It was déjà vu for the Columbia field hockey team on Tuesday night as the Lafayette Leopards forced a penalty shootout with the Lions in their last road game of the season.
A scoreless 100 minutes in Easton, Pa. ended with a stroke-off between the two teams for the second consecutive year, and thanks to junior goalie Christie O’Hara , the Light Blue stole the win with a 3-1 penalty stroke advantage.
Columbia’s freshman midfielder Erika Thompson, junior forward Gabby Kozlowski, and junior back Bridget DeSandis snuck their three shots past freshman goalie Jessica Deutsch . Though junior midfielder Paige Simmons sent the Lions’ second stroke wide of the net, O’Hara, named to the Ivy League Weekly Honor Roll for the fourth time this season, saved three of Lafayette’s four shots to give the Light Blue its fourth straight victory.
“What more could you ask for?” head coach Marybeth Freeman said. “We win and lose as a team, but Christie was an integral part of why we were able to win.”
The Leopards nearly put an end to the game several times before the penalty shootout. Sophomore forward Liz Malone received a yellow card at the end of the first half of overtime, forcing Columbia to play one man down for five minutes of the second overtime period. As the Leopards’ offense pushed harder, O’Hara, who tallied nine saves, worked with the backline to come up with huge stops.
Just one minute before the end of the second overtime, Lafayette earned a penalty corner. Senior midfielder Carolyn Cabrey fired three consecutive shots at the Lions’ goal, but junior back Katie DeSandis saved the first, O’Hara stopped the second, and the third shot went wide. DeSandis, whose five defensive saves this season are the most in the Ivy League, and the rest of the backline prevented Lafayette from scoring on any of its eight penalty corners in the game.
“We watched a lot of film, and I think we were prepared based on what their options were on their attack corners,” Freeman said.
The Light Blue was unable to put in any of its 10 shots, and Freeman attributed this lack of offensive success to Lafayette’s midfield play that intercepted many of the 50-50 balls.
Kozlowski, who came through for Columbia in the stroke-off, was named the Ivy League Player of the Week on Tuesday. She and O’Hara will be needed this weekend as the Light Blue takes on Yale on Friday and Villanova on Sunday. The game against the Bulldogs is pivotal to the Ivy title race, as Yale, Columbia, and Princeton are all tied atop the standings at 4-1 with two conference games to play.