NEW YORK - A stout defensive effort down the stretch helped the Columbia field hockey team top Rider, 3-2, on Wednesday night. The win was the seventh in the Lions last eight contests as they improve to 7-3 on the year.
After scoring three unanswered goals, Rider turned up the intensity on offense, drawing several penalty corner opportunities and firing off nine shots in the final 15 minutes of action. However, freshman goalkeeper Kimberly Pianucci was up to the task, stopping all but one shot as time was winding down to help Columbia hang on for the win.
The Broncs (7-4) opened the scoring after a long crossing attempt on the right side found the stick of Jackie Adams, who gave Rider a 1-0 lead just three minutes in. Less than three minutes later, Gabby Kozlowski scored the equalizer off a similar play as the Broncs goal. Kozlowski redirected a cross-field feed from Anna Scipioni for her eight tally of the season.
Pianucci's best of her 10 saves came with about 14 minutes remaining in the first half. Rider's Gabby Burgo was left all alone in prime scoring position, but the freshman made a sprawling save, diving to her left to keep the game tied into the half.
In the 43rd minute, Paige Simmons netted the go-ahead goal, firing off a shot from a set play off a corner. Off another penalty corner, Katie DeSandis scored a crucial insurance goal after a nice setup by her sister Bridget DeSandis and Simmons to put Columbia ahead, 3-1.
Burgo would go on to score with 29 seconds to go, but the final horn sounded as the Lions took the win.
Kozlowski led the way with four shots and Simmons added an assist to push her team lead to seven.
Columbia will hit the road to face #22 Albany on Sunday, October 7. Game-time is set for 1:00 p.m.