Senior Staff Writer Frankie DeGiorgio attended this weekend’s Columbia Women’s soccer game versus Yale and reconnected with her past life as a soccer player.
Last Saturday afternoon’s chilly and wet weather might have been perfect for playing soccer, but I was a little nervous during my journey to the Baker Athletic Complex in Inwood to brave the wind and drizzling rain to watch the game. Equipped with my only Columbia merch––a thin gray hoodie––and my homework for Tuesday––Middlemarch by George Eliot––I followed the other students getting off the 1 to my first-ever Columbia Women’s Soccer (8-3-3, 2-2-2 Ivy) game, or first-ever Columbia sports game at all, for that matter, where the team would be facing off against Yale (5-5-5, 0-4-2 Ivy).
The team was celebrating senior day (yay, seniors!) and drew a nicely sized crowd of parents and students alike. The benches were incredibly wet; I wish I had thought as far ahead as some of the more savvy parents who brought towels. But alas it was just me and my now-soaked jeans against the world. I also couldn’t tell what side of the bleachers I was supposed to sit on. There weren’t many Yale representatives there anyway, but if there were, I would have felt very awkward sitting on their side in my Columbia sweatshirt.
Despite being new to Columbia Soccer I am by no means new to soccer at all, having played since I was five years old and only recently stopping, so that first blow of the whistle at kickoff unleashed a wave of nostalgia, although my underfunded high school varsity team did not have an announcer or a big screen showing off the players’ glossy headshots.
Columbia started the game with possession and was able to keep the ball away from Yale and on their side of the field for a few early corners and opportunities. Columbia came out of the gate immediately as the stronger team, connecting more passes and getting more dynamic touches off the ball. Columbia kept the ball away from Yale but not yet in the goal for the first quarter, with a lot of corner kicks but no connections into the net. Yale took advantage of their missed opportunities and took the ball to Columbia’s side of the field a few times, but remained just as unlucky as Columbia.
After a wave of subs in the last 15 minutes of the half, Columbia’s fresh players managed to finally get a goal for their team. Forward Madi Pilla (CC ‘24) scored her second goal of the season, with an assist from Forward Kendall McBride (CC ‘24), leading Columbia into the second half up 1-0. Go seniors! During halftime, I enjoyed the second half of my Wu and Nussbaum bagel (egg with scallion cream cheese) and hoped it wouldn’t get much colder.
Columbia started off the second half fired up and eager for another goal, with two great shots just barely knocked away by Yale’s keeper. But Yale wasn’t going to take this half lying down: they clearly got the chance to rest and came back out hoping to tie the score, stealing possession from Columbia more frequently and pushing the ball up to their side of the field for a tense series of foul calls against both teams hovering around the top of the 18-yard line, resulting in a yellow card for Yale. After the referee’s whistle concert, Columbia was able to get the ball back up to Yale’s side of the field.
Just as the wind started to pick up and I was yet again lamenting not bringing a warmer jacket, Columbia scored again! Madi Pilla assisted Midfielder Kat Jordan (CC ‘24) for her sixth goal of the season, sinking a clean shot from the left of the six-yard box and over the keeper’s head into the upper right corner of the goal. In all my celebration I unfortunately dropped my bagel half into the dirty bleachers. It was goodbye not only to my bagel, but also to Yale’s hopes of tying up the game when, in the last 12 minutes, Columbia scored yet another goal. Kendall McBride tapped the ball in after forward Nata Ramirez’s (CC ‘24) shot was knocked away by Yale’s keeper.
Ramirez was not to be satisfied without a goal for herself as well, and grabbed one only a few minutes later off of an assist from Grace Hurren (BC ‘24), bringing Columbia in the lead 4-0. All Yale could hope for at this point was to avoid the shutout, but their hopes were dashed by the blow of the final whistle, announcing a clean and well-deserved victory for Columbia, celebrating senior day with goals from four different seniors on the team! A wonderful way to end my first Columbia women’s soccer game that had me wishing I hadn’t waited this far into the season to start going.
Columbia University Women’s Soccer Team via Columbia University Athletics