LINCOLN, IL – All it took was one goal, but the Maranatha Crusaders delivered a Midwest Regional Championship, defeating the Grace Bible College Tigers, 1-0 on Saturday afternoon, to advance to the NCCAAII National Championship Tournament on Tuesday, November 12-16.
Maranatha outshot the Tigers 20-7 in the game, yet both teams found themselves at a 0-0 stalemate at the half due to the goalkeeping of Grace’s Lindsey Anible, who finished the game with nine saves.
But five minutes into the second period, on a throw-in, sophomore midfielder Harmony Lorch (Aurora, CO), found freshman forward Natascha Vinz (Cheboygan, MI), who turned, sized up a 15-yard shot and delivered the eventual game-winning goal. Vinz now has 17 goals on the season and six assists for an impressive 40 points.
Sophomore goalkeeper Michala Marino (Grand Blanc, MI) turned away three shots for her seventh shutout of the season and the Crusaders, winners of three of their last four, improved to 9-7 on the season.
Maranatha also received strong performances from Lorch, who finished with six shots and an assist, as well as freshman midfielder Courtney Dunn (Oshkosh, WI), who posted five shots.
In last year’s National Tournament, Maranatha took fifth place with a shootout win over Kentucky Christian and hope to advance to the National Championship game.