(Article by: Cole Helman)
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. – An overtime goal following a penalty kick kept Grace’s women’s soccer team from coming away with the upset over No. 19 Embry-Riddle in Monday’s match.
In their last game during their trip to California, the Lancers (2-2-1) looked to put another NAIA top-25 ranked team on upset alert. However, they were unable to build off Saturday’s win against No. 21 Kansas Wesleyan.
A foul in the penalty box during the second overtime period opened the opportunity for Embry-Riddle to break the 0-0 tie. Caitlyn Aaron, the Eagles’ goalie, came out of goal and converted on the penalty finding the bottom left corner of the net to win the game for the Eagles (3-1).
Monday’s match, much like Saturday’s, was tightly contested from the start. Both teams seemed evenly matched as neither team found the back of the net during regulation. However, there was no shortage of shots as Embry-Riddle outshot Grace 15-6 in regulation.
Sacia Hanson had Grace’s first shot on frame early in the game. She almost gave the Lancers an early lead, but her attempt was saved by the Allen. Embry-Riddle struggled with its shot accuracy in the first half as only one of its six shot attempts were on goal.
Jenni Phillips came close to giving Grace the advantage going into halftime. Her shot at the 40 minute mark bounced off the crossbar and was cleared away by the Eagle defense. Embry-Riddle’s offense outshot Grace 6-4 in the half, but it struggled to give the Lancers’ Abby Schue any trouble in goal.
Emma Neahusan tried to start the second half with a Grace goal, but she was unable to get the ball past Aaron. The Eagle offense did a better job of working the keeper in the second half. Breanna Larkin had a shot go off the post in the 64th minute, and Erica Heil’s shot in the 72nd minute was saved by Schue.
Embry-Riddle tried to convert on a counter-attack following a Grace corner kick. The Eagles had a chance in their attacking third, but Heil’s shot was again saved by Schue. Kristin Bellinger was able to get a shot on goal, but Aaron kept the game tied.
The Eagles’ Ally Leara tried to be the hero at the end of regulation, but her shot in the final minute went above the crossbar. Embry-Riddle had the more aggressive attack in the second half, outshooting Grace 9-2. With neither team finding the back of the net, we were headed to overtime.
Grace returned to its normal attacking form in the first overtime period. However, shots by Hanson and Allison Vroon were both corralled by Aaron. Hannah Tkacz’s shot at the end of the period went wide.
Both teams opened the second overtime period with shots on goal. Shelby Fort tried to send the Lancers home with the win, but Aaron refused to give in. The foul in the 103rd minute followed by the game-winning goal ended the period and gave Embry-Riddle the win.
By the end of the match, Embry-Riddle outshot Grace 17-11, but the Lancers had seven shots on goal compared to the Eagles’ five. Schue finished the game with four saves in goal. Both teams showed intensity on the pitch; Grace slightly outnumbered Embry-Riddle in fouls 13-12.
Hanson and Neahusan led the Lancer attack. Hanson had three of her four shots on goal. Neahusan finished with two shots, one on goal.
The Lancers will head to St. Louis, Mo, at the end of the week to face Missouri Baptist. The match takes place Friday with kickoff starting at 1 p.m.