PULASKI, TN – Grace’s women’s soccer team fell in the 85th minute to 4th overall against Martin Methodists on Saturday in the NAIA’s opening round, officially ending Grace’s season with a score of 1-0.

The Lady Lancers played at a disadvantage for the majority of the game when an early red card forced Grace to play 11v10.

Despite the odds stacked against Grace, the Lady Lancers still faced the No.4 RedHawks (18-0). Martin entered the game with the NAIA’s No.1 offense, averaging five goals per game.

But Grace limited Martin to just one goal in the dying minutes, marking the first time in all season that the RedHawks have scored less than two goals in a game.

Grace had to make adjustments even before the game started. Three days ago, Grace lost a starter to COVID, forcing the team to adjust their positions on the pitch. Taylor Binkerd, Liz Aalbue and Lea Moessinger were placed in unique and enhanced roles, and Danae Moriarty made her fourth start of the year.

But Grace has proven to be adaptable, almost giving Martin a loss on her own turf.

Grace skillfully possessed the ball for the first 20 minutes of the first half, moving the ball into dangerous positions.

The RedHawks were forced to counterattack and Grace limited the hosts to two long range shots.

The game took a worse turn for Grace, however, when the Lady Lancers received a red card for Grace’s first foul. Grace was forced to play 11-10 for the final 72 minutes of settlement.

The RedHawks had a few more chances after the red card, but Grace stayed organized. The most dangerous moment came after a stray pass from Grace to the back, but Bethany Blackwood made a solid save on a shot from inside the penalty area.

Grace kept the game scoreless at half-time. Martin Methodist had a 10-1 advantage. The RedHawks also had a 6-2 advantage in fouls.

The Lady Lancers played bravely despite the red card, continuing to push for attacking opportunities rather than retreating into a defensive shell.

Grace’s offense came largely from JJ Aalbue’s heist play and Sacia Hanson’s dribbling magic.

Defense of the Lady Lancers gave Martin fits throughout regulation. All of Martin’s chances were outside the penalty area except for a shot eight minutes from time. Blackwood made a remarkable save, this time diving over the grass to prevent a winner.

But Martin finally broke in the 85th minute, pulling in traffic that found the back of the net.

Grace ends the year with a 12-6-1 record. The team’s only losses were to teams currently ranked in the top-eight in the NAIA or NCAA Div. II.

Grace reached the championship game of the Crossroads League tournament as well as the NCCAA national championships. The Lady Lancers have qualified for the NAIA tournament this month for the third consecutive season and the fourth time since 2015 under the direction of head coach Michael Voss.

The future is bright for the No.14 Lady Lancers as the team will fire 9 of their 11 regular starters for the fall 2021 season.

Women’s tennis wins last road trip

ELMHURST, Ill. – Grace’s women’s tennis team did a short job of Elmhurst on their last road trip of the year.

The Lady Lancers reached a 9-0 shutout at Elmhurst on Saturday.

Grace was quick and efficient in the doubles game. Jayna Armstrong and Dayana Ortega haven’t lost a No.1 doubles match.

Lauryn Riegsecker and Kiersten Martin won 8-1 at No.2 in doubles, and Anna Graves and Ellie Hughes sailed 8-2 at No.3.

In addition, Addy Jarvis and Gretchen Adams swept their opponent in exhibition doubles.

Grace didn’t drop a set on the six singles courts. Graves was perfect at No.3 (6-0, 6-0), and Armstrong was near perfect (6-0, 6-1) at No.2.

Ortega (No.1), Morgan Mast (No.4), Riegsecker (No.5) and Martin (No.6) followed suit to win in straight sets.

Grace’s season finale is at home on Monday. The Lady Lancers will host IU Kokomo at 3 p.m. at the Miller Sports Complex.

Women’s golf team bounces in round two

RICHMOND, Ind. – Grace’s women’s golf team showed marked improvement between rounds at the IU East Invitational this weekend.

The Lady Lancers, ranked 24th in the NAIA, struggled to get out of the gate on Friday, ending the day in fifth place with a team score of 355. Grace’s lowest round of the day for the A team was Carolyn Pacocha’s 87.

Abigail Fishel had an 86 on Grace’s B team, and Jalee Nunemaker also carded an 87.

But the Lady Lancers responded well on Saturday at Forest Hills Country Club. Grace shot 328 in the second round, moving up to fourth place at the end of the tournament. Grace’s second-round tally was tied for second of the day with # 17 Marian.

Lucy Young rocked a 92 opening round to produce a sizzling 77 on Saturday. His round of 77 was the tournament’s third lowest round among the 55 golfers. She jumped 21 places in the individual standings to place 12th.

Rachel Harvey (89-82) and Carolyn Pacocha (87-84) were tied at 171 in two rounds, and Rebecca Hawes was just behind pair with 88-85 (173). Abby Slabaugh completed Grace’s score with an 186.

Nunemaker (178), Fishel (180), Olivia Shaw (186), Britney Klotz (209) and Julia Hildebrand (223) competed in Lady Lancers’ B team in the tournament.

“We dug a deep hole on our first round, but I’m really happy with how the women came back today,” said Grace head coach Denny Duncan. “We’ll have to build on that momentum as we head to our conference tournament in two weeks.”

The Lady Lancers will then compete at the Rock Hollow Golf Club on April 24. The Crossroads League Championships will be held May 3-4 at Harbor Shores Golf Club.