Lady Lancers Advance to NCCAA Nationals

November 21st, 2014

Pictured is Kari Feddema (right) being congratulated for a kill by Hannah Clemmons, Sara Miller and Calah Kruse

Grace’s volleyball punched its ticket to 2014 NCCAA Nationals with a convincing 3-1 victory over Oakland City on Thursday.

The Lady Lancers (27-10) will make their third trip in four years to Kissimmee, Fla., thanks to the three-headed attack of Calah Kruse, Tori Bontrager and Sierra Smith.

The win marks the first time in program history where a four-year class has earned three trips to a national tournament.

In the opening set, the teams battled back and forth until Grace gained separation at the midway point. The Mighty Oaks (16-9) fought back to within two points of Grace’s lead, but Grace eased away to a 25-19 win on a kill from Sierra Smith.

Oakland City jumped ahead early in the second set and never looked back. Grace battled off two set points before ultimately falling 25-21.

The Mighty Oaks again led from the start during the third set, claiming a 6-2 lead. The Lady Lancers responded with an 8-2 run to grab the lead at 10-8. Grace scored four straight points to break open a 14-14 deadlock. Another timely 5-1 run late in the game gave Grace the cushion it needed, and Kari Feddema’s kill down the line won the set 25-20.

The Lady Lancers made short work of the Mighty Oaks in the fourth set, winning 25-15 on a service ace from Jessica Scherb. Grace’s offense cruised along with 12 kills on just two errors in the set.

Kruse finished with a double-double of 15 kills on a .308 percentage and 15 digs. Bontrager had 13 kills on a .480 percentage, and Smith tallied 12 kills on a .320 percentage.

Ellie Harp passed out 44 assists with four kills, and Hannah Clemmons had a match-high 21 digs. Sara Miller chipped in 13 digs, and Kaitlin Kerrigan tallied six kills and nine digs.

Check back at www.GCLancers.com for updates on the NCCAA tournament field and opponents.

Grace Volleyball Wins Five All-League Honors

November 19th, 2014

Pictured: (left) Calah Kruse, Grace Woolsey, Sierra Smith, Hannah Clemmons, Kaitlin Kerrigan, Ellie Harp

The Crossroads League heaped several postseason awards onto Grace’s volleyball team after a 25-win regular season.

Ellie Harp headlined Grace’s award haul by winning the league’s Setter of the Year award. Harp has racked up over 1,300 assists this season to go along with 66 aces, 210 kills and 295 digs. She was one of three Lady Lancers to win First Team All-CL accolades, joining senior Calah Kruse and sophomore Grace Woolsey.

Sophomore Kaitlin Kerrigan earned a spot on the Second Team All-CL, and senior Hannah Clemmons was honorable mention for All-CL status as the team’s libero.

Kruse led Grace’s offense with 381 kills and was second on the team with 436 digs. She is just the third Lady Lancer in program history to tally 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs.

Woolsey became a dominant defensive force for Grace this fall, currently ranking No. 1 in the NAIA in total blocks with 173. She is third on the team in kills with 311 on a .208 percentage.

Kerrigan finished just behind Kruse in kills during her second season, producing 2.8 kills/set on a .157 percentage. Clemmons’s 639 digs paces Grace’s back row. She is third all-time in career digs with over 1,800 to her credit.

The Lady Lancers have assured themselves a spot in the 2014 NCCAA Nationals starting Dec. 4 in Kissimmee, Fla., either as an at-large representative or as a region champion. Grace can claim the Midwest Region championship on Thursday 6 p.m. at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center with a title match against Oakland City.

Lancers Eliminated in Shootout to Oakland City

November 19th, 2014

Grace’s tournament run in the NCCAA Midwest Regional Tournament was cut short on Tuesday, falling in a penalty shootout to Oakland City.

The match, played at an ice-cold Miller Field, tied 1-1 through regulation and overtime. But the Lancers (9-7-2) fell 3-1 in penalty kicks as three of the team’s attempts were saved.

The first half belonged to Grace. The Lancers outshot the Mighty Oaks (8-5-3) by a 10-2 margin and netted the go-ahead goal in the 20th minute. Kyle Hamlin made a fantastic run along the left endline, weaving his way past two defenders before squaring the ball in front of the net to Ben Cahill for a point-blank finish at the 19:24mark.

Grace had the better of possession and dangerous opportunities throughout the opening period and went into halftime ahead 1-0.

Oakland City made adjustments at halftime and became the offensive aggressor in the second half. The Mighty Oaks tallied 12 shots after halftime, eventually finding the game-tying goal in the 75th minute off the foot of Connor Jamieson.

Both sides had chances to win the game in the final 15 minutes of regulation. The last and perhaps best chance came off a leaping header from Dylan Andersen, which had to be saved off the goal line by an Oakland City defender.

The overtime sessions came and went without a goal being scored as the Lancers held a slight 3-2 advantage in shots over the two periods.

The penalty shootout put Robbie Barnhill as Grace’s goalkeeper, and Barnhill came up with a crucial save on Oakland City’s third attempt. The Lancers’ kicks, however, were not good enough to fool the Mighty Oaks’ goalkeeper. Only Jon Sands’s attempt was successful as the other three PKs from Grace were saved.

The match ended tied 16-16 in shot attempts, and Oakland City had a slight 7-5 edge in corner kicks.

Trent Smith and Ben Cahill led all players with four shots, and Danilo Carnelos, Gift Sibukome and Josiah O’Deens each tallied two shots.

Grace Takes Down No. 20 Ashford

November 17th, 2014

Grace’s men’s basketball team picked up its first signature win of the season with a 57-53 upset of No. 20 Ashford on Saturday.

The Lancers (6-1), playing their second ranked team in as many days, suffered a challenging first half on the offensive end, struggling to make just 5-of-21 from the floor. But Grace recovered thanks to balanced production and a stingy defense for the four-point win.

While Grace’s offense struggled to 24 percent shooting, Grace’s defense was up to the task. Ashford was limited to 19 first-half points but still managed to hold a slight 19-18 lead entering halftime. The Saints made just 32 percent from the floor in the opening half.

On the first possession of the second half, Caleb Featherston made a steal and Kyle Fillman sank two free throws to put Grace on top 20-19. Grace did not trail the rest of the way.

The Lancers quickly opened up a six-point lead, but the Saints refused to fade. With less than nine minutes remaining, Grace made a 10-2 push to grab a 48-40 lead. Niko Read scored half of Grace’s points in that run as he and Logan Irwin buried back-to-back 3-pointers to force a timeout from Ashford.

Ashford made a late push in the final minute, capitalizing on Grace’s misses from the foul line to cut the deficit to 56-53 with 10 seconds remaining. Fillman made 1-of-2 of his free throws on the next possession, and Ashford turned the ball over on the next play to seal Grace’s upset win.

Grace’s offense was much more efficient in the second half, hitting 65 percent of its field goals and 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. Irwin netted a team-high 13 points with four assists, and Fillman added 11 points.

Dennis Williams’s well-rounded performance included 9 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocked shots, Caleb Featherston added 9 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists, and Brandon Vanderhegghen scored eight points off the bench.

Grace’s next week will be action-packed. The Lancers will travel to NCAA Div. II University of Indianapolis on Wednesday for an exhibition at 7 p.m. Grace will then host the annual KCCCF Hoops for Hope Tournament at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center in a combined effort with the women’s basketball team. The Lancers will host Grace Bible College on Friday at 8 p.m.

Lady Lancers Falter to No. 6 Spring Arbor in Title Bout

November 17th, 2014

pictured is Meredith Hollar on the attack against Spring Arbor on Saturday

Despite doubling up No. 6 Spring Arbor in shots, Grace’s women’s soccer team could not find the back of the net in the 2014 Crossroads League Tournament championship.

The NAIA 17th-ranked Lady Lancers (13-4-3) gave up a goal on a scrum in the penalty box early in the first half and never struck back, falling 1-0 on Saturday.

Grace will still have a shot at qualifying for NAIA Nationals as an at-large invite, but they will have to await the release of the 32-team field on Sunday evening.

The first 10 minutes of the match belonged to Grace as the Lady Lancers rattled off four shots with two corner kicks from the onset. Mallory Rondeau fired a shot into the side netting, and Heather Martin took a hard shot from distance.

But the Cougars (18-1-1) scored on their first corner kick of the match in the 17th minute. Spring Arbor sent a cross into the penalty box and scored on the ensuing loose ball.

The remainder of the first half was evenly played as each team had their fair share of offensive opportunities.

The second half was a different story altogether. Grace outshot Spring Arbor 6-0 in pursuit of an equalizing goal, dominating time on the ball and passing its way around the Cougars’ defense.

One of Grace’s best chances of the game came 10 minutes into the second half. Kaitlyn Hayes laid off a perfect leading pass to Meredith Hollar, whose line-drive shot forced a diving save.

Hollar broke free of a defender a few minutes later from 23 yards out and rifled a hard shot at Spring Arbor’s goalkeeper, and Rondeau also split two defenders at the right edge of the 18-yard box to take a shot attempt.

But the Cougars’ defense held firm in the face of Grace’s possession attack, shutting out the Lady Lancers. Grace went scoreless for only the second time this season and first time since Sept. 20.

Hollar and Martin took four shots apiece to lead Grace and three of Martin’s shots were on goal. Abby Schue made four saves while surrendering a goal in 90 minutes tending Grace’s net.

If Grace does not earn a spot at NAIA Nationals, the team will shift its focus to qualifying for NCCAA Nationals with a potential regional game next week. Check back at www.GCLancers.com for updates.

No. 14 Bees Edge Lancers in Shootout

November 17th, 2014

A high-powered matchup between No. 14 St. Ambrose and Grace’s men’s basketball team resulted in the Lancers’ first loss of the season.

Grace had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds but ultimately fell 95-91 in their upset bid on Friday.

The Lancers (5-1) got off to a rough start, falling behind 14-5 after just four minutes of action as the Bees came out firing. It didn’t take long for Grace to warm up its offense. The Lancers poured in 11 points in a two-minute span to tie the game at 16-16. Dennis Williams scored five points during Grace’s spurt, and Niko Read buried back-to-back 3-pointers.

Read’s hot shooting continued throughout the first half as he nailed four treys before halftime. St. Ambrose went into the halftime locker room ahead 50-47 after a fast-paced period.

The points continued to pour in during the second half, and Grace eventually battled in front by two points on a basket from Chad Hoffer with 13:12 remaining.

The teams continued to trade baskets as a 3-pointer from Logan Irwin knotted the game at 79-79 with 5:21 on the clock.

The Bees (5-1) seemed ready to pull away a few minutes later, stretching their lead to 90-83 on a 3-pointer with 2:39 on the clock. Grace had plenty of fight left, however. The Lancers trimmed the Bees’ lead to two points twice in the final minute – first on a rebound putback from Caleb Featherston and then on a layup by Irwin.

St. Ambrose made 1-of-2 from the foul line after Irwin’s layup, giving Grace a chance to tie the game behind by three with 16 seconds remaining. But Brandon Vanderhegghen missed a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession, allowing St. Ambrose to hold on for the four-point win.

All nine Lancers who played scored a point. Read took scoring honors on the night with 19 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals, and Irwin added 18 points, 4 assists and 2 blocked shots.

Featherston scored 14 points with five rebounds, Hoffer tallied 11 points and seven boards off the bench, and Williams recorded eight points and seven rebounds.

As a team Grace committed a season-best nine turnovers, but the Bees took advantage by scoring 18 points off those nine mistakes. The Bees also outshot the Lancers from the floor 50 percent to 44 percent.

The Lancers will take another stab at an NAIA Top 25-ranked opponent on Saturday, playing No. 20 Ashford at 2 p.m.

Second-Half Comeback Falls Short

November 17th, 2014

Grace’s women’s basketball team lost its first game of the season at St. Francis (Ill.) on Friday 62-54.

The Lady Lancers (5-1) trailed by as many as 15 points in the second half and could not complete its comeback bid. Grace’s offense sputtered to its worst shooting percentage of the season at 31 percent.

The first half demonstrated Grace’s offensive struggles. The Lady Lancers scored just 10 points over the first 13:31 of play and trailed 18-10 at that point. The Saints (1-4) held a 29-20 lead at the half.

St. Francis continued to expand its lead in the second half, claiming a 15-point advantage at 39-24 with 13:46 remaining in the game. But Grace had a comeback in its arsenal.

Still behind by 14 points with 8:17 on the clock, Grace mounted a furious 11-1 run to chop the Saints’ lead down to four with 4:31 to play. Allison Kauffman had five points during Grace’s run.

St. Francis scored on their next two possessions to gain separation, but a 3-pointer from Gabby Bryant brought Grace to within five points with less than three minutes left. The Saints made five free throws in the final minute, however, to hold on for the eight-point win.

As a team Grace was credited for a season-high 25 turnovers in defeat. The Saints had 22 turnovers as well, but the hosts hit 44 percent of their field goal attempts. St. Francis’s Katie Gonnering led all players with 30 points on 14-of-22 shooting.

Grace did hold a plus-10 advantage on the boards, but the Lady Lancers could not overcome their 31-percent shooting performance.

Allison Kauffman registered all of her 13 points in the second half to go along with a game-high 15 rebounds, and Lindsey Schaefer led the Lady Lancers with 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting.

Kelsey Sule (seven points) and Micah Pollard (five points) provided a spark off the bench, and Gabby Bryant and Darian Patton scored six points apiece.

The Lady Lancers face a stiff test on Saturday when they travel to the No. 1 scoring team in the nation in Olivet Nazarene, who averages 116 points per contest.

Grace College Participates in Super Market Sweep – Give ‘Till You Drop, November 19, 2014

November 14th, 2014

Pictured: Grace College team from last year’s Super Market Sweep, Give ‘Till You Drop event

Mission Point Community Church and Grace College are partnering with Owen’s Supermarket on East Center Street to host the fourth annual Super Market Sweep: Give ‘Till You Drop event on Wednesday, November 19, an all-day event.

The Super Market Sweep is a day for community members to come together and give back to area families in need this season.  Everyone is invited to go to Owen’s Supermarket from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and shop for as many non-perishable food items as possible.  Volunteers will be present to pass out a list of needed food items and collect the purchased food. After all the food has been collected, it will go to replenish the pantries of Combined Community Services, Our Father’s House, and Salvation Army. Baby formula and diapers will be given to Heartline Pregnancy Center.

Financial donations have been provided by Mission Point Community Church, Grace College, DePuy Orthopaedics, Nextremity Solutions, PayProTec, and Wildman Uniform.  A special thanks to Owen’s Supermarket and their managers for being willing to host this shopping spree.

Plan to join in on the generosity and make a difference by giving this year. Come shop the Super Market Sweep on November 19. For more information on the Super Market Sweep, Give ‘Till You Drop event, please contact Kearstin Criswell at: criswekn@grace.edu.

Grace College Students Place at Intercollegiate Mediation Tournament

November 14th, 2014

The Grace College Varsity Mediation Team attended the International Intercollegiate Mediation Tournament, hosted this year at Brenau University in Gainesville, Ga. The event was held November 6-8.

Head-to-head competition between the three-member teams began Friday at various locations on the Brenau campus and culminated with championship rounds on Saturday. Mediation teams from each participating school were judged on their ability to bring conflicts to a conclusion satisfactory to both parties.

Grace College students Mary Wick, Kristin Cassidy, Drake Darrah, Edward Coplin, and Matthew Faley attended The president of the team, Drake Darrah, received the All-American Mediator award with a  9th place finish out of 120 mediators.

“We are proud of Drake for winning All American Mediator,” said Dr. Norris, “He is very conscientious and performs excellently in everything he does.”

Grace Drops Heartbreaker to Taylor in Semifinals

November 14th, 2014

Pictured are (left) Sierra Smith and (right) Grace Woolsey attempting a block against Taylor on Thursday

The old adage “it’s hard to beat a team three times” rang true on Thursday night. After sweeping the season series against Taylor, Grace’s volleyball team fell in five sets to the Trojans in the Crossroads League Tournament semifinals.

The Lady Lancers (26-10) served twice with a chance to win the match in the fourth set, but the Trojans (26-12) showed resolve with a come-from-behind victory.

Grace’s seniors shined in the semifinal defeat. Setter Ellie Harp was dynamic for Grace, producing a rare triple-double with 54 assists, 11 digs and 10 kills, outside hitter Calah Kruse blasted out 18 kills and 23 digs, and libero Hannah Clemmons tallied 20 digs.

With the loss, Grace will turn its attention to qualifying for the NCCAA National Championships in Kissimmee, Fla. The regional tournament opponents and pairings will be announced in the coming days.

Grace got off to a fast start in the opening set while playing in front of a charged home crowd. Freshman Sierra Smith pounded out a few timely kills to help Grace broke open a 13-13 lead. Taylor never recovered, and Kaitlin Kerrigan scored the last two points for Grace en route to a 25-20 victory.

The Trojans countered with a 25-15 victory in the second set, rattling off 13 kills on just two errors.

Grace forced Taylor into an early timeout in the third set, leading 12-9. The Trojans were unable to slow Grace’s momentum as the Lady Lancers scored seven more points in a row. Kerrigan and Grace Woolsey combined for a block point at the end as Grace was on the brink of victory with a 25-17 win.

The fourth set seemed headed Grace’s way down the stretch. At one point Taylor was on top 17-13, but Grace rallied ahead 23-20 thanks to superlative defensive plays from Clemmons and Sara Miller. Taylor knotted the score at 23-23, but Grace went on to serve two match points at 24-23 and 25-24. The Trojans came away with clutch plays down the stretch to steal a 27-25 victory.

Taylor continued its momentum in the tiebreaker and led from start to finish. Grace cut Taylor’s lead to three on a number of occasions, but they could not punch through the Trojans’ cushion and fell 15-11.

Kerrigan had 15 kills and 14 digs for Grace, Smith had 12 kills and three block assists, and Tori Bontrager added eight kills and five block assists.