After losing twice to Indiana Wesleyan during the year, Grace’s women’s soccer team earned the final laugh on Saturday in the NCCAA Regional Final.
The Lady Lancers (7-7-5) advanced in a penalty kick shootout over IWU, hitting three of their first four PKs to secure a spot to the NCCAA Nationals.
Grace will play in its sixth straight national tournament, including five trips to Florida for NCCAA Nationals. The Lady Lancers were the national runners-up in their latest appearance in 2014.
“I’m super proud of the women’s futbol today. There were so many obstacles to overcome to be victorious, and they hurdled them all. We set out to live in good futbol, and they stayed the course,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “This team is hitting their stride and coming together. We’ve felt this momentum building, and it’s a joy to return to the NCCAA tournament. It suits us well.”
On a frosty evening, Grace outpaced the Wildcats (10-7-3) throughout the match. Overall, Grace held an 18-7 shot advantage over IWU.
The Lady Lancers’ defense held the Wildcats to just two shots in regulation. Grace, on the other hand, fired off 13 shots. Fortunately for the Wildcats, Grace could not convert on any of its chances.
Grace had an appeal for a penalty kick denied in the opening minutes of the game when Meredith Hollar appeared to be fouled in the box.
Midway into the half, Liz Van Wormer shook free for two good shots including one on goal.
In the second half, Grace amped up its attack even more. The Lady Lancers tried nine shots after halftime to no avail.
Hollar tried four shots in the second half but came up empty each time. Grace had to settle for a 0-0 scoreline at the end of 90 minutes.
In the first overtime period, Grace was the offensive aggressor again. Van Wormer tried two shots, and Joana Schimmeland Kristen Bellinger each had a shot on goal.
Neither team could score in the second overtime session, sending the game to a penalty shootout.
Voss sent two freshmen and a sophomore to take the first three PKs, and all three shots were converted. IWU, on the other hand, fired two of its first three shots off-target. The fifth shot from IWU sailed over the crossbar, and the Lancer fans charged onto IWU’s field to join the team’s celebration.
Hollar had five shots, and Van Wormer attempted four. Bellinger shot three times, and Schimmel had two.
Abby Schue earned the 110-minute shutout in goal. She made three saves and was defended well by McKenna Cruz, Carlie Salinas, Kristelle Jadoo, Aubrey Feipel and Clair Snodgrass.
To find out Grace’s opposition in the NCCAA National Championships, stay tuned to GCLancers.com.