Kauffman’s 31 Points Powers Lady Lancers

December 16th, 2014

*attached is a file photo from the year of Allison Kauffman taken by Jeff Nycz

A career night from senior Allison Kauffman lifted Grace’s women’s basketball team to a 64-54 win at Johnson & Wales on Monday night.

Kauffman ripped off a career-best 31 points on 13-of-21 shooting, rounding out her memorable evening with 13 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.

Grace held the Wildcats (4-5) to 30 percent shooting for the game. The Lady Lancers (7-6) also tied a season-low with nine turnovers in an efficient performance in Florida.

The Lady Lancers jumped out to a 16-5 lead after tipoff to set the tone for Monday’s game. Kelsie Peterson opened the game’s scoring with a 3-pointer, and Grace did not trail the rest of the way.

Grace went into the halftime break with a 32-22 advantage. Grace assisted on eight of its 12 made shots in the first period and held Johnson & Wales to a paltry 29 percent from the floor.

Kauffman flexed her muscles in the second half. The All-American senior netted 21 of Grace’s 32 second-half points, making 9-of-11 from the floor.

Grace led by as many as 19 points after halftime at 56-37 with 6:20 remaining. The Lady Lancers coasted to the final buzzer, winning comfortably by 10 points.

Both squads struggled to find production away from their starting five. Heather House’s two points were the only points scored off the bench by either team. The Wildcats did hold a plus-nine advantage in rebounds thanks to 23 offensive boards, but poor shooting by the home team (21-of-70) was too much for Johnson & Wales to overcome.

Peterson netted 10 points, 4 assists and 2 steals, and Lindsey Schaefer had eight points and seven rebounds. Gabby Bryant tallied 8 points, 5 boards and 3 assists, and Darian Patton added five points and five assists. JWU’s Diamond Williams scored 21 to lead the Wildcats.

Grace concludes its trip to the Sunshine State with a game Tuesday at St. Thomas at 6 p.m.

Cole, Smith Garner All-American Recognition

December 11th, 2014

Seniors Jacob Cole and Trent Smith were honored as All-Americans by the NCCAA to wrap up the 2014 season for Grace’s men’s soccer team.

Cole and Smith were both NCCAA Second Team All-Americans, released on Wednesday. The pair were also honored by the Crossroads League as Cole was First Team All-CL and Smith was Second Team All-CL.

Senior goalkeeper Cole gave up just three goals in six Crossroads League contests. He finished the season with four shutouts and nine goals surrendered, making 32 saves in 11 games.

Smith directed the Lancers’ midfield, tallying two goals and two assists. He led Grace’s team with 45 shots and 19 shots on goal.

Cole and Smith helped Grace advance to two trips to NCCAA Nationals during their four-year careers under head coach Matt Hotchkin.

Additionally, the Lancers had six players earn NAIA and NCCAA Scholar-Athlete status: seniors Ben Cahill, Cole, Payton Norris and Trent Smith and juniors Justin Festa and Kyle Hamlin. Hamlin was also named CoSIDA Academic All-District.

Rondeau Named NCCAA Player of the Year

December 11th, 2014

Pictured is Mallory Rondeau (center) celebrating a goal at NCCAA Nationals last week.

The finest season in Grace’s women’s soccer history earned the program’s finest individual award on Wednesday when Mallory Rondeau was named the NCCAA Player of the Year.

The junior forward finished the 2014 season with 18 goals and 11 assists. She ended the season on a blistering pace, tallying 14 goals with eight assists over Grace’s final 15 matches. At NCCAA Nationals, Rondeau led the Lady Lancers to the program’s first national championship game appearance with four goals and an assist in four contests.

Rondeau’s Player of the Year honor is Grace’s first such award. She joined Abby Schue and Carianne Sobey as NCCAA First Team All-Americans. Rondeau and Sobey were also honorable mentions for NAIA All-American status, and Holly Bennett was an NCCAA Second Team All-American in her final season.

Junior midfielder Sobey tallied a team-leading 12 assists to go along with five goals. Sobey, who is Grace’s career assists leader with 39 to her credit, had three assists and two goals at NCCAA Nationals.

Freshman goalkeeper Schue allowed just 13 goals to score against her in 25 games. She notched 14 shutouts and saw just one goal pass by her in four games at NCCAA Nationals. She had a shutout in eight of Grace’s nine Crossroads League contests.

Bennett played in all 25 games for the Lady Lancers. She notched a goal and two assists as a holding midfielder for Grace and graduates with Kaitlan Wiles and Kelsey Christner as the first class to make four straight national tournaments. The seniors also graduated as the winningest class in team history with a record of 61-24-11.

After Grace’s sparkling run at NCCAA Nationals, the Lady Lancers had four players land a spot on the All-Tournament Team including Schue, Meghan Wiles, Sobey and Rondeau. Schue was named the Tournament’s Outstanding Defensive Player. Wiles played an instrumental role in Grace’s possession attack during the national tournament.

In the NAIA Coaches’ Postseason Top 25 Poll, the Lady Lancers ended the season at No. 18 (also released Wednesday). It was Grace’s seventh straight national ranking from the NAIA and seventh ranking in team history.

Grace was just as impressive in the classroom. The team had 11 players earn NAIA and NCCAA Scholar-Athlete distinction: seniors Bennett, Kelsey Christner and Kaitlan Wiles and juniors Jordan Hairgrove, Darcy Johnston, Erica Manchess, Heather Martin, Rondeau, Sobey, Faith Voehringer and Meghan Wiles. Rondeau was also named to the prestigious Capital One Academic All-America® Team in November.

Grace finished the 2014 season with a number of superlatives: first NAIA Top 25 ranking, first trip to a national championship game and tied for most wins in a season (17-5-3). Grace also advanced to its second-ever league tournament championship game and fourth straight national tournament under head coach Michael Voss.

Voss commented: “Being a GCWS player is hard. This 2014 crew laid down their pride and selfish desire to make this team play ‘Possession Attacking Futbol’ at a pace and longevity we’ve never had previously. These players are special. They’ve found the right balance between being furiously competitive and living in the joy of the Lord. It’s been super hard at times, and I’m grateful they put their hope in Christ above futbol. I am super proud of these women and coaches, and I’m incredibly grateful for the working of God in our team.”

Lancers Hold on for Three-Point Win

December 10th, 2014

Pictured is Brandon Vanderhegghen dribbling against Indiana Tech on Tuesday.

Grace’s men’s basketball team may have led nearly the entire game against Indiana Tech on Tuesday, but the result was far from settled until the final seconds.

The Lancers (10-3) held on late for the 70-67 victory over the Warriors (5-7) at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.

Grace stifled Indiana Tech into 37-percent shooting for the game compared to Grace’s 43 percent. The Lancers also had six fewer turnovers than the Warriors (16 to 10), but Indiana Tech finished with a plus-five advantage on the glass as the Warriors hauled in 13 offensive rebounds.

Six players for Grace scored at least eight points, led by 15 from Kyle Fillman.

Grace got off to a torrid start on Tuesday, making its first five shots en route to a 10-2 lead. Indiana Tech was forced to burn an early timeout to slow Grace’s momentum. Grace increased its edge to 14-4 before surrendering a 10-0 run to the Warriors to tie the game.

The Warriors stayed within striking distance throughout the opening half but only led for one possession. The Lancers led 30-29 at the halftime break.

The second half was a similar story. Grace continued to maintain a slight margin over Indiana Tech, but the Lancers were unable to put the Warriors away. The teams traded baskets over the final minutes with Grace holding a one-possession lead for the majority of the last 3:00.

A late turnover by Grace with 17 seconds remaining gave Indiana Tech the ball, trailing by three points at 69-66.  But after being fouled with six seconds to play, the Warriors converted on just 1-of-2 from the line. Grace returned the favor by making 1-of-2 on its free throws to go on top 70-67. The Warriors then turned the ball over on their final possession to allow Grace to hold on for the three-point win.

Logan Irwin finished with 11 points, 7 assists, 0 turnovers and 4 rebounds, and Niko Read had 11 points. Caleb Featherston tallied nine points and four rebounds, and Dennis Williams and Brandon Vanderhegghen each chipped in eight points.

The Lancers will be away from the friendly confines of the MOCC until Jan. 10 against St. Francis. Grace will travel to Florida next week for games against Warner on Dec. 15 and Webber International on Dec. 17.

Grace Spikers Earn Pair of All-American Honors

December 10th, 2014

To wrap up Grace’s sterling 2014 campaign, the Lady Lancers’ volleyball team picked up two All-American accolades from the NCCAA.

Senior setter Ellie Harp was named NCCAA/AVCA First Team All-American. She was also earned a spot on the six-player 2014 NCCAA All-Tournament Team after helping the Lady Lancers to the national semifinals. Harp’s 1,547 assists in her final campaign ranked seventh for a single season, and her career total of 2,619 assists was good for fourth among Grace’s all-time leaders.

Senior outside hitter Calah Kruse was named NCCAA Second Team All-American. She graduated fourth in Grace’s history with 1,924 digs and seventh with 1,173 kills.

Additionally, Hannah Clemmons was the prestigious NCCAA Susan R. Hellings Award, given to one student-athlete per year. Clemmons, along with Alix Underwood and Jessica Scherb were all named NAIA and NCCAA Scholar-Athletes. Clemmons finished her career No. 3 on Grace’s career digs leaders with 1,960 digs.

The Lady Lancers (30-12) finished the season with 30 wins for the second time since 1996, reaching the NCCAA National Championships for the third time in four years. Grace also advanced to the NCCAA Final Four for the second time in four seasons under head coach Andria Harshman.

Grace Holds Sportsmanship Summit for Northern Lakes Conference

December 9th, 2014

Pictured is the 2014 Sportsmanship Summit attendees from the Northern Lakes Conference

Grace College and Director of Athletics Chad Briscoe welcomed student-athletes from the high schools of the Northern Lakes Conference for a Sportsmanship Summit on Tuesday.

Ten student-athletes from eight NLC schools attended the conference, which was designed to educate student-athletes about sportsmanship and character training in athletics.

“We are pleased to be a part of building character at the high-school level through the Sportsmanship Summit,” Briscoe said. “We hope it served as a great opportunity to educate and reinforce character education and to help promote the importance of sportsmanship for each student-athlete.”

Students from Concord, Elkhart Memorial, Goshen, Northridge, NorthWood, Plymouth, Warsaw and Wawasee high schools spent the day together working in groups to discuss and challenge one another in sportsmanship and character-building opportunities in the athletic realm. The students worked in team-initiative opportunities to build camaraderie among the schools in the conference.

“The schools in the NLC are really supportive of one another. Sometimes that gets lost in the heat of competition on Friday and Saturday nights,” said Warsaw athletic director Dave Anson. “Efforts like this truly help our student-athletes and leaders continue emphasizing the important and lasting messages that athletics can send. Thank you to Grace for helping us as a conference meet the need for character emphasis in our schools and communities.”

The Sportsmanship Summit featured sessions from IHSAA Assistant Commissioner Sandy Searcy, Grace College Vice President Jim Swanson and Briscoe.

Warsaw sophomore Page Desenberg commented: “In our society, there is a lot of attitude and ego that’s all about me, me, me. Today helped bring to light the importance of decision-making and how we can have a big impact on kids looking up to us.”

Wawasee sophomore Stephen Possell added: “We were reminded today that sportsmanship is a goal that each team should have. The positive attitude and feedback student-athletes can bring to our schools can make a difference.”

Men’s Basketball Slips in OT to Goshen

December 8th, 2014

A wild Crossroads League game went against Grace’s men’s basketball team on  Saturday as Goshen scored late to win 74-73 in overtime.

Grace made a massive comeback to force overtime against the Maple Leafs (8-3, 2-1 CL) and went ahead in the final 10 seconds of overtime. But Goshen made the decisive play, winning the game with four seconds to play.

Despite Goshen hitting 54 percent of its shots in the first period, Grace still went into the halftime locker room tied at 34-34.

Goshen quickly asserted control in the second half and held a lead for nearly the entire 20 minutes. The Maple Leafs held a seemingly comfortable 67-57 lead with 4:48 remaining. But Grace made a remarkable rally, ending regulation with a 12-2 run including the game-tying basket from Niko Read.

In overtime, Grace trailed by two with less than a minute to play. Logan Irwin then stepped up to bury the go-ahead 3-pointer with 10 seconds on the clock, only to see Goshen’s Stefon Luckey race down the court and score the game winner with four ticks remaining. The Maple Leafs escaped the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center with the one-point victory.

For the game, Grace struggled with its shot at 38 percent compared to 49 percent for Goshen. The Lancers did have nine 3-pointers to their credit, including four treys from Read and three from Brandon Vanderhegghen. Read and Irwin finished with team-leading 16 points apiece, and Irwin added 9 assists, 6 rebounds and 3 steals.

Caleb Featherston had a double-double of 14 points and 10 boards, Vanderhegghen finished with nine points and Kyle Fillman added eight.

The Lancers have one home game remaining in 2014. Grace hosts Indiana Tech on Tuesday at 7 p.m. before heading to Florida the following week for a pair of games.

Grace Falls in PK’s in NCCAA Title Game

December 8th, 2014

Grace’s women’s soccer team came up just short in its pursuit of a national championship, falling in a penalty shootout to Lee University on Saturday.

The Lady Lancers played one of its most complete matches of the season against Lee to cap off a strong performance in the 2014 NCCAA National Championships.

The game was also the final one in the sterling senior class of Holly Bennett, Kaitlan Wiles and Kelsey Christner. They graduate as the winningest class in program history at 62-23-11 and are also the first class to reach four consecutive national tournaments.

Saturday night’s championship match had all the drama and excitement that was fitting for a title bout. Grace struck first in the first half off a majestic effort from Meredith Hollar. The sophomore forward created some space from a defender at the top of the penalty box. She then unleashed a vicious 22-yard rocket that crashed into the upper 90 of the net in the 21st minute.

Jordan Hairgrove nearly added Grace’s second goal with a shot from the 18-yard line that was saved. The teams entered halftime with Grace ahead 1-0.

A few minutes into the second half, Grace nearly scored again as a free kick from Heather Martin resulted in a scrum in the penalty box. But Grace was unable to pounce on the loose ball.

With 38 minutes remaining in the contest, play was halted due to a malfunction in one of the stadium’s light poles. The issue caused a 20-minute delay.

Lee finally broke onto the scoreboard in the 81st minute, tying the game 1-1. The final 10 minutes of action after Lee’s game-tying goal was full of back-and-forth play. With less than three minutes remaining, Mallory Rondeau got free on the right side of the penalty box. She squared a pass to Holly Bennett, but her shot went wide of goal.

The overtime periods were just as evenly played as regulation. Mimi Lozano fired the best shot for Grace in the first overtime period, weaving in from the left side of the field to take a shot on goal. The Flames nearly scored eight minutes into overtime with a cross in front of Grace’s goal, but Lee’s volley sailed high of the crossbar.

Grace had two golden chances to score in the second overtime session. But the Lady Lancers could not convert on either a corner kick or a free kick from the left side of the field.

After neither team could separate itself after 110 minutes, the match went into a penalty shootout. Lee won the coin toss to take the first kicks. Both teams made their first tries, but Lee took a 2-1 advantage after Grace’s second kick went wide. Abby Schue then came up with a big save, and Kaitlan Wiles’s next kick tied the score at 2-2.

Each team missed one more shot during their first five attempts, sending the game to sudden death. Mallory Rondeau and Meredith Matson each converted their shots in do-or-die scenarios, but Lee secured the national title with a save on Grace’s next kick.

Meghan Wiles, Carianne Sobey and Mallory Rondeau were named to the All-Tournament Team, and Abby Schue was named the tournament’s Outstanding Defensive Player.

Grace ended the season by tying the program record for most wins in a season with 17. They also advanced to a national championship game for the first time in team history.

Grace Spikers End Season at NCCAA Semifinals

December 8th, 2014

pictured is Sierra Smith (left) rising for a kill against Trinity Christian on Saturday

The 2014 season for Grace’s volleyball team ended in the semifinals of the NCCAA National Championships on Saturday morning.

The Lady Lancers fell in five sets to No. 1 seed Trinity Christian, wrapping up the season with a record of 30-12.

The loss ends the careers of seniors Calah Kruse, Hannah Clemmons and Ellie Harp. They finished as the first class to reach three national championships in a four-year span, following trips to NCCAA Nationals in 2011 and 2012. They also reached the 30-win plateau for only the second time since 1996.

Kaitlin Kerrigan was instrumental in Grace’s opening set victory with five kills. Grace was behind early 10-7, but the Lady Lancers rallied to take the lead 14-13 on a block point by Grace Woolsey and Ellie Harp. The Trolls (37-10) were unable ###to taste the lead the rest of the set, losing 25-21.

Trinity responded aptly in the next game with its best set of the morning. The Trolls rolled to a 25-16 win to even the match, pounding out 21 kills on just two errors.

The third set proved to be pivotal. The teams exchanged small runs throughout much of the game, ultimately leading to a 20-20 tie. Grace used a pair of 4-0 spurts earlier in the set, but it was the Trolls’ turn to make a run at the end. Trinity ended the match by scoring the final five points, winning 25-20.

Tori Bontrager helped Grace get back on track in the fourth game, claiming an 8-0 lead on Bontrager’s serving from the onset. Trinity refused to fade, however, and remarkably tied the game at 16-16. Grace recovered to pull ahead 20-17, and the 20th point – a solo block from Kari Feddema – forced a Trolls’ timeout. The timeout worked as Trinity quickly tied the score then went on top 23-22 with back-to-back blocks.

But a well-placed timeout from head coach Andria Harshman allowed the Lady Lancers to regain composure, ending the match at 25-23 with three straight points to force a fifth set.

The teams traded points during an action-packed tiebreaker set. Trinity gained the first separation at 7-4, resulting in a timeout. Grace was unable to pierce through the Trolls’ lead and was forced to use their second timeout trailing 11-7. But Trinity would not be denied a place in the championship match, ultimately winning 15-10.

Calah Kruse recorded her fifth double-double in five matches at NCCAA Nationals, tallying team-highs 15 kills and 25 digs. Kaitlin Kerrigan finished with 15 kills and 11 digs, and Tori Bontrager had 10 kills. Ellie Harp recorded 50 assists, 12 digs and 7 kills, Hannah Clemmons had 18 digs, and Sierra Smith had seven kills.

Women’s Soccer Wins 3-0 in NCCAA Semifinals

December 8th, 2014

pictured is junior Meghan Wiles during the first half against Houghton

Grace’s women’s soccer team moved one step away from its first national championship, dispatching Houghton 3-0 on Friday at NCCAA Nationals.

The Lady Lancers (17-4-3) will square off with Lee in the NCCAA National Championship on Saturday at 5:45 p.m. in Grace’s first title game appearance. Lee defeated Campbellsville 3-0 in the other semifinal match on Friday.

“I thought it was a very complete performance from us. We got a lot of production out of a lot of different people. Getting in and out of possession was very good for us. We were good when we were out of possession defensively, which actually created the two opportunities at the end,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “The girls will be ready [tomorrow]. This game was very physical, but it didn’t take it all out of them. They’ll be ready to go.”

Houghton started the game with energy, firing two shots in the opening minutes. But the half soon evened out as the teams got adjusted to each other. Grace began to flex its possession muscles midway through the half, maintaining pressure on the Highlanders’ half of the field for long stretches of play.

Grace’s possession produced a number of shot opportunities, including first-half attempts from Holly Bennett, Meredith Hollar and Jordan Hairgrove. The best chance of the half for the Lady Lancers came in the closing five minutes. Heather Martin’s cross was flicked on at goal by a header from Kaitlan Wiles, but Wiles’s attempt was saved from close range.

Similar to Grace’s first two games at NCCAA Nationals, the Lady Lancers came to life in the second half – this time with three goals.

The first goal came off the left foot of Carianne Sobey. The junior midfielder faked a move into the middle of the penalty box, beat her defender to the left and then fired the game’s first goal at the 59:17 mark.

Mallory Rondeau continued her torrid pace with Grace’s second goal 14 minutes later. Rondeau scored from a similar angle to Sobey’s goal on the left side. She has now scored in every match of NCCAA Nationals and has four goals and an assist in three games.

Rondeau nearly had a second goal on the left side, but her low shot was denied by the goalpost.

Sobey added an assist to her tally for the match late in the contest. A short corner resulted in Sobey’s low pass to Maile Grout, and Grout seized on the opportunity by blasting her shot inside the right post to make the score 3-0.

Abby Schue picked up her third shutout of the tournament and 14th of the season as Grace’s goalkeeper. Meredith Matson, Faith Voehringer, Heather Martin and Erica Manchess limited the Highlanders to nine shots in the semifinal match.

Grace’s win on Friday also gives the Lady Lancers 17 victories on the season – tying the program record for wins in a single season (17-5-3 in 2012).