Zoe Blake weaving through LaSalle defenders.
Bwog’s favorite young sports aficionado Ross Chapman brings you the play-by-play of the most recent women’s field hockey game, and plenty more athletic updates.
A pair of second half goals five minutes apart for senior tri-captain Zoe Blake powered the Lions past the Wildcats 5-2 today at the Columbia Field Hockey Stadium at the Baker Athletic Complex. The team built off of their loss last weekend to No. 3 UConn and rose to 2-1 on the season thanks to an energetic and cooperative performance. Villanova (2-4) was held to just 1 shot on goal in the first half, and the 13 penalty corners they allowed to Columbia proved disastrous, leading directly to three goals. Junior tri-captain Christina Freibott tied her school record 3 assists and junior goalkeeper Kimberly Pianucci put up 7 saves as the Lions took a commanding win over the Big East opponent.
If you’ve never seen a field hockey game before, it plays sort of like a faster version of soccer. There are two 35-minute halves with no stoppage time, and the field is slightly smaller than a soccer pitch. The ball can move from one side of the field to another very quickly, and a driving player can run from one goal to the other in 20 seconds or so. Another factor that adds to the sport’s excitement is the penalty corner mechanic. One player passes the ball inbounds to an offensive player who stops and “sets” the ball for a strong offensive shot. This sort of bump-set-spike mechanic was fruitful for the Lions today, who time and again let ring the sound of the ball against the back of the wooden goal across northern Manhattan.
Columbia commanded the first half and came out of it with a 2-0 lead, but Villanova burst onto the field for the second half with newfound energy and nearly unchallenged possession of the ball for the first ten minutes. A barrage of shots from all sides of the net eventually proved too much for Pianucci to save, and the score went to 2-1. The turning point of the game came when senior midfielder Kyle Marsh maneuvered the ball from deep in Columbia territory down the field and through a field of defenders to set up a penalty corner. From then on, Columbia maintained possession, and Zoe Blake scored goals off of corners with 17:10 and 12:06 left to go in the game, putting the lions up 4-1. Villanova tried to come back and upped their sense of urgency, but soon the Lions had the ball again, and Caroline Donnal fed a pass to Katie Ruesterholz, who tapped it in past the Villanova goalie to put the nail in the coffin of the Wildcats’ hope to win the game.
“We brought with us what we had last weekend against UConn, with great energy, great combination style hockey, good press… and good communication,” said Zoe Blake in a postgame interview with GoColumbiaLions.com. The spectators certainly saw this, and their 70 minutes of enthusiastic support was recognized at the end of the game by the entire team. Even if you’ve never seen a match of the sport in your life, the energy and liveliness of each game is easy to love. If you want to get up to Baker this year to see a game, get there early; the bleachers only support about fifty fans, and they fill up very easily. Their last home game for a little while was today, and Katie Ruezterholz deflected a corner in overtime to give the Lions a 2-1 victory over the Fairfield Stags, propelling them to 3-1 on the season. Their next home game is against Cornell on Saturday, September 27th at noon for the Ivy home opener.
Athletics news from football, futbol, and footraces after the jump