The season opening weekend was a roller coaster for Long Beach State Women’s soccer. On Friday night, LBSU showed glimpses of its potential in 89:58 of scoreless soccer at No. 2 UCLA. However, the Bruins scored the game-winner with two seconds left in regulation.
LBSU bounced back from the heartbreaking loss with a 1-0 victory over SMU on Sunday at George Allen Field that saw the visitors miss a penalty kick in the 76th minute.
“To go toe-to-toe with No. 2 and lose like that was heart wrenching,” LBSU goalkeeper Imani McDonald said. “But we were able to turn around and battle. Our chemistry is off the charts.”
UCLA outshot LBSU 13-4 while taking seven corner kicks. The Beach didn’t earn a corner kick while only mustering two shots on goal. McDonald made seven saves, all in the second half.
LBSU senior Ashley Gonzales, who is back from a knee injury she suffered last year against UCLA, forced a diving save from Bruins goalkeeper Teagan Micah in the 22nd minute on a counter attack. Gonzales found freshman Elysia Laramie behind the UCLA defense in the 52nd minute, but Micah came up with the save to keep the game scoreless.
In the final minute, a failed clearance on the back line was pounced on by Hailie Mace, and she beat McDonald for the game-winning goal in the first game at the new Wallis Annenberg Stadium in Los Angeles.
On Sunday in the home opener, LBSU sophomore Nadiyah Siqueiros netted the game-winner in the 57th minute.
LBSU (1-1-0) was outshot 7-2 in the first half while McDonald made three of her five saves. The Beach turned the tide in the second half, outshooting SMU 6-3, and Siqueiros led her team with three shots. Twelve minutes after halftime, Rola Badawiya broke free down the left side. Her cross just missed Kayla Cannon’s header attempt, but fell to Siqueiros. The sophomore’s first touch off the half-volley beat SMU goalkeeper Samantha Estrada.
“When it went over Kayla’s head I just told myself ‘this has to go in’,” Siqueiros said. “So I just laced it right into the net.”
LBSU freshman Sierra Castles and Badawiya each had two shots.
SMU (1-1-0) drew a foul in the 18-yard box in the 76th minute, but after a long delay while players shoved for position on the edge of the box, Courtney Sebazco pulled her penalty kick wide left. SMU only mustered one more shot for the rest of the game.
McDonald was named the first Big West Defensive Player of the Week of the season. The shutout on Sunday was the eighth of her career.
LBSU will host Northeastern (Friday) and San Diego State (Sunday) this weekend.
Glenn McDonald will have his No. 20 retired during halftime of the Homecoming Game in November. McDonald was a star at LBSU from 1971 to 1974, and was a first-round pick in the 1974 NBA Draft. He spent his career with the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks. He won the 1976 NBA Championship with the Celtics.
McDonald returned to LBSU in 1986 as a women’s basketball assistant coach, and took over as head coach in 1991. After four seasons, he left to become an assistant coach with the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks. McDonald then returned to LBSU again, and recently retired after serving as the Director of Intramural Sports at the Student Recreation & Wellness Center.
“We are so excited to honor Glenn McDonald during this year’s Homecoming Game, to recognize the tremendous impact he’s had at Long Beach State,” LSBU athletic director Andy Fee said in an official statement. “As a student-athlete, coach and longtime staff member at this university, Glenn has epitomized what it means to be part of the Beach family, and we are so grateful for all of his contributions.”
LBSU reached the NCAA Sweet 16 in 1972 and 1973 under coaches Jerry Tarkanian and Lute Olson while McDonald was named an All-American. He was elected into the LBSU Hall Of Fame in 1988.
Coach Kim Sowder has promoted Kevin Castillo to Assistant Coach, and hired Mariah Ramirez as the program’s volunteer assistant. Castillo had been the Volunteer Assistant for two years, and will be the new pitching coach.
“I’m excited to have Kevin on full-time as our pitching coach,” Sowder said in an official statement. “Kevin has a great passion for our sport and is very knowledgeable in every area of the game. He has had a great connection with our players over the past two seasons as our volunteer and really excels at teaching the game.”
Castillo is a Long Beach Poly High and Long Beach City College graduate. He played for the USA Junior Men’s National team in 2005, and has played with the Senior National Team since 2008.
Coach Joey Cerulle hired new assistant coach Mackenzie Raim last week. Raim was the 2018 Mountain West Conference Championship runner-up at UNLV.
“I’m extremely excited to have Mackenzie here at Long Beach State,” Cerulle said in an official release. “I recruited her, so we’ve known her for a long time. She’s extremely trustworthy, extremely hard-working and I’m excited that she’s going to be starting her coaching career with us.”
LBSU begins its 2018-19 season Sept. 17-19 in Fort Collins, Colo. at the Ptarmigan Ram Classic.