Sports | Soccer

Women’s soccer to play Big Green on road

  • Kiera Wood / Senior Staff Photographer
    mighty melo | Senior Natalie Melo, who ranks second on the Lions with 14 points, has been key for the Light Blue this year.

The women’s soccer team (7-4-3, 0-2-2 Ivy) will travel to Hanover to face Dartmouth (6-5-3, 2-2 Ivy) on Saturday. 

The Lions will need to get the defense going early and keep mistakes down to pick up their first win of the Ivy League season. First-year goalkeeper Allison Spencer, who ranks third in save percentage in the league, has hauled in 29 saves this year, while only allowing six goals in seven games played. The defense, however, has struggled in short but pivotal stretches, particularly in Ivy play. 

Against Penn two weeks ago, Columbia surrendered the game-deciding goal in the opening three minutes, despite playing clean the rest of the way. Last week against Princeton, the team found itself up one before giving up three unanswered goals within 20 minutes in the first half. But the Lions’ offense, which has averaged 1.64 goals per game, managed to salvage that game. It scored two more goals to help fuel the comeback for the 3-3 tie on the road, despite the early two-goal deficit.

The Lions’ offensive opportunities have come from a strong passing game, with the team leading the Ivy League in assists. It also ranks second in corners, which helps create good scoring opportunities for seniors Natalie Melo and Beverly Leon, who have been instrumental in Columbia’s attacking game. 

In its last road match, the team will face a stiff test. The Big Green is undefeated at home this season with a 5-0-1 record.

Dartmouth has relied on a sturdy defense to fuel that turnaround, allowing just 0.86 goals per game and recording eight shutouts behind goalkeeper Tatiana Saunders, taking pressure off the struggling offense.  

Most of Dartmouth’s scoring has come from Emma Brush, who comes into the game with six goals and two assists.

Another area where Dartmouth has taken advantage is on corners, where the Big Green holds an 82-32 edge over its opponents. Given both teams’ propensity to look for these chances, corners will likely be a key statistic in determining control of the game early on.

If the Light Blue hopes to pick up a key road victory, it must maintain the offense, while minimizing the errors made on the defensive end.

The Lions will play the Big Green this Saturday at 4:30 p.m. in Hanover, N.H. 

sports@columbiaspectator.com | @CUSpecSports

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