2014 PREVIEW: Golfers Add Fresh Talent to Roster

September 5th, 2014

The Grace College men’s golf team has loaded up the 2014 roster with talented newcomers under head coach Denny Hepler.

The Lancers will be led by steady senior Taylor Fanning in his final season. He and junior Bradley Clark represent the sole upperclassman presence on the roster.

Sophomore transfers Jon Schram and Tyler Adams provide depth and should fight for a top-five spot in each tournament. Schram, a Warsaw graduate who played his freshman season at Ball State University, has potential to be one of the top golfers in the Crossroads League, according to Hepler.

“I’m very excited about this year’s team. We have a couple surprises that could make our team deeper than I anticipated,” said Grace head coach Denny Hepler. “This team has some of the best talent we’ve ever had at Grace. If we can eliminate any high numbers on holes, we will be fine.”

Zachary Allyn and Micah Knoblock return for their sophomore years in Grace’s lineup. They will be joined by freshmen Brayden Glaser (NorthWood) and Daniel Zawlocki (Whitko).

The Lancers open competition for the fall season on Monday at the IWU Invitational from Meshingomesia Golf Club.

Grace Sweeps Taylor in Convincing Fashion

September 5th, 2014

Center jumping is Megan Johnson, pictured earlier in the season for Grace volleyball.

Grace’s volleyball team made an early-season statement by sweeping Taylor on the road on Wednesday.

Calah Kruse and Kaitlin Kerrigan poured in 12 kills apiece to pace Grace’s offense in the Crossroads League opener.

The Lady Lancers (8-1, 1-0 CL) held Taylor to a .059 hitting percentage, registering eight block points.

“The ladies really stepped up tonight and played the way we know we can,” said Grace head coach Andria Harshman. “Our execution of the game plan was precise, and I’m so proud of the ladies and our efforts. This was a big win for the team as we begin a tough league schedule.”

Grace held a slight lead for much of the opening set. With the score knotted at 19-19, Grace earned four straight points to take the opener 25-22. Kruse notched two of her six kills in the set during the crucial 4-0 run.

Grace’s momentum continued into the start of the second set, claiming a 4-0 lead out of the gate. The Lady Lancers continued their strong performance with another clutch win, 25-23. Grace hit .158 as a team in the win.

Although the Trojans (8-2, 0-1 CL) scored the first four points of the third set, the Lady Lancers seized control of the set immediately after that point. Grace charged away with a 16-4 run to claim a 16-8 lead, and the Lady Lancers never led by fewer than four points the rest of the way.

Kruse had the only double-double of the match with 12 kills and a team-high 14 digs. She also notched two block assists. Ellie Harp passed out 27 assists with 6 service aces, 3 kills and 2 block assists.

Grace Woolsey had 6 kills, 2 solo blocks and 3 block assists, Tori Bontrager finished with five kills on 10 attempts, and Hannah Clemmons chipped in with 11 digs.

The Lady Lancers travel to Georgetown (Ky.) College over the weekend for a tournament. Grace resumes Crossroads League play on Sept. 10 in a home match against Marian.

Barnhill Earns League Player of the Week Award

September 3rd, 2014

Robbie Barnhill got his Lancer career off to a fast start by being named the Crossroads League Defensive Player of the Week.

Barnhill, a sophomore transfer from Malone University, surrendered just one goal in two matches as Grace’s goalkeeper. He shut out John Brown in 86 minutes in goal, before sitting out four minutes after getting hit in the head. He made five saves against John Brown.

Barnhill helped the Lancers to a 2-0 week while recording six saves.

The Lancers’ next home match is Saturday 7 p.m. against Campbellsville, who is receiving votes in the NAIA.

Women’s Tennis Wins First of the Year

September 3rd, 2014

Grace’s young women’s tennis team picked up its first victory of the fall with an 8-1 victory against St. Francis.

The young Lady Lancers played with just one upperclassman to take down the Cougars (1-2, 1-2 CL).

Freshman Caroline Cassidy won her first two collegiate matches, including 6-2, 7-5 at No. 6 singles and 8-4 at No. 3 doubles with Katie Etter. Etter also stayed undefeated on the season with a straight-sets win at No. 5 singles.

Natalia Kurkova won her second-straight match at No. 1 singles in dominating 6-0, 6-1 fashion, and she teamed up with Jayna Huber to win 8-4 at No. 1 doubles.

Mariah Zumbrun and Gabrielle Lawrence won two points apiece for the Lady Lancers (1-1, 1-1 CL), including an 8-3 win at No. 2 doubles.

“We were much more aggressive from the start in this match than we were against Huntington,” said Grace head coach Scott Moore. “I thought the girls took chances when they had opportunities and played with confidence. We must continue to get better each day, and I thought today we did that.”

The Lady Lancers have two more home matches this week, including Taylor on Thursday and Spring Arbor on Saturday.

Men’s Tennis Sweeps St. Francis

September 3rd, 2014

The Lancers’ men’s tennis team earned a convincing 9-0 victory over St. Francis on Tuesday at Miller Field.

Grace continued its march toward defending its Crossroads League crown with a second straight sweep to kick off the season.

Daniel Sanchez and Jose Marval paced the Lancers (2-0, 2-0 CL) from the top, winning 8-4 at No. 1 doubles. Sanchez only dropped three sets at No. 1 singles, and Marval battled out a 7-5, 6-3 victory at No. 2.

Ethan Grove and Jacob Stump won 8-4 at No. 2 doubles, and Ricardo Bedon and Gabe Vervynckt earned an 8-2 win at No. 3 doubles.

Stump was spotless at No. 3 singles (6-0, 6-0), Grove was nearly as perfect with a 6-2, 6-0 win at No. 4, Vervynckt won 6-1, 6-3 at No. 5, and Bedon finished 6-2, 6-2 at No. 6.

The Lancers end the week with a pair of crucial CL contests. Grace will travel to Taylor on Thursday at 4 p.m. before playing at Spring Arbor on Saturday at 1 p.m.

2014 PREVIEW: Grace Cross Country

September 2nd, 2014

Pictured: Grace College 2014 cross country team

The theme for Grace’s cross country team in 2014 is sunathleo, which means “striving together.”

Head coach Jeff Raymond’s desire is that the Lancers’ striving together as a larger unit will result in improved times for each runner this fall. Sunathleo.

“I’m excited for the season because of the type of people we have on the team,” Raymond said. “It’s fun to work with them each day, and the team members genuinely enjoy being around each other. That type of team cohesion will lead to better results as we challenge each other.”

On the women’s side, the Lady Lancers return the majority of last year’s top-five runners. Senior Jenna McClellan, sophomore Katelyn McCullough and juniors Alexis Nelson, Megan Gast and Creigh Ogle were Grace’s top finishers in the 2013 Crossroads League Championships. McCullough finished in 20:04 as a freshman.

Three new Lady Lancers will be added to the roster in 2014. Emma Mitchell, McCallah Mast and Aletheia Burritt have potential to be in the top group as freshmen, according to Raymond.

The men’s team must replace last year’s leading runner Jonathan Rex (graduation). Junior Collin Chupp and sophomores Brandon Smith, Brendon Lengacher and Hunter Reed were consistently among Grace’s top-five runners in 2013 and hope to improve their times this fall.

Six new faces join the men’s squad in Tim Drew, Reid Fouty, Tyler Houvener, Nathan Lane, Dustin Wells and Austin Yoder. Raymond said several of the freshmen have looked strong in the preseason workouts.

“Right now we are not focused on team places or individual times. Our focus is on continually challenging ourselves to get better and not settle,” Raymond said. “If we are able to consistently push ourselves out of our comfort zones, I know we will be ready to perform well in the big meets at the end of the year.”

The Lancers open the season on Saturday at the Goshen Hokum Karem.

Grace Draws with No. 22 John Brown in 2nd OT

September 1st, 2014

Despite a 21-9 shot advantage, Grace’s women’s soccer team had to settle with a 1-1 tie against No. 22-ranked John Brown on Saturday.

The Lady Lancers (1-1-1) took a 1-0 lead into the final minutes, but John Brown found a late equalizer in the 80th minute to spoil Grace’s upset bid.

Grace held the Golden Eagles (1-0-1) to just two shot attempts in the opening period, but the Lady Lancers were unable to get on the scoreboard with nine shot attempts. Grace also held a 5-0 advantage in corner kicks before halftime.

In the 53rd minute, Mallory Rondeau opened the game’s scoring. Heather Martin sent a free kick into the penalty box, and Carianne Sobey’s headed pass found Rondeau for a sliding finish in front of the net.

Grace appeared on its way to an upset with a late lead, but John Brown had other ideas. The Golden Eagles (1-0-1) capitalized on a loose ball in the box to tie the game at the 79:13 mark.

John Brown denied Grace a potential late-game winner in regulation, but Meghan Wiles’s shot from close range was saved.

The best chances for either team in overtime came during the second extra session as two shots hit the crossbar. John Brown took the first attempt on a free kick that clanged off the bar, and Meghan Wiles looked to have the winner in response. Wiles’s long shot ricocheted off the crossbar and came dangerously close to bouncing down past the goal line.

The match ended with Grace taking 11 more shot attempts and seven more corner kicks (7-0) than John Brown. Wiles finished with five shots, and Holly Bennett had four attempts to lead Grace’s efforts.

The Lady Lancers continue action on Tuesday at Judson University. Grace’s next home match is on Sept. 20 against Westminster (Utah).

Lancers Rally in Second Half Against Moody Bible

September 1st, 2014

Grace’s men’s soccer team recovered from a one-goal deficit at halftime to defeat Moody Bible 2-1 at Miller Field on Saturday.

Kyle Hamlin tied the match in the 53rd minute, and Nikola Blazic converted a penalty kick to win the game 10 minutes later.

The Lancers (3-1) outshot the Archers (0-1) in the match 17-7, including a 9-2 advantage after halftime.

Grace nearly scored twice in the first half off set pieces from Danilo Carnelos and Justin Festa, but each time the Archers saved the ball off the goal line. Carnelos tried the bend a free kick into the net, and Festa’s header was also saved at the last moment.

The Archers opened the scoring in the 35th minute when Jacob Robbins finished off a rebound from close range.

The Lancers found the equalizer less than 10 minutes into the second half. Nikola Blazic played a through ball to Austin Altimus, and Altimus swung a ball in front of the net to Kyle Hamlin for a one-time finish at the 52:43 mark.

Gift Sibukome was tackled inside the penalty box less than 10 minutes later to earn a penalty kick. Nikola Blazic lined up for the kick and promptly slotted the ball inside the post at the 62:08 mark.

Neither team was able to produce a goal in the final 28 minutes as Grace’s strong possession kept the match in the Lancers’ favor.

Robbie Barnhill earned the win in goal for the Lancers, making one save in 90 minutes. Altimus led Grace with four shots, and Trent Smith had three shots with two on goal.

The Lancers continue play at Miller Field on Sept. 6 against Campbellsville, who is receiving votes in the NAIA Top 25 Coaches’ Poll.

Grace’s Perfect Start Continues

September 1st, 2014

Grace’s volleyball team continued its fast start to 2014, moving to 6-0 on the season with wins against Warner and Northwestern Ohio on Friday.

The Lady Lancers opened up the Embry-Riddle Labor Day Tournament with a five-set victory over Warner before beating UNOH in four sets.

“We are continuing to work on things in our lineup. I feel like we are getting better each time we play, which is encouraging,” said Grace head coach Andria Harshman. “We struggled this morning a bit after traveling, but we got our system going and eventually worked it out for the win. Ellie [Harp] was really dominant against UNOH to help us win the second game. That match was much more intense, and the girls responded well to the pressure.”

In the morning’s opening match, Grace won the first, third and fifth sets to take down Warner. The Lady Lancers had a shot to close the match in four sets, but Warner rallied with a 25-14 win. Grace recovered to pull out a 16-14 win, ending the match on a kill from Calah Kruse.

Kruse led Grace with a double-double of 16 kills and 19 digs, hitting at a .297 percentage for the match. Hannah Clemmons produced a match-high 23 digs, and Ellie Harp tallied 27 assists and seven kills.

Northwestern Ohio struck first in the second match of the day, claiming a 25-23 win in the opener. Grace tied the match with a seven-point win in the second.

The Racers were on the verge of tying the match with a 24-22 lead in the third set. But the Lady Lancers rallied to force extra points where Annie Salazar’s ace gave Grace the 27-25 win. Grace owned the fourth set by the score of 25-15.

Ellie Harp was unstoppable in all facets of the game. She pounded out nine kills on a .421 percentage, handed out 30 assists and served up 8 aces. Kruse just missed another double-double with nine kills and 25 digs, and Grace Woolsey added 9 kills, 4 block assists and 1 solo block.

The Lady Lancers put their six-match winning streak on the line again on Saturday in Florida. Grace will play Northwest at 11:30 a.m. and No. 14 Oklahoma Baptist at 7 p.m.

Hamlin’s Game Winner Tops John Brown

August 29th, 2014

Pictured is Justin Festa heading a ball for Grace on Thursday.

Kyle Hamlin provided the game’s only goal on Thursday as Grace’s men’s soccer team bested John Brown 1-0 at Miller Field.

Austin Altimus picked out a nifty pass in traffic to Hamlin on the left side of the box, and the junior striker took care of the rest, slotting the ball into the back of the net in the 56th minute.

The Lancers (2-1) had chances to add more goals, but only Hamlin’s strike beat the Golden Eagles’ defense. Altimus and Hamlin both had one-on-one opportunities with John Brown’s goalkeeper, but each time the Golden Eagles (0-1) kept Grace off the scoreboard.

Robbie Barnhill earned the win in goal for Grace. Ben Cahill, Justin Festa, Jon Sands and Danilo Carnelos anchored the backline, which registered its second shutout in three contests.

“This was a good early-season win for us tonight. We didn’t respond to the physicality of the match until the second half, and I thought the guys played stronger as the game went on,” said Grace head coach Matt Hotchkin. “Our outside backs [Carnelos and Sands] had excellent games and played with a lot of poise. It was also a big confidence builder for Hamlin to get that goal after some beautiful build-up.”

John Brown outshot Grace by one in each half and had a 14-12 advantage overall. The Lancers had five more corner kicks than the Golden Eagles (8-3). A total of 28 fouls were called with two yellow cards in the first half.

The Lancers return to Miller Field on Saturday to take on Moody Bible Institute at 1 p.m.