Lancers Open Season with Sweep of Huntington

August 28th, 2014

Grace’s men’s tennis team kicked off its Crossroads League title defense with a sweep of Huntington on Wednesday.

The Lancers, who won the last two regular-season CL championships, took five of the six singles’ matches in straight sets.

“It was a great way to start off the season. Everyone played solid from the top to the bottom of the lineup,” said Grace head coach Larry Schuh. “Even though both of our teams did not have a full lineup, I think we will be a very tough team to beat in conference this year.”

Daniel Sanchez and Jose Marvel earned a pair of points apiece at No. 1 and No. 2 singles respectively, and the duo teamed up to win 8-5 at No. 1 doubles.

Jacob Stump and Ethan Grove followed suit to win at No. 3 and No. 4 singles. They also joined forces at No. 2 doubles for an 8-6 victory.

Gabe Vervynckt won 6-1, 6-1 at No. 5 singles, and Ricardo Bedon did not drop a set at No. 6 singles. Vervynckt and David Driscoll staked an 8-1 victory at No. 3 doubles.

The Lancers open up their home court on Tuesday against St. Francis at 3 p.m.

Grace to Add Women’s Golf as Sport

August 26th, 2014

Pictured with the clubs are (Left) Chad Briscoe, Denny Duncan, Bill Katip, and Jim Swanson.

Grace College has announced the addition of a new sport beginning in the fall of 2015 – women’s golf. The Lancers, under athletic director Chad Briscoe, will offer 15 varsity intercollegiate sports with the inclusion of women’s golf next fall. The team will be coached by Denny Duncan.

“The excitement of adding another athletic program is great for our campus. I appreciate the support of Dr. Katip, Dr. Swanson and the board to continue growing the athletic department,” Briscoe said. “Denny is a natural fit not only from his tremendous golf knowledge and background, but also from his ability to recruit in the community and regionally. He is a true man of Christian character who we know will lead this team the right way to uphold the mission of Grace.”

Denny Duncan will serve as the team’s first head coach. Duncan has worked in education as an administrator or teacher for 34 years, including over 20 years in adjunct work for Grace. His daughter Elena was a four-year letter winner and NAIA National Qualifier for Malone University’s women’s golf team, currently working as an assistant golf pro at Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Fort Wayne.

“I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to work with student-athletes who love competition and want to live in a way that honors Jesus Christ,” Duncan said. “I see the game of golf as a lifelong pursuit that mirrors our walk with Christ. I also know the industry of golf has many opportunities for young women, so I look forward to helping the ladies further their goals in golf.”

Women’s golf will begin full-fledged competition in the Crossroads League in its first season next fall. The Crossroads League is slated to feature all 10 institutions participating in 2015 for the first time. The winner of the league tournament is eligible to compete at NAIA Nationals each season.

“Adding women’s golf was one of the top priorities of our Lancer Task Force three years ago. It seems like a natural fit to our campus and to our community, especially since we live in a great golf community,” said Grace president Dr. Bill Katip. “Women’s golf is an extension of our athletic mission, and the program complements our women student-athletes on campus.”

Those interested in playing golf at Grace can contact Coach Duncan by email at or go to

Women’s Tennis Looks for Improvement in 2014

August 25th, 2014

Pictured: 2014 Grace women's tennis team

Grace’s women’s tennis has reason to be optimistic in 2014.

Although the Lady Lancers finished 3-8 last fall, Grace returns an experienced roster and added talented newcomers. Second-year head coach Scott Moore is confident the growing pains the team endured in 2013 will make for a stronger, hungrier squad this fall.

“Last year was a learning experience for both me and the girls, and I feel like we are miles ahead this year compared to last,” Moore said. “I have a competitive bunch of girls who are eager to get on the court and compete against other teams. Seeing their passion and excitement fires me up, and we can’t wait to get started.”

Kristin Cassidy returns as the most experienced senior on the court for Grace, boasting 14 wins over her collegiate career. Sarah Hinkel (11 career wins) and Jessica Lokotar join Cassidy as seniors on the squad.

Also returning for Grace is a strong sophomore class of Gabrielle Lawrence, Katie Etter, Mariah Zumbrun, Jayna Huber and Rachel Smith. The class combined to win 22 courts as freshmen, led by a team-high eight wins from Lawrence and six from Etter.

Newcomer Natalia Kurkova (Kyrgyzstan) joins the Lady Lancers as a junior this fall. She has tremendous potential in the Crossroads League and could be the team’s No. 1 singles and doubles player, according to Moore. Returners Julia Marsh and Lydia Marsh round out Grace’s junior class.

Caroline Cassidy, sister of Kristin, will be a freshman for Grace. She was a four-time All-Conference winner at Mississinewa High School and was the No. 1 singles and doubles player on a 19-2 squad in her final season.

“I expect our team to compete every match. We may not win every point, every set or every match, but if we focus on the process instead of the outcome, then we will be there in the end,” Moore said. “I expect the girls to carry themselves professionally and in a way that glorifies Christ.”

The Lady Lancers open the season on Thursday with a home match against Huntington at 4 p.m.

Late Strike from Sobey Seals Win in Season Opener

August 25th, 2014

Grace’s women’s soccer team outshot Calumet College of St. Joseph’s 18-3 on Saturday, but only one shot made the difference.

A hard blast from Carianne Sobey in the 84th minute gave Grace a 2-1 victory over the Crimson Wave (1-1) on Saturday night in the 2014 season opener for the Lady Lancers at Miller Field.

Grace had boundless scoring opportunities in the match, including a quick first goal from Grace’s Mallory Rondeau. The speedy forward latched onto a well-placed pass from Holly Bennett and beat the goalkeeper with a goal just 99 seconds into the match.

The ensuing 10 minutes featured a barrage on the Crimson Wave’s goal, but only Rondeau’s shot found the back of the net. Darcy Johnston nearly scored twice, and Bennett nearly added a goal of her own during the opening minutes of the match.

Grace held CCSJ to one shot before halftime and maintained control of possession throughout the first 45 minutes.

Early into the second period, Grace had back-to-back one-on-one situations with CCSJ’s goalkeeper but came up empty both times. Meredith Hollar had the first chance, but the Crimson Wave’s defense recovered in the final instance for force a wide shot. Rondeau then nearly scored again when her hard shot clanged off the crossbar.

The game winner came in the 84th minute from Sobey. After a nifty step on the ball to beat one defender, Sobey unleashed a hard attempt from near the endlne that won the match for Grace. The Lady Lancers continued to pressure for an insurance goal in the final minutes, but the Crimson Wave held firm to keep the score 2-1.

“The women put in a dominating team performance this evening. We met nearly all of our team objectives for this match to conclude our three weeks of training camp,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “Calumet was organized and had a good defensive strategy. Our women have become more and more unified each day. I really enjoy this team, and I am excited to see us develop as one systematic unit.”

The Lady Lancers had an 18-3 shot advantage and were called offside eight times in the match. Grace will refocus for next weekend’s home tournament which features No. 16 Olivet Nazarene on Friday night and No. 22 John Brown on Saturday.

Volleyball Improves to 4-0 With Perfect Tournament

August 25th, 2014

Grace’s volleyball team continued its undefeated start to 2014 with victories over Indiana Tech and St. Xavier on Saturday at the Wyndham Classic.

The Lady Lancers (4-0) pulled past the Warriors in extra sets and swept St. Xavier to close out the tournament.

Grace’s final match on Friday was a five-set win against IU-Kokomo, and the Lady Lancers followed suit with a five-setter against Indiana Tech on Saturday.

The Warriors (1-2) took advantage of a slow start by the Lady Lancers to win 25-15 in the opening set. Grace evened the match with a 25-20 win in the following set, thanks to five kills from Calah Kruse. Two aces from Laken Chaney sparked Grace early in the game.

Grace seemed on its way to a third-set victory with a 17-13 lead, but seven straight points from the Warriors swung the match back in Indiana Tech’s favor. The Warriors made several late plays to hold on for a two-point win.

The Lady Lancers’ offense was at its peak in the fourth set, ripping off 18 kills on a .316 percentage. Ellie Harp dished out 15 assists, and Grace Woolsey had six kills as Grace won 25-21 to force a fifth set.

The tiebreaker could not have started worse for Grace. The Warriors opened the game with a 5-0 lead, but Grace rallied with five straight points of its own to force a Cougars’ timeout. The score went back-and-forth down the stretch and was tied at 14-14. Woolsey then produced a solo block point, and Megan Johnson crushed the winning kill to move Grace to 3-0 on the young season.

Woolsey finished with 16 kills, 7 block assists and 1 solo block in the win, and Kruse poured in 17 kills, 12 digs and 2 aces. Harp handed out 50 assists to go along with 10 digs, and Hannah Clemmons led all players with 21 digs.

Johnson chipped in 11 kills on a .286 percentage with three block assists, and Tori Bontrager had seven kills on a .462 percentage with three block assists.

Grace made short work of St. Xavier in its second match of the day. Megan Johnson sparked the opening-set victory with five kills as Grace won 25-20.

After the first set, the Lady Lancers asserted their dominance. The Cougars (1-1) were held to just two kills in the second game, falling 25-8. Grace then went on to conclude the sweep with a 25-18 win, ending the tournament on a kill by freshman Kari Feddema.

Ellie Harp was named the Wyndham Classic Most Valuable Player, and Grace Woolsey also appeared on the All-Tournament Team.

Grace will play again next weekend in Daytona Beach, Fla., in part of the Embry-Riddle Tournament.

Lady Lancers Win Pair to Kick Off 2014 Season

August 25th, 2014

Pictured is freshman Tori Bontrager (center) celebrating a kill late in Grace's win over IU-Kokomo on Friday

An exciting first day of volleyball for Grace College was capped off by a five-set thriller at the Wyndham Classic on Friday.

The Lady Lancers defeated IU-East 3-1 to open up the tournament and ended the day with a memorable 3-2 win against IU-Kokomo.

In Grace’s opening match of the day, the Lady Lancers seemed to get better as the afternoon progressed. Grace lost the opening set to IU-East but recovered to win the match 3-1.

Grace had as many attacking errors (10) as kills in the first set, and the Red Wolves pulled away late to win 25-23. Grace’s defense impressed in the second set, tallying 15 digs including seven from Hannah Clemmons to win 25-21.

The third set was knotted at 20-20 when Annie Salazar provided a spark off the bench with pinpoint serves. Freshman Sierra Smith finished off the game with a kill as Grace won 25-22.

Grace’s offense was clicking on all cylinders by the fourth set. The Lady Lancers ripped off 21 kills on a .432 percentage to win 25-20.

Grace Woolsey was a dominant figure on offense, producing 10 kills on 11 attempts for a .818 percentage. She added a match-high six block assists. Kaitlin Kerrigan recorded 13 kills and seven digs, and Calah Kruse had 8 kills, 8 digs and 3 block assists.

Ellie Harp handed out 45 assists to spearhead Grace’s offense. Sierra Smith added 12 kills and four block assists in her collegiate debut, and Tori Bontrager had four kills on four attempts in her first match for Grace.

The Lady Lancers repeated their cold start in the second match of the day against IU-Kokomo. Grace had a team hitting percentage of .030, allowing the Cougars (0-2) to win 25-14.

Grace responded with more energy in the second set as late kills from Sierra Smith and Megan Johnson propelled the home team to a three-point win.

The third set was all Grace. The Lady Lancers exploded for 15 kills on three errors, blasting by the Cougars for a 25-14 win. But IU-Kokomo kept the match alive with a five-point win in the fourth game, using a 12-6 run late to force a tiebreaker.

After falling behind 1-4 in the early stages, Grace rallied with seven unanswered points. The Cougars did not fade, however, cutting Grace’s lead down to 8-7. From that point forward, Grace played inspired volleyball in front of a frenzied home crowd. The fans erupted after an acrobatic defensive save from Sara Miller was followed up by a kill from Tori Bontrager, handing Grace an 11-7 lead they wouldn’t surrender. Grace went on to clinch the match 15-12 on a well-placed kill by Woolsey.

Sierra Smith tied for match honors with 16 kills, and Calah Kruse was right behind with 13. Ellie Harp tallied 49 assists, 5 kills, 6 digs and 2 aces, and Miller had a match-high 20 digs.

Woolsey added nine kills on a .500 percentage to go along with 3 aces, 2 solo blocks and 3 block assists, Clemmons finished with 13 digs, and Laken Chaney came off the bench to tally five digs and an ace in her first collegiate appearance.

Grace continues action in the Wyndham Classic on Saturday against Indiana Tech at 11 a.m. and St. Xavier at 4 p.m. Watch both matches online at

Grace Welcomes Its New Mascot: Sir Red

August 22nd, 2014

After a month-long process of collecting names and submissions from Lancer Nation, Grace has revealed its new mascot – Sir Red.

Sir Red is a state-of-the-art, full-bodied knight with breathable, flexible and moveable mesh armor. He features a detachable and extendable lance and a shield to both protect Grace’s home court and attack any opposition.

Besides being the Lancers’ official color, red has historical significance for the Lancers. Grace’s athletic teams were first represented by the seminary, dubbing themselves the Ambassadors with the colors blue and gold. When the college decided to establish its own athletic identity, it decided on the color red. Lancer Nation was officially born.

Sir Red was officially revealed on Thursday, Aug. 21, at Grace’s student chapel service. Dr. Bill Katip ceremonially knighted Sir Red with a lance, charging the new mascot with the following proclamation:

“You have sworn to uphold the chivalry — its honors, rights and privileges; to remain faithful and loyal to the fans and athletes of Grace College; to uphold the principles of sportsmanship; to rally inimitable school spirit, and defend its honor to the end.

By your deeds and demeanor, you have earned the right to a place on our field. Having fulfilled the requirements of boundless energy, mesmerizing personality, and agility in armor, and having had your qualifications spoken to, and been clothed in your vestments, I hereby bestow upon you the accolade of Knighthood.

Ergo, it is before the assembled nobility and faithful Red Zone compatriots that I do deem thee SIR RED, mascot of Grace College. Go forth and rally our teams to victory!”

Men’s Tennis Eyes Three-Peat of League Crown

August 22nd, 2014

Coming off back-to-back regular season championships in the Crossroads League, Grace’s men’s tennis team has reloaded for another charge at the league title.

Despite graduating three starters from the 2013 squad, head coach Larry Schuh is confident of the Lancers’ depth and ability to keep the pace in 2014.

“I do not sense the guys letting the pressure of being a two-time conference champ weighing them down,” Schuh said. “Part of that is confidence and part of that is because our players simply play fearlessly. They are not afraid to fail.”

Leading the team is returning No. 1 singles player Daniel Sanchez. The senior earned First Team All-League honors after posting a 6-2 record in singles and 6-2 record at No. 1 doubles.

Jose Marval is set to play a major role in his junior season, coming off an impressive 2013 campaign. Marval was a First Team All-League selection after finishing 7-1 at No. 2 doubles and 6-2 at No. 2 singles.

Other returners with experience include juniors Ricardo Bedon and Ethan Grove and sophomores David Driscoll, Jacob Stump and Gabe Vervynckt.

Schuh, a two-time CL Coach of the Year (2013, 2009), brought in two international players for the fall season. Sophomore Uros Pajic (Serbia) played his freshman season at NCAA Division I Chicago State and will likely play at No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles in 2014. Freshman Danila Kourkoulin was a standout tennis player from Haifa, Israel.

Although the Lancers have high hopes of continuing their league success and advancing to NAIA Nationals, the Schuh-led Lancers are dedicated to remaining true to their mission.

“The goals and expectations every year center around going to nationals, but those expectations are embedded in doing it the right way,” Schuh said. “We see tennis as a means to glorify God. If we are winning but not reflecting Christ on the court, it is a vain pursuit and a meaningless result. But to win and to bring attention to Christ at the same time will enrich the winning experience while seeking first His kingdom.”

The first step in Grace’s defense of its league title begins on Aug. 27 at Huntington at 4:30 p.m.

Pictured above is Grace’s men’s tennis team for 2014.

Men’s Soccer Claims Win in Season Opener

August 22nd, 2014

Grace’s men’s soccer team started its season on the right foot, picking up a 1-0 victory over Colorado Christian on Thursday.

The Lancers defeated the NCAA Division II school with a first-half own goal, and Grace had a strong 14-8 shot advantage in the match.

Grace’s goal came three minutes before halftime when an own goal beat the Cougars’ goalkeeper at the 42:58 mark.

In the first half, Grace took eight corner kicks and seven shot attempts. The Lancers continued their assault on the Cougars’ goal after halftime, outshooting Colorado Christian 7-3.

“We played with strong commitment and with our style of soccer. We did a nice job moving the ball and got comfortable as the game went on,” said Grace head coach Matt Hotchkin. “Our finishing touches are not crisp, and that clearly needs improvement. But overall I thought we played good, balanced soccer.”

Danilo Carnelos led all players with three shots. Gift Sibukome had two shots on goal, and Josiah O’Deens, Austin Altimus and Trent Smith each tallied two shots apiece.

Hector Torres, O’Deens, Isaac Magnuson and Zack Tucker each made their first official collegiate appearance for the Lancers.

Jacob Cole earned the shutout victory in goal, making three saves in 90 minutes of action.

The Lancers continue their Colorado road trip on Saturday against another NCAA DII school University of Colorado-Colorado Springs at 4 p.m.

Grace College to Offer Tuition Reduction and Free Textbook Rentals

August 20th, 2014

Since 2010, Grace College has been a nationally recognized pioneer in higher education, pursuing the most creative ways to offer students an excellent and affordable, faith-based education.

As the college has reimagined itself over the past several years, it first redesigned its curricular model to accommodate the pursuit of an accelerated undergraduate degree in any of their 65 majors within a three-year time frame. They also added more opportunities for applied learning experiences and internships outside the classroom. As a second act, Grace raised the bar again to allow the option to graduate with a bachelor’s plus a master’s degree in just four years total.

In its relentless pursuit of new methods, it’s no surprise Grace is innovating once again. With the new Measure of Grace initiative, effective with the entering class in fall of 2015, Grace will lower the cost of tuition by 9 percent.

In addition, each continuous year a student returns as an undergraduate, Grace will lower the tuition by another $500. This can add up to as much as a $3,000 additional savings. One of the real game-changers likely to create a buzz, however, is offering all undergraduate students their textbook rentals for free (excluding workbooks and consumables). For average students, this equates to another $4,800 back in their pockets over four years.

“We are convinced that high quality and affordability can go hand-in hand,” said Dr. Bill Katip, president of Grace. “This is the next step, and we are excited to see this process unfold.”

“Grace’s commitment to innovation has set them apart from others in the world of higher education,” said Paul Blair, vice president of financial affairs at Grace. “With the new Measure of Grace initiative, which includes tuition reduction and free textbook rentals, students will find themselves with more breathing room and financial stability in their college planning.”