Men’s Soccer Clinches Crossroads League Tourney Berth

Needing a victory to ensure a place in next week’s Crossroads League Tournament, Grace’s men’s soccer team came through with a 2-1 win on the road against Mt. Vernon Nazarene on Saturday.

On a wet pitch, the Lancers (7-7-1; 3-5-1 CL) used goals from Ben Cahill and Shane Barthuly to secure a much-needed win in the regular-season finale.

Grace will await results from the final league contests to see how the regular-season standings conclude. The Lancers will be on the road for their first-round opponent next Saturday.

Grace outperformed the Cougars (7-10-1; 2-6-1 CL) in the first half, holding a 7-2 advantage in shots and 5-0 in corner kicks over the first 45 minutes. Within seven minutes of action, the Lancers had scored.

Nikola Blazic found Ben Cahill, and the converted forward scored his second goal of the year at the 6:22 mark.

The second half was more balanced as Grace recorded slightly more shots than Mt. Vernon at 10-9. The Lancers doubled their lead at the 71:28 mark. Jon Christensen touched a pass to Barthuly at the right side of the goalie’s box, and Barthuly ripped his shot past the goalkeeper with pace from a narrow angle.

Grace continued to pressure, looking for some extra breathing room, but they were unable to score on ensuing chances.

With less than 15 minutes to go, the Cougars punctured Grace’s nets when they headed in a corner kick. Grace’s defense refused to surrender the game-tying goal, however, as Jacob Cole made two saves in the final 5:51 of regulation to preserve the win.

Cole registered seven saves overall in the complete-game win.

Offensively, Gift Sibukome led Grace with four shots, and Cahill, Blazic and Trent Smith each tallied three shots.

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