NEW YORK - The Columbia field hockey team prepares for an exciting weekend of games at the Columbia Field Hockey Venue as the Lions look to break their first-place tie with Ivy League foe Yale on Friday before hosting Villanova on Sunday in its final non-conference contest.
Columbia (8-6, 4-1 Ivy League) is looking for its fifth conference win of the year when it squares off against Yale at 6 p.m. on Friday. The Lions' game against Villanova starts at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Both games will feature free live statistics and a free live blog on GoColumbiaLions.com. The live blog will start 15 minutes before each game.
Columbia is riding a four-game winning streak with wins over Penn, Virginia Commonwealth, Dartmouth and Lafayette over the past two weeks. The Lions are currently tied for first place in the Ivy League with Yale (8-6, 4-1 Ivy League) and Princeton as all three teams boast 4-1 conference records. Columbia is also tied with Yale and Harvard for the best overall record at 8-6.
The Lions are coming off a thrilling 1-0 road shootout victory over Lafayette on Tuesday. The game remained scoreless after 100 minutes regulation and two overtime periods. First-year Erika Thompson and juniors Gabby Kozlowski and Bridget DeSandis converted on their penalty shot tries and junior goalkeeper Christie O'Hara made three saves on the other end as Columbia took the shootout, 3-1. Columbia has now defeated Lafayette in a shootout in two straight years. Last year, the Lions took a 2-1 win after Desi Scherf, Bridget DeSandis and Caitlin Mullins made their penalty strokes to lift Columbia past the Leopards.
Yale is also on a four-game winning streak with wins over Northwestern, Dartmouth, Fairfield and Penn over the past three weeks. The Bulldogs are coming off a 2-1 victory at Penn on Oct. 23. Yale battled back from a 1-0 halftime deficit with goals by Gabby Garcia and Erica Borgo after the break. Goalkeeper Emily Cain recorded three saves in the win. Friday's game marks the Bulldogs' final road contest of the year.
Villanova (7-9, 3-2 BIG EAST) is coming off back-to-back wins over Louisville and Georgetown. The Wildcats defeated Georgetown, 2-0, on Oct. 21 in their first shutout of the season. Lauren Wilson and Amy Jackson scored for VU and goalkeeper Megan Goelz was untested all game as all five of Georgetown's shots were wide. Villanova will host No. 5 Syracuse on Friday before heading to New York to face the Lions.
Columbia trails its all-time series with Yale, 12-4. The Bulldogs won last year's meeting, 3-2, in overtime. The Lions played Villanova for the first time on Sept. 12, 2010, in West Chester, Pa. and the Wildcats took a 5-1 win.
RANK AND FILE
Kozlowski, who was named the Ivy League Player of the Week on Tuesday, is among the conference's top offensive players. She is tied for fourth in goals (10) and game-winners (two) and tied for sixth in points (21).
Columbia leads the Ivy League with 12 defensive saves. Her .780 save percentage is the second best in the conference.
O'Hara ranks third in the league with 8.58 saves per game.
MOVIN' ON UP
With the shutout victory over Lafayette, O'Hara now has four shutouts for her career, moving her out of a tie with Erin Conway ('11CC) for sole possession of third place on Columbia's all-time shutouts list.
O'Hara has 264 career saves and is 24 stops away from surpassing Kristina George ('07CC) for third place on Columbia's all-time list. With three regular-season games remaining and her 8.58 saves per game average, O'Hara is on pace to pass George this year.
Simmons now has eight career assists and is two away from cracking the Columbia's all-time top 10.
Yale has the top scoring offense in the Ivy League. The Bulldogs lead the conference with 3.64 goals per game and a 1.37 scoring margin. Yale is not afraid to fire at will as it is second only to Dartmouth with 20.21 shots per contest.
The Bulldogs also maintain good possessions as evidenced by their league-best 10.14 penalty corners per game.
Senior captain and back Erin Carter leads the team and ranks second in the Ivy League with 12 goals. Senior forward Mia Rosati is second on the team and seventh in the conference with seven goals.
Sophomore Georgia Holland makes her presence felt all over the field. The mid/back has six goals, three assists and three defensive saves.
Yale has a strong passing game as four Bulldogs rank in the league's top 10 for assists. Sophomore forward Erica Borgo is second in the Ivy league with 12 assists and senior midfielder Dina Landshut is third with 10. Senior Chelsey Locarno and sophomore Emily Schuckert have five assists each and are tied for 10th in the league.
Sophomore Emily Cain (8-6) has been Yale's primary goalie this season. She has 89 saves (6.36 per game) and averages 2.11 goals allowed. Cain has a .754 save percentage.
Villanova has struggled to score this season, averaging just 1.69 goals per game. Opposing teams are enjoying 17.4-10.1 shots-per-game and 172-73 and 10.8-4.5 penalty corners-per-game advantages against the Wildcats.
The Wildcats are led by a very young attack as their top three scorers are all first-years. Midfielder Jessica Swoboda leads the team in all offensive categories with seven goals, seven assists, 21 points, 28 shots on goal and three game-winners. Midfielder Lauren Wilson is second on the team in scoring with five goals and three assists for 13 points. Forward Leah High has four goals and two assists for 10 points.
Senior goalkeeper Megan Goelz (7-9) has 102 saves on the year and has allowed 3.32 goals allowed average. She has a .713 saver percentage.
After this weekend's games, Columbia will celebrate Senior Day on Friday, Nov. 4, against Harvard.