KISSIMMEE, Fla. – A physical contest did not go in favor of Grace College’s men’s soccer team on Tuesday. Emmanuel defeated Grace 3-0 to start the Lancers’ participation at NCCAA Nationals.
The Lancers (10-8-3) were only outshot 16-10, but Emmanuel made its shots count to win the pool play game at Austin-Tindall Regional Park. The Lions (14-7) won the pool as a result of their two victories and will play in the national semifinals on Friday.
For Grace to have a chance at reaching the semifinals, the Lancers will have to beat No. 1 Campbellsville on Wednesday at 1 p.m. and have help from other pools to qualify as the top runner-up.
Tuesday’s match contained 38 fouls between the teams and eight yellow cards (five on Emmanuel). Half of the yellow cards were issued in the opening 20 minutes.
Grace went into halftime behind 1-0 despite winning the possession battle. The Lancers had several strong looks at goal in the first half.
Damon Binkley and Thomas Tydeman combined at the top of Grace’s offense for a few goal-scoring opportunities in the opening minutes. Binkley had a shot cleared off the goal line by a Lions’ defender, and both players were stifled on breakaways.
Despite Grace owning the better chances to start the match, Emmanuel snatched momentum with the opening goal in the 17th minute. The Lions scored on a counterattack, taking advantage of Grace’s exposed defense on a quick strike.
Emmanuel held a slight 8-6 advantage in shots in the opening half, and Grace took all four corners in the half.
The Lancers’ offense was harder to come by after halftime; Grace was credited with four shots compared to eight more for the Lions.
Robbie Barnhill, who earned six saves in goal, made an incredible stop to snuff out a 1v1 opportunity for Emmanuel. Unfortunately for Grace, the Lions doubled their lead with 15 minutes remaining.
With Grace pressing forward in pursuit of goals, Emmanuel tacked on an insurance goal with four minutes on the clock to ice the 3-0 victory.