NEW YORK - The Columbia lacrosse team used an eight-goal second half to power past Yale for its first Ivy League home win in program history. The teams were tied 2-2 at the break, but the Lions came out roaring in the second half to win its second straight. Karlee Blank had 15 saves in goal and Paige Cuscovitch had a team-high four goals.
The first half was a defensive battle as both team combined for just four goals. Columbia struck first just under five minutes into the game when Kacie Johnson rolled the crease and side-armed a shot to the top corner to put the Lions ahead 1-0. The Lions would hold that lead for the next 13 minutes until Yale evened the score at 1-1 on an unassisted goal with 12:09 to play in the half.
The Bulldogs took a slim 2-1 lead on another unassisted goal six minutes later, but Camille Richardson had a beautiful finish on a feed from Sarah Avallone to knot the score at 2-2 entering the half time break.
The second half was all about Columbia. The Lions took a two-goal lead 10 minutes into the second half on goals by Cuscovitch and Johnson. Yale managed to pull within one, 4-3, on another unassisted goal with 15:52 to play, but from there on out, Columbia's offense went to work.
Cuscovitch got the ball off a Bulldog turnover and took it 70 yards, finishing with a split dodge and left-handed shot sparking a six-goal Columbia run. On a nearly identical play, Cuscovitch again went end to end, this time off a save by Blank, to put Columbia ahead 6-3 with 7:29 remaining.
Less than a minute later, Johnson fed Taylor Gattinella from behind who bounced one to the top left corner, before Cuscovitch scored her fourth goal of the second half just two minutes later.
Johnson set up the final two goals for the Lions- first she hit Gabrielle Geronimos mid-stride in the middle of the fan, and then found Avallone who put Columbia ahead 10-3 with 14 seconds to go.
Blank was phenomenal goal making 15 saves including a few key point-blank stops in the second half. Kelly Buechel was dominant on the draw, winning a game-high five to go along with a groundball. Cuscovitch had a career-high four goals while Johnson finished with five points (2G, 3A), a groundball and three caused turnovers.
Columbia (3-8, 1-4 Ivy League) returns to action on Wednesday, April 20 when it travels to Bucknell for a 4 p.m. game.
Notes: The win against Yale was the first time the Lions have ever defeated the Bulldogs in program history ... the win also marked the first Ivy League win at home in program history, as the Lions' previous two conference wins have been on the road at Harvard ... the three goals allowed was the fewest ever against an Ivy League opponent in program history ... the team's six seniors were honored prior to the game ... the Class of 2011 is the first class to win two Ivy League games in their careers.