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Forester volley outlast Grace

Article provided by Huntington University

Playing in front of their homecoming crowd on Saturday at Platt Arena, the Huntington volleyball team handed the Grace Lancers just their eighth loss of the year in a thrilling five-set match, 19-25, 28-26, 25-23, 13-25, 15-10.

The W is HU’s second of the weekend having beaten Goshen in another five-setter Friday night as they improve to 9-16 on the year, 5-8 in league action.

“We’ve played a lot of four and five-set matches this season and I think we get better and better in each one,” said Shondell.

The Lancers, who recently knocked off #18 Saint Francis, drop to 17-8 overall, 9-4 in the Crossroads League. The loss snaps the six-game win streak Grace held over the Foresters.

Grace didn’t have an answer for Brandy Michie and nowhere was that more evident than the second set. Down 24-21, the Foresters looked to Michie who didn’t disappoint. The 5-9 sophomore posted five kills down the stretch to will her team to the 28-26 come-from-behind win.

Michie finished with a career-best 21 kills and a .326 hitting percentage. Paige Eakright added 14 kills while Tailor Schultheis chipped in 11.

“People are starting to understand just how good Brandy is,” said Shondell. “Her playing at a high level allows us to do so much with our offense.”

Jenna Tacosik and Breanna split setting duties to post 31 and 23 assists respectively. Ariene Butler led the charge defensively with 25 digs. Nicole Flickinger totaled 12.

“Ariene was terrific again,” noted Shondell. “Our whole backcourt, really, did their job and gave us the opportunities we needed to go after Grace in transition.”

The Foresters committed just five service errors on the afternoon to Grace’s 11 while blocks favored GC 11-4.

Shondell’s crew has about a week’s break before competing in the Cornerstone/Aquinas Classic starting on Friday when they open with Cornerstone at 5:00 p.m.

MEN’S SOCCER

The Forester men’s soccer team (8-4-1) gave their homecoming crowd what it was looking for by running away with a 4-0 decision over Bethel Saturday afternoon at King Stadium. The win is HU’s third straight in league play as they bump into second in the standings with a 3-1 CL record.

It’s Huntington fifth clean sheet of the year. For the Pilots, they drop to 2-2 in conference action, 8-4-1 overall. Four goals is the most Bethel has given up this year.

HU has an arsenal of offensive weapons and today’s match was a testament to that. Noah Stanford became the 11th Forester to log a goal this season when he found back netting with a nifty bicycle kick at the 21:31 mark for an early 1-0 lead.

Less than ten minutes later, Ty Sproat, who had just entered the match, was in the right place at the right time to knock in a spill by the BC keeper to push his goal total to a team-best six on the year while doubling his team’s lead.

Huntington’s advantage would stand through halftime and then through a 30-minute lightning delay. When play finally resumed, there was just under 25 minutes remaining and Coach Lawson’s crew took full advantage. Stanford was back at it, this time weaving through the box until he found Matheus Louzada for the easy tap-in in the 79th minute.

Less than 90 seconds later, a Bethel own goal further distanced HU from their visitors to make for the final 4-0 score.

Gabe Greenfield stood tall in frame for his fifth clean sheet of the year, collecting four saves along the way. Shots taken were nearly even with HU holding the slight 15-14 advantage. Corner kicks favored the hosts 5-2.

“This was a fantastic result for homecoming, especially against quality competition like Bethel,” said Lawson. “And to keep pace with the league leaders is encouraging. I thought today was some of our finest soccer of the year.”

While there was plenty to speak at, it was HU’s defense that Lawson praised. “Our bright spot again today was our backline in Rippe, Brown, Lins Souza and Hurtis. There was a lot going on around them with dangerous players up top but we did a great job sticking together and covering each other but also being stuck in.

“This was a great clean sheet for the boys and it started with that back four and moved up the park.”

The Foresters hit the road on Wednesday for a 7:00 p.m. match at Saint Francis.

WOMEN’S GOLF

The Forester women’s golf team wrapped up the fall portion of their schedule on a high note with a sixth place finish at the Players Club Invitational over the weekend.

Betsy Schroeder had a career outing by posting a 157 (77, 80) for the 36-hole event to finish tenth overall out of 61 golfers. Leah Thompson turned in the next best score for Sholund’s crew with a 162 by firing an 81 each day for 18th place.

“Betsy worked very hard this summer on her game and it is showing in her consistency of scoring,” said Sholund. “She has had several strong rounds this year and tied her personal 36-hole best this weekend. She is impacting us in very positive ways.”

Alexandria Maris fired a team-low and personal-best 76 on Friday and followed that up with an 87 in round two to finish with a 163 for the 21st spot. Rachel Blauert carded a 179 (91, 88) for 44th and rounding out the top five for HU was Megan Higgins with a 181 (90, 91).

Sophie Frazier, playing as an individual, shot a 205 (100, 105).

“We have put two strong tournaments together in a row now,” said Sholund. “I am really proud of the steps the team has taken this fall towards the goals they have and the team culture and unity they are building.

“All through the roster our confidence is growing and for the varsity team they finished the fall on a high note and are now ready to enter the offseason with a heightened focus to keep the momentum going. They are capable of much more and I will be blessed to see them pursue it.”

IU South Bend topped the leaderboard by firing a 591 followed by Taylor (603), Indiana Wesleyan (631), Saint Francis (634), Olivet Nazarene (642), Bethel (644), HU (660), Spring Arbor (674), Taylor B (698), Holy Cross (710) and Mount Vernon (717).