Meredith Hollar’s first-half goal proved to be the difference as No. 15 Grace’s women’s soccer team took down No. 11 The Master’s on Saturday night.
The Lady Lancers (3-0) defeated their second NAIA-ranked opponent in the first two weeks of the season thanks to their 1-0 win at Miller Athletic Complex against The Master’s.
Grace also extended its shutout streak to three matches to start the year, playing 270 minutes of soccer so far without surrendering a goal.
After a strong push down the right side of the field with 10 minutes to play in the first half, Grace worked the ball around to the left side. Mallory Rondeau fed a pass into Maile Grout at the top of the 18-yard box, and Grout faked a defender and took a shot. Her shot was deflected, and Hollar was the first player to react to the ball. Hollar then clinically slotted her ball to the far post to beat the goalkeeper and score the game-winning goal in the 37th minute.
Overall for the first half, Grace fired nine shots compared to five for the Mustangs (0-2-1). Grace had a clear advantage in possession and had a number of goal-scoring opportunities. Rondeau broke free for a pair of runs at The Master’s goal but was denied both times. Hollar also made a spectacular individual run from midfield on the left side of the field, but her shot was saved with a diving effort.
The Master’s adjusted at halftime and made a hard charge at the equalizer. The Mustangs’ best chances came from set pieces, including a loose ball in the box off a corner kick that was saved off the goal line by freshman Clair Snodgrass.
But Grace weathered the early storm and responded with its fair share of chances. Kristen Bellinger, Carianne Sobey and Heather Martin each fired hard attempts at the Mustangs’ goal in the second half to no avail. The Lady Lancers took nine more shots in the second half, outshooting the Mustangs 18-11 in the match.
The Master’s had one final free kick with 20 seconds remaining in the match and sent every player, including the goalkeeper, into Grace’s penalty box in desperation. The plan came close to working as the last kick of the match was a shot toward Grace’s goal, but the Lady Lancers maintained their unblemished defensive record for the year with another shutout. The defensive line of Faith Voehringer, Martin, Meredith Matson, Erica Manchess and Snodgrass played well in front of goalkeeper Abby Schue.
“I’m honored to have the caliber of team like The Master’s here in Indiana. They play very good football combined with godly behavior, and they work all 90 minutes. They are one of the top teams in the nation,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “For the first 45 minutes, our women were absolutely stellar; we enacted our game plan and played controlled, quick possession, and we were extremely dangerous going to goal multiple times. I’m proud of the ladies for being intelligent for the duration of the game.”
The Lady Lancers hit the road next weekend for their first trip of the season. Grace will play Hannibal-Lagrange and Missouri Baptist in a tournament on Friday and Saturday held at Olivet Nazarene.