Video: Natalie Melo's Goal
NEW YORK - The Columbia women's soccer team netted a great goal in the final minute of the first half and held off a late rally by Marist to secure a 1-0 victory Sunday. Columbia goalkeeper Grace Redmon made five saves and the Columbia defense cleared one shot on net to preserve the third shutout of the season for Columbia.
The Columbia offense came out firing early, recording four shots in the first 20 minutes. Isabel King placed a shot on goal in the fifth minute, while Chelsea Ryan' blast in the 20th minute went just over the crossbar.
Marist similarly also had a few early chances on goal. Amanda Epstein had both her shot attempts during the first 22 minutes of play stopped by Redmon. The intensity continued to pick up throughout the first half, with each team receiving one yellow card.
The high intensity would pay off for the Lions in the final minute of the opening half with the game's only goal. Columbia intercepted a throw-in from Marist on the right sideline and immediately began moving towards the goal. Kimmy Bettinger controlled the ball well through the middle of the field before passing it out to King on the left side. King crossed the ball into the center of the box where Natalie Melo made a diving kick to drive the ball into the bottom left corner of the net.
Marist had an early opportunity in the second half to even the score, but Marjana Maksuti's header attempt went above the goal. The Columbia offense also continued to attack, with Shannon FitzPatrick forcing Andrea Wicks to come up with a save in the Marist net.
The Red Foxes thought they had tallied the equalizer in the 68th minute, but an offsides call negated the goal.
The last 60 seconds of play caused Columbia fans to hold their collective breath. With just under a minute left, Marist's Epstein had her blast from inside the box deflected by Redmon and then kicked away from the goal line by the Columbia defense. The Red Foxes were also awarded a corner kick in the final five seconds, but the ball sailed over the scrum in the box.
Marist held the advantage in shot attempts, 15-11, with 11 of those attempts coming in the second half. Melo's goal was her first of the season, while King earned her second assist this season.
The Lions will next take the field Friday, Sept. 21, when they host Cornell to begin Ivy League play. Game time at the Columbia Soccer Stadium is set for 7 p.m.