The Columbia field hockey team is back to work as they prepare for the 2014 season. See what fifth year head coach Marybeth Freeman, assistant coaches Caroline Nichols and Megan Shea and captains Zoe Blake, Lauren Skudalski and Christina Freibott had to say about this year’s squad by clicking the play button above.

The Lions bring back eight starters and a total of 17 returning players to its squad that went 6-11 last season.

Highlighting the list of returners are the trio of Skudalski, Freibott and Katie Ruesterholz, who all earned All-Ivy League honors last season.

Skudalski was among the nation’s leaders with nine defensive saves and will anchor the back line for Columbia. Freibott emerged as an NFHCA All-Region player after posting five goals and six assists from the midfield position. Ruesterholz set a program record for goals by a first-year in 2013 after finding the back of the net 10 times.

In goal, the trio of senior Marlee Silverstein, junior Kimberly Pianucci and sophomore Kendall Kuntz are competing for the starting job. Pianucci made 13 starts, while Silverstein saw action in eight games.

Columbia opens its season next Friday, Sept. 5 with a home contest against LaSalle followed by a trip to Storrs, Connecticut, to face the defending national champions, UConn on Sunday, Sept. 7.