CHAMPIONS: Grace grabs share of conference crown
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – For the first time in 23 years, Grace’s women’s soccer team can call itself “champions.”
The No. 24 Lady Lancers took down No. 11 Marian 1-0 in overtime on Wednesday, earning Grace a share of the Crossroads League regular season championship.
Allison Vroon played the role of hero on Wednesday, thumping in the golden goal winner in the 98th minute to send Grace’s bench spilling onto the field in euphoria.
The winning moment came late in the first overtime period. Cassidy Wasson won possession for Grace in the attacking third of the field. Corinne Villalobos advanced with the ball to the edge of the penalty box and swung the ball out wide to Sacia Hanson.
Hanson delivered a one-time cross to a dangerous position. Vroon timed her run perfectly, blasting in her shot above the Knights’ goalkeeper to secure Grace’s first championship in program history. Villalobos and Hanson each earned an assist on the championship-clinching goal.
The regular season finale was a memorable match, despite only one goal being scored. Both sides played to their strengths well, with Grace holding the majority of possession and Marian (10-4-3, 5-2-2 CL) countering effectively.
The match started evenly as the teams tried to built an attack. Few truly threatening chances were created before halftime, however.
Grace’s first chance came from Joana Schimmel. Her low, weaving shot was parried wide by Marian’s goalie.
The Lady Lancers (16-2, 8-1 CL) also threatened in the waning seconds of the first half. Vroon sent in a cross into the box, and Flavia Faria and Cassidy Wasson both had shots at goal that were saved in the final moments.
The teams entered halftime scoreless with Grace holding a slim 7-5 shot advantage.
The second half was much of the same. Grace’s possession was hard to break, and Marian was especially dangerous when capitalizing on a Lady Lancer mistake.
Grace had two goal-scoring opportunities near the end of regulation. Hanson almost single-handedly beat a pair of Knight defenders, but her shot to the near post was saved.
Kristen Bellinger also tried a hard volley from outside the penalty box that needed a strong save.
The Lady Lancers completed a perfect 8-0 regular season home record at 1st Source Bank Field.
Grace owned a 19-14 advantage in shots for the match, including a 14-7 edge in shots on goal. Vroon, Liz Van Wormer, Faria and Bellinger each had three shots.
The Lady Lancers will enter next week’s CL Tournament as the No. 2 seed. Grace will host either Bethel or Huntington on Oct. 31 at 3 p.m. in the quarterfinals. With a win, Grace would then host the semifinals on Nov. 3 at 2 p.m.