No. 14 SAU edges out Lancers
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s men’s soccer team was unable to upset No. 14 Spring Arbor on Wednesday, falling 2-0 at 1st Source Bank Field.
The Lancers (10-3-3, 4-1-2 Crossroads League) outshot SAU on the night by a significant margin at 19-8. But the Cougars (13-3, 7-0 CL) made their chances count to win on Wednesday.
The match turned SAU’s way early. The Cougars scored off a scrum in the penalty box just three minutes into the match, stunning the host Lancers.
Grace thought it had an equalizer midway into the first half. Damon Binkley had a hard shot that was saved, and the rebound fell to Cody Boerema. His shot was judged to have been stopped by a SAU defender on the goal line despite Grace’s pleas that the ball crossed the line.
The Lancers, who outshot SAU 9-4 in the first half, had the better share of possession. Grace had another dangerous opportunity with 10 minutes to play in the half. Boerema tried a hard blast that whizzed just past the goalposts.
The half ended with SAU ahead 1-0. The Lancers had five shots on goal and nine shots overall.
The Lancers’ attack continued in earnest after halftime. Grace showed urgency with 10 more shots in the second half.
SAU mimicked its first half with another early goal to start the second half. The Cougars were fouled in the penalty box and converted the penalty kick for a 2-0 lead.
The Cougars absorbed Grace’s pressure effectively, limiting the Lancers to just two shots on goal of those 10 shots.
The match picked up intensity as the second half progressed. Overall 32 fouls were called and seven yellow cards were issued.
Colin Cape and Boerema each tried six shots, and Breno Oliveira shot four times.
“We won in almost every statistical category, but the most important stat was a loss. They won the physical battle tonight, but outside of that key component I thought we played good enough to win. I thought SAU’s physical strength, especially in the air, was the deciding factor on the night,” said Grace head coach Matt Hotchkin. “Hats off to SAU and congratulations to them for winning the regular season championship. We turn our attention now to St. Francis on Saturday. We need to bring a bit more grit, and the guys are committed to doing just that.”
The Lancers remain at home on Saturday, hosting St. Francis at 7 p.m. Saturday will also be Senior Night to honor Grace’s nine-player graduating class.