Ivy League Unbeatens Battle Friday as Women’s Soccer Visits Penn
NEW YORK - The Columbia women's soccer team (5-5-0, 2-0-0 Ivy) will put its unbeaten Ivy League record on the line Friday night, as the Lions travel to Penn (6-4-0, 2-0-0 Ivy) for a 7 p.m. contest at Rhodes Field. On Sunday, Columbia will take on NJIT in Newark, N.J. in its final out-of-conference match of the year.
Columbia has won four of its last six matches, including going 1-1 since Saturday. The Lions improved to 2-0 in Ivy League play, taking down Brown, 2-0, on the road Saturday night. Coleen Rizzo and Beverly Leon, Columbia's top goal scorers with four apiece, scored within 4:01 of each other in the opening half to lead the Lions past the Bears.
On Monday night, Columbia suffered a tough loss at home to visiting Lehigh. Columbia took the lead in the 55th minute and maintained that advantage until the final minute of regulation. Lehigh was awarded a PK with 56 seconds remaining, converted the attempt and forced overtime. In the second extra session, Lehigh's Paige Dyrek scored on a cross to give the Mountain Hawks the win.
Penn enters Friday's match having won four of its last five contests and sits atop the Ivy League standings with Columbia and Princeton at 2-0. The Quakers have conference wins over Harvard (1-0) and Cornell (2-1) on their resume. Penn most recently defeated NJIT, 4-0, Sunday, Sept. 30. The four tallies are the most in a single game this season for Penn.
Kerry Scalora leads the Quakers with 7 points on the season and is tied with Brianna Rano for the team-lead in assists with three. Erin Mikolai is second with six points on a team-best three goals. Sarah Banks has played 875 minutes in net for Penn in 2012, making 30 saves and holds a 0.93 goals-against average.
Penn carries a slight edge in the all-time series against Columbia, 10-8-2. The Quakers won last year's meeting, 2-0, at the Columbia Soccer Stadium, but prior to that, Columbia won the two previous meetings. The Lions are the last Ivy League team to beat the Quakers on their home turf, a 2-1 decision on Oct. 8, 2010.
NJIT is looking for a fresh start in October after having a month to forget in September. The Highlanders lone victory in the month came Sept. 2 against Monmouth. Since that match, the Highlanders have gone 0-4-3 and are 2-8-3 through the entire year.
Prior to Sunday's game against Columbia, the Highlanders will play their first Great West Conference match Friday against Utah Valley in Orem, Utah. Gechi Ukaegbu paces NJIT with seven points and is tied with Erin Williams-Wier for the team lead in goals with three. Samantha Bersett has played just over 1,200 minutes in goal for NJIT. She has made 73 saves, recorded two shutouts and shows a 1.80 goals-against average.
Sunday's match will be the first ever between Columbia and NJIT. The game represents the final non-conference match for Columbia as it finishes the season with two home matches against Princeton (Oct. 13) and Dartmouth (Oct. 20) and two road matches at Yale (Oct. 27) and Harvard (Nov. 3).