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No. 3 Fire hands Grace first defeat

LAKELAND, Fla. – For the first time this season, Grace’s women’s soccer team tasted defeat.

The Lady Lancers (4-1) were beaten by No. 3 Southeastern 5-0 on Thursday. The Fire (2-1) only outshot Grace 12-9 in the match, but Southeastern was efficient with its shooting to score five times.

The Fire struck quickly in the first half. Southeastern sent in a dangerous cross in front of Grace’s goal and headed in a shot in the third minute.

The Lady Lancers seemed to settle down after the early goal, and the ball was moved evenly from team-to-team.

Sacia Hanson and JJ Aalbue provided the most dangerous movements for Grace’s attack. Hanson’s left-footed shot went wide, and Aalbue’s slicing shot forced an acrobatic save.

The Fire took the edge out of Grace’s momentum by scoring again. Uchenna Kanu, the NAIA’s goal-scoring leader last year, scored against the run of play for a 2-0 lead.

Southeastern put a vice grip on the match with its third goal 10 minutes later. The Fire went into halftime ahead 3-0 despite just a 7-4 edge in shot attempts.

In the second half, the teams each shot five times. But again the Fire were deadly in their aim and netted two more times.

Southeastern pushed across two more goals on its first three shots of the second half for the final 5-0 margin of victory.

The Lady Lancers did their best to rally and had three shots and a corner kick during a six-minute span. But Grace was unable to find a response.

Taylor Fort tried three shots with one on goal to lead Grace, and Aalbue shot twice. Joana Schimmel also had a shot on goal.

The Lady Lancers will end their Florida trip with a match at Warner on Saturday.