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For Columbia field hockey, the 2010s were driven by a hunger for the team’s first taste of success. Going into the decade, the program was entering its 15th year, but had only ever carried four winning seasons and 24 wins in Ivy League play out of 91 games. To start off the decade, the Light Blue went 10-7, 9-8, and 9-8, rattling off three consecutive winning seasons. However, in 2013, the team stumbled, earning a 6-11 record with just two Ivy League victories.

Then, in 2014, the Lions put forth what will be remembered as a decade-defining season as field hockey surged to a 12-5 record, the best in program history. The Light Blue also dominated the Ivy League with five wins and two losses, giving Princeton, the ultimate Ancient Eight champion that year, its only in-conference loss. Christina Freibott, CC ’16, etched her name into Columbia’s record books, powering Columbia to its best season ever on her way to setting single-season program records in points (41) and assists (21).

From 2015 onwards, middling records have been the story of field hockey. The group finished with 9-8, 8-9, and 7-9 records all five years for an overall record of 41-43. Nonetheless, in 2019, the team had a breakthrough, earning victories against ranked opponents for the first time in program history, beating No. 22 Boston University and No. 24 Maine.

The 2010s will undoubtedly be remembered as the decade that field hockey began its upward trajectory, winning nine more Ivy League games than the 24 it won in the first 14 years of the program’s existence. That said, Columbia field hockey has yet to win an Ivy League title or make an NCAA tournament appearance.

Natalie Guerra

All-Decade Team

Forwards:

Katie Ruesterholz

Katie Ruesterholz, CC ’17, boasts perhaps the most prolific scoring career in Columbia field hockey’s history. She’s the program leader in both points (107) and goals (44), and she made the All-Ivy team every single year, grabbing a First Team nod her sophomore and senior seasons.

Gabby Kozlowski

From 2010 to 2012, Gabby Kozlowski, CC ’13, was a force to be reckoned with on the Columbia field hockey team. She earned First Team All-Ivy nods for all three years, and in 2010 and 2011, those First Team nominations were unanimous. Kozlowski is second in Columbia’s history with 42 goals and fourth with 91 points.

Carson Christus

In 2010 and 2011, Carson Christus, CC ’12, was a consistent scoring threat for Columbia, notching nine goals and 22 points over those two years. In 2011, she won a spot on the Second Team All-Ivy while co-captaining the team.

Midfielders:

Christina Freibott

Christina Freibott’s, CC ’15, career with the Lions is nothing short of illustrious. The midfielder is Columbia’s second-highest scorer of all time at 99, and Columbia’s all-time assist leader at 45. In 2014, she helped lead the Light Blue to its best season of all time, led the nation in assists per game at 1.24, and was unanimously voted the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year, as she set program records with 41 points and 21 assists.

Jennifer Trieschman

After departing from field hockey in 2019, Jennifer Trieschman, CC ’20, has left behind a rich legacy. Her 50 career points and 21 goals land her at ninth and eighth on Columbia’s all-time list, respectively. After coming back from an injury that sidelined her for most of her first season, she came back to win First Team All-Region and Second Team All-Ivy in 2018.

Zoe Blake

Zoe Blake, CC ’15, finished her career with 17 goals, good for the ninth-best in program history. She earned First Team All-Ivy honors in her senior year, while notching 13 total goals.

Julia Garrison

Julia Garrison, CC ’11, is fourth on Columbia’s all-time scoring list with 29 total goals and sixth on the points list with 71 total points. In all of her four years as a Lion, Garrison earned Second Team All-Ivy nods.

Backs:

Maeve Doherty

Maeve Doherty, CC ’18, has posted one of the most impressive resumes for a back in Columbia’s history. Doherty was just the third Lion ever to earn All-Region honors three times in her career, and also added three All-Ivy selections.

Bridget DeSandis

Bridget DeSandis, CC ’13, was a consistent presence in the Lion’s backfield from 2010 to 2012, totaling 16 assists, tied for seventh in program history. This Lion was also a Second Team All-Ivy selection in her senior year.

Lauren Skudalski

Lauren Skudalski, CC ’15, is one of the most stout defenders in Columbia field hockey’s history. The back earned the record for all-time defensive saves at 23 and the single-season record at 10 in 2014, when she also totaled seven assists and was named to the First Team All-Ivy.

Goalkeeper:

Christie O’Hara

Though the 2010s have seen a number of solid goalies for the Lions, like current junior Alexa Conomikes and past star Katie Dempsey, CC ’19, Christie O’Hara, CC ’13, has built the most impressive resume. The keeper is second on Columbia’s all-time saves leaderboard with 404 and fourth on the single-season save percentage leaderboard with a mark of .784.

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Coaching changes

Field hockey’s 2010s are split evenly between two coaches: Marybeth Freeman, who served at the helm from 2010 to 2014, and Caroline Nelson-Nichols, who coached the team from 2015 to 2019 and has since moved on to head the U.S. national women's team.

Freeman led the team to its most successful season in its history, totaling 46 wins and a .543 win percentage throughout her tenure, the best marks of any coach in program history. She also facilitated a culture of outstanding individual achievement, as 10 players were selected to First Teams All-Ivy League under her oversight.

Nelson-Nichols finished with 41 wins and a .488 win percentage, bringing an Olympian resume to Columbia field hockey. She revolutionized the playing style of the team, moving the Light Blue away from a traditional style to allow for more substitutions. She left Columbia field hockey with a team on the rise, as the Lions defeated ranked foes for the first time in program history under her leadership.

Biggest upsets

Oct. 3, 2014: Field hockey downs Princeton 3-2 in the program’s first win against the Tigers.

After Katie Ruesterholz knocked in a pass from Christina Freibott, the Lions took a 3-2 lead over the Princeton Tigers with 75 seconds remaining. With the pass, Freibott took the lead for Columbia field hockey’s most assists ever as the the Lions beat Princeton, ranked first in the Ivy League at the time. This win is the only time Columbia has ever bested Princeton in program history, adding an exclamation point to their 2014 tour de force.

Sep. 14, 2019: Lions stun No. 22 Boston University in OT for the program’s first win against a ranked foe.

With sophomore Allison Smith’s golden goal, the Light Blue knocked off Boston University to place a permanent mark in its record books, stamping the program’s first-ever win against a Top-25 opponent. This victory energized the Lions in their next showdown against a ranked team.

Sep. 15, 2019: Back to back: Columbia tops No. 24 Maine in consecutive victories against ranked opponents.

Following the Boston University matchup, Kelsey Farkas added two goals in the Lions’ upset over Maine, one of her best performances during a season in which she made the All-Ivy League First Team. In this victory, the Lions won their second-ever contest against a ranked team, cementing 2019 as a year with some of the highest points in program history.

A decade in athletics Field hockey Christina Freibott Katie Ruesterholz Maeve Doherty Gabby Kozlowski
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