Natalie Melo Scores Game Winner In Second Overtime for 3-2 Columbia Win!
BRONX, N.Y. - For the first time since 2002, the Columbia women’s soccer team opened the season with a victory on Friday, Sept. 6 in the Bronx. Both Alexa Yow and Natalie Melo led the way with a goal and an assist each as the Lions defeated the Manhattan Jaspers 3-2 in double overtime at Gaelic Park.
The Lions applied pressure from the start striking first with a score in the ninth minute. Yow quickly found the back of the net after capitalizing off the Phoenetia Browne’s sliding setup from the Kimmy Bettinger assisting pass. Columbia stayed on the attack for most of the first half holding an 8-2 shot edge over the Jaspers. The Lions held Manhattan scoreless in the the first half to take a 1-0 lead at the break.
The Jaspers came out in the second half ready to battle. Manhattan’s Tara Teal tied the game at 1-1 in the 51st minute on a play started by Erica Modena. Teal threaded the ball into the net after finding the deflected pass from Modena.
In the 58th minute of play, Columbia quickly answered the Jasper attack. After some crisp passing by the Lions, senior Beverly Leon fired a shot to right corner to give the Lions a 2-1 lead off the Natalie Melo assist.
Junior goalkeeper Grace Remon made five saves in goal on the day, including a big time diving stop on a Jasper penalty kick at the 67th minute to hold the Columbia lead.
With an action packed second half of play, Modena once again stepped up for Manhattan to tie the game at the 75th minute. The first-year player used her speed to grab a quick steal at the top of the box and capitalized on the one-on-one play to tie the score at 2-2.
The Lions had several good looks toward the end of regulation tofight for the lead, including strong shots from Browne and Bettinger, however the battle at Gaelic Park would head into overtime.
In the first overtime, Leon worked her way for a potential game winner that sailed just wide right of the goal. In the second overtime the Lions would not miss. Elly McGuffog tapped a pass to Yow who found Melo running on the outside for the quick game winning score as Columbia grabbed the victory 3-2.
The Lions start the season at 1-0 and return to action on Sunday, Sep. 8 to face the Monmouth Hawks in the team’s home opener at Columbia Soccer Stadium at 1 p.m.