PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Friday evening marks an opportunity for the Brown field hockey team to grab its third win of the season in the fewest number of the games since starting the 2006 campaign with a 3-1 record when the Bears open Ivy League play at Columbia at 5 p.m. After a 2-2 start, Brown aims to defeat the Lions for the first time since a thrilling 1-0 overtime victory on Oct. 7, 2006.
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Junior Meghan O'Donnell (Winchester, Mass.) has provided the offensive punch for the Bears with four goals and an assist through four games. Sophomore Hannah Rogers (Los Altos, Calif.) has found the back of the cage twice, while sophomores Anna Masini (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and Alexis Miller (Caldwell, N.J.) have each recorded a goal and an assist. Junior goalie Shannon McSweeney (Boxborough, Mass.) has held down the cage in all four contests and ranks third in the nation with 11.75 saves per game.
SCOUTING THE LIONS
Six seasons have passed since Brown has bested Columbia, including a 4-1 loss last year that saw the Lions burn the Bears for four second-half goals on Goldberger Family Field. On Friday, a revamped Brown defense combined with McSweeney's stoic goalkeeping looks to dampen the Columbia offense that is averaging 2.5 goals per game. Minus a 5-0 outburst in a season-opening win over Longwood, the Lions are averaging just 1.33 scores per contest over the last three outings, which saw Columbia suffer back-to-back losses to No. 2 Maryland and No. 20 American.
The Lions have relied on freshman forward Katie Ruesterholz, who leads the squad with three goals and an assist for seven points. Sophomore goalie Kimberly Pianucci has drawn all four starts between the pipes and holds a 3.51 goals against average with a .755 save percentage.
The Bears head to Hamilton, N.Y., for a non-conference contest against Colgate on Sunday at 12 p.m.