NEW YORK - It was a senior day to remember for the Columbia Field Hockey class of 2011, as the Lions defeated Dartmouth 5-2 in front of a lively crowd at the Columbia Field Hockey Venue on Sunday, October 24. Gabby Kozlowski had a career-high four goals in the win, with Carson Christus picking up a goal, and Christie O'Hara making nine saves in goal.
Prior to the game, the team's six seniors, Rebecca Barrett, Lauren Byrne, Erin Conway, Julia Garrison, Caitlin Mullins, and Hannah Smith were honored for their contributions to the program over the last four years.
Kozlowski's four goals brought her season total to 15, tying the previous single-season record set by Nikki Campbell in 2000. It was only fitting that Campbell was also in attendance at the game, and honored prior to the opening whistle for being inducted into the Columbia Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2010 on Friday, October 22.
"The staff is very proud of our full team effort against a very talented and well coached Dartmouth team," said head coach Marybeth Freeman. "As a collective unit, the program wanted to honor our seniors in the best way we knew how - by playing combination hockey and constantly asking how can I help. It was a wonderful environment as we had a great outpouring of alums in attendance today, and also acknowledging Nikki Campbell for her recent induction into the Columbia Athletics Hall of Fame. Having families, friends and alumnae share in this special day for our seniors and team shows the tremendous amount of support for our program."
Columbia struck first halfway through the opening half when Kozlowski intercepted a pass at the 30, used a quick move to beat her defender and set up a 1 v 1 with the Dartmouth goalie. She unleashed a rocket over the sprawled out Jenna Stearns to put the Lions up 1-0 at 17:41.
Dartmouth evened the score at 1-1 four minutes later with a goal off a straight pass on a corner. Columbia answered back with a beautiful goal of its own 48 seconds later. Paige Simmons crossed a ball from the right corner to her classmate Kozlowski, who tipped the ball in for her second goal of the game at 21:51.
Columbia wasn't finished yet. Christus pushed the Lions' lead to two when she received a pass from Kozlowski at the top of the circle. She used a crafty move to open up some space and nailed a backhand shot to the low corner at 24:40, giving Columbia a 3-1 lead headed into the break.
Shots were close in the first half, with Columbia holding a slight edge, 12-9, but the Big Green had six corners compared to the Lions' one.
The Lions came out roaring in the second half, and Kozlowski added a pair of goals less than two minutes apart to push Columbia's lead to 5-1.
Leti Freaney ripped a low shot from the top of the circle to the far corner where Kozlowski redirected it at 40:52. Soon after, the Lions converted on a perfect set piece on a corner. Mullins inserted the ball to Smith at the top of the circle. From there, she slid the ball to Kozlowski who once again beat Stearns at 41:45.
The Big Green tacked on a goal at 54:02 to cut its deficit to three, but Columbia held on for the victory.
"We're going to take this win and continue to build on our strengths, make adjustments where appropriate, and apply it into our final Ivy League competitions," added Freeman.
For the game, Columbia outshot Dartmouth 24-20, while the Big Green held an 8-7 advantage in corners. Twenty-two different players got time for Columbia. In addition to her assist, Smith also picked up a key defensive save in the win. Kozlowski now has a team-high 15 goals and 31 points for the season.
Columbia (9-6, 2-3 Ivy League) returns to action on Saturday, October 30 when it travels to New Haven, Conn. for an Ivy League matchup against Yale.