FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Forward Katie Ruesterholz scored two goals for the second consecutive game, but the Columbia field hockey team fell 4-3 at Fairfield in a game with a wild finish. Ruesterholz now has nine goals on the season, setting a new program record for scores by a first-year. The previous mark was held by Julia Garrison ‘10CC, who scored seven times in 2007.
Trailing by two goals late in the second half, Liz Malone found Ruesterholz in front of the net for a tally with 2:55 remaining in regulation. The Lions (3-5) drew a penalty corner moments later, but Zoe Blake’s shot was blocked and the Stags (8-2) held on for their fifth consecutive victory.
Ruesterholz continued her hot-streak, netting her record-setting goal in the fourth minute. The Basking Ridge, N.J., native received a centering pass from Anna Scipioni and buried the chance to give Columbia the quick 1-0 advantage.
The Stags (8-2) bounced back, taking the next five shots and tied the score in the 17th minute off a penalty corner. Nikki McLucas got her stick on a feed from Felicitas Heinen to even things up at 1-1.
Sophomore goalkeeper Kimberly Pianucci kept the Lions in the game, making six stops to keep it knotted as the game went to the half.
Columbia adjusted in the second half and generated some offensive chances. After a deliberate foul in the semi-circle by Fairfield a penalty stroke was awarded. Zoe Blake converted on the chance to put the Lions back on top in the 41st minute.
However, the Stags struck twice within 33 seconds, both off penalty corners to regain the lead, 3-2. Heinen potted a goal in the 62nd minute to tie things up and Hillary Fitts scored to give Fairfield its first lead of the afternoon.
Shealyn Testa, who assisted on both of the Stags’ second half goals, then added an insurance score in the 66th minute before Ruesterholz made things interesting.
Fairfield outshot Columbia, 23-10. Pianucci made 12 stops on the afternoon.
The Lions return to Ivy League play next Friday night at No. 10 Princeton. Game-time is set for 6 p.m.