With the spring semester already having begun at Dartmouth but around the corner for the rest of the Ancient Eight, The Crimson takes a look at the fall semester for each athletic program and the season that was in each major sport. Next up, the Columbia Lions.
After finishing last in the Ivy League in 2011, and being outscored by 117 points along the way, before notching its only victory of the season in a double-overtime last week thriller against second-place Brown, the Columbia football team had nowhere to go but up in 2012. Although the team scored fewer points than a season before, an improved defense managed to give up 56 fewer points as well. Take out the 69-0 drubbing by Harvard and Columbia gave up only 22.6 points per game in its other contests. The Lions lost close decisions to Penn and Dartmouth, even leading the eventual champion Quakers by ten points with ten minutes to go before consecutive touchdown drives by Billy Ragone ended their upset bid. The Lions finished with three wins on the season, including a 17-point victory over the Cornell Big Red and pro prospect quarterback Jeff Matthews.
Along with Yale and Princeton, Columbia continued its excellence in volleyball at the top of the Ancient Eight. The Lions tied with the Tigers for second and have finished no lower than third in the past four years. Although Columbia struggled in early season losses to Yale and Princeton in which it won a combined one set, the team won five in a row to end the season and defeated the Tigers 3-1 in the season finale. Senior outside hitter Megan Gaughn won her third consecutive All-Ivy League honors and second-straight first-team nod, having double digit kills in 17 matches and finishing second in the conference in kills per set.
A year after finishing third in the Ivy League with an average score of 27 strokes over par, the Columbia women’s golf team ranks fourth in the conference at the turn of the new calendar year. Sophomore Michelle Piyapattra, the best golfer in the Ivy League last year with two tournament rounds and an average score of just three strokes over par, has taken a step back in her junior season. Piyapattra, now the 14th ranked golfer in the Ivy League according to Golfstat, has played the most rounds—along with her teammates—of any Ancient Eight player but has seen her score against par rise by nearly two whole strokes. A low round of 65 represents the best effort of the year by an Ivy League player, but Piyapattra has been inconsistent in losing her spot atop the rankings. Six Columbia golfers rank in the top 30, but none in the top 10.
Like the women, the Columbia men’s golf team has slipped a year after finishing third in the Ivy League. The Lions are currently sixth in the conference but have played more rounds than any other team but Penn. Top-heavy Columbia has two golfers in the top 11 of the Ivy League but nobody else in the top 25. Freshman Harrison Shih has played each tournament for Columbia and his low score of 65 is the best recorded this year by an Ivy League golfer. Junior Jordan Lee has played only two tournaments due to injury, but averages just three strokes above par and is tied for sixth in the league.
A model of consistency, the Columbia women’s soccer team finished fifth in the Ivy League for the third straight year. After winning three of their first six games, the Lions won only three of their next ten. Beverly Leon led the team with six goals and three assists and 33 shots on goals, with a 54.5% shots on goal percentage that led the squad. The team lost only one decision by more than one goal, but finished 2-8 in one-goal matches. In each win, the team shut out its opponent and goalie Grace Redmon finished second in the conference with 74 saves.
The Columbia men’s soccer team finished the season with two wins in eight Ivy League matches and struggled in overtime games to put away opponents. All four overtime contests the Lions contested ended in ties, making the difference between a 2011 where the team finished third in the Ivy League and a 2012 where three losses by one goal doomed the team during conference play. The month of October, where the team went 1-1-3 and scored only four goals, was particularly rough.
A year after tying for third, the Columbia field hockey team secured an outright third place Ancient Eight finish in 2012. After losing its first two games, the team caught fire in winning seven of their last nine, with losses against Albany (N.Y.) and Princeton breaking up a series of Lion victories. Sisters Bridget and Katie DeSandis combined for 19 assists, finishing fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Ivy League. Goalie Christie O’Hara finished with 120 goals and a save percentage of .755.