NEW YORK - The Columbia women's soccer program began the spring of 2012 celebrating its 25th year as a varsity program. The banquet honored the 1986 pioneer team with over 75 present and former Columbia players in attendance.

Over the course of 25 years, the women's soccer program has grown stronger with each season. Following a 1985 season as a club team, Columbia women's soccer took the field in 1986 for the first time as an NCAA Division I varsity program. The program opened with a historic inaugural game on Sept. 13, 1986, with a 2-0 victory over Swarthmore.

The Lions did some fine tuning with a pair of spring games. The team ended on a strong note with a 5-0 win over local rival Manhattan. Seven different players scored for Columbia in two games including: Chelsea Ryan, Lexi Nichols, Shannon FitzPatrick, Natalie Melo, Lainey Prioleau, Coleen Rizzo and Beverly Leon.

Columbia capped the spring with the selection of the 2012 season team captains. Defenders Isabel King and Shannon FitzPatrick are the team leaders for the upcoming season, as chosen by their teammates.

King started in 15 of 17 games in 2011, playing a team high 1533 minutes. In her third season she tallied two assists on the year, with the first coming off a counter attack against Princeton. Her second assist on the season gave Columbia their first goal in a 2-1 victory over Brown.

Fitzpatrick carried the momentum from a strong first season in 2010 into the 2011 season. She started in all 13 participated matches this season for the Lions. She tallied her first career assists in a battle with Yale that resulted in a 2-2 tie.