Not everything is what it seems for Long Beach State women’s soccer.
It looks like the Beach lost its first two home games of the season last week in disappointing and frustrating fashion, but no one is hitting the panic button with the Big West Conference schedule starting this week.
“Today was a battle and that’s how the Big West works,” Lena Silano said after the 2-0 loss to Cal on Sunday. “So it’s great to end (non conference schedule) on this game because I feel like we’re prepared. We’ve learned a lot. We’ve had a lot of injuries so we’re learning to fight (through adversity) and conference is what matters the most.”
LBSU (3-4-1) hosts UC San Diego on Thursday and Hawaii on Sunday of this week. Unfortunately they’ll do it without a handful of injured starters.
“I think experiences are what’s important for as many new players we have,” LBSU coach Mauricio Ingrassia said. “We’ve had a ton of experiences. Now it’s just a matter of us getting healthy.”
The last non conference week started on Thursday when shorthanded LBSU couldn’t find the back of the net in a 1-0 loss to Montana while outshooting the visitors 26-4. Montana scored in the 86th minute to steal the upset.
“We just couldn’t make a play in front of goal,” Ingrassia said. “We moved the ball really well but left a lot to be desired in the final third. We’ve got some work to do but we’re right there. We just weren’t taking care of the little things.”
LBSU had 13 shots in each half while taking six corner kicks in each half. Montana didn’t earn a corner and when Sydney Haustein scored the late game-winner it was only the second shot on goal for the Grizzlies, who were more than willing to sit back and defend.
“It’s frustrating but if you’re that much closer to goal you’ve got to be able to make a play or push a ball in on a set piece,” Ingrassia said. “But credit to them they were pretty resistant.”
Silano recorded 10 shots on the night, becoming just the fourth player in program history to reach double-digit shots in a single-game. It ranks tied for third all-time and is the most since Sept. 17, 2006.
Cal was the team racking up the shot attempts on Sunday when the Golden Bears scored twice in the first 10 minutes of the second half while outshooting LBSU 22-4.
Ingrassia said his team was caught off guard by a different formation from Cal, and that it took some time to adjust and get back into rhythm. He added that because of the injuries he didn’t have the personnel to play the way LBSU needed to play.
Despite the results, senior Kaitlin Fregulia said it was nice to be back at George Allen Field for the first home regular season game since 2019 after a six-game road trip opened this season.
“Being home is always great, we have our fans and it’s a comfortable environment,” Fregulia said. “We had a long away stretch that taught us a lot. I think it taught us a lot of grit. We have to keep playing as a team like we have been, we’ve worked so hard and we’re kind of prepared for anything that’s thrown at us at this point.”
Fregulia is an important senior lead for this young LBSU team who added that she’s trying to soak up the last moments she’s getting this year like the home opener.
“It’s bitter sweet,” Fregulia said. “Moments don’t really hit me until they’re gone. I don’t feel like it’s my last year. I’ve been here for six years so I honestly feel like I’m playing club soccer or something. It’s become such a comfortable home for me. I have to take these moments every time they come. I feel like I have to throw it all out there.”
Despite the overall record and recent offensive drought, Ingrassia is confident in his team with a couple players on track to return from injury this week.
“This is a good group that is team first,” Ingrassia said. “They have each other’s backs and they think from the group being strong the team of the moment is strong. We had some good results and we had a couple results we’d like to get back. Hopefully these experiences are getting us ready for conference.”
LBSU (6-5) won both its matches last week against San Diego State and No. 21 San Diego to finish the non conference schedule. The win over San Diego is the Beach’s first win over a ranked team since 2016, and it’s also the first win over a top-25 opponent in the Joy McKienzie-Fuerbrigner era.
Kashauna Williams was named Big West Player of the Week because she averaged 5.57 kills per set on a .338 attack percentage in both wins. Williams put down 19 kills against SDSU and 20 kills against USD to record her fifth 20-kill performance of the season.
LBSU starts Big West play at Walter Pyramid this weekend against Cal Poly and CSU Bakersfield.
Men’s Water Polo
No. 6 LBSU (8-1) dropped its home opener to No. 1 UCLA last week in front of a standing-room only crowd at Ken Lindgren Aquatics Center. Matt Morris and Theodoros Pateros each scored twice for the Beach.
LBSU is at the MPSF Tournament in Berkeley this weekend.
The LBSU men’s team finished tenth at the UCR Invitational last week while the women finished eleventh. Michael Phillips led the men’s side, posting the seventh-best 8K time in program history while Ryley Fick led the women posting the eighth-best 6K time in program history.