KISSIMMEE, Fla. – In a match where offense was hard to find, one late penalty kick sealed a 1-0 victory for Colorado Christian over Grace College’s women’s soccer team on Wednesday.
CCU won Pool A as a result, meaning Grace will need help in two other games later on Wednesday to advance to the semifinals.
After a fairly even contest, the Lady Lancers (8-8-5) were undone in the 83rd minute. The referee awarded the Cougars (11-8-3) a penalty kick after spotting some contact in the box, and CCU took advantage by firing the winning strike from Mariah Fredericks.
For the game, Grace was outshot 13-9. The Lady Lancers did own a 5-3 advantage in corner kicks.
Abby Schue was tremendous in goal for Grace, making eight saves in 90 minutes which included several key stops.
In the first 10 minutes of action, the Lady Lancers earned several corner kicks to no avail.
Grace’s best chance came 17 minutes into the contest when Meredith Hollar nearly dribbled free on a breakaway, but her shot was blocked at the last instant.
The Cougars responded by moving the ball into Grace’s penalty box, but Schue came up with two big saves just minutes apart to keep the match scoreless.
The first half ended 0-0 on the scoreboard, although Colorado Christian had a 7-3 advantage in shots.
Grace’s possession struggled to take over in the second half; the Lady Lancers did not manage a shot attempt until nearly 20 minutes after halftime when Hollar’s long blast sailed over the crossbar.
The Lady Lancers slowly began to control the pace of the game as the second half went on, but the Cougars nearly scored off a counter. Schue made a slick diving save on a low shot in the 72nd minute.
The match seemed destined to head into overtime as neither team was able to provide a winning moment. But a loose ball near the top of the box resulted in the fateful PK whistle from the official, allowing CCU to land a spot in the national semifinals.
Grace had one last legitimate attempt at goal in the final frantic minutes. Hollar charged hard on an attack along the right side of the field and tried a hard, low shot that was saved.
The Lady Lancers played a few more balls into the penalty box before the time ran out, but Grace was unable to turn those into goal-scoring opportunities.