Lancers seize thrilling comeback victory over IWU

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s men’s soccer team treated the fans at 1st Source Bank Field to an exhilarating 3-2 victory over Indiana Wesleyan on Wednesday.

The Lancers (6-2-4, 3-0-1 Crossroads League) had to come back twice and did not score the game winner until the final minutes.

A corner kick in the 84th minute produced the winning moment. Breno Oliveira pounced on a loose ball in the penalty box and sent his volley into the back of the net, sprinting to Grace’s bench to join a raucous celebration.

The match was far from won, however. The Wildcats (4-6-2, 1-2-1 CL) responded with vengeance and nearly forced overtime. IWU tried four shots over the final 4:48, including a point-blank shot which Kurt Hamlin saved.

The win keeps Grace in second place in the league standings. The Lancers end the week traveling to St. Francis on Saturday at 7 p.m.

The first half was packed with action on the slick pitch. IWU took the lead twice, but Grace equalized each time.

The first goal of the match came in controversial fashion. On a cross into the penalty box, Hamlin secured the loose ball and lost control after coming into contact with a Wildcat forward. IWU capitalized on the free ball and blasted in the opening goal.

The tying goal came four minutes later. After Grace was fouled on its attacking half of the field, Damon Binkley deftly headed the ball over IWU’s goalkeeper in the 14th minute.

IWU skillfully earned its second goal of the game with a well-worked combination play at the 16:33 mark, but Grace responded again.

Just before halftime, Cody Boerema tied the score. Togo Narusawa served up a long ball to Boerema behind IWU’s defensive line, and Boerema beat two defenders and placed his shot into the back of the net.

The match entered halftime tied 2-2. The Wildcats had a 9-5 shot advantage, and the Lancers had all three corner kicks in the half.

Boerema nearly scored again 15 minutes into the second half. Breno Oliveira crossed a long pass into the box, and Boerema’s low shot was saved.

For the match, IWU held a slight 18-17 shot advantage. The Lancers had six shots on goal, one more than the Wildcats, and Grace also outshot IWU 12-9 after halftime.

Hamlin finished the game with four saves in 90 minutes.