Grace’s women’s soccer team kicked off the NCCAA National Championships in style, routing Warner 5-1 on Monday, November 26.
Cassidy Wasson scored two goals to lead the Lady Lancers (19-4) to victory in the opening game of pool play. The Lady Lancers continue pool play on Tuesday with a 2:30 p.m. match against Central Christian.
Grace was the aggressor almost instantly after kickoff. The Lady Lancers made several dangerous runs into Warner’s penalty box throughout the opening 10 minutes.
Three minutes later, Allison Vroon found herself in space in front of the net. But Warner’s goalkeeper made a sharp save.
Not long after, Wasson had a 1v1 in the penalty box, but again the goalkeeper proved up to the task with a stop.
Grace’s pressure eventually broke down the Royals (11-8-2). Jenni Phillips’s cross was stopped by a Warner handball in the penalty box. Cassidy Wasson stepped up and cleanly converted her penalty kick for the first goal of the match in the 22nd minute.
The Royals managed to equalize the game against the run of play, scoring minutes later on a loose ball in the box.
Grace made a renewed push at Warner’s goal over the final 10 minutes. Sacia Hanson made a speedy run along the left side and crossed into the middle. Flavia Faria trapped the ball and struck a low shot that was stopped by a kick-save, deflecting off the crossbar.
Less than a minute later, Liz Van Wormer had a 20-yard shot that forced a diving save. Shortly after, Faria had a 1v1 opportunity — Grace’s fourth of the half — but the Lady Lancers came up empty.
Grace finally took the lead for good five minutes before halftime. Kristen Bellinger led Clair Snodgrass with a pass on the right side. Snodgrass crossed low into the box, and Van Wormer squeezed in her volley just past the outstretched arms of the goalkeeper.
Grace wasted little time adding to its lead in the second half. Phillips made a bold run between a crowd of Royals’ defenders, winning a loose ball and blasting a shot past the goalkeeper for a 3-1 lead.
Wasson netted her second of the match in the 69th minute. Van Wormer sent in a dangerous cross directly in front of the net, and Faria won the header to pop the ball in the air. Wasson connected on the header, sending her shot into the back of the net.
The fifth and final goal of the match came in the 84th minute. Phillips won possession for Grace, and the Lady Lancers quickly switched sides of the field over to the left. Wasson picked out Vroon with a leading pass, and Vroon took care of the rest. Vroon slammed her shot into the upper part of the net for the final 5-1 scoreline.
For the match Grace was credited with an 18-5 shot advantage and 8-2 edge in corner kicks. Wasson shot seven times with five on goal, and Faria, Van Wormer and Vroon each had two shots on goal.
Bethany Blackwood earned the win in goal, making two saves in 90 minutes.