Grace upsets No. 15 Marian again
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – For the second time in three games, Grace’s women’s soccer team upset No. 15 Marian on Saturday.
In the first matchup 10 days prior, Grace won in overtime to secure its first Crossroads League championship in program history.
This time, No. 16 Grace won in regulation. The Lady Lancers (18-2) used a wondergoal from Anna Kuhl to down Marian in the semifinals of the CL Tournament.
Grace advances to play for the CL Tournament crown on Nov. 10 at No. 3 Spring Arbor. The winner of the CL Tournament receives an automatic bid to the NAIA National Championships.
The first half was evenly played; Grace had the majority share of possession, but each team shot 10 times.
The Knights (11-5-3) had an early push on offense, taking half of their first-half shots in the opening six minutes.
Sacia Hanson and Jenni Phillips each had a shot on goal saved in the first 12 minutes.
In the 20th minute, Cassidy Wasson tried a shot attempt that clipped off the goalpost, nearly putting the Lady Lancers ahead.
Kuhl’s winning moment came midway into the first half. Grace was fouled seven yards beyond the penalty box. Kuhl stepped up and buried her free kick just below the crossbar at the 26:31 mark for what turned out to be the game-winning goal.
Overall, Grace outshot Marian 6-1 over the final 25 minutes of the first half; the Lady Lancers went into halftime with a 1-0 lead.
Seven of Grace’s 10 shots before halftime were on goal compared to three shots on goal for the Knights.
The Knights did their best to find an equalizer, firing off 13 shots over the final 45 minutes. But only four of those attempts were on goal.
Grace’s defensive front of McKenna Cruz, Anna Kuhl, Aubrey Feipel and Liz Aalbue were strong to protect the Lady Lancers’ net.
Bethany Blackwood registered her program-record 16th shutout of the season, making seven saves to pick up the clean sheet. Her 16 shutouts currently lead the NAIA.
Joana Schimmel had five shots and three shots on goal to lead Grace, and Hanson and Kuhl each shot three times.
The Lady Lancers will be hoping for their first conference tournament championship with an upset of Spring Arbor. Grace is also aiming for a second-ever appearance at NAIA Nationals with either an automatic bid or as an at-large invitee.