Archive for the ‘Feature Stories’ Category

Volleyball Scores Pivotal Victory over Taylor

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

The Lady Lancers’ volleyball team completed a crucial season sweep of Taylor on Wednesday, winning 3-1 at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.

Grace improved to 21-7 on the season, including a 10-2 mark in Crossroads League. The Lady Lancers remain just one game behind Indiana Wesleyan atop the CL standings and moved two games clear of third-place Taylor in the process.

Ellie Harp had a standout performance with 44 assists, 15 digs, 7 kills, 3 block assists and 2 service aces, and Kaitlin Kerrigan recorded a match-high 18 kills.

In the opening set, Grace held a dominant 15-8 advantage in kills thanks to six kills from Calah Kruse en route to a 25-20 victory. The Trojans (18-9, 8-4 CL) returned the favor with a 25-20 win in the second set to even the match.

The Ellie Harp-led offense helped Grace to a come-from-behind 25-22 win in the third set. Harp had 13 assists in the set, seven of which went to Kerrigan.

The fourth set went down to the wire with Grace pulling out an emotional 26-24 victory. Harp appropriately ended the match with a kill on the final rally – her third kill of the set. Grace had 16 kills in the set on a .233 percentage.

For the match, Grace held Taylor to an attack percentage of .098 while hitting .152 on the offensive side of the net.

Calah Kruse notched a double-double with 14 kills and 17 digs, Hannah Clemmons finished with a team-best 18 digs, and Grace Woolsey tallied seven kills and three block assists.

The Lady Lancers continue league play with another home match on Friday 7 p.m. against Huntington. Grace squeezed by the Foresters 3-2 on the road on Sept. 19.

Men’s Soccer Nets Three to Knock off Goshen

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Grace’s men’s soccer team got back on the winning track with a 3-0 victory over Goshen on Wednesday.

The Lancers (7-5-1, 2-3-1 Crossroads League) went ahead early after just three minutes. Ben Cahill finished off his shot from close range at the 2:27mark to give Grace an early spark.

Grace doubled its advantage with a tricky combination play from Nikola Blazic and Danilo Carnelos. Blazic received a pass in traffic and played a perfect ball to Carnelos for the emphatic finish in the 22nd minute.

The teams went into the halftime break with Grace ahead 2-0. The Lancers outshot the Maple Leafs (7-7-1, 2-3-1 CL) 10-4 in the first half.

After several strong looks to start the second half, Dylan Andersen found Grace’s third goal in the 64th minute. Gift Sibukome found Andersen in the penalty box, and Andersen netted his goal off the crossbar.

The Lancers’ defense muted the Maple Leafs’ attack throughout the match, holding Goshen to seven shots and zero shots on goal.

Jacob Cole picked up the shutout victory as goalkeeper. The starting defending line of Jon Sands, Danilo Carnelos, Nakilee Weni and Justin Festa held Goshen to zero shots on frame.

Cahill paced Grace’s offense with three shots. Trent Smith, Kyle Hamlin, Carnelos, Andersen and Josiah O’Deens had two shots apiece.

The Lancers will look to continued their winning ways on Saturday with a match at Bethel at 5 p.m.

Rondeau’s Hat Trick Powers Lady Lancers

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Pictured above is Mallory Rondeau from earlier in the 2014 season.

Playing its first game as a ranked team, Grace’s women’s soccer team routed Goshen 5-0 on Tuesday night.

Mallory Rondeau netted a hat trick for the newly ranked No. 22 Lady Lancers (9-3-2, 5-1 Crossroads League).

Grace made the program’s first appearance in the NAIA Coaches’ Top 25 Poll earlier on Tuesday afternoon, and the Lady Lancers proved their ranking with a five-goal spree.

In the 10th minute, Jordan Hairgrove appeared to open the scoring when she chipped the goalkeeper after a perfect pass from Maile Grout. But Hairgrove was judged to be offside.

Rondeau found the game’s first goal in the 18th minute off a free kick. Carianne Sobey rolled the ball back to Rondeau from a central position, and the junior forward netted her eighth goal of the match on a 23-yard blast.

Eight minutes later, Rondeau doubled Grace’s lead. Sobey found Rondeau past the defensive line on the right side of the field, and Rondeau faked past a defender and slipped her shot past the charging goalkeeper at the 25:19 mark.

Meredith Hollar jumpstarted Grace’s third goal in the 34th minute. Hollar charged through three defenders and passed to Maile Grout, and Grout’s pass in the penalty box to Mimi Lozano was converted for the freshman’s first collegiate goal.

Rondeau completed her hat trick 15 minutes into the second half. Sobey picked out Rondeau with a pass near midfield, leading Rondeau into a one-on-one with the goalkeeper which she clinically finished.

A well-worked corner kick six minutes later earned Grace’s fifth goal. Two quick passes found Heather Martin, and the junior defender whipped her shot from distance into the far corner.

Overall Grace owned an 18-6 shot advantage over Goshen, and 21 different Lady Lancers saw playing time in the match. Abby Schue, the reigning NCCAA Defensive Player of the Week, had the shutout in goal. Her starting defending line of Faith Voehringer, Erica Manchess, Heather Martin and Carlie Salinas allowed just two shots in the first 45 minutes of action.

The Lady Lancers will return to Miller Field on Saturday 7 p.m. for a match with Bethel.

Women’s Soccer Receives First NAIA Ranking

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

The 2014 team photo for Grace

Tuesday marked a historic milestone for Grace’s women’s soccer team. The Lady Lancers were ranked No. 22 in the NAIA Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, marking Grace’s first ranking in the program’s 19-year history.

Grace is receiving 192 votes in the poll thanks to an 8-3-2 record this fall. The Lady Lancers beat then-No. 21 Mt. Vernon Nazarene and nearly upset No. 10 Spring Arbor last week to jump into the top 25.

“Grace as a program watches these ratings come and go, but we don’t put a ton of emphasis on them within our camp,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “We focus on scheduling the toughest nonleague opponents we can get from California to Kansas to Arkansas to Georgia. This has grown us and shaped our futbol, but it has not always favored us in these polls. We’re honored to be in the poll and glad the national raters think highly of our team. Our goal is to be competitive nationally, so this is confirmation that possession-attacking futbol is headed in the right direction.”

Grace has played three teams currently ranked in the top 25, including No. 10 Spring Arbor, No. 21 Olivet Nazarene and No. 24 Mt. Vernon Nazarene.

The Lady Lancers are seeking their fourth-straight appearance to a national tournament in 2014. Grace made it to NCCAA Nationals the past three seasons; the Lady Lancers are seeking their first trip to NAIA Nationals this fall.

Grace will play its first game as a ranked team Tuesday night at Goshen. On Saturday Grace will host Bethel at 7 p.m.

Grace Soccer Upsets No. 21 Mt. Vernon

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Pictured is junior, defender Heather Martin advancing the ball during Grace's upset victory on Saturday

A second-half goal from Mallory Rondeau lifted Grace’s women’s soccer team to a crucial 1-0 upset of No. 21 Mt. Vernon Nazarene on Saturday night.

The Lady Lancers (8-3-2, 4-1 Crossroads League) took a major step toward its first national ranking in the NAIA Top 25 thanks to a free kick goal from Rondeau in the 54th minute. She curled her free kick from the left side of the field inside the far post for the game’s only goal.

“The women were very disciplined today. They lived in possession, stayed tactically sound offensively and defensively and did not give away anything dangerous,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “It was encouraging to see them demonstrate patience and work our style to be successful. It was a strong win for us, specifically coming off Wednesday where we did not finish the match when we were minutes away from winning. I’m particularly proud of the women for making this improvement.”

Overall for the match Grace nearly doubled Mt. Vernon’s shot attempts 13-7, including 5-2 in the second half. The Cougars went down to 10 players with a red card in the 64th minute.

In the first half, Grace’s offense started slowly but sparked to life in the final 10 minutes. Holly Bennett unleashed a hard free kick from 20 yards out that went a few yards wide, and Carianne Sobey had a shot attempt cleared off the goal line by a Cougar defender.

The Lady Lancers’ defense yielded few clear opportunities for the Cougars (10-3-1, 3-2 CL) in the second half, holding Mt. Vernon to just two shots.

Grace had chances to score in the final 20 minutes including threatening shots from Mallory Rondeau and Kaitlyn Hayes, but the scoreline would remain 1-0.

Freshman goalkeeper Abby Schue earned the shutout victory with five saves in 90 minutes. The backline of Heather Martin, Faith Voehringer, Meredith Matson, Erica Manchess and Carlie Salinas bolstered Grace’s defense.

Rondeau led all players with five shots and four on goal, and Sobey added three shots.

Grace is currently receiving the 26th-most votes in the NAIA. Grace went 1-1 on the week with an upset of the 21st-ranked Cougars and a 2-1 overtime loss to No. 10 Spring Arbor – a match in which Grace was ahead for the first 82 minutes. The next edition of the NAIA poll will come out Tuesday evening. The Lady Lancers are hoping to earn the program’s first national ranking.

Next up, the Lady Lancers will travel to Goshen on Tuesday night for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

Grace Spikers Take Down St. Xavier, St. Ambrose

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Pictured are (left) Ellie Harp, Sierra Smith, and Grace Woolsey celebrating a point for Grace

Grace’s volleyball team rebounded from two losses on Friday to win twice on Saturday afternoon at the Davenport Tournament.

The Lady Lancers (20-7) earned their 20th victory for the fourth straight season with a sweep of St. Xavier and a 3-2 thriller over St. Ambrose.

“We couldn’t have had a better finish to a tough weekend. I’m so proud of the way the team persevered through the changes, and I’m glad we were able to pull out two victories today,” said Grace head coach Andria Harshman. “We utilized some players from our bench to give us fresh legs, and we ended up giving St. Ambrose a run because of it.”

Despite sweeping St. Xavier in Saturday’s opening match, Grace’s volleyball team had anything but an easy time against the Cougars.

Grace had a slight lead against St. Xavier for the majority of the first set, holding a comfortable 22-17 lead in the final stages. But the Cougars made a furious rally to trim Grace’s lead to one at 23-22. The Lady Lancers finished the opening win 25-23 with kills by Kaitlin Kerrigan and Grace Woolsey.

The second set was a memorable one. Grace again led for much of the game, but a late 5-0 spurt from St. Xavier swung momentum back to the Cougars and tied the score at 19-19. The Cougars had set point at 24-22, but an attack error by St. Xavier and a service ace from Annie Salazar sent the game into extra points. The score battled back and forth into the 30s before a kill from Taylor Baird and a block from Kerrigan won the game 33-31.

The third set proved to be the last as Grace’s offense (14 kills, 2 errors) was efficient in a 25-14 victory. For the match, Ellie Harp impressed from the setter position with 36 assists, 10 kills, 5 digs and 3 block assists. She led Grace to an attack percentage of .286.

Kerrigan led all players with 14 kills on a .481 percentage, Calah Kruse finished with nine kills and 13 digs, and Tori Bontrager had eight kills and three block assists. Woolsey tallied eight kills, and Salazar chipped in 12 digs and two aces.

Against St. Ambrose, Grace pulled out a 26-24 win in the opener. The Lady Lancers were trailing 24-23 but rallied thanks to a kill from Grace Woolsey and a block point from Woolsey and Taylor Baird.

Grace quickly lost their advantage, however, with 25-19 and 25-18 defeats in the next two sets. The fourth set was a definitive win for the Lady Lancers as Grace blasted 15 kills in a 25-15 win. Grace used an 11-1 run to charge away from St. Ambrose.

In the definitive fifth set, Grace jumped ahead early with an 8-3 advantage thanks to two kills by Sierra Smith. St. Ambrose fought back to within one point at 12-11, but Grace made plays down the stretch. The final point in Grace’s 15-13 win came on a block by Kaitlin Kerrigan and Kari Feddema.

Kerrigan was a force to be reckoned with in the match, pounding out 18 kills to lead Grace. Calah Kruse had a double-double of 13 kills and 10 digs, and Ellie Harp just missed a triple-double with 46 assists, 17 digs and 8 kills, also adding 4 service aces and 2 block assists.

Sara Miller tied a career-high with 20 digs, Woolsey added 11 kills, 1 solo block and 6 block assists, and Hannah Clemmons finished with 17 digs.

The Lady Lancers return to the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center for two home matches next week. Grace will host rival Taylor at 7 p.m. on Wednesday before another home game on Friday night against Huntington.

Freshman Duo Power Grace to Fourth Place

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Pictured is Nathan Lane, who led the Lancers on Friday evening

The freshman tandem of Nathan Lane and Tyler Houvener led Grace’s men’s cross country team to fourth place at the Bethel Invitational on Friday.

Lane had a personal-record time of 26:06 to finish sixth individually, and Houvener shattered his previous PR by 50 seconds to take seventh place at 26:12.

Brandon Smith (27:25), Collin Chupp (27:45) and Austin Yoder (28:47) completed the top five for Grace. Tim Drew (29:00) also ran well.

Katelyn McCullough’s 11th-place finish helped the women’s team to seventh place out of 13 squads. McCullough ran her fastest career race in 19:18, and several other women had season-best times as well.

Megan Fast (20:21), Alexis Nelson (20:45), Creigh Ogle (20:48) and Emma Mitchell (20:51) rounded out the top five runners for the women. Sarah Hoff in 20:58 and McCalah Mast in 21:01 also posted solid times.

“I think nine of the ladies ran season-best times, so I’m very pleased with the effort. The exciting thing is that I know we can do even better, so I am looking forward to the rest of the season,” said Grace head coach Jeff Raymond. “Nathan and Tyler simply ran awesome races for the men. Those are two of the top four times at Grace in at least the last seven to eight years. The other guys ran solid races. Overall, this is our best team time of the year and maybe our best team time in the last five years.  Just like the women, though, I know they still have more in them.”

Grace has one final tuneup race before the Crossroads League Championships on Nov. 8. The Lancers will run in the Great Lakes Challenge in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Oct. 25.

Grace Lets Late Lead Slip Against No. 10 Cougars

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Grace’s women’s soccer team was stunned by 10th-ranked Spring Arbor on Wednesday night, falling 2-1 in overtime.

In a battle for first place in the Crossroads League, the Lady Lancers (7-3-2, 3-1 CL) were eight minutes from victory. But the Cougars (10-1-1, 4-0 CL) found an equalizer in the 82nd minute before claiming the golden-goal winner four minutes into overtime to escape Miller Field with a win.

Grace seemed to have the upper hand in the first half, possessing the ball for the better part of the opening period. The Lady Lancers broke onto the scoreboard at the 27:00 mark. Mallory Rondeau lofted a well-placed pass to Kaitlan Wiles on the right side of the penalty box, and Wiles slammed her shot inside the far post to give Grace the 1-0 lead.

The first half also saw an apparent handball in the penalty box by the Cougars waived off by the official.

In the second half, the Cougars gained assertiveness on the offensive end with six shots after halftime. Spring Arbor’s game-tying strike came off a cross into the box that was redirected into the net just eight minutes before the final horn.

Grace recovered to claim a few late chances in regulation. Carianne Sobey’s pass to Jordan Hairgrove nearly won the match in the final minutes, but the shot from Hairgrove sliced just outside the goalpost.

In the overtime period, Grace again began its possession attack to put the Cougars on their heels. But an intercepted pass in the midfield led to a defensive breakdown for Grace, and Corrie Good sliced the golden-goal winner past goalkeeper Abigail Schue to end Grace’s upset bid.

Kaitlan Wiles, Kelsey Christner and Hairgrove each took two shots apiece to lead Grace.

“The women were brilliant in the first half and played some great futbol with intelligent decisions. Unfortunately we did not finish the match that way,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “There isn’t a delicate way to deal with the hand ball in the first half. That could have made it 2-0 and would change the complexity of the match. Spring Arbor is a good team and highly rated, and they capitalized in the second half and overtime. This gives us room to improve, but there is so much to be proud of in this crew. We will regroup and find the next level. I have no doubt.”

The Lady Lancers, who are receiving the 26th-most votes in the latest NAIA poll, will look to rebound on Saturday with a home match against No. 21 Mt. Vernon Nazarene at 7 p.m.

Women’s Soccer Eyes First Place against Spring Arbor

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Pictured is Grace freshman forward Mimi Lozano.

First place in the Crossroads League is on the line Wednesday at Miller Field when Grace’s women’s soccer team hosts No. 12 Spring Arbor at 7 p.m.

The Lady Lancers (7-2-2, 3-0 CL) and the Cougars (9-1-1, 3-0 CL) are the lone unbeaten teams remaining in the league standings, and the winner of Wednesday night’s match will leave Miller Field in first place.

Grace has yet to surrender a goal in three league matches, outscoring its opponents 7-0 so far. Spring Arbor has a 10-0 advantage in goals in its three league contests. Grace will be hoping to avenge a 3-2 double overtime loss to Spring Arbor last season — the only league defeat the Lady Lancers suffered in 2013.

Mallory Rondeau (6 goals) and Meredith Hollar (4 goals) lead Grace’s offense this fall, and Carianne Sobey had a team-best six assists. Freshman goalkeeper Abby Schue has four shutouts in 11 games, boasting a 0.680 goals against average.

Kurkova Earns Place on All-League Team

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

In her first season with the Lady Lancers, Natalia Kurkova was named to the All-Crossroads League Team.

Kurkova was Grace’s top singles and doubles player all season, earning a spot on the 12-player All-League Team as a result.

She posted a sterling 9-2 record at No. 1 singles and was 6-5 at No. 1 doubles to pace Grace’s lineup. The Lady Lancers finished as the No. 5 seed in the Crossroads League this fall with a 6-6 overall record and 3-5 mark in league play.