Late Struggles Doom Lady Lancers

December 3rd, 2015

A fourth-quarter downfall undid Grace’s women’s basketball team against No. 20 St. Francis on Wednesday.

The Lady Lancers (4-6, 0-2 Crossroads League) gave up 31 points in the final quarter in an 82-58 defeat at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.

Grace jumped out to an 18-15 lead after the first quarter, thanks in large part to a trio of 3-pointers from Kelsie Peterson.

The Cougars (4-2, 2-0 CL) used a 13-1 spurt to grab a seven-point advantage midway into the second quarter, and St. Francis never trailed again. Grace trailed by 10 at halftime.

The Lady Lancers stayed within striking distance in the third quarter and trailed by just eight points entering the final stanza.

St. Francis started the fourth quarter with a 15-2 run, and Grace never recovered. The Cougars built up their lead to 20 and cruised down the stretch.

Grace struggled with its shooting touch in defeat, making 26 percent of its field goals in the first half and 34 percent in the second. The Lady Lancers did hold a 31-27 advantage in rebounds as Jesse Feitz pulled in a game-high 12 rebounds to go along with eight points.

Peterson, Darian Patton and Brooke Sugg each scored 10 points, and Haley Richardson added eight points.

The Lady Lancers will look to snap a three-game losing streak on Saturday. Grace travels to rival Bethel at 1 p.m. as part of a men’s/women’s doubleheader in Mishawaka.

Last-Second 3 Spoils Grace’s Night

December 3rd, 2015

Grace’s men’s basketball team was seconds away from an upset of No. 19 St. Francis on Wednesday night.

Two free throws from Logan Irwin with 13 seconds remaining gave Grace a one-point lead against St. Francis.

But St. Francis’s Kegan Comer hit a 3-pointer with one second on the clock, helping the Cougars (6-3, 1-1 Crossroads League) to a 79-77 win over Grace.

The Lancers (8-2, 1-1 CL) outrebounded St. Francis by 11 and had just nine turnovers in the contest, but Grace struggled from the free throw line in the second half to help the Cougars’ survive Grace’s upset bid.

Erik Bowen had the game’s only double-double in just 22 minutes of action. He led all players in points (18) and rebounds (12) before fouling out with 4:02 remaining.

Grace led for much of the game, jumping out to a 19-12 advantage after tipoff. A last-second 3-pointer from Josh Ruggles lifted the Lancers to a 39-35 lead at halftime.

The Lancers maintained a slight cushion over the Cougars in the second half and pulled ahead 70-64 on a trey from Brandon Vanderhegghen with 6:52 on the clock.

But the Cougars rallied, using a critical 10-2 run to go on top 74-72 with two minutes to play. Irwin tied the game with a jumper in the lane, but St. Francis responded to reclaim its second-point lead. Irwin hit 1-of-2 from the line with a minute remaining, and Grace then made a defensive stop.

St. Francis elected to foul Irwin to get the final shot, and the strategy worked. Although Irwin buried both free throws to lead 77-76, the Cougars had the final laugh with Comer’s game-winning triple.

After hitting 14-of-16 from the foul line in the first half, Grace struggled from the charity stripe after halftime. The Lancers made just 6-of-13 (46 percent) in the final 20 minutes to hamper their cause.

Irwin produced 13 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals, and Chad Hoffer scored 13 points off the bench.

Vanderhegghen tallied nine points, and Logan Godfrey finished with eight points and six boards in 11 minutes.

The Lancers will look to bounce back on Saturday with their annual trip to Mishawaka. Grace will square off with rival No. 5 Bethel at 3 p.m., following the women’s Grace/Bethel matchup in a Crossroads League doubleheader.

Lancers’ Season Ends at NCCAA Nationals

December 3rd, 2015

Pictured is Kyle Hamlin dribbling against Belhaven in the second half.

Grace’s men’s soccer team wrapped up its 2015 campaign with a 1-0 loss to Belhaven at NCCAA Nationals on Wednesday.

The Lancers end the season with a 14-7-3 record, marking the most wins in program history since 1983.

The NCAA Div. II Blazers (14-3-2) won the pool in the winner-take-all match, advancing to the national semifinals.
In the first 25 minutes, Belhaven dominated time on the ball. The Blazers only managed two shots during that time, but they held Grace without an attempt until Damon Binkley’s blocked shot in the 26th minute.

Grace’s offense sputtered for much of the opening half. Only a handful of free kicks provided Grace any opportunities before halftime.

The Lancers’ defense held the Blazers in check, however. Robbie Barnhill came out to make a double save in rapid succession, smothering Belhaven’s best chance in the 42nd minute. The match entered halftime scoreless with the Blazers holding a 5-2 advantage in shots.

Grace found its offensive stride in the early portions of the second half. In the first five minutes, Mitchell Zeilenga had a headed effort at goal, and Dominic Harris had a fastbreak shot that was blocked.

Thomas Tydeman nearly broke through 15 minutes into the half. He fired off a 20-yard shot that whisked a few feet above the crossbar.

Minutes after Tydeman’s miss, Belhaven dealt the fatal blow. On a free kick from the left side of the field, Lucas Talaveira-Befi fired a shot that beat the defensive wall and crashed inside the far post at the 62:30 mark for the game’s only goal.

Grace, needing a win to prolong its season, amped up its offense in pursuit of goals. With 17 minutes to play, Grace had a throw-in near Belhaven’s penalty box. Grace had an appeal for a handball in the penalty box, but the official denied the request much to Grace’s chagrin.

Two minutes later, another throw-in in Belhaven’s territory produced another chance for the Lancers. A loose ball fell to Daniel Smith, but his hard shot at the top of the penalty box was blocked.

The game gained even more intrigue at the end of the match when Belhaven was issued a straight red card, giving the Lancers a 11v10 advantage for the final 4:35. But Grace could only muster one more shot before regulation and fell 1-0 at the final horn.

For the game, Grace outshot Belhaven 8-7 including a 6-2 advantage in the second half.

The loss ends the careers of seniors Kyle Hamlin, Justin Festa, Dylan Andersen, Travis Kirkland and Nakilee Weni. The group had three winning seasons in four years, averaging over 10 wins per season.

Lancers Draw with Chowan in NCCAA Pool Play

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

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

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

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 crswekn@grace.edu.

Fourth Quarter Unravels for Lady Lancers

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

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

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.