NEW YORK – The Columbia field hockey program celebrated its 2011 success, honored five outstanding seniors and renewed its bonds with 22 alumni this past weekend with its annual banquet and alumni game.

Saturday evening, head coach Marybeth Freeman and her coaching staff hosted the annual field hockey banquet at Columbia University’s Faculty House. One of the highlights of the evening was the presentation of framed jerseys to the Lions’ five seniors: Carson Christus, Adriana de Vries, Leti Freaney, Maggie O’Connor and Desi Scherf.

“Each of these seniors possesses skill sets that has helped our program move in a positive direction,” Freeman said. “Couple that with their dynamic personalities and these women make one special group. Columbia field hockey is extremely thankful for Leti, Carson, Desi, Maggie and Adriana’s service, passion and dedication over their tenure as a Columbia Lion.”

The team also presented awards that recognized both standout play and great leadership off the field.

Sophomore forward Liz Malone was awarded the Most Improved Player Award and junior goalkeeper Christie O’Hara received the Most Valuable Player Award.

Junior back Katie DeSandis received the Field Hockey Award, which is voted on by her teammates in recognition of outstanding play that elevated the level of the program.

The Lion Pride Award recognizes the player who best exemplified Perseverance, Respect, Intensity, Dedication and Effort on and off the field. This year’s recipient was senior back Desi Scherf.

The 3-Touch Hockey Award was given to junior midfielder Paige Simmons in recognition of her excellence in athletics, academics and community on a daily basis.

“Throughout the season everyone has made valuable contributions to the success of this 2011 team,” Freeman said. “However, five of these student-athletes consistently represented the meaning behind these awards and dedicated themselves to making themselves and their teammates better”.

On Sunday, the Lions reunited with 22 field hockey alumni for a friendly game at the Columbia Field Hockey Venue.

“I was ecstatic to see how many alumni were able to join us for our event this past weekend,” Freeman said. “It means a tremendous amount to me and this program to have such a vibrant, fun and enthusiastic group of alumni supporters. It is inspiring for our current team to see the support and involvement our alumni give us, knowing when THEY graduate, they too will remain a member of our Columbia field hockey family”