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.