The Columbia College soccer team wrapped up their regular season Saturday with a 1-1 tie against the visiting Bluefield Lady Rams.
Despite outshooting the Rams 26-9, and hitting the post once and the crossbar four times, the Koalas were unable to snag the victory and finish the season with a 6-8-3 record, while finishing the AAC with a 6-4-1 mark, good enough for a 6th place finish in the conference.
Columbia dominated throughout the game and took a 1-0 lead inside the first fifteen minutes. Alexis Cesariod dribbled down the left side of the field before passing the ball inside to Ruby Hallam, who in turn played Heather Blaszak to take a touch and finish from the edge of the box. The goal was Blaszak's third of the year and the assist was Hallam's second of the year.
Bluefield replied with a screamer of a free kick from 35 yards out in the 30th minute, and despite constant pressure throughout the rest of the game, the Koalas were unable to find the back of the net and ended tied 1-1 with the Lady Rams.
The season as a whole was a tale of two mini seasons, as the Koalas started non-conference play against an extremely tough schedule, including games against teams receiving votes in the top 25 in Thomas University (GA) and USCB.
After playing such a tough non-conference schedule, the Koalas managed to find solid footing in the AAC, starting off the conference with a 6-1 record through their first seven games, including four shutouts in 2-0, 1-0, 1-0 and 1-0 victories. The Koalas ended the conference with a 6-4-1 record which saw them finish 6th during the regular season, and advance to the first round of the playoffs where they meet the Brenau Golden Tigers at 4PM at home on Tuesday in the 6v11 seed matchup.
Offensively, the Koalas were led by Amber Tanner with seven goals, Ruby Hallam with four goals and two assists, Alexis Cesario with three goals and four assists, Courtney Carrier with two goals and five assists, and Heather Blaszak with three goals and two assists.
Defensively, the back line of Hannah Fox, Bailey Lewter, and Sarah DiPiazza, as well as defensive midfielders Caitlin McDonald and Mallorie Belt, combined with goalkeepers Katherine Yahnke and Morgan McCray to pick up the four shutouts and have a quality goals against record throughout the season. Other players to start games included Jaena Dominguez and Brianna Sandoval, while Aleah Colbert, Charlotte Daniels, LaTayah Williams, Allison Scrimpsher, and Jaquana Poole added valuable depth and minutes throughout the long season.
Lewter, Hallam, Fox, and Cesario were mainstays in the lineup, as the four Koalas to start all 17 games in the regular season.
Columbia now looks to qualify for the NAIA National Tournament by making a run in the AAC Tournament over the next few weeks.