No. 13 Columbia Ekes Out Win Over Grace

WINONA LAKE, Ind. - Grace’s No. 16-ranked women’s soccer team and No. 13 Columbia played neck-and-neck with each other in a Top-25 showdown on Saturday.

A brief lapse in judgment by Grace’s defending was the only difference as Columbia escaped with a 1-0 win.

The teams were practically even in every statistical category. The Cougars had a slight 7-6 edge in shots while Grace had a 3-2 advantage in shots on goal.

The match began with a midfield battle. The two highly-ranked teams were patient in attack as they searched for an opening.

The first shot attempt of the match did not occur until 19 minutes had expired. The Cougars tried a shot from a tight angle that went well wide of the net.

The first truly threatening moment of the match resulted in the only goal. Grace was dispossessed in the backfield, and the Cougars scored moments afterward with a 1v1 with Grace’s goalkeeper.

The Lady Lancers possessed the ball effectively but struggled to connect passes in Columbia’s end of the field.

Grace was unable to generate a shot attempt before halftime despite keeping a comfortable percentage of possession. Columbia had just two shot attempts, including the goal.

Grace began the second half with intent and almost scored immediately. Sam Vondersaar had a close-range shot blocked by Columbia’s goalkeeper. On the ensuing loose ball, Tori Calizo tried a shot in the box that went above the crossbar.

The next 20 minutes reverted back to a midfield battle. The teams took turns venturing into their attacking third of the field, but neither Grace nor Columbia was able to sustain a lengthy stay in dangerous territory.

Ashley Vandenboom and Lea Moessinger had shots on goal saved during the middle portions of the half.

In the 78th minute, Alexis Larimore attempted two threatening shots in a one-minute span, but each try was just off-target.

Larimore’s last shot at the 78:21 mark was the final shot attempt of the match for either team. The Cougars absorbed Grace’s pressure and held Grace at bay until the final whistle.

“This was a disappointing result for us as this was a reachable game. Our ladies prepared well in training, but our quality did not translate on the field today,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “Positively, we are still playing deep into our rotations and developing new players, and we should gain a few players back this week. Our women have great work ethic, intelligence and heart. This is a great group with high potential.”

The Lady Lancers have officially wrapped up nonconference play. Grace’s first Crossroads League match is at home on Saturday, Sept. 25, against No. 7 Marian.

No. 5 Cougars Pull Away After Halftime

WINONA LAKE, Ind. - It was a tale of two halves for Grace’s men’s soccer team on Saturday.

The Lancers hosted No. 5 Columbia in a high-profile meeting at 1st Source Bank Field. Grace and Columbia were scoreless at halftime, but the Cougars erupted in the second half en route to a 5-0 victory.

The first half was evenly played between the two sides. Each team took turns in possession as the two teams gained a better feel for the match.

Grace’s best chances came on direct attacks, and Columbia had its strongest looks after free kicks and corner kicks.

The Cougars had a few shots late in the half that were off the mark, including a header in the penalty box that went high.

The match entered halftime with a 0-0 scoreline. Grace only managed one shot attempt compared to five shots for Columbia. The Cougars also had the only three corner kicks of the half.

The Cougars did not stay scoreless for long. Before three minutes had expired in the second half, Columbia scored twice.

Columbia converted a cross inside the penalty box during the first minute after halftime. Before the Lancers could collect themselves, the Cougars had scored again.

Grace’s offense gained assertiveness after falling into an early hole in the half. Ethan Vigario had a pair of sharp strikes on goal.

Jordan Jayapuram had Grace’s closest goal-scoring moment when his header in the box ricocheted off the crossbar.

But just as Grace’s offense began kicking into gear, Columbia struck again to gain a comfortable 3-0 lead.

The Lancers continued to push for a tally. Vigario had a few other shots, and Famade Bamba’s header forced a diving save.

But again Columbia proved to be lethal with its attempts. The Cougars calmly counterattacked, finishing cleverly in the box for their fourth goal.

Columbia squeezed in a fifth goal just before the end of the match, resulting in the final 5-0 scoreline.

The Lancers outshot the Cougars on the day by a 14-12 margin. But Grace could not find the back of the net despite that advantage.

Columbia was efficient with its shot attempts, needing only 12 shots to score five times.

Vigario led all players with five shots, and Connor Pugh, Ze Maria Goncalves and Bamba each shot twice.

Grace will now transition to Crossroads League play starting next week after completing a grueling nonconference schedule, a stretch that included four ranked opponents. Grace will start league play on the road on Saturday at Marian.

Lady Lancers outlasted by Pilots

WINONA LAKE, Ind. - Grace College’s volleyball team was topped by No. 22 Bethel 3-1 in Crossroads League action on Saturday afternoon.

The shorthanded Lady Lancers (6-9, 1-6 CL) took the opening set but were unable to grab another set from the 22nd ranked Pilots (16-3, 5-2 CL).

This game marked the third NAIA ranked opponent the Grace has played in their last four matches.

The first set was hotly contested as the two traded points through much of the match.

The Lady Lancers used a pair of mini-runs to build a 23-17 lead and were poised to take the set.

The Pilots rallied to win six of the next seven points and trailed by just one at 24-23.

The next rally saw Jadyn Ross try a pair of hard-hit attacks before ultimately hitting off the Bethel block and out of bounds to secure the 25-23 set one victory.

Ross was the catalyst on offense for Grace in the first set, racking up six kills.

Katie Swanson started the second set with a kill, but the Lady Lancers quickly found themselves in hole as the Pilots jumped out to a 17-8 lead.

Anna Frey and Grace Erwin rattled off three straight points that reinvigorated the Lady Lancers. Fueled by the turn in momentum, Grace went on a 9-4 run and drew within 22-18.

Bethel, unfazed by the Grace run, eventually secured the set 25-19.

Grace would fall in the third set in a one-sided affair. The Lady Lancers attacked at a -.032 percentage on their way to a 25-14 defeat.

In what would prove to be the deciding set, Grace fell in a hard-fought fourth. In set four Grace hit a .216 clip but was unable to overcome Bethel’s resilient defense.

The Lady Lancers withstood three set points before falling 29-27.

Cassadi Colbert was lethal on offense with a .615 attack percentage for the day. Frey totaled 17 kills to lead all players.

Morgan Syoen led Grace with 20 assists, and Emily Peterson chipped in 18.

Grace will return to action on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. as they travel to take on Goshen.

Men's Tennis Stumbles At Marian

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Lancers hit a roadblock on their way to the postseason, falling 4-3 at Marian. Grace captured the doubles point, but the Knights came back to win four of the six singles matches to claim the victory. The loss drops the Lancers (8-2, 6-2 CL) into the third seed in the upcoming Crossroads League Tournament.

Ramiro Candia and Fabricio Galvan won 6-4 at No. 2 doubles, while Max Rozas and Milan Savic took No. 3 doubles 6-3.

Rozas won his No. 2 singles match 6-4, 6-4 to give Grace a 2-0 lead overall, but Marian ripped off three straight wins to claim a 3-2 advantage. Facundo Paredes evened the match by winning 3-6, 6-1, 10-3 at No. 5 singles, setting the stage for the final match to finish. Ivan Antinori split the first two sets at No. 6 singles, but couldn't pull off the victory.

The Lancers will host Goshen in the Crossroads League Tournament on Tuesday.