The statistics ended up lopsided but Long Beach State women’s soccer was inches away from pulling even with No. 4 UCLA on Sunday night in the season opener.
The Bruins’ 13th minute goal ended up being the difference in a 1-0 UCLA victory at George Allen Field. The Beach nearly equalized just after the hour mark but the ball was cleared off of the goal line twice.
“I’m very proud of my team,” LBSU coach Mauricio Ingrassia said. “I think that with all of the new faces that we have, to step in and play at this level and have a chance is outstanding. Now we just have to learn from what we did well.”
UCLA got what they wanted in the first half and outshot LBSU 21-10 while taking eight more corner kicks than its hosts. Mia Fishel scored the games only goal off a free kick served up by Ashley Sanchez. The Bruins continued to cruise and looked more polished after playing three games already this season. LBSU had it’s season opener at Arizona canceled due to inclement weather.
“We were really slow in the first thirty, kind of just figuring out space, time and connections with each other,” Ingrassia said. “But after about the 30th minute I thought we grew with the game. All of that helped create the chance, and that’s a chance that with a little more luck it goes in.”
The opportunity came in the 65th minute when corner kick from Kaylee Ramirez was headed into the UCLA six-yard box by and took a deflection off of a Bruins defender. Mackenzie Magaoay’s shot off the volley was cleared off the line by UCLA’s Marley Canales. The ball bounced off of a charging Taylor Bistline, but Canales stopped that shot on the goal line from the seat of her pants.
LBSU had five shots in each half, and UCLA had seven shots but none on target in the second half.
UCLA should have scored more than once in the first half but LBSU goalkeeper Marta Alemany Sanchez was phenomenal in her debut. It was a late decision to start the transfer, and she proceeded to make seven saves.
“The first couple of games we wanted to see who our number one (goalkeeper) was,” Ingrassia said. “Obviously Marta accounted very well for herself and we’ll just take it day by day.”
“We approached it much better the second half,” Alemany Sanchez said. “We had a great crowd out here cheering for us and we really appreciate that too. We played with a better mentality and more energetic. Unfortunately we couldn’t get the goal.”
A record 2,303 fans were in attendance and LBSU will be back at George Allen Field to host N0. 6 Penn State on Friday evening.