Archive for the ‘Feature Stories’ Category

Lancers Draw with Chowan in NCCAA Pool Play

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

Pictured is Damon Binkley against Chowan on Tuesday.

Grace’s men’s soccer team opened up the 2015 NCCAA National Championships with a 2-2 tie against Chowan (N.C.) on Tuesday.

All four goals were scored in the first half, resulting in a tense but scoreless finale to the match. The draw puts the Lancers (14-6-3) into a win-or-go-home scenario on Wednesday. Grace needs a victory against Belhaven to win the pool and advance to the national semifinals.

“The guys played well tonight, and I thought we would get the win based on the quality and the amount of chances we had on goal,” said Grace head coach Matt Hotchkin. “The guys are frustrated with the result, but we are just going to focus on what is next.”

Grace got off to a fast start against the NCAA Div. II Hawks (11-7-5). Damon Binkley broke free on the left side of the field 70 seconds into the match. He sliced his shot along the ground which rolled inches wide of the far post.

In the 15th minute, Grace got on the scoreboard. Dylan Andersen launched a throw-in from the right side. His toss cleared the first row of potential heads and fell inside the six-yard box to Nakilee Weni, and Weni converted the short-range shot for the game’s first goal.

Chowan responded with an equalizer in the 28th minute. After gaining an advantage on the right side of the field, Ben Chapman finished a cross in front of goal.

Less than three minutes later, the Hawks seized a 2-1 lead by scoring on a counterattack.

Four minutes before halftime, Grace struck back to tie the score. Hector Torres sent in a corner kick, and Dominic Harris outjumped the nearby defenders to head in his shot. The match went into halftime tied 2-2.

Within the first three minutes of the second half, the Lancers had three legitimate shots at goal that were denied. Thomas Tydeman fired a low blast that was saved in the first minute, and Binkley had a shot go into the side netting. Shortly after Binkley’s shot, Weni nearly scored again. He fooled his defender and found space to unload a low shot that beat the goalkeeper but clanged off the goalpost.

Grace continued to dominate offensive chances in the second half, outshooting Chowan 9-4. The Lancers had two shots on goal saved, and another breakaway from Tydeman that went high. Kyle Hamlin had a close-range shot miss, and Binkley nearly won the game with the final kick of regulation, but his shot was off-target.

Grace continued to have the better looks in overtime, holding a 5-2 advantage in shots over the two overtime periods. Binkley had the best chance for either team in the overtimes, dragging his shot just wide of goal in the second overtime.

“I thought the team played unified and also exemplified who we want to be as men. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t get another goal, but we will just try to make up for that tomorrow,” Hotchkin said. “Physical and mental recovery will be important as Belhaven has had an extra day to rest. The guys can do this, and I believe they are up to the task.”

For the match, Grace had 18 shots and seven corner kicks compared to 14 shots and six corners for Chowan.

The Lancers’ match with Belhaven with start at 7 p.m. in Kissimmee, Fla.

Grace Softball to Undergo Coaching Changes

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

Genevieve Stoll

Heather Johnson

Jay Johnson

Grace College’s softball team will have a series of coaching changes, beginning this spring.

Jay Johnson, an assistant coach for the Lady Lancers, has accepted a position as an assistant coach at NCAA Div. I Elon University (N.C.), starting Dec. 1. His wife Heather Johnson will finish the 2016 season at Grace, serving as an associate head coach until the conclusion of the spring season.

Genevieve Stoll, an assistant under Heather since 2013, will serve as the interim associate head coach alongside Heather. Stoll will assume all recruiting responsibilities and will assist Heather in the day-to-day operations of the program.

“We are very happy for Jay and his new coaching position at a DI institution. We look forward to a great spring season with Heather and Genevieve leading the Lady Lancers,” said Grace athletic director Chad Briscoe. “We are excited for Genevieve’s new role, and we look forward to continued success under both her and Heather at Grace this spring.”

Heather has coached Grace for the past seven seasons. She has rebuilt the Lady Lancers into a formidable program, climaxing in 2015. Grace posted its first winning season in 18 years and its first 30-win season in 21 years.

“We are looking forward to this new direction that the Lord has opened to return closer to family and to start a new stage in our lives. We know that the softball program will continue to grow, and we are thankful to have had a role in its growth,” Heather said. “I am thankful to President Bill Katip, Dr. Jim Swanson and Chad Briscoe for the opportunity to return to my alma mater, invest into the lives of the student-athletes and restore the competitiveness of the softball program. This time at Grace was a wonderful time of ministry for my family and a labor of love and near to my heart as a former player. I look forward to the spring season and the goals set by the team. We have a strong roster, and I am excited for the year.”

Stoll was a standout player softball at Grace from 2009-12. She graduated with the second-most hits (128) in program history at the time and was a CoSIDA Academic All-District and NAIA Scholar-Athlete during her career. She currently works at BrandPoet, assisting the marketing efforts of Grace.

“I’ve worked with the Johnsons for many years, and I am equally saddened and excited for this next page in their story,” Stoll said. “I am confident that the program’s success will continue with the same goals, values and Christian purpose. I look forward to assisting with this transition for the softball program and am excited for a great 2016 spring season.

Grace’s Maiden NAIA Trip Ended by Westmont

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

Pictured is Kristen Bellinger in the midfield against Westmont; photo credit to Jeff Nycz of Mid-South Images

Grace’s first appearance at the NAIA National Championships ended on Monday, falling to No. 8 Westmont 2-0.

The five-time NAIA champions netted twice in 40 seconds to take down the Lady Lancers in the “Sweet Sixteen” of the tournament.

Westmont started stronger offensively in the first half. The Warriors (16-3-2) had a shot and two corner kicks over the first seven minutes of play, and the Lady Lancers (15-3-3) were unable to wrestle control back from Westmont.

The Warriors struck first when Jackie Lopez finished off a cross in the 21st minute. Grace found itself in a 2-0 hole when Kelsey Steck capitalized on a defensive miscue to score less than a minute later.

Grace had a handful of chances in the first half, including a breakaway from Meredith Hollar and a fastbreak from Mallory Rondeau. But Westmont denied Grace from taking a shot over the first 30 minutes of the half.

Abby Schue made four saves in the opening half, including a leaping one-hander in the 37th minute to prevent Westmont’s third goal.

Kristen Bellinger came off the bench to give Grace a spark in the midfield, and the Lady Lancers began to find their composure midway into the half. Although Grace ended the half with better play, the squad was unable to pierce Westmont’s net before halftime.

Grace was outshot 9-2 in the first 45 minutes with Hollar and Jordan Hairgrove the only Lady Lancers to take an attempt.

The second half started much better for Grace, outshooting Westmont 3-0 over the first 15 minutes. Two minutes into the second half, Hollar fired off Grace’s best attempt. The junior unleashed a 24-yard blast that sailed above the crossbar.

Grace continued to find space to shoot in the second half, but the Lady Lancers struggled to direct their shots on target. Although Grace tallied six shots after halftime — compared to four for Westmont — none of Grace’s attempts were on goal.

The match ended without Grace mounting another serious challenge at Westmont’s goal. Westmont had a 13-8 advantage in shots for the match and 8-0 advantage in corner kicks.

The loss ends the sterling careers of seniors Rondeau, Hairgrove, Erica Manchess, Faith Voehringer, Heather Martin, Darcy Johnston, Jerusalem Groves and Meghan Wiles. The class graduates with a four-year mark of 62-20-11, earning the most wins in a four-year period in program history.

The Lady Lancers earned their highest NAIA ranking, No. 8, and first trip to NAIA Nationals in program history during the 2015 campaign. Grace also won its first NAIA Tournament match, defeating Park 2-1 in the opening round.

Night Market at Grace College & Seminary to Take Place Dec. 4

Monday, November 30th, 2015

Night Market 2014

Grace College and Seminary students welcome the public to join them at “Night Market” on Friday, Dec. 4 from 2 p.m. – 9 p.m. at Winona Heritage Room, (formerly Rodeheaver Auditorium) 901 Park Ave, Winona Lake.  Night Market is an alternative Christmas shopping experience in a market environment.  A variety of craft vendors, local businesses and non-profit organizations will offer products for sale to benefit humanitarian causes.  Items for purchase will include home décor, jewelry, clothing, toys, and much more.

Kearstin Criswell, coordinator of student involvement for Grace College and Seminary, believes Night Market is an answer to many people’s desire to celebrate Christmas differently. “I think people want more opportunities to give intentional, thoughtful gifts.  Purchasing cause-based items at Night Market allows them to do just that.”

Several area businesses will participate, including Mudlove, Hither and Yon, Creative Women of the World and Destiny Rescue.  In addition, Grace College student vendors will be on hand and will donate their proceeds to Water for Good, a non-profit organization that works in long-term partnership with communities in central Africa to empower people with access to clean water.

At 7 p.m., live music will begin.  Food vendors, including Driveline Coffee and Rise’n Roll Bakery, will offer refreshments.  For more information, please contact Kearstin Criswell, 574-372-5100, ext. 6470 or

Fourth Quarter Unravels for Lady Lancers

Monday, November 30th, 2015

Taylor’s women’s basketball team pulled away from Grace in the fourth quarter on Tuesday.

The Lady Lancers were held to eight points in the final quarter and lost 66-54 in the Crossroads League opener.

Grace ended the third quarter with a 3-pointer from Maycee Davis and trailed 50-46 entering the last 10 minutes.

But the Lady Lancers (4-5, 0-1 CL) went dry on offense and did not score for over three minutes to start the fourth quarter. The Trojans (5-3, 1-0 CL) never looked back and coasted to an 11-point win.

Grace shot 37 percent from the floor as a team, including 12-of-36 (33 percent) after halftime. Taylor, on the other hand, hit 61 percent from the floor in the second half.

Kelsie Peterson led Grace’ offense with nine points and seven rebounds, and Darian Patton had nine points and three rebounds.

Gabby Miller finished with eight points, Davis had six points and two steals, and Jesse Feitz pulled down six boards.

The Lady Lancers will take the rest of the week off before hosting St. Francis on Dec. 2 for a men’s/women’s doubleheader at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.

Lancers’ Defense Shuts Down Trojans

Monday, November 30th, 2015

Pictured is Caleb Featherston driving against Taylor on Tuesday.

Grace used a stifling defensive performance to cruise by Taylor 70-47 on Tuesday in the Crossroads League opener.

The Lancers (8-1, 1-0 CL) held Taylor to less than 25 points scored in each half.

Defense dominated the first half of action. Grace went into halftime with a 32-24 lead despite shooting just 39 percent from the floor.

The Trojans (3-4, 0-1 CL) were held to 37 percent on their field goals, committing eight turnovers before halftime.

Grace’s defense limited Taylor to six points through the first 8:04, jumping out to a 16-6 lead. The Lancers led with their muscle, scoring 18 of their 32 points in the paint.

Taylor opened the second half by scoring seven unanswered points, whittling Grace’s lead down to one at 32-31. But Brandon Vanderhegghen and Erik Bowen took over for Grace, combining to outscore the Trojans 14-2 by themselves over the next four minutes. Both players converted an and-1 during that spurt as Grace asserted a double-digit lead it would not surrender.

Grace, who average eight made 3-pointers per contest, did not hit its first triple until the final four minutes. Brandon Vanderhegghen hit back-to-back 3’s down the stretch for Grace’s only treys of the evening. Neither team shot the long ball well as Taylor was 3-for-22 (14 percent) and Grace was 2-for-12 (17 percent).

For the game, Taylor shot 31 percent compared to 45 percent for Grace. The Lancers outrebounded the Trojans 43-26 and doubled up Taylor in paint scoring 36-18. Grace’s offensive aggression was rewarded with 33 foul shots while Taylor managed just eight free throws.

Vanderhegghen finished with a game-high 23 points, adding 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals. He shot 8-of-12 from the floor and 2-of-4 from the 3-point line.

Bowen had 13 points and five rebounds, and Caleb Featherston added nine points and six boards. Logan Irwin tallied nine points and three assists, and Tre Olive scored five points off the bench.

The Lancers will take the rest of the week off before squaring off with St. Francis on Dec. 2 in a men’s/women’s doubleheader at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.

Winona History Center Receives Community Foundation Technology Grant

Monday, November 30th, 2015

Grace College and Seminary’s Winona History Center has received a $2,500 grant from the Kosciusko County Community Foundation for implementing media and technology in its museum space in Westminster Hall. The money is being used to produce a short documentary, which will introduce museum patrons to the phases of Winona Lake’s history.

According to the center’s director, Dr. Jared Burkholder, the documentary is part of a long-range goal to showcase more visually creative and interactive elements in the museum galleries.  “We are extremely thankful for this Community Foundation grant, which will allow us take some initial steps toward meeting these goals,” Burkholder said.

Beginning Dec. 1, History Center visitors may view the documentary Tuesday through Saturday from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. at the Winona History Center, located in Westminster Hall, 105 9th Street, Winona Lake. The History Center also hosts tours of the Billy Sunday Historic Home during those times.  For more information, please call 574-372-5193.

Attached photo pictures Westminster Hall on the campus of Grace College & Seminary.

Men’s Soccer Earns Two Spots on CoSIDA Academic All-America®

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

Robbie Barnhill

Kyle Hamlin

Grace’s men’s soccer team picked up two prestigious honors when Kyle Hamlin and Robbie Barnhill were named 2015 CoSIDA First Team Academic All-America®.

Grace was the only school with two representatives on the 11-player First Team.

Hamlin has a 3.92 GPA as a senior, majoring in Math Education. Barnhill boasts a perfect 4.00 GPA as a junior Health Science major.

CoSIDA awards student-athletes who have maintained a GPA of at least 3.3. Members of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) then vote on eligible student-athletes through the district and national levels based on a combination of academic and athletic accomplishments.

The Lancers, under head coach Matt Hotchkin, earned a berth into the 2015 NCCAA National Championships on Saturday. With a record of 14-6-2, Grace has earned its highest win total as a program since 1983.

Women’s Soccer Gets Four on Prestigious CoSIDA Academic All-America®

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

Carianne Sobey

Abby Schue

Erica Manchess

Mallory Rondeau












The distinguished CoSIDA Academic All-America® Team awarded Grace’s women’s soccer team with four honorees.

Abby Schue and Carianne Sobey were named to the 11-player First Team, and Erica Manchess and Mallory Rondeau were named Second Team.

The Lady Lancers were the only team with representatives on both the First and Second Teams. Grace also had twice as many representatives as any other school on the prestigious teams (Keiser, 2 honorees). Grace was also the only Crossroads League team to earn a place on the All-America® teams.

Schue was the only underclassman on the First Team. She has a 3.97 GPA as an Exercise Science/General Science major. Sobey, the program’s career leader in assists, has a 3.96 GPA as a Business and Facility/Event Management major.

On the Second Team, Manchess (3.98 GPA) and Rondeau (3.95 GPA) are both Health Science majors.

The Lady Lancers are in the midst of their first NAIA National Championship appearance in program history. Grace won the NAIA Opening Round on Saturday against Park, advancing to next week’s Second Round game against Westmont (Calif.) in Orange Beach, Ala.

“Supermarket Sweep: Give ‘til You Drop” 2015 Most Successful Ever

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

Grace College students with President Katip at Supermarket Sweep 2015. Pictured left to right are Tyler Rothhaar, Evan Kilgore, Dr. Bill Katip, Elizabeth Manko, Tyler Tillett, and Jonah Stouffer.

Grace College and Seminary and Mission Point Community Church sponsored Supermarket Sweep: Give ‘Til You Drop at Owen’s Supermarket on Nov. 18.  Throughout the day, Grace students, members of Mission Point and community members bought non-perishable food and baby items for area non-profit organizations including Combined Community Services, Our Father’s House, The Salvation Army and Heartline Pregnancy Center.

This fifth-annual event was the most successful ever, generating $26,124 in food and products for those in need.  According to Kearstin Criswell, coordinator of student involvement for Grace College and Seminary, “We are delighted with the great community response and student involvement in Supermarket Sweep this year.  At the end of the day, about half of the donations came from Grace students and half from the community – a true team effort to help those who need assistance in our area.”   Nearly 450 Grace students participated in this year’s event, one of several outreach events organized by SERVE, Grace College and Seminary’s student-led community service ministry, each year.

Sponsors of this year’s Supermarket Sweep: Give ‘Til You Drop included Grace College and Seminary, Mission Point Community Church, DePuy Synthes, Nextremity Solutions and Wildman Business Group.