A pair of impressive victories at home over the weekend extended the Long Beach State women’s soccer winning streak, and showcased how deep the talent pool is for this team.
LBSU (3-1-0) got a phenomenal performance from senior Ashley Gonzales in a 2-1 win over Northeastern on Friday night at George Allen Field. The Beach followed that up with a dominant 1-0 victory over San Diego State on Sunday.
Gonzales, who missed almost all of last year with a knee injury, opened the scoring against Northeastern in the seventh minute, and assisted on the second goal by Katie Pingel in the 57th minute. It’s the first goal of the season for both Gonzales and Pingel.
“It was an unbelievable feeling,” Gonzales said of scoring for the first time since Aug. 18, 2017. “I’ve just got to play my game and let it come to me.”
Northeastern (1-2-0) scored in the 83rd minute, but LBSU goalkeeper Imani McDonald finished with six saves, four in the second half, to pick up the win.
On Sunday, LBSU outshot SDSU 21-6 while earning 11 corner kicks and enjoying the lion’s share of possession. Senior midfielder Dana Fujikuni netted the game-winner from the top of the penalty box in the 64th minute.
“We created throughout the entire game, we just have to get a little sharper in front of net,” LBSU coach Mauricio Ingrassia said. “How they pressure you dictates how we are going to build, and it was a different type of buildup for us than the last three games. We were able to have our backs further up the field.”
SDSU (1-2-0) sat back and absorbed the early LBSU pressure, but Ingrassia changed the pace around the 20th minute with wholesale changes up top. Substitute forwards Nadiyah Siqueiros, Kayla Cannon, Elysia Laramie (pictured) and Sierra Castles were able to keep the pressure on by attacking from wide positions.
“We have good depth, it’s a Sunday game, legs are little heavy and the field is a little heavy,” Ingrassia said. “So, our associate head coach Jeff Joyner gave those kids a game plan. They went out there and didn’t miss a beat. In fact, I thought the game picked up a little bit.”
LBSU outshot SDSU 13-2 in the first half, and kept the pressure on in the second half when Ingrassia brought some of the starters back onto the field. Gonzales and Siqueiros both had headers go off of the crossbar. Gonzales, Siqueiros and Laramie all had a pair of shots. Pingel and Fujikuni led LBSU with four shots each, and they combined on the goal.
Just after the hour mark, Fujukini and Pingel connected in the middle of SDSU territory. Pingel gave it back to Fujikini with her back to goal at the top of the penalty box. The senior shook two defenders and buried her shot into the top shelf on the near side.
“Usually I’m the player who lays the ball off,” Fujikuni said. “But I saw the goalkeeper was a little bit out so I was like ‘you know what, let’s take it’. We had so many chances, we were down there all game, so I knew we would get one eventually. I wasn’t even worried.”
It is the first goal of the season for Fujikuni, and fourth at LBSU. She transferred from UC Davis after her freshman year.
“She was player of the match tonight,” Ingrassia said of Fujikuni. “She’s been very steady and consistent for us. Taylor Bistline is doing a great job holding in the midfield, and that’s allowed (Fujikuni) to get up and down and be a little more creative.”
McDonald injured her foot during the win over Northeastern on Friday night, so redshirt freshman goalkeeper Ashley Seymour was called on to made four saves in her first career start and shutout.
“I just went in with the mentality that this is my game,” Seymour said. “(McDonald) is the biggest inspiration to me. She’s the one I look up to. She’s always got my back, and she was screaming on the sideline for me. I admire the way she talks to the defense, and I try to do that as well.”
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LBSU travels to No. 21 Texas on Thursday, and hosts Auburn at 5 p.m. on Sunday.
The opening weekend of the season saw LBSU (1-2) win one of its three games at the Portland State Tournament in Oregon. The Beach fell to Boise State and Portland State before sweeping the hosts in the final match of the tournament.
LBSU junior Hailey Harward led her team with 41 kills and five service aces over the weekend. Redshirt senior Emma Kirst had a team-high 14 blocks in three games.
The Beach hosts Seattle tonight in the home opener at Walter Pyramid. It will be the first game on the new stained floor.
LBSU announced last week that it will be implementing a clear bag policy starting Sept. 7 that limits the size and type of bags that may be brought into all venues. The NFL and other NCAA schools have created similar limitations to keep fans safe and make security checks faster.
Bags must be clear plastic, vinyl or PVC that do not exceed the size of a one-gallon plastic bag. Exceptions will be made for medical equipment. Purses will not be prohibited if they meet the 12″ by 6″ by 12″ clear tote bag specifications.
More information can be found at LongBeachState.com.