WINONA LAKE, Ind. - The sensational streak for Grace’s volleyball team continued on Saturday.
The Lancers completed a perfect week at home, sweeping St. Francis en route to the team’s sixth-straight victory.
Grace now sits at 13-2 with a perfect 4-0 mark in Crossroads League play, tied atop the league standings with No. 5 Indiana Wesleyan.
The first set was the most hotly contested of the three. USF began the match sharply with a 7-2 lead. The Cougars remained in front for most of the set as Grace struggled to make a dent in the deficit.
Grace pulled to within two on two occasions, eventually pulling even at 23-23. A pair of USF timeouts could not slow Grace’s surge. A timely ace from Liz Schmidt put Grace on top, and Anna Ballengee finished off the set (27-25) with a kill on the final point.
Alisha Leffring charged Grace’s attack in the set with five kills on eight swings.
Grace was dominant to begin the second set. USF had to burn both of its timeouts early as Grace rolled in front 15-7.
The Cougars did their best to keep pace, gradually eating away at Grace’s lead. USF pulled to within three at 23-20, but two USF miscues on the next two plays gave Grace the 25-20 victory.
The Lancers wasted little time taking the lead in the third set. Back-to-back kills from Leffring put Grace ahead 13-7.
Grace’s defense gave USF little room to attack; the Cougars had eight attack errors and hit .000 as a team.
The Lancers cruised to the final 25-17 victory to complete the afternoon’s sweep.
Leffring led all players with 10 kills at a .400 percentage. She also had a solo block and three block assists.
Livia Tate finished with five kills and three block assists, and Jadyn Ross added four kills and seven digs.
Morgan Syoen finished with 17 assists and four digs, and Riley Owens had 12 assists and five digs.
McKenzie Stakely paced Grace with 13 digs, Liz Schmidt had 10 digs, Katie Swanson pounded out eight kills, and Ballengee added five kills.
Grace finished with 38 kills at a .183 percentage compared to St. Francis’s 32 kills and .083 percentage.
The Lancers will be on the road three times next week. Grace will play at No. 5 Indiana Wesleyan on Wednesday, Marian on Friday and Spring Arbor on Saturday.
Lady Lancers Top Blue Raiders In Top 10 Affair
WINONA LAKE, Ind. - Grace College beat No. 5 Lindsey Wilson on Saturday night, and added another top 25 win to their resume.
The No. 10 ranked Lancers (5-2) beat the fifth ranked Blue Raiders 1-0 thanks to a second half goal from Dan Allen. With the win Grace avenged a NAIA Opening Round loss to Lindsey Wilson a year ago, and now boast four victories of teams that were in the NAIA Top 25 Coaches' Poll.
Grace was facing a Lindsey Wilson (5-2) squad that was fresh off a 3-0 win over No. 1 Bethel, just three days ago. The Blue Raiders looked to carry that momentum into their top 10 showdown with the Lancers.
The first half was a defensive battle with neither squad able to find any credible offensive attack until the midpoint of the half.
In the 23rd minute, Lindsey Wilson had a free-kick from eight yards outside the penalty box, but the ensuing shot was headed clear of danger by Antonio Lobo.
15 minutes later the Blue Raiders threatened again with a quick play following a Lancer foul, but Matteo Conci easily tracked the shot to hold the game even 0-0 as the game entered the intermission.
The Blue Raiders held an impressive 8-2 shot advantage in the first half, but very few of their attempts threatened to score. Grace was whistled for seven fouls in the opening half, while Lindsey Wilson had nine.
In the second half, it was Grace who was the early aggressor. Josh Cruz had a pair of early chances for the Lancers, but was unable to find the back of the net on either try.
Grace kept the pressure up and with 26 minutes left the Lancers nearly had the game's first goal. Blake Burns beat his defender to the side of the net and tried to cross the ball back through the box, but the Blue Raider’s goalie made a sprawling kick to clear the attempt and negate the chance.
With 14:30 left the deadlock was finally broken. Johnny Mora started the play by dribbling around a defender and sending the ball into the box. Martim Sequeira was unable to corral the bouncing ball which made its way back to the top of the box. Waiting there was Dan Allen who capitalized on his opportunity with a well placed shot to push the Lancers ahead 1-0.
Despite taking the 1-0 lead late in the contest, Grace did not let up. Sequeira and Daniel Santos Rosa had consecutive chances to double Grace’s lead but neither player was able to add the insurance marker.
Lindsey Wilson tried to muster a late attack but was unable to to draw even as Grace held on for 1-0 win.
Conci made three saves and picked up his fifth clean sheet win of the season. Cruz and Sequeira led Grace with two shots apiece.
Lindsey Wilson had 10 shots compared to Grace seven, both teams had three shots on goal. The Lancers had three corner kicks while the Blue Raiders did not have an attempt. Lindsey Wilson had 19 fouls in the game.
Lancer Tennis Edges Knights, Extend Winning Streak
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace's men's tennis team extended its streak for regular season conference wins to 14 on Saturday afternoon. The Lancers knocked off #RV Marian 4-3 at the Don Cramer Tennis Courts to end the home portion of the regular season.
In the most closely contested match of the season, the home team found themselves in a back-and-forth fight with the Knights. The match came down to the final two points to decide a victor.
Grace tallied first by winning the doubles point. Facundo Paredes and Javier Gallego finished off the point with a win in a tiebreaker 7-6(7-2). Pablo Gregori and Salva Pons paired together to win the other doubles point in the No. 2 spot 6-2.
The Lancers increased their lead with wins at the No. 1 and No. 2 singles. Paredes dropped only two games in his match to win 6-1, 6-1, and Gallego won in straight sets 6-4, 6-0 to put Grace on the verge of victory.
The Knights were able to claw their way back to within one point after earning two points in a row at No. 4 and No. 6 singles, respectively.
With the Lancers needing just one final point to seal the victory, they turned to Gregori at No. 3 singles to get it. His 6-4, 6-2 triumph sealed the deal to earn the all-important fourth point. That point would be necessary as Luis Cordoba retired from his match, giving Marian the final point up for grabs.
Grace will hit the road for the final two regular season matchups. The first one will be against Indiana Wesleyan on Sept. 21 at 2 p.m.