The women’s soccer team (2-1, 0-0 Ivy) will head to Jacksonville, Fla., to compete in the University of North Florida Invitational. The Lions will play two games against the Florida Atlantic Owls (0-4-1) on Friday and finish the weekend with a game against the University of North Florida Ospreys (1-4-1) on Sunday afternoon.
The start of the Lions’ season has been daunting, and yet the squad has notched two road wins, most recently with a 1-0 shutout over Sacred Heart Tuesday night.
Senior Beverly Leon scored the go-ahead goal to avoid overtime and start the Lions’ four-game road trip on a positive note. Leon has started the year shooting with accuracy, scoring two goals on just six shots on goal.
The biggest takeaway for Columbia was no doubt its defensive performance. Freshman Allison Spencer anchored the defense with seven saves in the second half to stave off the Sacred Heart offense, which came out swinging following the break.
Defensive play has been steady for the Light Blue in the first half where opponents have only attempted one more shot overall through three games, but the team has been outshot 22-12 in the second half.
Nevertheless, this level of play without the ball, shown in this past game, is especially encouraging, given that they had allowed two goals in their first two games of the season. Carrying that defensive momentum will no doubt be important, especially against the Owls in their Friday game, who have gone scoreless in three of their first five games.
One of those goals was an own goal in their most recent game against University of Miami, where Florida Atlantic fell 2-1. A daunting sign, however, came in the fact that three Owls had two shots on goal to generate pressure on the defense.
Their Sunday opponent, North Florida, is also coming off a particularly rough stretch of play, having dropped their last four contests, including two games where they surrendered three and five goals against George Mason and University of Central Florida, respectively.
In their most recent game against University of South Florida, the Ospreys started by surrendering a goal in the ninth minute but still outshot their opponent 9-2 in the first half. In total, eight different players generated a shot. The record is misleading given that the Ospreys have recorded 42 shots but only managed to score on two.
It will be imperative for Columbia to stop that sort of offensive diversity and hopefully benefit from a defense that has already surrendered 11 goals.
The action kicks off first against the Owls Friday at 5 p.m. before playing Sunday against the Ospreys at 2 p.m.