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Fall Sports Preview

from shooting hoops to the super bowl

We like sports (we don’t care who knows)

It’s the beginning of the semester, which means that while plenty of us are having enough trouble just getting readjusted to classes, the student athletes have an entire season to prepare for. Here’s a brief preview of what’s going on with each team at Columbia for the fall season. Keep checking in with Bwog to get all the important updates throughout the season.

Field Hockey is looking for redemption. Last October, the Lions hosted the Princeton Tigers, prohibitive favorites and winners of 18 of the last 20 Ivy championships. Columbia stunned Princeton in the final two minutes of the game and picked up their first ever victory in that matchup. Going into the final weekend, Columbia just needed to beat a middle-of-the-pack Harvard team to secure the championship, but they fell 1-4 in Cambridge. With two-time Olympian and former assistant coach Caroline Nichols now leading the Lions and national assist leader Christina Freibott returning for her senior campaign, these Lions are out for more.

Women’s Tennis has a highly regarded recruiting class which came in at #6 on one poll. The freshman will fit in well on a team full of All-Ivy honorees. Kanika Vaidya will lead the team in the singles game, with Rima Asatrian and Tina Jiang also filling out top spots on the singles board. Jiang partnered with Crystal Leung to be the Lions’ #1 doubles pair, but with Leung graduating, the Lions will have to look elsewhere to claim the doubles point. While the spring season will be full of duals, the fall is made of tournaments, starting with the Harvard Fall Classic next weekend.

Men’s Tennis may have lost the biggest star in Columbia sports when Winston Lin graduated after last season. While he will still represent Columbia in his own right, the Lions will also have to survive the loss of Ashok Narayana and Max Schnur. The team will have plenty of time to prove themselves before they have to play in front of the home crowd. While they’d love to show up well at Ivy Plus and then a few other invitationals, the real goal might be getting players to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows. The Lions will look to attend six tournaments during the fall season.

Men’s Soccer finished at a respectable 7-8-1 last season, but only netted two wins in the Ivy season. Senior goalkeeper Kyle Jackson has received All-Ivy honors in each of his three seasons here, and he has created his own vast highlight reel to keep games exciting. The Columbia defense last year gave up one goal in each Ivy contest, but will have to continue to thrive after losing some big pieces. The eight incoming freshman will have the opportunity to earn playing time and make the games exciting at Rocco B. Commisso Stadium.

Women’s Soccer profiled as a defensive team last season. In 17 games, the Lions gave up only 11 goals, a figure which no other Ivy team surpassed. Their two senior co-captains, Elly McGuffog and Cadie Naquin, will hold down the back line that shut out the opponent nine times in 2014. Of last year’s trio of platooning goaltenders, two remain, and Allison Spencer and Gabby Dubick are both ready for the increased playing time. The biggest hole in the team comes from the loss of Coleen Rizzo, who scored five goals and a couple of assists last season. Some of the more ancillary offensive players will have to step up this season.

Cross Country will return most of its top performers as it goes into its second year under head coach Daniel Ireland. First team all-Ivy runner Olivia Sadler will be joined at the front of the women’s pack by second time honoree Leila Mantilla, while Tait Rutherford and Jack Boyle will lead the men’s herd. Both the men and women came in second of sixth place at their first invitational of the year, showing off more depth than individual excellence. Places six through fourteenth were all earned by Columbia men, although they’ll have to do better than that if they want to overcome Cornell and the rest of the Ivy League Heptagonals in late October.

With Brandon Jowers, the best golfer on the 2014-15 team by scoring average, gone from the university, Men’s Golf will depend on Harrison Shih, who fought his way into the U.S. Amateur Championship this summer, to lead the team. The team will do their fare share of traveling this October, running off to Fresno, CA and Camden, SC to close out their fall season. But just two weeks from now, the Lions will attempt to defend their title at the de facto home tournament of the Tuxedo Autumn Invitational.

Women’s Golf also featured a competitor at the U.S. Amateurs, although she hadn’t yet started classes when she received her invitation. Freshman Amy Ding attended the major tournament, and she will join the team of nine golfers as they trek about their fall tournament schedule. Next weekend the squad goes to Greenville, SC to play in the Lady Paladin Invitational, and they’ll keep going to tournaments more or less every weekend until The Cardinal Cup finishes their season in mid-October.

Volleyball tuned up their season in Texas against tough opponents, but swung home this weekend to host a tournament of their own. Outside hitters Zoe Jacobs and Bailey Springer will captain the team and run the offense. Second year coach Brie Katz praised the teams blocking last year, and that side of the game will be led this year by Katarina Jovicic and Kesi Neblett. Cassie Wes will continue her digging duties as the team’s libero. After going 4-10 in the Ivy League last season (but sporting the best Set Differential of a losing team at only -8), the team of 20 looks to train one more time next weekend at the Stony Brook Invitational before kicking off a five game away trip to open the Ivy season.

Check back later today to hear what we have to say about the Football team.

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