The Columbia College soccer team edged their way up to third in the AAC standings with a cagey 2-1 victory over the visiting St. Andrews University Knights on Wednesday evening at Younts Soccer Stadium.
Columbia entered the match tied for 5th, with St. Andrews just one point ahead of them and tied for third. The close proximity in the league table proved to be a telling indicator of the closeness of the match, with both team creating opportunities to win the game.
It wasn't until the 43rd minute of the match that the deadlock was broken, and it was reigning AAC Offensive Player of the Week Ruby Hallam who worked some magic.
After she was fouled dribbling on the edge of the box, the sophomore bent a curling free kick over the wall and in at the near post past the diving Knights keeper to make it 1-0 to the Koalas.
St. Andrews battled back to tie the game from a set piece of their own in the 64th minute, as Nikki Bass prodded home a loose ball that was deflected into her path after a free kick by Anna Werneth.
Columbia found the winner with just over eight minutes remaining, and it was a well worked team goal that was truly the first piece of quality combination play that the Koalas put together all game.
Hallam and junior Amber Tanner were involved before a pass found senior Ashley Tanner, who turned and played a through ball to freshman Courtney Carrier. Carrier took a neat touch onto her left foot before firing the ball high at the near post past Knights goalkeeper Rachel Widdicks for her 12th goal of the season. It was a nation leading 13th assist for Tanner.
In the game, Columbia was outshot by St. Andrews 21-11, with junior Katherine Yahnke collecting 11 saves including one stunning fingertip save to keep the score at 0-0 in the first half.
With the win, and other results from today, Columbia can consolidate 3rd place in the conference with a victory on the road at Union College in Barbourville, KY, on Saturday evening.