The field hockey team will kick off its 2014 season against La Salle (0-2) on Friday.
The Lions only managed two Ivy victories in 2013 en route to a 6-11 overall record. Their main weakness was their defense—Columbia’s 3.31 goals against average was among the worst in country.
But Columbia is returning its top defensive players, and the experience should help it buckle down in the backfield.
Senior back and captain Lauren Skudalski had a very successful 2013. Skudalski started all 17 games and tallied nine defensive saves to rank fourth in the country. She also developed as an offensive threat, scoring four goals and notching two assists on her way to an All-Ivy Honorable Mention.
The Lions will also have familiar faces in goal as junior Kimberly Pianucci and senior Marlee Silverstein will likely share time. Pianucci recorded 88 saves last year, including six stops in a dramatic overtime win over Penn.
On the offensive side, the Light Blue is bringing back its top two scorers—sophomore forward Katie Ruesterholz and junior midfielder Christina Freibott. Reusterholz, a second-team All-Ivy League selection, set a first-year record for the Lions last year with 10 goals and also logged two assists. Freibott, who also earned a second-team All-Ivy nod, was named the Lions’ most valuable player and led the squad with six assists.
The opening coin toss is set for 5 p.m. at the Columbia Field Hockey Venue.