Archive for the ‘Feature Stories’ Category

Lady Lancers Win by One in OT

Monday, December 14th, 2015

Grace’s women’s basketball team snapped a four-game losing streak in overtime on Friday.

The Lady Lancers (5-7) took down Union 71-70 on the road against a Bulldog team that was ranked No. 19 in the NAIA Preseason Poll.

Grace overcame a woeful shooting performance in the first half to grind out an overtime win over the Bulldogs (6-3). Kelsie Peterson had a game-high 23 points to go along with five assists and five rebounds.

After earning a 16-12 lead at the end of the first quarter, Grace’s shooting plummeted in the second period. The Lady Lancers managed just seven points in the 10-minute quarter and trailed 31-23 at halftime. Grace hit 9-of-37 (24 percent) from the floor in the first half, including just 3-of-15 on 3-pointers.

Grace’s offensive struggles vanished in the halftime locker room, however. The Lady Lancers exploded for 27 points in the third quarter, outscoring their first-half scoring in one quarter. Grace ended the quarter with 14 consecutive points — thanks to eight points by Sarah Feasby – to lead 50-46 entering the final quarter.

A 3-pointer by Peterson lifted Grace to a seemingly comfortable eight-point lead with 3:00 remaining in regulation. Union rallied, however, scoring 10 points in the final three points to tie the game at 62-62 with 37 seconds left. Both teams misfired on their potential game-winning possessions, sending the contest to overtime.

Grace did its damage from the free throw line in overtime. Seven of Grace’s nine points came from the foul stripe as the Lady Lancers eased ahead 69-65 in the final 10 seconds. Union was fouled on a 3-pointer, however, making all three shots to whittle the Lady Lancers’ lead to one. But Brooke Sugg iced the game by hitting 2-of-2 from the foul line with six seconds to play.

Feasby finished the game with 12 points in 17 minutes, and Kelsey Sule was a spark off the bench with 12 points and a trio of 3-pointers.

Jesse Feitz pulled down 14 rebounds and blocked two shots, and Sugg added 11 points.

The Lady Lancers continue their tournament at Union College on Saturday, playing against Cumberland at 2 p.m.

Lancers Down IU-Southeast at Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Monday, December 14th, 2015

Grace’s men’s basketball team enjoyed an 85-77 win over IU-Southeast at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Friday.

Brandon Vanderhegghen led the Lancers (9-3) with 20 points while playing at the home of the NBA Pacers.

The Lancers struggled to slow down the Grenadiers (4-7) in the opening half and faced a six-point deficit with 1:25 remaining. But Logan Irwin buried a 3-pointer to cut the gap in half, and a last-second basket by Erik Bowen tied the score 40-40 at halftime.

Grace was outrebounded by three in the opening half and allowed IU-Southeast to shoot 47 percent from the floor, including 5-of-11 from beyond the arc.

Caleb Featherston gave Grace a lift to start the second half. Featherston scored on three straight possessions, including a rebound putback dunk to spark the Lancers. Featherston’s last jumper gave Grace a 52-40 lead, capping off a 12-0 run to start the second half.

IU-Southeast was unable to cut into Grace’s lead for the next 11 minutes. With 5:01 to play, the Grenadiers made a push. IU-Southeast used a 14-5 spurt to pull within four and trailed 69-65.

Vanderhegghen and Josh Ruggles silenced the Grenadiers’ threat from the 3-point line. The duo drained back-to-back triples to extend Grace’s lead back up the double figures, and IU-Southeast was unable to make another rally.

Grace nailed 50 percent of its shots and had a plus-seven advantage on the glass over the final 20 minutes.

For the game, over half of Grace’s points were in the paint. Bowen had the only double-double in the game, tallying 13 points and 16 rebounds to go along with five assists.

Featherston and Kyle Fillman scored 12 points apiece, and Chad Hoffer produced 13 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Logan Irwin finished the game with 9 points, 8 assists and 3 rebounds.

Next up, the Lancers take a trip to the West Coast. Grace will play Menlo and Cal-Maritime in California next weekend.

Photos by Jeff Nycz of Mid-South Images

National Honors Come in for Grace Soccer

Monday, December 14th, 2015

Grace’s men’s soccer team was honored with a number of national and regional awards following a successful 2015 season.

The Lancers, celebrating their 50th season of collegiate competition, produced a 14-7-3 record. Matt Hotchkin coached Grace to its most wins in a season since 1983, advancing to the NCCAA National Championships for the third time in five years. Hotchkin was named the NSCAA Region Coach of the Year — one of seven NAIA coaches honored by the NSCAA.

At the national level, Justin Festa and Robbie Barnhill were named Second Team NCCAA All-American. Kyle Hamlin was Third Team NCCAA All-American, and Jon Sands and Nakilee Weni were honorable mention for NCCAA All-American.

Festa also earned a spot on the 2015 NCCAA All-Tournament Team.

At the regional level, Grace was given three spots on the NCCAA Midwest All-Region First Team (Hamlin, Festa, Barnhill) and three spots on the Second Team (Weni, Sands, Daniel Smith).

In the classroom, Grace had four NAIA Scholar-Athletes: Barnhill, Festa, Hamlin and Jon Christensen. Additionally, Barnhill and Hamlin were awarded on the prestigious CoSIDA First Team Academic All-America® list.

The Lancers ended the season in the “Receiving Votes” section of the NAIA Postseason Top 25 Poll.

Women’s Soccer Earns Four NAIA All-Americans

Monday, December 14th, 2015

After the most accomplished season in Grace’s women’s soccer history, the Lady Lancers were awarded with four honorees on the NAIA All-American list.

Carianne Sobey was named Third Team NAIA All-American — the highest individual award a Lady Lancer has received from the NAIA.

Mallory Rondeau, Meredith Hollar and Abby Schue earned honorable mention status for NAIA All-American. Grace’s four honorees were tied for fifth-most in the NAIA.

The Lady Lancers finished the season with a 15-3-3 record, landing at No. 11 in the NAIA Coaches’ Postseason Top 25 Poll. It marked the 17th straight poll that Grace has been ranked and 17th ranking overall in team history.

Grace advanced to the NAIA National Championships for the first time in school history under coach Michael Voss, hosting and winning an Opening Round matchup with Park.

Grace also earned its highest NAIA ranking (No. 8) during the 2015 season and defeated its highest-rank opponent in team history (vs. No. 2 Northwestern Ohio, Sept. 19).

Sobey graduated as the program’s all-time leader in assists. The midfielder finished her career with 42 assists and 80 points (sixth all-time).

Rondeau graduated as one of the most prolific offensive threats in team history. She led Grace in 2015 in both goals (9) and assists (4). Rondeau finished her career ranked fourth in goals (49), third in assists (28) and second in points (126).

Hollar tied for the team lead with nine goals this fall. She had six game-winning goals in 2015 to rank No. 17 in the NAIA. She has amassed 28 goals through her first three seasons.

Schue had a strong season as Grace’s goalkeeper. She posted a 0.55 goals against average to rank No. 6 in the nation, and her 11 shutouts were good for for third-most nationally.

Grace College Degree Completion Program Produces Success for Recent Graduate

Friday, December 11th, 2015

Dec. 8, 2015

Since 2008, Grace College has offered GOAL (Grace Opportunities for Adult Learners) to adults who wish to complete their undergraduate degree.  GOAL is available both residentially and online for a B.S. in Management or a B.S. in Quality Management. With current technology, outstanding classroom instruction, and a broad range of academic resources, Grace makes completing a bachelor’s degree a reality at a price you can afford.

Practical learning is key to GOAL.  Adult assessment replaces traditional examinations.  Building on previous college credits and life experiences equivalent to about two years of college, the GOAL degree can be completed in just 16 months.

Each residential GOAL class is offered one night per week for five weeks or over two day-long Saturday sessions.  GOAL is also available online for students who wish to complete their degree completely from home.  These convenient scheduling options allow participants to earn a degree while maintaining other full-time responsibilities.

As new GOAL cohorts prepare to begin in January, recent GOAL graduates like Sherri Reneker of Warsaw are celebrating successes from their new Grace College bachelor’s degree.  Last month, Sherri became a GOAL graduate earning her B.S. in Management. Throughout her enrollment in GOAL, Reneker maintained her job at Zimmer Biomet.  Since graduating, Reneker was promoted from Senior Cash Applications Clerk to Cash Application Supervisor, a very gratifying move that she attributes to GOAL.

“I know this career advancement would not have been possible had I not decided to return to school for my degree,” Reneker said. “I will be forever grateful for the Christian-based leadership training I received at Grace.  It is extremely rewarding to put that training into practice in my new position so soon after graduating.”  Reneker calls the GOAL program “a life-changing experience.”

Grace College is currently accepting applications for the residential and online GOAL cohorts to begin in January.  Prospective students can find more information by visiting, by calling 877/607-0012 or by emailing

Defensive Struggles Mark Grace’s Defeat

Monday, December 7th, 2015

Grace’s men’s basketball team was unable to find an answer to No. 5 Bethel on Saturday.

The Pilots (10-1, 2-1 Crossroads League) connected on 54 percent shooting en route to a 98-76 victory.

Grace never fully recovered from its first-half struggles. The Lancers (8-3, 1-2 CL) gave up 51 points in the opening half and faced a daunting 51-32 deficit at halftime.

The tone for the game was set from tipoff. Bethel opened the contest by scoring 11 unanswered points.

Bethel’s lead hovered around 10 points until seven minutes left in the first half. The Pilots ripped off a 12-0 run and cruised to their 19-point advantage at halftime.

Grace did its best to stay within striking distance in the second half. A pair of free throws from Erik Bowen cut Bethel’s margin to 81-67 with 7:07 remaining, but that proved to be the high point of the second half for Grace.

Brandon Vanderhegghen led Grace in scoring, producing 16 points with four 3-pointers before fouling out. Logan Irwin finished with 13 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds.

Chad Hoffer produced 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting off the bench, Bowen added 13 points and five boards, and Tre Olive chipped in five points and two rebounds.

Grace buried 10 3’s in the contest, but the Lancers were outrebounded 45-31. Grace also struggled mightily from the charity stripe, missing 11 of its 19 free throws (42 percent).

The Lancers’ next game is a high-profile matchup with IU-Southeast. The game will be held at the NBA Pacers’ Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. For ticket information, call Grace’s athletic office at (574) 372-5100 ext 6266.

Peterson’s Career Day not Enough vs Bethel

Monday, December 7th, 2015

A career-high 25 points from Kelsie Peterson went for naught as Grace’s women’s basketball team lost 72-59 at Bethel on Saturday.

The Lady Lancers (4-7, 0-3 Crossroads League) struggled with their shooting touch, hitting 33 percent from the floor and 26 percent from beyond the arc.

Bethel’s shooting, on the other hand, was on target from tipoff. The Lady Pilots (5-6, 2-1 CL) drilled five 3-pointers in the first quarter to go ahead 22-16.

Grace cut the margin to one in the second quarter, but Bethel scored five straight to end the half and led 36-28 at halftime. The Lady Lancers connected on just 29 percent of their field goals before halftime compared with 39 percent for Bethel.

The Lady Pilots eventually pulled ahead by 13 points two minutes into the fourth quarter before Grace made a final rally. Four points from Haley Richardson sparked a 7-0 spurt as Grace trimmed the deficit to 52-46 with 6:38 to play.

But Bethel countered with a 10-2 run of its own and coasted for the final 13-point margin of victory. Peterson netted 11 of Grace’s final 13 points in the last five minutes, but it was too little too late.

Peterson’s career day come on 7-of-14 shooting, including 4-of-6 on 3-pointers and 7-of-9 on free throws. She also had three assists and a game-high four steals.

Richardson tallied eight points and three blocked shots, and Jesse Feitz had four points and 10 rebounds.

Brooke Sugg produced seven points off the bench, and Sarah Feasby netted six points before fouling out. Darian Patton added in 4 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists, and Gabby Miller had five boards and four assists.

The Lady Lancers travel next weekend to Union (Ky.) for a tournament, playing Union and Cumberland.

Late Struggles Doom Lady Lancers

Thursday, 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

Thursday, 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

Thursday, 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.