WINONA LAKE, Ind. - Grace College’s men’s soccer team topped Indiana Tech 1-0 on Saturday night.
A second half goal from Dan Allen and three timely saves from Matteo Conci lifted the Lancers (4-2) over the RV Warriors.
The opening minutes of action were evenly balanced as each team had an early shot towards goal, but neither try found its mark.
Towards the middle portion of the first half, Grace began to assert its dominance. Martim Sequeira had a shot turned away by the Warrior keeper.
Grace’s attack began to come in waves, as Indiana Tech tried to survive the Lancer onslaught. Grace had a trio of dangerous crossing passes and a pair of corner kick opportunities, but was unable to find the first goal of the match.
The Warriors seemed to settle into the match late in the the half as they had a pair of shots on goal. Matteo Conci was up to task however, as the senior keeper turned away both shots.
The rest of the half went by without incident, as the gamer entered the intermission deadlocked at zero.
Despite Grace holding the more dangerous scoring chances in the first half, Indiana Tech held a 4-2 shot advantage. The Lancers had two corner kick opportunities while the Warriors had none.
Indiana Tech was the aggressor early in the second half. The Warriors had a trio of chances to start the half, but they could not beat Conci.
After the early Warrior pressure, the Lancers began to create opportunities on the counter attack. Juan Garcia passed a well weighted through the box, but it was just beyond the reach of a sliding Sequeira, who would have had a tap in goal.
Just minutes later, the Lancers would find their marker. Dan Allen settled a bouncing ball outside the 18-yard box and then curled a shot past the diving keeper to push the Lancers ahead 1-0 with 30-minutes left in the game.
Five minutes later Grace nearly doubled its lead. Sequeira had a breakaway but his shot was turned away at the last second by a kick save from Warrior’s keeper.
In the closing minutes the Warriors began to attack with abandon as they desperately sought the equalizing goal.
Grace’s defense held firm through the final minutes to hold on for the win and secure the fourth clean sheet of the season.
Grace held a narrow 10-9 shot advantage, and also had three corner kick opportunities compared to one for Indiana Tech. The fouls were nearly identical, as the Lancers and Warriors were whistled for 16 and 15 fouls respectively.
Sequeira led all players with three shots, and Conci finished the game with three saves.
Next up for Grace is No. 5 Lindsey Wilson. The Lancers and Blue Raiders will meet on Saturday at 6 p.m. in a rematch of last year's NAIA Opening Round contest.
Hot Start Continues For Grace Volleyball
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Grace’s volleyball team maintained its torrid pace to begin the season with two more wins on Saturday.
The Lancers improved to 10-2 with a pair of 3-1 victories over St. Francis (Ill.) and Cornerstone to conclude the Aquinas/Cornerstone Invitational.
In Saturday’s opener, Grace dominated USF. The Lancers had 26 more kills and 10 total aces. Grace hit at a .248 percentage while holding the Saints to a minuscule .050 percentage.
Grace began the match well by winning the first four points. The Saints eventually battled back and tied the score at 12-12, but five straight points by Grace kept momentum on their side.
Anna Ballengee helped close the door in the set, recording two kills and a block point over the final few points as Grace won 25-18.
Grace got off to another fast start in the second set at 6-1. The Saints were unable to make Grace sweat in the set as the Lancers rolled to another 25-18 win.
The Lancers seemed on the verge of a sweep with a commanding 10-2 lead to begin the third set. Grace still led 22-19 in the final stages, but the Saints flipped the script and won six straight points to steal the set and stay alive.
The Saints’ momentum was short-lived, however. Grace won eight of the first nine rallies, blitzing USF to a 25-11 victory.
Jadyn Ross enjoyed 12 kills on a .333 percentage, adding nine digs. Alisha Leffring amassed eight kills and five block assists, and Liz Schmidt led all players with 21 digs.
Sahara Bee finished with eight kills and two block assists, Katie Swanson had seven kills and two block assists, and Ballengee notched eight kills and two block assists.
Riley Owens (24 assists, 4 digs) and Morgan Syoen (23 assists, 7 digs) directed Grace’s attack well.
The freshman trio of Claire Jackson, Brea Harris and Callie Jo Celichowski each had a kill in the match as well.
The final match of the weekend began with a back-and-forth opening set. Grace and Cornerstone could hardly be separated from start to finish. A block from Bee and Tate handed Grace a 23-22 edge, but the Lancers were unable to close the door. The Golden Eagles rallied with three straight points to grab the first set 25-23.
Grace responded immediately with a 25-17 win in the second set. A timely 6-0 run late in the set helped Grace pull away for the eight-point victory.
In the third set, Grace rolled out to a 5-1 start; Leffring had a kill and a block on the first two plays. Grace clung to a small cushion for much of the set before CU rallied to seize a 21-20 lead.
But a well-placed timeout gave Grace a chance to recover. Back-to-back kills from Cassadi Colbert sparked Grace in front 23-22. A timeout from CU did not slow Grace as Colbert had kills on the next two plays as well, resulting in a 25-22 win.
The fourth set saw the Lancers surge in front 7-3. Grace did not relent and roared away to a 25-16 victory to end the weekend.
Leffring pounded out 13 kills with just one error on a .545 percentage, all while adding a solo block and four block assists.
Swanson had 10 kills and four block assists, and Ross notched 9 kills, 14 digs, 1 ace and 2 block assists.
Tate had six kills and six block assists, Bee tallied six kills and two block assists, and Colbert finished with 7 kills, 1 solo block and 2 block assists.
Schmidt racked up 21 digs, Stakely had 12 digs, and Emma Blackford served two aces.
Owens had 22 assists, 7 digs and 3 aces, and Syoen had 21 assists and eight digs.
The Lancers will end the regular season with a string of 17 consecutive league matches. Next week, Grace will travel to No. 16 Bethel on Wednesday before ending the weekend at home. On Friday, Grace will host Taylor at 7 p.m. followed by St. Francis on Saturday at 3 p.m.