Grace football teams clinch berths in Crossroads league semi-finals

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WINONA LAKE — Grace’s men’s soccer team took a 1-0 win in a Crossroads League quarterfinal game with Mt. Vernon on Saturday night.

The win moves Grace to the semifinals where they host Spring Arbor on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Spring Arbor advanced via an upset win over Indiana Wesleyan.

Both teams threatened early in the game and each side were awarded a corner kick within the first five minutes of play. The Cougars had the better of a chance as their close range shot was prevented from finding the goal by David Marquez who cleared the dangerous shot.

Both teams continued offensive trade attacks as the Lancers attempted a pair of cross passes that failed to connect.

Midway through the quarter, the odds were mostly even, but neither side could draw blood as the game continued scoreless.

Felipe Gruber snuck past the Mt. Vernon defense but his ensuing shot trailed high off the crossbar.

Towards the end of the half, Grace again threatened with a sustained attack. The Lancers had a pair of tries on the ball as it bounced precariously in front of goal. Grace could not find a clean shooting lane on goal and the match went to halftime still tied at zero.

Both teams had three shots in the first half. Mt. Vernon held a corner kick advantage at 4-2.

The Cougars entered the second half with a hairy and almost scored the first goal of the game.

Just three minutes into the second period, Matteo Conci was forced into an alert save after the Cougars fired a shot on goal.

Pressure from Mt. Vernon forced Grace into a handful of midfield turnovers that the Cougars turned into a pair of scoring chances. Conci was up to the task, however, in denying Mt. Vernon the go-ahead goal.

Grace responded well to the push from Mt. Vernon and quickly found the goal for the first scorer of the night.

Gruber made a long diagonal pass to the Mt. Vernon penalty area. Martim Sequeira returned a pass to Simone Scanferlato who took a throw-in and finished clean.

After snatching the 1-0 lead, the Lancers’ lead was nearly doubled as Gruber had a close chance but his shot went high.

The Cougars had plenty of chances in the final moments of the game, but Conci was up to the task each time as the Lancers held on for the 1-0 win.

When the final horn sounded, the teams were even on shots as both teams fired eight on goal. Conci stopped every shot he faced to score his 10th clean sheet of the season.


Grace tops MVNU, advances to semis

WINONA LAKE — The Grace Women’s Soccer Team defeated Mt. Vernon Nazarene on Saturday to start the Crossroads League Tournament.

The Lady Lancers (12-3-2) used goals from Danae Moriarty and Kailey Burrell to win 2-0.

Grace will advance to the semifinals next week, playing at No. 4 Spring Arbor on Wednesday.

The match was plagued by high winds, easily exceeding 40 miles per hour. These windy conditions had a big effect on the game, eliminating most direct attacks.

MVNU took advantage of the wind at their back to start the game, keeping Grace locked down defensively for the first few minutes.

But the Lady Lancers quickly solved the weather problem and their possession took full control of the game after 15 minutes.

Grace’s first chance came to Moriarty, who deflected a defender and fired a shot that was saved.

JJ Aalbue has also been heavily involved in attack, posing a constant threat on the sidelines. She consistently beat the outside backs to provide crosses and shots.

Aalbue’s best look came in the last 10 minutes. She was muscled in by a defender and attempted a hard left-footed shot from close range that whistled past the right of goal.

Neither team was able to generate a goal before halftime. Grace took the only seven shot attempts of the half, Aalbue trying three.

The possession of the Lady Lancers only grew stronger early in the game in the second half. The Cougars were severely hampered by the wind but also had little time on the ball.

Grace gave MVNU very few chances in Grace’s defensive end; the Lady Lancers moved the ball freely and quickly.

Grace’s defining moment came 12 minutes into the second half. Ashley VandenBoom owned the ball, dribbling to create space and passing in a dangerous position. Danae Moriarty made the right run to finish the goal, scoring for the second time this season against MVNU.

Grace gave the game a quick conclusion by scoring an insurance goal. Lea Moessinger created the goal with a solid overhead pass. The Cougars failed to manage the ball, allowing Burrell to advance on goal unguarded. Burrell capitalized on the moment, beating the goaltender with a goal to double the Lady Lancers lead.

The Cougars had little response and were held without a threatening moment in the half.

Grace finished the game with 19 shots, including seven on goal. Grace also had a 6-1 advantage in corner kicks.

Sofia Lerro recorded her third straight shutout for Grace. She was well protected by Luna Gianotti, Erin Crew, Lilli Oberhoff, Lucy Schmitt and Simone Castaneda.


Grace Volleyball season ends in CL quarterfinals

UPLAND, Ind. – Grace’s volleyball team’s season ended on Saturday.

Grace fell to Taylor in three sets in the quarterfinals of the Crossroads League tournament.

The Lady Lancers have battled injuries throughout the season to earn a place in the CL tournament, playing a number of different formations to cope with its changing roster of available players.

On Saturday, Grace’s offense was quiet with 26 kills on a .021 save percentage. Trojans #11, on the other hand, killed 41 people with a percentage of 0.312.

Grace fell into an early hole as Taylor took a 6-1 lead to start the first set.

The Lady Lancers battled to within two at 10-8, but the Trojans responded with a 6-2 run to extend their lead. Taylor pulled away for a 26-15 win.

The second set had a similar theme. TU won seven of the first eight points to take the lead early. The teams played even for the rest of the set, but Grace was unable to make a significant push and lost by eight.

In the third set, Grace again trailed 5-1. The Lady Lancers, however, remained within range.

Late in the set, Jadyn Ross landed an ace and a kill in consecutive games. Cassadi Colbert followed that up with another kill to draw Grace within two at 21-19.

The Trojans responded with two straight runs, which was enough to keep Grace at bay. TU held on late to win 25-21 to clinch the quarter-final match.

Ross and Colbert led Grace’s offense with six wins each, and Alisha Leffring and Katie Swanson added five wins each. Grace Erwin led Grace’s back row with eight digs, Riley Owens had six digs with 11 assists and Paige Vander Goot had six digs and three aces.

The game officially concludes the solid careers of seniors Erwin, Swanson, Jadyn Block and Emily Peterson.

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