NEW YORK – Newcomers Nicholas Pappacena and Ron Zori netted their first goals as Lions Wednesday night, leading Columbia to a 3-0 victory over visiting LIU Brooklyn (1-6-1) at the Columbia Soccer Stadium. Senior Will Stamatis scored the first goal of the contest for Columbia, his second of the season, in the 52nd minute.
The win was the fourth consecutive for Columbia (4-2-0), a feat the Lions had not achieved since the 2003 campaign.
Despite the first 45 minutes of play passing without a goal from either team, it was clear that Columbia controlled play throughout the entire half. The Lions outshot the Blackbirds 14-2 in the opening stanza, placing three attempts on net.
Seniors David Najem and Stamatis, the goal scorers in the victory over Northeastern last Saturday, had the two best opportunities to get the Lions on the board in the first half. Stamatis, who had just entered the contest moments, earlier ripped a hard shot just right of the goal in the 32nd minute, while Najem’s sliding shot attempt in the penalty area jumped above the crossbar two minutes later.
The Blackbirds were whistled for the only four fouls of the period, while Columbia attempted the only two corner kicks.
Columbia picked right back up where it left off in the first half, continuing to challenge the LIU Brooklyn defense with chance after chance. The persistence finally paid off in the 52nd minute, as Stamatis headed a rebounded from a Zori shot that hit the post into the net.
Zori’s first assist in a Columbia uniform foreshadowed his first goal for the Lions, as he added another tally to the scoreboard in the 63rd minute. The Tel Aviv, Israel native made a nice move in a small space in the penalty area to deke a Blackbird defender creating enough space to rifle a shot at the goal that deflected off the near post and into the net.
Fellow newcomer Pappacena completed the scoring in the 77th minute when he placed nice chip shot goal over the charging LIU Brooklyn goalkeeper’s head and safely into the goal. Najem assisted on the goal, bringing his season point total to 10, a new season-best.
In total, the Lions racked up 30 shots, while limiting the Blackbirds to just six attempts. Kyle Jackson earned the win in net for Columbia after making just two stops on the night. Luke Rossi came on to man goal for the final nine minutes, but did not face a shot.
Next up for the Lions is a short trip to the Bronx to take on Fordham on Sunday, Sep. 29 at 4:30 p.m.