The Long Beach State women’s soccer championship season came to an unceremonious close on Friday with a 6-0 loss at USC in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
“One game doesn’t define our season,” LBSU coach Mauricio Ingrassia said. “I love my seniors, I love this team and I’m very proud of them.”
LBSU (12-6-3) won 12 games for the first time since 2011, won the Big West Conference regular season and tournament championships for the fifth time, and returned to the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time since 2008. However, the Beach hasn’t scored a tournament goal since 2012, and was playing catch-up with USC (16-2-2) after an even opening 15 minutes.
“We did a good job to start the game with our possession,” Ingrassia said. “They’re just so athletic, we just needed to defend well one-versus-one. Unfortunately, we didn’t do a good job in one-versus-one.”
Putting five defenders on the field allowed right back Alyssa Alvarez to find space up top on the right flank with forward Ashley Gonzales. The Trojans cut out those early half chances, and then opened the scoring in the 21st minute when Natalie Jacobs scored on a rebound from back-to-back saves from Imani MdDonald. The LBSU senior goalkeeper finished with nine saves while her team was outshot 25-8.
“I’m so grateful to have this experience with this group of girls,” McDonald said. “This is the closest we’ve ever been as a team. It didn’t go how any of us were expecting, but I’ve been to the tournament three of my four years, and that says a lot about this program.”
USC had a 2-0 lead at halftime, and scored three goals in a nine minute stretch of the second half to put the game away. BOX SCORE