NEW YORK – A first half score from Vana Markarian helped the Columbia men's soccer team take their home opener against Fordham, 1-0, on a picturesque day at Rocco B. Commisso Soccer Stadium.
With the victory, the Lions improve to 1-0-1 on the season, while the Rams drop to 1-2-1 in 2017.
In the opening minutes of the first half, Columbia drew a corner kick, sending Francisco Agrest down for the attempt. The junior served up a beautiful cross to a cutting Markarian, whose far-post header gave the Lions a 1-0 lead just under five mintues into the contest.
The goal for Markarian was his first of the year and third of his career, and went on to become his second career game-winner, along with a score against Central Connecticut on Sept. 10, 2016.
Columbia added four addition shots in the first half, including a pair that landed on goal, but the Lions were unable to tack on another score in the frame. The defense held steady in the first, not allowing a shot on goal through 45 minutes.
The second half was more of the same, with neither team able to finish a chance on net. John Denis, who knocked in a goal in the season opener, had a nice run towards the net in the 79th minute, but was denied on his attempt from the right side by Fordham goalkeeper Rashid Nuhu.
Dylan Castanheira and the Columbia defense was steller in the second half, as the Rams pushed the tempo but only were able to get three shots off on goal, all of which were saved by the junior goalkeeper.
The Lions started nine of the same 11 starters from the season opening draw against UMass, with Danny Laranetto and Dylan Mott picking up their first starts of the season. A trio of rookies in Lucho Gazcon, Sam Hatem, and Yiannis Kounelis all saw their first action of the season today, with a total of six first-year's taking the home pitch.
Next up, Columbia travels to New Hampshire for a 7 p.m. contest on Saturday, Sept. 9.