NEWARK, N.J. - Beverly Leon and Coleen Rizzo each scored their fifth goal of the season, leading the Columbia women's soccer team to a road win at NJIT Sunday night. The win gets the Lions back to .500 (6-6) on the season, heading into the final four matches of the year.
Columbia set the tempo early Sunday night, ripping off a pair of early shots, the second just 76 seconds into the game off the foot of Leon forced NJIT's goalkeeper, Samantha Bersett, to make her first save of the game.
The Lions continued to pressure throughout the early part of the match, keeping NJIT from gaining any offensive momentum. The constant presence in NJIT's defensive zone would pay off for Columbia with the first goal of the game in the 21st minute. Maya Marder sent a direct kick into the box where Rizzo was able to go up and head it past Bersett to give Columbia a 1-0 lead.
Erin Schmitt would record the only shot of the half for NJIT in the 29th minute, as Columbia would take the one-goal lead into the halftime intermission. The Highlanders trailed Columbia in all statistical categories in the half, except for fouls. NJIT was whistled eight times in the first 45 minutes, equaling the number of shots the Lions attempted.
NJIT had the first scoring opportunity of the second half, a shot from Madeline Griep that Grace Redmon stopped. It would be the only shot that the sophomore keeper would need to make for the Lions.
In the 69th minute, Leon doubled the Columbia lead, scoring on a nice pass from Natalie Melo. Leon gathered the ball and sent it past Bersett to the right for the second goal of the game for Columbia.
Rizzo had an opportunity to make it a three-goal lead in the 73rd minute, but her header went off the crossbar. NJIT managed a pair of shots in the final three minutes, but neither attempt was on goal as the Lions secured the 2-0 win.
Columbia tallied 13 shots in the match, while holding NJIT to just four. A total of 24 student-athletes played for Columbia Sunday night.
Four Ivy League matches comprise the remainder of the Lions' schedule. Columbia will play each of the next four Saturday's, beginning Oct. 13 at home against Princeton. That match is set for 7 p.m. at the Columbia Soccer Stadium.