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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sophomore Christina Freibott scored a penalty stroke goal in the 62nd minute to propel the Columbia field hockey team to a 2-1 triumph over James Madison on Sunday. The Lions improve to 2-0 for the first time since the 2010 campaign.
Sophomore goalkeeper Kimberly Pianucci was strong in net for the second time in as many games, stopping nine shots to earn the win.
"James Madison is a strong, dynamic team," Head coach Marybeth Freeman stated. "For us to stay focused and disciplined while under pressure is important as we move forward."
First-year Katie Ruesterholz opened the scoring in the 13th minute when she intercepted a clearing attempt and tallied her third goal on the young season to give Columbia the early 1-0 lead.
The Lions applied even more pressure with just under 10 minutes left in the half, taking four penalty corners in a two-minute span, leading to four shots. However, the Dukes defense held strong to keep it a one-goal contest.
For the second straight game, Pianucci was forced to come up big in the final minutes of the half to preserve Columbia’s advantage. The sophomore netminder thwarted off four shots, including back-to-back attempts off of a penalty corner to hold off James Madison’s best opportunities to knot the score.
The Dukes remained on the attack in the second half, but could not break through until the 55th minute when Taylor Bailey evened the score after a scramble in front of the Lions’ goal. Bailey’s shot found space in the right corner of the net to make it, 1-1.
Columbia regained the lead in the 61st minute after a deliberate foul was called on James Madison in the semi-circle. Freibott stepped up to take the penalty stroke and buried the chance to put the Lions back on top.
From there, the Lions’ held the Dukes to just one shot in the final nine minutes to hold on for the victory.
The penalty stroke was the only shot for Columbia in the second half and the Lions were outshot, 20-8, in the game.
After the game, Freeman was quick to point out the strong efforts from players that may not be seen in the box score.
"Lauren Skudalski's control in the backfield was critical in our organization," Freeman said of her junior co-captain.
"Christina (Freibott) and Zoe's (Blake) combinations through the midfield were dynamic," the coach continued. "Our strikers were patient and diligent in their running and our first-years' contributions are exactly what we needed this weekend. When you put all the pieces together, there is a lot to be proud of."
Columbia returns to action next weekend at No. 2 Maryland on Saturday, Sep. 14. Game-time is slated for 11 a.m.