost 25-19, 25-20 and 25-16.
The Trojans (21-5; 15-0 MCC), who clinched at least a share of the MCC crown with the victory, amassed 33 kills on only seven errors.
Grace, on the other hand, had seven more total kills but also 17 more attacking errors.
In the first set, Taylor grabbed the lead early and stayed in front throughout. The Lady Lancers seemed to start a promising attack in the second set, but the blocking efforts of the Trojans stifled that momentum early and resulted in the five-point victory. Taylor seized the sweep with a nine-point win in the decisive third set.
Alicia Gosney recorded a match-high with 14 kills on a .391 percentage, and Stephanie Lawson added 11 kills and seven digs.
Rachel Bult tallied match-bests in assists with 36 and in digs with nine, and Arielle Walters totaled four kills on six attempts to go along with two block assists.
Kelsey Pritchard led Taylor with 10 kills.
The Lady Lancers, who can finish no worse than third place in the MCC, finish their MCC season with two home matches. Grace plays Marian University on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in their “Dig for the Cure” match then finishes against Saint Francis on Nov. 2 on Senior Night.
SPRING ARBOR, Mich. – Senior Rachel Bult totaled 52 assists – many of them to Stephanie Lawson – in Grace’s 3-1 victory over Spring Arbor on Friday night.
Lawson had an all-around terrific game, producing 19 kills, 7 digs and 5 service aces for the Lady Lancers (24-8; 12-3 MCC).
Grace was dominant in their three victories in game one (25-15), game two (25-14) and game four (25-15).
The Cougars (11-15; 6-8 MCC) managed to take the third game by the score of 25-19 to avoid the sweep, but it was Grace who avenged their loss to Spring Arbor on Sept. 23.
"I'm very pleased with our play today," said head coach Andria Harshman. "I feel like we did exactly what we prepared to do with a lot of players stepping up in big ways. There's still several big matches coming up, so we are going to refocus and hope to continue this momentum through the next few weeks."
Dana Johnston proved to be a handful for the Cougars as she had 13 kills on a .524 percentage to go along with four block assists. Johnston, the MCC’s leader in hitting percentage, tied her season-high in block production.
Enrica Verrett powered home 12 kills, 1 solo block and 2 block assists, and Alicia Gosney had double-digit kills with 10.
Freshman Calah Kruse tallied a match-high 16 digs, and Arielle Walters finished with one solo block and two block assists.
Overall, Grace doubled Spring Arbor’s kill numbers across the board by coming up with 60 kills compared to 27 for the Cougars.
The Lady Lancers will look to avenge another previous loss on Saturday when Grace travels to Upland, Ind., to take on No. 13 Taylor. The Trojans pulled out a gutsy, come-from-behind five-set victory over Grace on Sept. 24.
The match, which starts at 6 p.m., can be followed live at http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/taylor.portal# with live stats, video and audio.
MOUNT VERNON, Ohio – Freshman Alicia Gosney tied a season-best with 13 kills to lead all players as Grace sprinted by Mount Vernon Nazarene University in three sets.
Gosney was the only player with double-digit kills, and she earned her total on 19 attempts for an incredible .632 hitting percentage. She also added three solo blocks.
The Lady Lancers (23-8; 11-3 MCC), who have won their past three matches, kept Mount Vernon at a distance for much of the match. Grace won 25-18 in the opening set for the closest margin of the match.
Grace won 25-12 in the second set and 25-17 in the third over the Cougars (10-17; 4-11 MCC).
Senior setter Rachel Bult, who was named the NCCAA Player of the Week earlier in the day, tallied 27 assists to go along with nine digs. She led the Lady Lancers’ offense to a .356 team hitting percentage.
Dana Johnston produced nine kills on a .533 percentage for Grace, and Enrica Verrett and Arielle Walters added seven and six kills respectively.
Stephanie Lawson came through with 8 kills, 2 service aces and 2 solo blocks, Bethany Whitcraft recorded a match-high 16 digs, and Calah Kruse was not far behind with 14.
Off the bench, Christina LeBlanc tallied six assists while Hannah Clemmons added seven digs.
The Lady Lancers have a chance to get revenge on two MCC opponents this weekend. Grace travels to Spring Arbor on Friday at 7 p.m. then plays at No. 13 Taylor on Saturday at 2 p.m. Both teams took down Grace earlier in the conference season, helping snap Grace’s 12-match winning streak.
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Setter Rachel Bult continued her stellar senior campaign by being honored as the NCCAA's Player of the Week on Wednesday.
Bult accumulated 117 assists (11.7 per set average) in three conference matches last week.
In Grace's game against NAIA No. 18 Indiana Wesleyan, she dished out 40 assists to go along with a team-high 19 digs.
She then recorded 39 assists, 4 digs and 2 block assists in Grace's win over Bethel and rounded out the week with 38 assists and eight digs in a sweep of Goshen College.
Bult has enjoyed a fantastic season, climbing into second place on Grace's career assists list and is currently fifth this year in the NAIA in assists (1,095).
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace's volleyball team used a relentless blocking attack, led by Stefanie Bolt's two solo blocks and six block assists in a 3-0 win over Goshen.
Overall, the Lady Lancers (22-8; 10-3 MCC) recorded 11 team blocks and held the Maple Leafs (8-12; 4-10 MCC) to a .040 team hitting percentage.
Grace kept Goshen at bay throughout most of the match, with their first-set 25-19 score being the closest margin of victory. The Lady Lancers completed their season sweep of Goshen with a 25-17 win in the second set and a 25-18 victory in the third set.
Rachel Bult produced 38 assists in directing Grace's attack, and Bethany Whitcraft earned match honors with 22 digs.
Dana Johnston (11 kills, .409 percentage) and Enrica Verrett (9 kills, .500 percentage) proved nearly unstoppable against the Maple Leafs, and Arielle Walters came through with nine kills as well.
Bult, Johnston, Walters, and Bolt each tallied multiple block points while Bolt's block production was more than Goshen's team totals.
The Lady Lancers are on the road all next week, facing Mount Vernon Nazarene on Wednesday, followed by Spring Arbor on Friday and a rematch with Taylor on Saturday.
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s volleyball team had their way with Bethel College on Friday night, winning 25-16, 25-16 and 25-23 to sweep the season series with the Pilots.
The Lady Lancers (21-8; 9-3 MCC) started their strong performance early, posting 17 kills on only two errors (.500 team killing percentage) in the opening set for the nine-point win.
The Pilots (12-8; 7-5 MCC) managed to post 10 kills on four errors but could not keep pace with Grace.
In the second set, the Lady Lancers put on a defensive display by holding Bethel to a .086 team killing percentage en route to another nine-point victory.
The third set proved to be the closest as Grace went down early. The Lady Lancers fought back to level the score, and both teams battled back-and-forth at the end and eventually tied at 22-22. But Grace proved to hold the upper hand on the day, pulling away for the 25-23 decisive victory.
“This was a solid performance for us all-around,” said head coach Andria Harshman. “We executed our game plan well and did what we practiced all week. We started the match with focus and carried that effort throughout the night.”
Stephanie Lawson was a stat-stuffer on the evening with a match-high 14 kills on a .400 percentage. She also added two service aces and 11 digs for Grace.
Rachel Bult served up 39 assists, and Dana Johnston tallied 12 kills (.409 percentage), 2 solo blocks and 2 block assists.
Friday’s match was also Camo Night at the Orthopaedic Capital Center as the Lady Lancers honored those who had served or were currently serving in the US military. Grace’s team sported camouflage uniforms, as did many fans in attendance.
The Lady Lancers play their second straight home MCC match on Saturday when they welcome Goshen College for a 1 p.m. first serve.
MARION, Ind. – Grace could not pound past the blocking efforts of No. 18 Indiana Wesleyan on Wednesday, falling in four games to the Wildcats.
Despite 40 assists from Rachel Bult, the Lady Lancers (20-8; 8-3 MCC) were held to a .052 team hitting percentage as Indiana Welseyan’s 18 team blocks proved too much to handle.
The Lady Lancers fell narrowly in the first set 25-19 before the Wildcats (20-4; 9-2 MCC) earned a dominant 25-14 victory in the second game.
Grace grabbed the lead early in the third set and stayed out in front throughout, taking a 25-21 victory to avoid the sweep.
But Indiana Wesleyan did not allow Grace to continue their comeback, responding with a 25-15 fourth-set performance to close out the match, their 14th win in their last 15 matches.
Stephanie Lawson led Grace’s offense with 14 kills and a service ace, and Dana Johnston posted 13 kills.
Arielle Walters had a solid performance with eight kills on a team-best .375 kill percentage to go along with two solo blocks and a block assist.
“This was a tough loss for us tonight as we just struggled to find our game,” said head coach Andria Harshman. “We will no doubt bounce back from this and learn what’s needed to improve.”
Bult tallied a team-best 19 digs, and freshmen Hannah Clemmons (15 digs) and Calah Kruse (12 digs, 2 service aces) also turned in good outings for Grace.
With the loss, Grace falls to third place in the conference, one game behind Indiana Wesleyan for second.
The Lady Lancers play two straight home MCC matches this weekend, starting with Bethel College on Friday at 7 p.m. Grace will then welcome Goshen College on Saturday at 1 p.m.
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace's volleyball team is hosting a pair of special match days on Friday and Saturday with "Camo Night" on Friday, Oct. 14 and "Day with the Lancers" on Saturday, Oct. 15.
"Camo Night" is to honor all local men and women who are serving or have served the military. For Grace's game on Friday at 7 p.m. against Bethel, fans are encouraged to wear camo outfits to support the military.
All members of the military and their familes are welcomed to join in food and refreshments in the Hospitality Suite of the OCC during the match. All service men and women with their families will not be charged admission into Friday's match, which will include a time of honoring the military as well as a flag ceremony.
On Saturday, the Lady Lancers will enjoy time with 3rd-8th grade girls for their "Day with the Lancers."
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 watch the Lady Lancers play conference opponent Goshen College at 1 p.m. at the OCC.
Contact head coach Andria Harshman with questions at 574-372-5100 ext. 6268.
CLEARWATER, Fla. – Grace’s volleyball team finished the Clearwater Christian Invitational with a 3-1 win over Northwood (Fla.) and a 1-3 loss to Point Park on Saturday, altogether winning four of five matches during their trip to Florida.
Dana Johnston turned in the best performance of her season with a season-high 18 kills in a losing effort to Point Park, who is receiving votes in the Top 25 Coaches’ Poll.
The Pioneers (25-4) took the first game 25-21, but Grace responded with a hard-fought 25-23 win in the second game, earning 15 kills with seven errors.
Ultimately Point Park’s defense earned the Pioneers the close wins they needed down the stretch, winning 25-23 and 25-21 in the final two sets. Point Park recorded 22 team blocks compared to eight for Grace.
Rachel Bult poured in 53 assists for her third 50-plus assist match of the season, and Stephanie Lawson and Enrica Verrett added 13 kills.
Bethany Whitcraft recorded 23 digs, and freshman Alicia Gosney had three solo blocks and nine kills.
In Grace’s final match of the day, 12 players saw action for the Lady Lancers in their four-set win over Northwood.
Johnston again earned match honors for Grace with 11 kills on 20 attempts, and Lawson recorded 10 kills on 20 attempts.
Calah Kruse had 10 kills, 3 service aces and 16 digs, and Stefanie Bolt chipped in with eight kills.
Bult started as setter and totaled 33 assists, and freshman Madison Long played three sets and added 10 assists.
The Lady Lancers next turn their sights on the final eight conference matches of the season, starting with a matchup at Indiana Wesleyan on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
CLEARWATER, Fla. – Grace’s volleyball team breezed its way past its first three opponents in the Clearwater Christian Invitational in Clearwater, Fla., on Friday.
The Lady Lancers (19-6) swept Ave Maria, Clearwater Christian and Florida Christian 3-0 for the team’s fifth straight victory.
In their first game against Ave Maria, the Lady Lancers had four players with a hitting percentage over .250 and won 25-14, 25-18 and 25-17.
Enrica Verrett led all players with 10 kills (.421 percentage) to go along with two solo blocks and one block assist. Dana Johnston had nine kills (.467), Stefanie Bolt had six kills (.455) and Calah Kruse added three (.286).
Rachel Bult’s 30 assists paced Grace’s attack against the Gyrenes (6-8), Bethany Whitcraft had 10 digs and Madison Long served up two aces off the bench.
In the second match of the afternoon, Grace recorded eight blocks and eight service aces in a strong performance against the host Clearwater Christian. The Lady Cougars (21-5) lost by the scoreline of 25-17, 25-19, 25-13.
The Lady Lancers held the Cougars to a team hitting percentage of .021, led by the four solo blocks by Arielle Walters. Walters was second on the team with eight kills on a .429 hitting percentage.
Whitcraft, Bult and Johnston each served up two aces, and Verrett again led all players with nine kills on a .438 percentage.
In their final match of the day, Grace held a definite blocking edge by recording 10 blocks and defeated the Suns (9-13) in straight sets, 25-16, 25-15 and 25-15.
Stephanie Lawson and Verrett tied for match honors with 10 kills. Lawson’s effort was on a .643 percentage.
Walters and Bolt each had a pair of solo blocks and block assists, and Kruse recorded nine kills.
The Lady Lancers continue tournament play on Saturday with matches against Point Park (11:30 am) and Northwood (1:30 pm).
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Senior Rachel Bult recorded her 3,000th career assist in Grace’s sweep of Huntington University on Tuesday.
Bult, who dished out a match-high 20 assists, is the third Lady Lancer to reach the 3,000-assist plateau in program history. She currently sits at 3,008 assists – 61 away from second place on Grace's all-time list.
The Lady Lancers (16-6; 8-2 MCC) eased past Huntington, winning 25-9, 25-19 and 25-13 in an impressive showing.
"Tonight was good in that we took care of business and played our game. We were able to incorporate multiple players tonight as well," said head coach Andria Harshman. "I'm so proud of Rachel [Bult]. This milestone is a reminder of how much she has done to turn this program around during her career."
The Foresters (4-14; 0-10 MCC) were stifled by Grace’s blocking efforts into a negative team hitting percentage (-0.027).
In the first set Grace recorded 10 kills with only three errors, and in the final set the Lady Lancers earned 14 kills on five errors.
Dana Johnston led all players with 10 kills on 16 attempts (.563 hitting percentage) to go along with a block and two block assists.
Calah Kruse served up six aces along with a match-high 10 digs, and Stephanie Lawson had six kills and two block assists.
Stefanie Bolt also added four kills on six attempts, and Madison Long came off the bench to tally three assists and three digs.
The Lady Lancers head to Clearwater, Fla., this weekend for the Clearwater Christian Invitational. They will face Ave Maria, Clearwater Christian and Florida Christian on Friday, then square off with Point Park and Northwood on Saturday.
FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Four players tallied double-digit kills in a balanced attack for Grace's volleyball team as the Lady Lancers (15-6; 7-2 MCC) took down the University of Saint Francis 3-1 on Wednesday.
The Cougars (2-10; 1-8 MCC) managed to take the first set 25-21 before the Lady Lancers began to assert control.
Grace responded with three straight wins to take their seventh conference win of the season. The Lady Lancers earned a 25-14 win in the second set, then pulled out closer 25-21 and 25-20 victories in the final two sets.
In the second set, Grace amassed 15 kills on only two errors for a .464 team hitting percentage.
Rachel Bult dished out 46 assists to go along with 12 digs, and Stephanie Lawson posted team highs of 14 kills, 4 service aces and 16 digs.
Freshman Calah Kruse totaled 10 kills and 12 digs, Dana Johnston recorded 11 kills on a .385 percentage and Enrica Verrett tallied 11 kills and four solo blocks.
Bethany Whitcraft also added 15 digs, which was second on the team.
The Lady Lancers will welcome Huntington University on Tuesday to the Orthopaedic Capital Center at 7 p.m. In the two teams' first matchup, Grace won 3-0.
Tuesday's match can be heard on Stretch Internet here.
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – The battle between the top two teams in the Mid-Central College Conference proved to be just that – a battle.
Grace and Taylor gave each other their best shots on Saturday afternoon, and the No. 13 Trojans escaped the Orthopaedic Capital Center with a come-from-behind 3-2 victory.
Stephanie Lawson was the most dominant force in the match, pounding home a career-high 22 kills on a .274 hitting percentage. Freshman Alicia Gosney had the second-most kills in the match with 13.
Overall, the Lancers (14-6; 6-2 MCC) held the Trojans (12-3; 6-2 MCC) to a .135 kill percentage but could only muster slightly better themselves at .177.
Grace started off strong and led 22-14, taking the first set in impressive fashion, 25-16.
Enrica Verrett and Dana Johnston’s blocking efforts helped the Lady Lancers off to a 7-2 start in the second set. Grace held its biggest lead of the set at 14-7 before Taylor rallied to close the gap.
The Trojans, who have now won 44 consecutive MCC regular season games, showed why they are a top team in the nation by taking a 21-20 lead after falling behind early. They went on to win by the score of 25-22 to even the set count.
The Lady Lancers would not back down, however. Grace took the third set 25-17, sparked late in the set by a pair of service aces by Johnston.
Taylor came out with resilience in the fourth set, opening up their biggest lead on the day, 18-7.
But Grace battled back with a remarkable 11-1 run, eventually tying the set at 22 apiece. Grace’s momentum would run out soon after, giving up three of the final four points to lose 25-23.
In the decisive fifth set, Taylor scored the first three points of the match and clung to the lead throughout. The Trojans ended the match on a 7-2 run to stave off the upset.
Rachel Bult poured in a match-high 49 assists for the Lady Lancers, and Verrett tallied two solo blocks and three block assists.
Bethany Whitcraft had team honors with 19 digs, and Allyssa Johnston came off the bench to give Grace a boost with two service aces.
Grace continues MCC play on Wednesday when they travel to Saint Francis for a 7 p.m. match.
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Spring Arbor ended Grace’s volleyball team’s 12-match winning streak with a 3-1 victory on Friday.
The Lady Lancers (14-5; 6-1 MCC) tried desperately to climb out of another 0-2 set deficit, but the Cougars (7-8; 4-3 MCC) shut the door on Grace’s comeback.
Grace started sluggishly in the opening set, giving up the first five points. The Cougars continued to keep the Lady Lancers at bay and rattled off six straight points to clinch a 25-12 win.
The second set was much different. Both teams stayed neck-and-neck throughout, but Spring Arbor made a late run to take a 22-18 lead. Grace rebounded to close the gap, but as the Cougars did much of the night, they came up with clutch points to win 25-23.
The Lady Lancers put together their strongest set of the match in response to their narrow second-set loss. They jumped out to a 12-4 lead in the third set en route to a convincing 25-12 win.
That proved to be the high point of the night for the Lady Lancers.
Grace lost by a heartbreaking 26-24 score in the decisive set. The Lady Lancers and the Cougars dealt a series of mini-runs late in the set, and it was Spring Arbor who made the final run at 24-24 with the last two points.
“While we are definitely not happy with losing this match, we are putting it behind us as quickly as possible,” said head coach Andria Harshman. “We need to start stronger in the opening sets, but we will learn from this and move forward.”
Stephanie Lawson highlighted Grace’s offense with a match-high 15 kills. Arielle Walters also turned in a solid performance with 7 kills, 1 block assist and 1 solo block.
Freshman Calah Kruse tied for match honors with 17 digs, and Dana Johnston had two solo blocks and a block assist.
Grace’s winning streak was its longest since 1996, when the team won 15 straight matches. Their current streak included six conference wins, wins against two teams in the Coaches Top 25 Poll and against a team who was receiving votes.
The Lady Lancers will face their stiffest test of the season on Saturday with a matchup against No. 13 Taylor University at the Orthopaedic Capital Center. The Trojans are the last team with a spotless MCC record after Grace’s loss. Match time is at 1 p.m.
Listen to the Grace/Taylor match on Stretch Internet here.
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Grace’s volleyball team was led by match highs of 19 kills and 17 digs by Stephanie Lawson in a 3-0 sweep over Marian University.
Lawson tied a career-high with her 19 kills and was fed often by a sparkling performance from Rachel Bult, who totaled 45 assists for Grace’s 12th straight win.
“This was a big win on the road for us, and we executed the game plan well,” said head coach Andria Harshman. “Our experience really paid off at certain points in the match. This team is focusing one day at a time. We worked hard all week to beat Marian, and tonight we did that together.”
In the first set, the score was tied late in the game at 20-20. But three kills from Lawson helped spur the Lady Lancers (14-4; 6-0 MCC) to a 25-22 win.
Grace seemed on its way to a win in the second set as they led 22-16, but the Knights (7-5; 3-3 MCC) charged back to knot the score at 23.
Marian was one point away from winning the set at 24-23, but the Lady Lancers’ experience pulled together in the end to secure a 27-25 win.
The third set started even, but Grace slowly edged away at 17-11 and continued to hold Marian at bay for a final score of 25-19.
Lawson’s .371 kill percentage was one of four Lady Lancers who recorded a percentage of .300 or better. Dana Johnston posted eight kills (.571 percentage) and three block assists, Alicia Gosney recorded 11 kills (.348 percentage) and Calah Kruse made good on two of her three kill attempts.
Bult added to her well-rounded evening with 10 digs and two block assists. Enrica Verrett and Stefanie Bolt contributed two block assists as well.
The Lady Lancers conclude their week with a pair of MCC matches at the Orthopaedic Capital Center. On Friday, Grace welcomes Spring Arbor University for a 7 p.m. start.
Saturday features a matchup of the top two teams in the MCC. Grace and No. 13 Taylor University will square off at 1 p.m.
Both Friday and Saturday’s matches can be followed on Stretch Internet at http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/grace.portal.
GOSHEN, Ind. – Grace’s volleyball team earned its 11th straight win by topping Goshen College 3-1 on Saturday.
Freshman Calah Kruse tied for match honors with 12 kills. She was one of four Lady Lancers in double-digit kills in the match.
The Maple Leafs (4-5; 1-4 MCC) won the first set 25-22 to take the early advantage, but the Lady Lancers (13-4; 5-0 MCC) controlled the match the rest of the way.
Grace won 25-21 in the second set to tie the count, and then cruised to 25-14 and 25-16 victories in the third and fourth sets to secure the victory.
“The women had a well-balanced effort today,” said head coach Andria Harshman. “We had a number of players contribute all over the court. We are definitely continuing to play better all around.”
Stephanie Lawson, Dana Johnston and Enrica Verrett each recorded 10 kills apiece. Johnston had a .400 kill percentage.
Lawson also recorded three service aces and a match-high 21 digs. Verrett tallied three solo blocks out of eight total team blocks for the Lady Lancers.
Rachel Bult dished out 47 assists in the four-set match, and Bethany Whitcraft added 12 digs for Grace.
Grace will put its winning streak on the line when they travel to Indianapolis, Ind., to take on Marian University on Wednesday. Match time is set for 7 p.m.
MISHAWAKA, Ind. – Grace’s volleyball team found itself down two sets to none against Bethel College on Friday.
But just like they did on Wednesday night, the Lady Lancers (12-4; 4-0 MCC) found a way to keep their winning streak alive, grabbing their 10th straight victory with a 3-2 win.
The Pilots (7-6; 2-3 MCC) jumped out of the gate with a 25-21 win in the opening set with 16 kills on a .400 team kill percentage. Grace made things tougher in the second set, but it was Bethel again who pulled away for a 26-24 victory.
With their backs against the wall, however, the Lady Lancers turned up their blocking efforts to regain control of the match.
Grace won by the largest margin of the match in the third set (25-19), and then made clutch plays in the fourth set for a 26-24 victory to even the set count.
Their momentum carried into the final set as the Lady Lancers sealed the match by the score of 15-12.
“This team just keeps finding ways to win,” said head coach Andria Harshman. “We finished the match well, so now we just need to work on starting strong out of the locker room. I’m pleased with where we are at this point in the season, and we will continue to improve as we move forward.”
Enrica Verrett erupted with a season-best and match-high 19 kills on a .500 percentage. She also added a match-high three solo blocks in an impressive performance.
Rachel Bult dished out 49 assists to go along with 10 digs, and Dana Johnston (15 kills) and Alicia Gosney (13 kills) came through with double-digit kills.
Bethany Whitcraft led all Lady Lancers with 14 digs, and freshmen Calah Kruse and Hannah Clemmons added nine and eight digs respectively.
Overall, Grace recorded 11 team blocks compared to six for Bethel.
The Lady Lancers continue conference play with a match at Goshen College on Saturday. Match time is set for 3 p.m.
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – It appeared the eight-game winning streak for Grace’s volleyball team would be snapped on Wednesday night.
But down two sets to none against Mount Vernon Nazarene, the Lady Lancers (11-4; 3-0 MCC) mounted a massive comeback to win 3-2 for their ninth straight victory.
The Lady Lancers started to find their stride in the third set, distancing away from Mount Vernon with a 25-17 win.
In the fourth set, however, it seemed the Lady Cougars (6-7; 1-3 MCC) would shut the door. Mount Vernon jumped out to a 6-1 lead, but it was all Grace from that point.
The Lady Lancers finished the set on an incredible 24-6 run to win 25-12.
The fifth set found Mount Vernon ahead again. The Lady Cougars scored the first three points and were up 9-5 when Arielle Walters sparked Grace with a couple of block points.
Grace rattled off six straight points and made critical plays down the stretch for a 15-13 win in the decisive set.
“I could not be happier with the way our team fought tonight,” said head coach Andria Harshman. “We definitely have things we can improve on, but it shows a lot of resilience to fight back the way we did tonight.”
Stephanie Lawson led four Lady Lancers in double-digit kills with 15. She also added three service aces and 10 digs.
Stefanie Bolt came through with 14 kills on a .385 percentage, and Alicia Gosney and Enrica Verrett each added 13 kills.
Rachel Bult turned in a match-high 57 assists, and Walters added four solo blocks and a block assist.
Before the match, Grace retired the No. 7 jersey of Mallori Kastner, a Lady Lancer who died last year as a freshman. The No. 7 jersey was the first number retired in the history of Grace Athletics.
The Lady Lancers return to action on Friday when they travel to Bethel College for a 7 p.m. match.
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace's volleyball team swept the weekly awards from the Mid-Central College Conference.
Stephanie Lawson was named the Player of the Week and the Hitter of the Week, Rachel Bult was the Setter of the Week, and Bethany Whitcraft rounded out the awards with the Libero of the Week.
Lawson averaged 11 kills in six wins on the week for the Lady Lancers. She amassed a match-high 17 kills in a three-set victory over Union (Ky.) and also tallied six service aces and turned in 18 digs in a 3-2 win over Shorter College.
Bult has been a key factor to Grace's current eight-game winning streak, including a perfect 6-0 record this week. She had a tremendous 41 assists in a three-set upset over No. 22 Indiana Wesleyan and also recorded 57 assists against Shorter College.
Whitcraft tallied double-digit digs in three of Grace's six wins, helping the Lady Lancers to a perfect week. In their win over Shorter College, she tallied an incredible 30 digs (a new career high).
Grace is currently in the heart of the MCC season with a home match on Wednesday against Mt. Vernon Nazarene on Wednesday, followed by away matches on Friday (Bethel, 7 p.m.) and Saturday (Goshen, 3 p.m.).
Listen to Grace's home game on Wednesday on Stretch Internet 7 p.m. here.
GEORGETOWN, Ky. – Grace’s volleyball team continued its impressive play with a pair of 3-0 victories over Montreat College and Concordia (Neb.) on Saturday.
The Lady Lancers (10-4) increased their winning streak to eight games and went a perfect 4-0 over the weekend at the Rumpke Invitational.
Stephanie Lawson earned match-high kills in both matches, tallying 11 kills against Montreat and 10 against Concordia.
Against Montreat, Rachel Bult’s 33 assists led a Grace attack which the Cavaliers (5-6) had little chance of stopping. The Lady Lancers won 25-20, 25-11 and 25-22.
Arielle Walters had nine kills on a .400 kill percentage and Enrica Verrett added eight on a .500 kill percentage. Walters also had three of Grace’s seven service aces. Bult and Alicia Gosney each had two apiece.
Grace’s second match against Concordia (Neb.) proved to be similar. The Lady Lancers got ahead early, and stayed that way.
Thirteen players saw action against the Bulldogs (5-9). Calah Kruse came through with seven kills on a .583 kill percentage, and Bethany Whitcraft had a match-best 14 digs.
Walters added two blocks and three block assists, and Lawson had three block assists as well to go with a solo block.
Grace returns to conference play with a home match against MCC-newcomer Mount Vernon Nazarene on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
GEORGETOWN, Ky. – Grace’s volleyball team upped its winning streak to six games with a pair of victories in the Rumpke Invitational on Friday.
The Lady Lancers (8-4) swept Union College in their first match of the day then battled for a 3-2 victory over previously unbeaten Shorter College.
Stephanie Lawson tallied a match-high 17 kills to lead Grace’s attack in their first match, and the Lady Lancers breezed through the three-set match by the score of 25-17, 25-23, 25-16 over the Bulldogs (2-7).
Enrica Verrett (12 kills on .526 percentage) and Arielle Walters (6 kills on .545 percentage) each recorded impressive kill percentages on the day. Walters also tallied three solo blocks and a block assist, and Verrett had one solo block and a pair of block assists.
Rachel Bult tallied 37 assists, and Calah Kruse added three service aces and a match-high eight digs.
The second match proved to be a thriller.
Grace jumped ahead of the Lady Hawks (7-1) with a pair of clutch victories – 28-26 in the first set and 25-23 in the second set.
But Shorter would not yield their first loss of the season without a fight. The Lady Hawks responded with strong wins in the third and fourth set, holding off a late comeback by Grace in the fourth.
In the decisive fifth set, the score tilted back-and-forth. Grace led 9-8 when consecutive blocks gave the Lady Lancers a three-point cushion. Then Lawson and Verrett closed out the match with back-to-back kills.
Freshman Alicia Gosney came through with a number of momentum-shifting kills and blocks in game five, according to head coach Andria Harshman. She added 13 kills, good for second on the team.
Verrett turned in a match-high 16 kills, and Rachel Bult paced a furious Grace attack with 57 assists. Overall, Grace recorded 65 kills compared to 52 for Shorter.
Dana Johnston, who was battling sickness, came in to record eight kills on a .353 kill percentage in three sets.
Bethany Whitcraft turned in a season-best 30 digs, and Lawson added 18 of her own.
“We are starting to play really well. Our passers are performing well, and we had a high hitting percentage because of it,” Harshman said. “We’re gelling well together, and people stepped up today in a big way.”
Grace continues action in the Rumpke Invitational on Saturday, playing Montreat College at 10 a.m. and Concordia (Neb.) at 3 p.m.
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s volleyball team turned in its most complete performance of the season with a 3-0 sweep over No. 22 Indiana Wesleyan.
With the upset win, the Lady Lancers improve to 6-4 on the season and maintain their position of first place in the Mid-Central College Conference (2-0).
Although Grace did sweep IWU, they found themselves in a battle in each of the three games. In the first set, the score was tied at 22 apiece when a big kill by Stephanie Lawson and two Wildcat (6-3; 0-1 MCC) errors allowed Grace to grab the momentum with a 25-23 win.
In front of a loud crowd at the Orthopaedic Capital Center, the Lady Lancers battled back from a slow start in the second set with a 12-6 run to propel themselves ahead 16-14. Dana Johnston put the exclamation mark on the 25-22 win with her kill.
The third set was all Grace. The Lady Lancers grabbed the lead and held onto it, taking the decisive set by a score of 25-20.
“I am so proud of our team tonight. We really came out excited and played our game throughout the match,” said head coach Andria Harshman. “We knew we could play at this level, and it was great to see it out on the floor tonight.”
Freshman Alicia Gosney turned in a sparkling performance with 12 kills to go along with a solo block and a block assist. Lawson tied her for attacking honors on the night with 12 kills and a solo block and a block assist as well.
Senior Rachel Bult put on a clinic as the setter for the Lady Lancers, tallying a match-high 41 assists in the three sets to go along with nine digs.
Johnston added nine kills on a .375 kill percentage, and Enrica Verrett poured in eight kills with one solo block and one block assist. Arielle Walters chipped in with two block assists and a solo block.
The Lady Lancers next travel to Georgetown, Ky., for the Rumpke Invitational this weekend. Grace plays Union College at 5 p.m. and Shorter College at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, followed by Montreat College at 10 a.m. and Concordia (Neb.) at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
HUNTINGTON, Ind. – Grace’s volleyball team had little trouble getting past Huntington University on Tuesday, winning in straight sets in their Mid-Central College Conference opener.
Enrica Verrett led all players with 10 kills on a .533 kill percentage as the Lady Lancers (5-4; 1-0 MCC) won by a scoreline of 25-14, 25-17, 25-11.
“We had a strong, balanced attack today, and I felt like we had consistent effort across the board,” said head coach Andria Harshman. “I’m looking forward to seeing how we develop and come together in the MCC season.”
Verrett’s one solo block and two block assists also paced the Lady Lancers’ dominant blocking attack. Dana Johnston added four block assists to go along with her three kills.
Overall, Grace tallied 33 kills on only nine errors for a team killing percentage of .333 against the Foresters (3-4; 0-1 MCC). Stephanie Lawson had seven kills on 16 attacks, and Calah Kruse added five kills on seven attempts. Lawson also added three of Grace’s eight service aces on the day.
Rachel Bult turned in a well-balanced performance with 24 assists, 3 service aces and 4 digs, and Bethany Whitcraft recorded a team-high seven digs.
The Lady Lancers welcome conference foe Indiana Wesleyan to the Orthopaedic Capital Center on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. tip-off.
Listen to the game live on Stretch Internet here.
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace's volleyball team turned in a pair of impressive performances on Saturday at the Earlybird Collegiate Challenge, defeating Cornerstone and No. 25 Aquinas in straight sets.
The Lady Lancers (4-3) eased past Cornerstone in their first match of the day, winning 25-18, 25-23 and 25-19. Grace faced little opposition in the first set, posting a .500 team kill percentage in the seven-point rout.
Overall, Enrica Verrett (12 kills) and Dana Johnston (10) proved too much for the Golden Eagles (4-1), and freshman Alicia Gosney continued to impress in the tournament with nine kills on 14 attempts.
Rachel Bult earned 42 assists in the three sets, and Stephanie Lawson and Stefanie Bolt both recorded seven kills. Lawson also added two solo blocks, and freshman Calah Kruse had a match-high 14 digs.
In the second match, the Verrett-Johnston duo once again highlighted Grace's offense in an upset win over No. 25 Aquinas. Johnston led all players with 13 kills to go along with three block assists, and Verrett added 10 kills, 1 solo block and 2 block assists.
The Saints (1-4) struggled to start an attack against Grace's blocking effort and could manage only a .118 team kill percentage.
Lawson had a season-high five service aces in addition to eight kills and six digs, and Bult recorded a match-high 35 assists.
"While the season is still young, we have shown some very good signs so far," said head coach Andria Harshman. "We had two very solid matches today, so we will work on continuing that effort and consistency across the board."
The Lady Lancers now shift their attention to Mid-Central College Conference play. Grace's first MCC game is Sept. 6 at Huntington University followed a home match with Indiana Wesleyan on Sept. 7.
DEARBORN, Mich. – The Lady Lancers continued their difficult preseason schedule on Friday at the Earlybird Collegiate Challenge and took a pair of losses to No. 17 Indiana Institute of Technology and the University of Northwestern Ohio.
Grace squared off with the 17th-ranked Warriors in the Lady Lancers' (2-4) first game of the tournament. Grace's attack was slow to start, while Indiana Tech ran their offense freely in a 3-0 sweep.
The Lady Lancers' best effort came in the second set with a final scoreline of 20-25, but through three games, Grace's team kill percentage was only .062 compared to .379 for Indiana Tech.
Freshman Alicia Gosney provided a spark for the Lady Lancers with four kills on a .333 kill percentage. Enrica Verrett tallied eight kills, and Stephanie Lawson added six.
In the second match of the day, Grace slipped to Northwestern Ohio 3-1. Gosney added to the finest day in her young collegiate career with nine kills (second on the team) on a .316 kill percentage.
Verrett once again led Grace's attack with 10 kills, and Lawson did her best to keep Grace close (5 kills, 4 service aces, 12 digs). Stefanie Bolt also turned in a strong performance with seven kills and a solo block, and Rachel Bult recorded 38 assists in the match.
The Lady Lancers continue play with matches against Cornerstone University and No. 25 Aquinas College on Saturday.
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace's volleyball team earned fourth place in the Ramada Plaza Tournament with a 3-0 sweep over the University of Michigan-Dearborn in the opening game and a 1-3 defeat at the hands of Daemen University on Friday.
The Lady Lancers (2-2) had little trouble getting past Michigan-Dearborn in their first match of the day. Enrica Verrett and Dana Johnston each had a match-high nine kills to pace Grace's lethal attack. Overall, the Lady Lancers posted a .263 team kill percentage, led by Verrett's .538 and Johnston's .353.
Grace was dominant in their first two sets, winning 25-14 and 25-11 before eeking out a 29-27 decision in the third set.
Stefanie Bolt totaled seven kills and three block assists, while Rachel Bult added 24 assists in the match.
In the third-place game with Daemen, Grace lost a hard-fought battle with the Wildcats (3-1). After dropping a tough 25-23 set in the opener, Grace struggled to recover and lost 25-18.
But even down two sets to none, the Lady Lancers showed resilience. Grace responded with a 25-19 victory in the third set and opened the fourth with a 8-4 lead. The wheels of their comeback fell off after that, however.
Daemen unleashed a vicious blocking presence that sparked a 21-5 run to seize the match. The Wildcats recorded three solo blocks and 18 block assists overall to stifle Grace's momentum.
Johnston (11 kills) and Verrett (12 kills) continued to be Grace's dominant offensive force. Johnston also recorded a .400 kill percentage and had three block assists.
Bult tallied 31 assists, and Stephanie Lawson added 9 kills, 2 block assists and 17 digs. Bethany Whitcraft turned in a match-high 23 digs, and Hannah Clemmons chipped in with eight kills and two service aces.
Johnston and Clemmons were named to the Ramada Plaza All-Tournament Team at the conclusion of the tournament.
The Lady Lancers are back on the court on Aug. 26 at the Earlybird Collegiate Challenge in Dearborn, Mich. Grace will take on Indiana Tech and Northwestern Ohio on Friday and Cornerstone and Aquinas on Saturday.
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Coming off a 3-0 sweep in their first game of the season, Grace's volleyball team appeared to have momentum entering their matchup with No. 26 IU-East.
But the Red Wolves (2-0) had some momentum of their own, taking three straight sets from the Lady Lancers (1-1) on Thursday evening.
In a tough opening set, IU-East -- the two-time defending Ramada Plaza Tournament champions -- pulled away at the end for a 25-19 win. It seemed as if Grace would recover as they opened up a 5-1 advantage to start the ensuing set, but IU-East won 20 of the next 31 points and won 25-18.
The Lady Lancers were sluggish to begin the third set. They fell behind 11-3 and never recovered.
Dana Johnston and Enrica Verrett led Grace's offense with seven kills apiece, and Stephanie Lawson chipped in with five. Rachel Bult paced Grace's attack with 20 assists, and freshmen Hannah Clemmons and Calah Kruse recorded 10 digs and nine digs respectively.
Grace could manage only 2.0 total team blocks against IU-East's attack and recorded a .070 kill percentage offensively.
"We will not let ourselves be discouraged, but we did not really rise to the occasion against a good team," said head coach Andria Harshman. "We have lots to work on, but we're looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow with something to prove."
The final game of group play for Grace is Friday at 11 a.m. against the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Listen to the game live on Stretch Internet here.
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – The Grace College volleyball team started with a strong performance in a 3-0 victory over Indiana University-Southeast in their first game of the season on Thursday.
The Lady Lancers (1-0), playing without 2010 NCCAA Second Team All-American Enrica Verrett, were fed by steady attacks from senior Stephanie Lawson (14 kills) and sophomore Dana Johnston (12 kills).
The Lady Lancers racked up 17 kills on three errors in the opening set on their way to a quick 25-14 decision. The Grenadiers (0-1), however, would not go down as easy after that.
IU-Southeast slipped 25-22 in the second set and 25-23 in the final.
Rachel Bult, coming off a career year as the team's setter, picked up where she left off with 34 assists. With her final assist, she topped Jessica Zaugg in the record book for third place all-time in career assists (2,235 total).
Freshmen Calah Kruse and Hannah Clemmons turned in well-rounded efforts in their first collegiate matches. Kruse led Grace with 19 digs, and Clemmons added 7 kills, 7 digs, 1 solo block and 2 block assists.
Bethany Whitcraft also chipped in with 17 digs, and Arielle Walters had two of Grace's four solo blocks.
"This was a good opening game for us," said head coach Andria Harshman. "I'm glad our freshmen stepped up and performed the way we needed them to."
The Lady Lancers return to action in pool play of the 2011 Ramada Plaza Tournament against IU-East at 8 p.m. IU-East is the two-time defending champion of the Ramada Plaza Tournament and is currently ranked 26th in the nation.
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Despite only two conference wins in 2009, the Lady Lancers set the goal of finishing in the top four in the competitive Mid-Central College Conference last season.
They did just that, finishing third with a breakout season. Grace finished 9-7 in the MCC and advanced to the semifinals of the conference tournament.
This season, Grace is ready to cement their status as a national competitor.
“Two and three years ago, we were the team that others knew they were going to beat,” said fourth-year head coach Andria Harshman. “Last year, we changed that. This year our challenge is playing where we are supposed to be at and getting noticed at the national level. We want to be in the top two in conference all season.”
Grace will have the talent and experience to take the next step in 2011. Every starter is returning to the Lady Lancers from last season, including three seniors (Enrica Verrett, Rachel Bult, Stephanie Lawson) who have started the past three seasons.
All three starting seniors enjoyed remarkable individual seasons last year. Verrett was named an NCCAA Second Team All-American and First Team All-MCC after leading Grace with 357 kills.
Bult and Lawson each made Second Team All-MCC last year. Bult continues to climb the all-time ranking for career assists. She currently sits fourth all-time after recording 1,289 last season. Lawson proved to be one of the most lethal outside hitters in the nation. She ranked 22nd in the nation in service aces with 59, and she was third on the team with 293 kills.
Other returning starters include sophomore Dana Johnston and juniors Stefanie Bolt, Arielle Walters and Bethany Whitcraft.
Johnston, a First Team All-MCC performer as a freshman, and Bolt should provide a consistent blocking presence in the middle for the Lady Lancers. Although Johnston led the MCC in kill percentage at .309 in her first campaign, Harshman is excited for even more improvement from the 6-2 middle hitter.
Harshman has brought in a strong group of freshmen that should produce one of the deepest teams Grace has ever had.
All six freshmen have a chance to see playing time. Allyssa Johnson (a 2010 redshirt) will compete with Whitcraft at the libero position, Calah Kruse, Hannah Clemmons and Alicia Gosney bring dynamic athleticism at outside hitter, and Christina LeBlanc and Madison Long will bring depth at the setter position behind Bult.
“Our strength is definitely the depth on the team this year,” Harshman continued. “We have strong upperclassmen leadership, all of starters will be returning, and our incoming freshmen will bring a competitive edge to our squad.”
The Lady Lancers open the season at the Orthopaedic Capital Center as they host the 2011 Ramada Plaza Tournament on Thursday and Friday. Grace’s first two matches are against IU-Southeast at 2 pm and IU-East at 8 pm on Thursday.
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – The Grace College volleyball team is set to become the first athletic team outside of Liberia to enter the nation since its Civil War.
The Lady Lancers will embark on a 13-day trip to Liberia, using the platform of sports ministry to help build into the youth of the war-torn nation.
“Our team saw the need in Liberia, and we are excited to partner with them through sports,” said head coach Andria Harshman. “From my understanding, well over half of the nation is considered a youth, so the chance to reach Liberia’s youth and be the first athletic team into the nation is truly an honor.”
The players, along with Harshman and Grace College Provost Bill Katip, will run clinics through Ignite International and the Liberian YMCA, which is the only non-government entity which lasted through a pair of civil wars in Liberia the last two decades.
They will stay in the capital city of Monrovia, and they are scheduled to meet Liberian government officials such as the Vice President, Minister of Sport and the Ambassador of the United States to Liberia.
Harshman and Katip, in cooperation with former U.S. men’s soccer player Doc Lawson of DonamiSport, will speak in workshops to the country’s national sport leadership council regarding how to build sports programs for the development of communities.
“I’ve always had a passion for Africa, so to have this opportunity with my teammates is awesome,” said junior Stefanie Bolt. “I have no idea what to expect, but I know it’s going to be fun with the girls. They are really excited, and we are confident that this will open the doors for other opportunities.”
Through six months of planning for the trip, Harshman and the team have been donated 12 bags full of items such as volleyballs, basketballs, soccer balls, toothbrushes, T-shirts and dresses for orphans there.
“We’re bringing 12 extra bags but none of those will come back with us,” Harshman explained. “We’ve realized how much we have and how little the people in Liberia have. The opportunity for us to put our mindset on serving should really help bond us for a long time.”
Grace will also have the opportunity to train in Liberia. The Lady Lancers are scheduled to play exhibition matches against the University of Liberia and the Liberia National Team during their trip.
The team will post updates and pictures throughout the trip on the Lancer Athletics Blog.