NEW YORK – In a return to the newly renovated Rocco B. Commisso Soccer Stadium for the first match this season, two goals in a span of less than two minutes in the final half lifted the Columbia women’s soccer team to a 2-0 victory over Princeton on Saturday, Oct. 15. The Lions are off to its best Ivy League start in program history, improving to 4-0 for the first time, while tightening its hold on the top spot in conference as the only unbeaten team.
The Columbia defense continued their staple of first-half shutout play on Saturday for the ninth contest this season as they held the Tigers scoreless in the opening period. Despite a 7-3 shot advantage by the Tigers, the Lions defense remained solid, highlighted by three key saves by goalkeeper Allison Spencer.
Columbia knocked on the door of a first-half score on an intense corner kick possession in the 16th minute, with three Lions getting off shots at the goal. Natalie Neshat was the first to strike, followed by Amalya Johnson on a rebound attempt after a Princeton save, before Amaris Hemmings had a shot sail high on an aggressive play by the Columbia offense.
The second half was a different story for the Lions, who put in multiple goals for the first time in four games. The hustle of sophomore Rachel Alexander resulted in her first score of the season and the first score of the game at 73:07, as she out ran two Princeton defenders and fired past a falling goalkeeper from the top of the box.
Less than two minutes later in the 75th minute, the Lions tacked on another score as Madeline Linde finished off a beautiful assist from a free kick by Johnson with a header into the back of the net. Linde’s fourth goal of the season gave the Lions its largest lead in Ivy League play at 2-0.
Spencer and the Columbia defense capped the night with its sixth-consecutive shutout. With four saves and now 504 consecutive minutes of shutout play, Spencer has yet to allow a goal in Ivy League play. The Lions have increased its current shutout streak to 555:32 minutes through six games.
Up next, Columbia will return to Rocco B. Commisso Soccer Stadium in its home finale on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 4 p.m. as they host Dartmouth.