Lancers win home opener
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s men’s soccer team used a pair of second-half goals to beat Trinity International on Wednesday.
Nikola Djordjevic scored in the opening minutes of the second half for the Lancers (2-1-1), and Shemar DeGannes secured the 2-0 win with a goal in the 90th minute.
Wednesday’s match was the team’s home opener at 1st Source Bank Field. The match was also Grace’s fourth contest in a six-day span, capping off what is likely the most grueling stretch of the team’s season.
“I am extremely proud of the guys’ effort tonight. Four games in six days takes a toll on your body and mind. That, coupled with the fact that these are the first weeks of school, really put pressure on our guys to step up and perform,” said Grace head coach Matt Hotchkin. “It was great to get a win at home, and we look to continue building and improving with every practice and game.”
The first half was back and forth between the sides. Each team took its share of dangerous chances, including three early shots by Grace.
One of Grace’s best opportunities in the first half came from the foot of Colin Cape. The midfielder sent a looping pass toward Ulisses Miranda, who was sprinting at the goal. The ball fell perfectly to Miranda, but Miranda’s one-time volley was off the mark.
With four minutes left in the half, the Trojans (0-4) nearly took advantage of a defensive miscue to score. Trinity had a breakaway en route to Grace’s goal, but goalkeeper Kurt Hamlin timed his tackle perfectly to snuff out a potential scoring play.
The teams went into halftime scoreless, despite Grace owning an 8-3 shot advantage. The Trojans had all five corner kicks of the period.
It did not take long for Grace to grab momentum of the match for good in the second half. Just two minutes into the half, Thomas Tydeman sparked Grace’s attack with a sliding tackle to win back possession. Tydeman advanced the ball and passed to Marcelo Talamas at the top of the penalty box. Tamales laid off a pass to Nikola Djordjevic, and the burly junior beat the Trojans’ goalkeeper with a 20-yard shot to the far post.
For the rest of the half, Grace focused on building its possession and limiting dangerous chances for the Trojans.
Trinity was held to four shots sprinkled across the 45-minute period and had few truly threatening periods.
Grace put the exclamation point on the win in the last minute. The Lancers, taking advantage of an exposed backline for the Trojans, scored in the last 30 seconds.
Damon Binkley stole a dribble from the Trojans and started a quick counterattack. He found DeGannes open on the left side of the penalty box, and the freshman poked in his first career goal to the right post.
Talamas, Miranda, Cape and Binkley all had three shots. Hamlin was defended well to record the shutout in goal. His defenders Joshua Coupar, Tydeman, Nathan Harte, Josiah Osborn and Gabriel Osti held the Trojans in check.
“I thought that Nikola showed a lot of composure tonight, and Marcelo laid off a perfect ball to him to finish the goal,” Hotchkin continued. “I think our man of the match was either Marcelo or Colin Cape. Colin did not get a rest all night, and he covered a lot of ground. He had pinpoint accuracy on his longer passes. We had a lot of guys who saw action tonight who gave us quality minutes.”
The Lancers enjoy a lengthy break from games. Grace is not back in action until Sept. 9 at Aquinas. The Lancers return home on Sept. 30 for the Crossroads League opener against Bethel.