Aalbue’s goal lifts No. 14 Grace to win
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s women’s soccer team beat Mt. Vernon Nazarene 1-0 on Wednesday afternoon.
JJ Aalbue netted the game winner for the Lady Lancers. It is the second straight game in which Aalbue has scored and her sixth goal overall.
No. 14 Grace (5-2-1, 4-2-1 Crossroads League) was forced to play with a short bench, but the Lady Lancers seemed to control the trajectory of the match.
The Lady Lancers carried over the momentum from their previous victory and pushed the pace early against the Cougars (4-4-2, 3-3-2 CL), who are receiving votes in the NAIA Top 25.
Grace was awarded a pair of corner kicks 10 minutes into the half as the hosts applied pressure early; but Grace was unable to find the back of the net after shot attempts from either opportunity.
Grace broke the deadlock when JJ Aalbue scored with a scorching shot off her left foot. Victoria Lucido assisted on the goal.
The Lady Lancers came close to extending their lead in the 18th minute. Madison Tuma put a shot on goal that forced a save from the Cougar keeper.
Late in the half the Lady Lancers had two more quality chances. Lea Moessinger almost netted her first goal of season but a diving save from Mt. Vernon’s goalie denied the try.
Minutes later freshman Danae Moriaty also forced a great effort from the Cougar keeper, sending the game into the half with the Lady Lancers leading 1-0.
Grace dominated statistically in the half, outshooting the Cougars 10-1. Grace also had a 3-0 edge in corner kicks.
The Lady Lancers started the second half with the same intensity with which they started the first. Aalbue and Amber Meade both put shots on goal in the opening minutes.
Midway through the half, Mt. Vernon nearly brought the game even. Blackwood was forced to make a save after a Cougar player found herself all alone behind the Lady Lancers’ defense.
Minutes after Blackwood’s save, Grace threatened to extend its lead. Aalbue and Anna Kuhl tried back-to-back shots that forced the sprawling keeper to make a fantastic effort to keep the game within reach.
After Grace was unable to capitalize on the opportunity, the Cougars tried to steal momentum. With just over 20 minutes left, Blackwood made a full extension save to keep the Lady Lancers in front. Mt. Vernon kept the pressure up but was unable to find the equalizer as Grace won 1-0.
Grace led the game in shots 17-5. Blackwood made four saves in the game to record the shutout. She was protected well by Brooke Kohler, Meade, Erin Crew and Kuhl.
The Lady Lancers will be at home again on Saturday when they take on Bethel at 7 p.m. Saturday will also be Senior Night to honor this year’s graduating class.