Grace plays at NCAA D1 Valpo in season opener

VALPARAISO, Ind. – Grace women’s soccer team kicked off the 2017 campaign with a clash against NCAA Division I foe Valparaiso University on Friday night, falling 3-0. 

The Grace defense withstood constant pressure from the Crusaders in the first half, absorbing 22 shots to keep the score level at halftime. Senior All-American goalkeeper Abby Schue was called upon early and often as she made nine saves in the first half and 15 for the match. 

The Lady Lancers (0-1) held strong well into the second half, until the Crusaders broke through on a rebound shot in the 57th minute to take a 1-0 lead. That scoreline didn’t hold long as Valparaiso netted two goals in quick succession over the next eight minutes to take a commanding 3-0 lead. 

Grace’s offense was stymied as they managed just four shots over 90 minutes. Liz Van Wormer led the Lady Lancers with three shots, one on frame. 

Freshman Riley Koch looked to make an immediate impact, tallying a shot on goal just minutes after making her collegiate debut. 

The Lady Lancers pushed to get on the scoresheet in the final minutes as the attacking pressure led to a pair of corner kicks. Both attempts were turned away by the Crusader defense to seal the match. 

Also making their Lady Lancer debuts were freshmen Liz Aalbue and Autumn Raulerson as well as transfers Jenni Phillips and Hannah Tkacz.

“Tonight’s match brought what we hoped for. Valpo is a quality program. They are technically sound and live at a high pace the full match. They are a disciplined and well-coached group,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “The speed of the match was a bit unnerving at first, but the women worked well together, working to find ways toward success. The women demonstrated intelligence building from solid defending to genuine attack. We were exposed late yet identified where we need to execute to make our system better. This crew will get there. Thirteen days from the beginning and this is where we are? We’ll get to where the women desire to go.”

Grace will return home on Wednesday to face off against Cincinnati Christian. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at 1st Source Bank Field.