Grace sputters at No. 2 Knights

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Fatigue set in for No. 14 Grace women’s soccer on Saturday, losing to No. 2 Marian 5-0 in Indianapolis.

The Lady Lancers were playing their fourth match in just eight days due to schedule reshuffling from COVID-19 complications. It was also Grace’s second Top-25 ranked opponent of the week.

The challenging schedule is not complete, however. Grace is back on the pitch Monday for a road match at Bethel followed by a home contest on Wednesday against Mt. Vernon Nazarene, who is receiving votes in the NAIA.

The match was statistically in most key areas. Marian had a 17-13 edge in shots, but Grace had more corner kicks (9-8).

The Knights (8-0, 7-0 Crossroads League) were deadly with their attempts, however, scoring five goals on 11 shots on goal.

The match was far from decided until the second half. The Lady Lancers (3-2-1, 2-2-1 CL) put themselves in a hole with an early defensive miscue, which Marian turned into a third-minute goal.

With 10 minutes remaining in the first half, the Lady Lancers earned a series of corner kicks. The second corner resulted in a close shot from Amber Meade that was blocked near the goal. The third corner kick ended with an open shot from Victoria Lucido; Lucido’s shot beat the goalkeeper but was barely wide of the goal frame.

Late in the half, JJ Aalbue took a dangerous shot. She beat a midfielder and tried a 23-yard blast that whizzed wide of the goal.

But the Knights’ goal was the only tally of the first half as Marian led 1-0 at halftime. The Knights had eight shots compared to seven for Grace.

Marian struck early again in the second half. The Knights scored less than 30 seconds after halftime, stealing the ball at midfield, racing down to the corner, crossing a ball into the box and scoring.

But Grace still showed fight and nearly scored five minutes later. On yet another corner kick for Grace, Aalbue’s headed effort at the near post was blocked out of bounds.

Unfortunately for Grace, the ensuing corner kick was disastrous. Marian won the corner kick out of the air and countered lethally, sprinting to the other side of the field and scoring their third goal of the game.

The Lady Lancers seemed stunned at that point, however, as fatigue began to take its toll on Grace’s possession.

Marian added two more goals in the second half for the final scoreline.

Aalbue had five shots to lead all players, and Madison Tuma and Victoria Lucido each tried three shots.