After falling behind 1-0 to St. Francis, Grace’s men’s soccer team scored three unanswered on Wednesday night.
The Lancers (7-3, 2-0 Crossroads League) stayed at the top of the league standings, joining Marian as the only 2-0 teams in the CL.
The first half saw chances from both sides, but the match remained scoreless after 45 minutes.
Seven minutes into the second half, the Cougars (0-9-1, 0-1-1 CL) broke onto the scoreboard to go ahead 1-0. Grace equalized two minutes later.
In the 55th minute, Damon Binkley was fouled near the top of the penalty box. Kyle Hamlin stepped up to take the 20-yard free kick, and his low shot deflected into the back of the net.
Grace used Hamlin’s goal to fuel its attack. Minutes later, Binkley got free on the right side of the field but fired his shot just wide. On Grace’s next attack, Dominic Harris made several nifty moves in tight spaces and played a cross in front of goal, but Binkley’s headed effort went high.
In the 78th minute, Hamlin tracked back from his forward position to make an interception. He passed to Nakilee Weni who juked his way toward the top of the box. Weni found enough space to unleash a 22-yarder with his right foot, and his low drive slammed inside the far post to give Grace its first lead.
Grace thought it had a penalty kick a few minutes later, but the referee judged that Binkley was fouled at the outside edge of the box. The ensuing 18-yard free kick sailed high.
The Lancers did not take long to tack on a third goal, however. Weni chipped a pass over USF’s back line to Harris who beat his defender to the near post and slipped in a shot past the goalkeeper at the 85:45 mark.
Grace had a dominant 21-10 advantage in shots, including 15-5 in the second half. Grace also had an 8-5 advantage in corner kicks.
Robbie Barnhill earned the victory in goal for Grace, making three saves in 90 minutes. Harris led all players with six shots and four shots on goal, and Weni had five shots. Binkley and Nikola Djordjevic notched two shots apiece.
“Our guys were resilient tonight. I felt like St. Francis was anticipating better than us in the first half, and we were chasing too much. The second half was much better,” said Grace head coach Matt Hotchkin. “Even though we got scored on first, I felt like we were controlling the play. Our wingers Damon and Dominic were very dangerous tonight. They opened up the game, and our midfielders possessed the ball and set things up. Praise the Lord for a fun night and some great teamwork.”
The Lancers will travel to Huntington for a road league match on Saturday at 4 p.m.