Drama was in full force on Saturday afternoon as Grace’s women’s soccer team pulled out a game winner to remember.
Grace’s game with Baker University was tied 1-1 late in double overtime when Heather Martin stepped up to win a crucial ball. She passed to Carianne Sobey, who dribbled past a defender and passed to Meghan Wiles. Wiles then ripped off a 20-yard laser from the top of the penalty box that slipped under the crossbar for the winning strike with seven seconds on the clock, giving Grace a memorable 2-1 victory in double overtime.
Grace tallied 22 shots overall in the match and held a 7-2 advantage in shots in overtime.
“This match was a good lesson for our program. When we stay focused on our principles of play, we are very good,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “Baker is a good team. They’ve been successful in the past and bring a tough brand of soccer to beat. Our women started slow but got going and persevered in possession. Our defense was excellent against some very strong forwards. We had some flashes of absolute brilliance of what possession-attacking futbol will do.”
The Lady Lancers (4-1-2) opened the game’s scoring in the 10th minute off the feet of Jordan Hairgrove. Mallory Rondeau beat a defender and played a deft pass in traffic to Hairgrove in front of goal, and the junior forward’s clinical finish gave Grace a 1-0 lead.
Grace started to build its possession after Hairgrove’s goal, but the Wildcats (4-3) capitalized on a defensive miscue to squeeze the game-tying goal past Abby Schue at the 22:01 mark.
The second half became a physical affair with 15 fouls called and a yellow card issued against the Wildcats. Grace provided several goal-scoring opportunities off attacks from Kaitlan Wiles and Mimi Lozano in the second half, but the Lady Lancers were unable to win the match in regulation.
The overtime periods belonged to Grace with seven shots recorded over the two overtime periods. Mallory Rondeau looked to have won the match in the first overtime with a chipped shot over Baker’s goalkeeper, but her shot hit the crossbar. A rebound shot from Meredith Hollar was denied by a Baker defender.
Grace continued to press in the second overtime with four shots, and the fourth shot from Meghan Wiles provided the dramatic winner.
Sobey, who earned the assist on the game-winning goal, became Grace’s all-time leader in assists on the final play. She has 30 assists in less than three full seasons, passing Ellen Kegarise (1998-2001) with the most assists in program history.
“Over the weekend we flexed our depth. We had several players carry us through Friday and more came through in this match today,” Voss said. “I’m proud of the squad for putting the needs of the team first in each match. We grew together this weekend in a fantastic way. The women were solid over two matches against two solid teams.”
On Grace’s road trip to Kansas, the Lady Lancers took down MidAmerica Nazarene and Baker on back-to-back days this weekend. Grace’s next two matches are at home, including a Sept. 20 matchup with Westminster (Utah), who is receiving votes in the NAIA poll. On Sept. 27 Grace will open up the Crossroads League season against rival Indiana Wesleyan at Miller Field.