Women’s Soccer Catapults to No. 7 in the NAIA Top 25

September 24th, 2015

A remarkable start to the season led Grace’s women’s soccer team to the No. 7 spot in the NAIA Top 25 Coaches’ Poll, released Tuesday.

The Lady Lancers (8-0) jumped up eight spots from their preseason ranking of No. 15, earning the highest ranking in program history. Only No. 2 Mobile is also undefeated in the NAIA. Grace is tied with William Carey for the No. 7 spot in the Top 25.

Grace received 427 points in the poll, 100 points behind overall No. 1 Lindsey Wilson. Other Crossroads League teams in the poll include No. 10 Spring Arbor, No. 20 Mt. Vernon Nazarene and Marian (receiving votes).

The Lady Lancers blitzed through one of the toughest nonleague schedules in the nation. They took down four teams who are still ranked in the NAIA: No. 3 Northwestern Ohio, No. 15 Bellevue, No. 21 The Master’s and No. 24 Oklahoma City. Grace completed its second undefeated nonleague season in team history, joining the 2009 squad.

Grace has now been ranked in nine straight national polls. The team finds itself just 22 points from a top-5 ranking.

To start the Crossroads League season, Grace will play at Indiana Wesleyan on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Grace Unveils 2015 Inductees for the Lancer Hall of Fame

September 24th, 2015

The Grace College Athletic Department will induct six members into the Lancer Hall of Fame on Saturday morning: Terry Shrock (men’s soccer), Hung Vuong (men’s soccer), Toby Kidder (men’s basketball), Cheryl Lawlor (softball) and Skip and Carol Forbes (meritorious service).

The 2015 induction class is Grace’s eighth class. The group will be honored at the annual Hall of Fame Breakfast on Saturday at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.

“It’s exciting to honor Grace’s rich athletic history,” said athletic director Chad Briscoe. “This is an accomplished group of people who have added much to Grace Athletics. They deserve to be recognized for their contributions to our institution.”

Shrock and Vuong represent Grace Men’s Soccer in the program’s 50th season of collegiate competition. Shrock was the team’s coach from 1973-76. He won three conference championships in four seasons and led the Lancers to two NCCAA national runners-up finishes (1973, 1976). He posted a 43-16-2 overall record and 20-3-1 conference record during his four seasons. He also coached Grace’s track team to a second-place finish at the NCCAA National Championships in 1976.

Vuong played for the Lancers from 1980-83. He still holds a spot in the top 10 in most offensive categories, including career goals (49), career assists (35) and career points (133). He was named First Team NCCAA All-American in 1982 and 1983 and was honorable mention for All-American in 1981.

Kidder played on the inaugural Grace men’s basketball team in 1957. He was one of the first major recruits to sign for the Lancers and was the first member of Grace’s 1,000-Point Club. He poured in 1,653 points in his career and holds the program record for most field goal attempts in a game (35).

Lawlor (Lancaster) was a standout pitcher for Grace’s softball team in 1989-90. Despite pitching for just two seasons, she sits near the top of every pitching stat in team history, ranking third in career wins and seventh in career strikeouts. She posted a 0.83 ERA for the 1990 season and also batted .420 from the plate that year. For her career, Lawlor hit .394 which still ranks sixth all-time.

Skip and Carol Forbes have served for decades at Grace in a variety of areas. Skip has been an assistant on Grace’s women’s basketball team since 2006 and was an assistant on the men’s team from 1983-95. He was also a longtime professor at Grace, earning several awards for his excellence in the profession. Carol also worked at Grace, serving as the secretary to the academic dean.

“We want to thank those individuals who have brought much distinction and honor to Grace College and have established a tradition of Christian excellence which is incomparable,” Briscoe continued. “These achievements have touched everyone associated with Grace College both in and out of the arena of athletics.”

Rondeau, Schue Sweep League Player of Week Awards

September 22nd, 2015

After helping Grace’s women’s soccer team to a memorable upset, Mallory Rondeau and Abby Schue were honored as the Crossroads League Players of the Week.

Rondeau was named the league’s Offensive Player of the Week. She led the Lady Lancers to a historic upset of No. 2 Northwestern Ohio on Saturday. She assisted the game’s first goal in the first half. After the Racers had tied the game 1-1 in the second half, Rondeau broke the tie and netted the game winner in the 72nd minute.

Schue earned the Defensive Player of the Week award. The sophomore goalkeeper claimed Grace’s eighth win of the season when the Lady Lancers upset UNOH 2-1 on Saturday. Schue made six saves to fend off the defending NAIA national runners-up.

Grace (8-0) completed an undefeated nonleague season, tying the 2009 team for the best start in team history. Grace’s win over UNOH marked the highest-ranked opponent the Lady Lancers have beaten.

The Lady Lancers, ranked No. 15 in the NAIA, start league play on Saturday at Indiana Wesleyan.

Grace Secures Historic Win Over No. 2 UNOH

September 21st, 2015

pictured is junior Meredith Hollar celebrating her first-half goal during Grace's upset of No. 2 UNOH

Grace’s women’s soccer team secured its position as a national contender on Saturday night.

Goals from Meredith Hollar and Mallory Rondeau propelled No. 15 Grace’s women’s soccer team to a monumental 2-1 win over No. 2 Northwestern Ohio in front of an electric Miller Athletic Complex.

The win completes a perfect nonleague season for the Lady Lancers (8-0). It also marks the highest-ranked win in program history.

“Overall this was just a very good match. UNOH is a quality group, solid technically and tactically. They play good football,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “On the day the Grace women were composed, kept the ball well and finished well. This group is beginning to find their redemptive potential. I’m impressed with the entire group and their consistent joy and work rate to systematically play ‘possession attacking futbol.’”

Grace started the match sharply, threatening the Racers’ goal twice in the first six minutes. In the third minute, Mallory Rondeau got free behind UNOH’s back line. The Racers’ goalkeeper charged out, but Rondeau got a shot past her. The ball rolled too slowly, however, as a UNOH defender tracked back to save the ball from crossing the goal line.

Two minutes later Grace opened the scoring. Mallory Rondeau played a well-placed ball to Meredith Hollar in the penalty box, and Hollar sliced her shot to the left of the Racers’ goalkeeper at the 5:36mark.

The rest of the first half was a battle in possession with each side taking a fair share of ball control. The Racers took four first-half shots with the closest being a headed effort that was caught cleanly by goalkeeper Abby Schue. The teams entered halftime with Grace holding a 1-0 advantage.

UNOH managed to tie the game in the 58th minute. Grace thought they had caught the Racers offside, but no call was made and UNOH leveled the game from close range.

The game-winning moment for Rondeau came in the 72nd minute. Kristelle Jadoo found Rondeau outside the penalty box, and the senior forward split two Racer defenders and turned toward goal. After a slick move to sidestep UNOH’s goalkeeper, Rondeau calmly slotted her shot inside the right goalpost.

The rest of the second half belonged to Grace. The Lady Lancers’ midfield moved the ball efficiently and had the Racers pinned back in their defensive half for large periods of time.

Schue improved to 8-0 as Grace’s goalkeeper, making six saves in 90 minutes. The Racers had a slight 7-5 advantage in shots while each squad took two corner kicks.

Grace’s perfect nonleague season included wins over No. 2 UNOH, No. 11 The Master’s and No. 16 Bellevue as well as two teams (John Brown, Oklahoma City) who are receiving votes in the NAIA Top 25. The second edition of the poll will be released Sept. 29.

The Lady Lancers start Crossroads League play Sept. 26 at rival Indiana Wesleyan. Grace returns to Miller Athletic Complex on Sept. 29 against St. Francis.

Lady Lancers Win Third Straight

September 21st, 2015

pictured is Grace freshman Caylie Teel getting low for a dig against St. Francis on Saturday

After a slow start to the Crossroads League season, Grace’s volleyball team has found its stride after beating St. Francis 3-1 on Saturday.

The Lady Lancers (11-8, 3-4 CL) won their third consecutive match, recovering from an 0-1 deficit to beat the Cougars (3-11, 0-6 CL) at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.

In the opening set, St. Francis held a slight three-point lead at 20-17 when Grace coach Katie Van Hofwegen called timeout. Her adjustments worked as Grace won three of the next four points to climb within one, forcing a timeout by the Cougars. Grace continued its momentum, scoring the next two points to bring about another USF timeout. The Cougars finally got the edge, however, taking four of the final five rallies to win 25-23.

Grace jumped out to an early advantage in the second set, leading 11-7. The Lady Lancers would not let its late lead slip this time, cruising to a 25-19 win to even the match.

The third set was a nailbiter with each team taking turns pulling ahead. The score was tied 22-22 when Grace seized control. Tori Bontrager pounded out a kill, and Taylor Baird followed that up with an ace. St. Francis held off one set point, but Kaitlin Kerrigan crushed the final kill to the back line to lift Grace to a 25-23 win.

Grace finished matters in the fourth set with a 25-20 victory. The Lady Lancers had their most explosive offensive set in the fourth, racking up 17 kills on just five errors in the game-clinching win.

Kelsee Zuidema had a season-high 19 kills on a .429 percentage to lead all players. Kerrigan tallied 11 kills on 28 attempts, and Sara Miller notched 19 digs.

Caylie Teel notched 13 digs, Sierra Smith added eight kills, and Naarah Foster finished with four kills and three block assists. Baird (23 assists) and Laken Chaney (22 assists) shared setting duties, and Kari Feddema chipped in four kills and three block assists.

The Lady Lancers continue league play next weekend with a pair of away contests. Grace will play at Huntington on Friday and at Marian on Saturday.

Cross Country Takes On Challenging Field at Cedarville

September 21st, 2015

Grace’s cross country team measured itself up against several NCAA Div. I and II teams at Cedarville’s Friendship Invitational on Saturday.

The men finished 10th out of 12 teams, and the women were 8th out of 12 teams in a similarly challenging field. NCAA Div. I schools in the meet included Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Dayton, Wright State, Cleveland State, Valparaiso and Northern Kentucky.

Katelyn McCullough was the top overall finisher for Grace, finishing 36th out of 128 runners with a time of 19:40. Ariel Arellano was not far behind in 20:03 for 46th place, and her twin sister Raven Arellano crossed the finish line in 20:26.

Emma Mitchell, Karla Singer, Julia Neal and Sarah Hoff rounded out Grace’s top seven.

On the men’s side, Joel Bertelsen had a strong showing. The freshman ran a time of 27:51 in the 8k, ending up in 48th place out of 115 runners.

Tyler Houvener was next for the Lancers at 28:25. Sam Hall finished in 29:08, and Brandon Smith ended in 30:13. Tim Drew was Grace’s fifth runner in a time of 33:38.

“We were shorthanded on the guys’ side after injuries, but our top three women had decent races on a fairly tough course,” said Grace head coach Jeff Raymond. “I am pleased the team responded well despite a tough week of workouts and a couple who overcame illness.”

To see complete race results, click here.

The Lady Lancers take two weeks off from competition before taking on the Huntington Invitational on Oct. 3.

Grace Spikers Sweep Spring Arbor

September 21st, 2015

pictured is Grace's volleyball team during the team's sweep of Spring Arbor on Friday night

Grace’s volleyball team outmuscled Spring Arbor in three sets for the team’s second straight Crossroads League victory.

The Lady Lancers (10-8, 2-4 CL) made short work of the Cougars, winning 3-0 on Friday night at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.

Grace clicked on all cylinders in the match, holding the Cougars (4-12, 0-6 CL) to a negative team hitting percentage of -.012. Grace had at least nine kills in every set en route to the sweep.

In the opening set, Grace’s offense proved too much for Spring Arbor to handle. Grace pounded out 13 kills on a .440 percentage, blowing out Spring Arbor 25-10.

The second set was similar to the first. Grace had 13 kills on a .458 percentage in a 25-12 win. Tori Bontrager was the central figure in the game with 4 kills, 2 aces and 2 block assists.

The final set proved to be the closest. Grace led for the majority of the game, but the Cougars clawed back late. The Lady Lancers still managed to pull out the three-point win 25-22 to clinch the sweep.

Bontrager led all players with eight kills, needing just 10 attempts to reach that mark (.700 percentage). She also notched three aces and three block assists.

Naarah Foster tallied four kills and two block assists, and Kelsee Zuidema and Kari Feddema also had four kills. Taylor Baird finished with 16 assists and seven digs, and Sara Miller produced a match-high eight digs.

The Lady Lancers will look to make it three straight wins on Saturday when Grace hosts St. Francis at the MOCC at 3 p.m.

Lady Lancers Score Major Win Over Taylor

September 17th, 2015

Pictured is Grace's volleyball team celebrating winning a point against Taylor on Wednesday.

Grace’s volleyball team secured a much-needed win, taking down rival Taylor 3-1 on Wednesday.

The Lady Lancers (9-8, 1-4 Crossroads League) used balanced production to take down Taylor, who is receiving votes in the NAIA Top 25.

Four players reached double-digit kills for Grace, led by Kelsee Zuidema’s 13 kills. Tori Bontrager had 12 kills on a .435 percentage, and Kari Feddema and Sierra Smith each notched 11 kills.

For the match Grace hit at a .205 percentage. The Lady Lancers had 22 more kills than the Trojans (6-6, 3-1 CL), 19 more assists and 17 more digs.

Grace started the stronger of the two teams in the opening set, forcing Taylor to burn a timeout after just the ninth rally. The Lady Lancers maintained their lead throughout the game, however, easing away to a 25-20 win.

Taylor held a slight lead for much of the second set. Grace nearly recovered from a four-point hole late in the game, but the Trojans managed to tie the match 25-21.

In the third set, Grace found itself in trouble. Taylor scored eight of the first 10 points and still led 13-5 when coach Katie Van Hofwegen called her first timeout. Her strategy seemed to pay off as Grace battled to within three at 20-17. A Taylor timeout could not stem Grace’s momentum, however, as the Lady Lancers scored four straight points to take the lead 21-20 on a kill from Kelsee Zuidema. Taylor fought off two set points, but Kari Feddema ended things with an emphatic kill in the middle to win it 25-23.

The fourth set was hotly contested throughout the game. Grace’s offense eventually helped the Lady Lancers pull ahead down the stretch with 18 kills and just seven errors. Sara Miller made an outstanding defensive play on the final point, leading Grace to a match-clinching 25-22 win.

“We played great tonight. We’ve made a lot of changes in practice, and the girls responded well. We came out with energy and fire, and it made all the difference,” Van Hofwegen said. “Our hitters connected well with the setters, which kept the defense off-balance. Sara [Miller] and Caylie [Teel] played great defense and passed solidly for us, and we served tough. Everything we’d been working hard in practice all week transitioned onto the court tonight. We’re excited to see how that progresses.”

Taylor Baird (27 assists) and Laken Chaney (26 assists) split the setting duties on the night. Miller topped her career-high with 32 digs, and Kaitlin Kerrigan added eight kills and 17 digs. Caylie Teel had nine assists, and Naarah Foster chipped in four kills.

The Lady Lancers have two more home matches remaining this week. Grace hosts Spring Arbor on Friday at 7 p.m. and St. Francis on Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.

Women’s Golf Places Second at First Home Tourney

September 16th, 2015

pictured is freshman (Elkhart Central grad) Libby Tully on Tuesday.

Tuesday marked a memorable day for Grace’s women’s golf team with the program’s first home tournament.

The Lady Lancers finished second out of four Crossroads League teams at the Lancer Invitational, held at Stonehenge Golf Club.

“Today was a learning experience for our young team. We didn’t perform at the level we expect of ourselves, but it’s clear we’re making steady progress,” said Grace head coach Denny Duncan. “Our freshmen are making so many life adjustments that some level of inconsistency is understandable. We just can’t let that become acceptable. We’ve had tremendous effort and enthusiasm from the first day. What we need now is to raise the level of our intensity and focus during practice.”

Lauren Keiser posted the lowest score of the tournament for Grace with an 87. Libby Tully was next in Line with a 99, and Kate Adams was third on the team with a 100.

Stevie Luebbert carded a 104 to round out Grace’s scoring, and Amanda Gifford shot 122. Alex Noppert (116) and Emily McDermit (117) played as individuals for Grace.h

Grace’s next tournament is Saturday with the Manchester Invitational at Honeywell Golf Course.

Grace’s Schue Repeats as League Defensive Player of the Week

September 16th, 2015

For the second straight week, Grace’s goalkeeper Abby Schue was named the Crossroads League Defensive Player of the Week.

Schue has had a remarkable start to the Lady Lancers’ season, helping NAIA No. 15 Grace to a perfect 7-0 start.

Last week Schue picked up her sixth and seventh wins of the season as Grace’s goalkeeper, helping the Lady Lancers to a pair of wins over teams receiving votes in the NAIA Top 25. She made three saves against John Brown and four more against Oklahoma City to maintain Grace’s perfect start.

Grace already has five shutouts this season — good for second in the nation. Schue has a goals against average of 0.43 per game, which leads the league.

The Lady Lancers face their stiffest test of the season on Saturday when Grace welcomes No. 2 Northwestern Ohio to Miller Athletic Complex at 7 p.m.