WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Columbia field hockey team started 2013 on the right foot, taking down Longwood, 5-0, on Friday afternoon on the campus of American University. First-year Katie Ruesterholz scored a pair of goals in her collegiate debut to lead eight players that found their way onto the scoresheet.
"Our returning group did a great job leading by example today," head coach Marybeth Freeman said. "They stepped up, had good gamesmanship and set the tempo of the game. Our newcomers welcomed the opportunity to compete and showed up in a dominant way."
The Lions (1-0) found the back of the net on their first shot of the season, taking a 1-0 lead in the seventh minute on a Danielle Cosentino goal. Junior Caroline Donnal doubled the lead in the 24th minute with her first career goal off a feed from first-year midfielder Meredith Kalberer.
Ruesterholz got into the action after Christina Freibott found the first-year with some space down the middle of the field. Ruesterholz was left one-on-one with the goalkeeper and lit the lamp to extend the margin to 3-0 in the 31st minute.
With the game still in doubt, sophomore goalkeeper Kimberly Pianucci came up with three key saves during a Lancers’ (1-2) flurry in the closing moments of the half to preserve the three-goal cushion.
Columbia came out strong in the second half, adding another insurance goal when Lauren Skudalski found Zoe Blake off a penalty corner situation. Ruesterholz struck again in the 54th minute, receiving a centering pass from Liz Malone to make it, 5-0.
"To open the season with a variety of different goal scorers is great," Freeman said. "Danielle (Cosentino) getting us on the board early paved a path for Caroline (Donnal), Zoe (Blake) and Katie's (Ruesterholz) two-goal career debut."
Pianucci finished with 11 saves on the day and split the clean-sheet with first-year Kendall Kuntz, who played the final 3:10.
Despite being outshot, 19-10, the Lions converted on 50-percent of their attempts in the contest. Additionally, the five-goal differential was the largest margin of victory in a season-opener in program history.
"We had some great step-ups through the center midfield and great timing and intercepts from our deep defense," said the fourth-year head coach. "Kimmie (Pianucci) kept the shutout alive with a terrific performance."
Columbia will remain in our nation’s capital on Sunday, Sep. 8 to take on James Madison at 1 p.m.