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Grace outlasts HU 1-0 in opening round of CL tourney

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WINONA LAKE, Ind. - It was an emotionally-charged rivalry that didn’t disappoint in a battle where the 2nd-seeded Lancers of Grace College (12-5-1) slipped past the 7th-seeded Huntington men’s soccer team 1-0 in the opening round of the Crossroads League tournament on Saturday night at Miller Athletic Complex.

Just over twenty minutes into the contest, HU was forced to play a player down when a red card was issued to which the Lancers took advantage to control play the rest of the period. GC took 11 shots while holding their visitors to just one and enjoyed a 6-0 advantage in corners through the opening 45 minutes.  

The Lancers finally cracked HU’s defense in the 39th minute on a blast by Collin Cape off a deflection for what proved to be the game-winner.

Down but not out, the Foresters came out of intermission as the aggressors to fire off 12 shots to GC’s four and despite several quality opportunities; HU wasn’t able to find back netting. Grace keeper Robbie Barnhill made sure of that by coming up with several impressive saves to keep Huntington off the board.

The contest featured a combined 25 fouls and six yellow cards and to make matters even more interesting, a second red card was issued. This time to Grace at the 76:35 mark so the final 13 minutes each team played with just ten players.

When all was said and done, the Lancers held their 1-0 advantage to the final horn to advance to the semifinals of the league tourney where they will host Spring Arbor on Saturday.

Troy Hester finished with five saves and had to settle for the loss in goal for HU.

“The boys ran out of time tonight and as a result the season came to an end,” said Coach Lawson. “Playing down a man for 60 minutes we put forth an effort that saw us outshoot Grace 12-4 in the second half to force a handful of top notch saves.

“We definitely deserved better tonight but I’m pleased at how this team dealt with adversity and left all they had on the field. To our seniors, Joey Newbery, Jeremiah Spencer, Tyson Kalischuk and Lucas Lengacher, their energy and leadership has been invaluable and will be missed. Tremendous progress was made this year - the ship is moving in the right direction.”

The loss brings an end to the Foresters’ season as Coach Lawson and crew wrap the year with a 9-9-1 record.

The Huntington University Foresters compete in 17 intercollegiate sports for men and women. In the past decade, Huntington has produced 39 NAIA All-America honors and 234 All-America Scholar Athlete honors. Huntington University is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. U.S. News & World Report ranks Huntington among the best colleges in the Midwest.