NEW YORK – The Columbia men’s soccer team will host its final home match of the season Saturday evening when it welcomes the Harvard Crimson at the Rocco B. Commisso Soccer Stadium at 7 p.m.
THE LAST TIME OUT
The Lions jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Sacred Heart Wednesday night when David Najem buried a penalty kick in the second minute. The Pioneers evened the contest in the 15th minute when Mahmoud Kafel scored his team-best seventh goal. The remainder of the first half played out without another score, despite the Lions threatening to take the lead on a number of quality scoring chances.
After halftime, Columbia’s strong offensive play paid off with Andrew Tinari firing in a blast from 20 yards out that ricocheted off the crossbar and fell over the goal line to put the Lions ahead, 2-1. Columbia would hit the crossbar on two more occasions in the second stanza, but the game would end with the Lions capturing a 2-1 victory.
Columbia is unbeaten in its last four contests, going 3-0-1 over that span. With the victory over Sacred Heart on Wednesday, Columbia improved to 8-4-3 on the year, matching the highest win total in the last nine years for a men’s soccer team. The Lions have also yet to drop a contest on its home pitch, going 5-0-3 to this point at the Rocco B. Commisso Soccer Stadium.
Andrew Tinari has come on strong during the latter portion of his rookie campaign for Columbia, scoring in each of the last three games to bring his point total to 13 this season. He trails only David Najem in that category, as the senior has 16 points. Tinari, Najem and Will Stamatis have each tallied five goals this season for Columbia.
||Goals Per Game
|David Najem (16 pts.)
||Ross Friedman (11 pts.)
Kyle Jackson (.743 save %)
||Evan Mendez (.848 save %)
The Crimson (6-7-2) enter Saturday’s contest with a two-point lead in the Ivy League standings with two games left to play. Harvard could clinch the Ancient Eight crown with a victory and a tie between Penn and Princeton Saturday.
Harvard has spread its offensive attack throughout its roster this season, as 13 players have accounted for 18 total goals for the Crimson. Senior Ross Friedman has accounted for just one goal, but has nine assists to lead Harvard in points with 11. Sophomore Evan Mendez is unbeaten in net for Harvard, sporting a 5-0-1 record in seven starts.
Harvard holds the series advantage against Columbia, 36-24-5, but the Lions have come away victorious in each of the last three contests. Quentin Grigsby scored the only goal in last season’s game in the 37th minute to give Columbia a 1-0 victory on the road.