Long Beach State men’s water polo picked up a pair of quality wins over No. 11 UC San Diego and No. 4 Santa Barbara last week while moving up to No. 7 in the national polls.
Rafael Real Vergara scored the game-winning goal with one second left in regulation to give the Beach a 9-8 Golden Coast Conference opening win against UCSB. The junior scored five goals in the two games.
LBSU (15-4, 1-0) hosts No. 10 UC San Diego and No. 1 USC this weekend at Ken Lindgren Aquatics Center.
This Long Beach State women’s soccer season has been defined by dramatic one-goal games. Seven of their 13 contests have been decided by one goal, and they’ve won four of them, but they were on the wrong side of a 1-0 overtime loss to UC Irvine on Thursday night at George Allen Field.
Kiera Smeenge scored the game-winner for UCI (8-4-0, 3-1-0) in the 97th minute to knock LBSU (6-5-2, 3-1-1) out of first place in the Big West Conference.
“I thought we started off slow and got better as the game went on,” LBSU coach Mauricio Ingrassia said. “We knew it was going to take one play in overtime and they made it.”
The Beach was outshot 11-6 and only had a pair of shots on goal but looked like it was primed for the victory with a slew of scoring chances in the second half.
“We just have to take care of the little things early and the results will come after that,” LBSU junior Charlotte Guillory said. “It was never a lack of effort.”
LBSU earned the last scoring chance of regulation, and the first opportunity in overtime, but Smeenge knocked home a deflected sitter right in front of goal to take all of the points.
The Beach visits UC Davis and CSU Bakersfield this week.
The Beach (8-9, 2-4) lost to UC Santa Barbara last week but bounced back with a win at CSUN. Freshman Erykah Lovett averaged 3.50 kills per set and 3.00 digs per set in those matches, while sophomore Katie Kennedy added 3.43 kills per set on a .415 attack percentage.
LBSU hosts UC San Diego on Friday night at Walter Pyramid.
Freshman Ian Gilligan and senior Jack Ainscough led the Beach with a pair of top-25 finishes at the Paintbrush Invitational. Sophomore Isaac Rodea had a hole-in-one in the second round.
LBSU closed out a stretch of three tournaments in three weeks by finishing in a tie for 7th place overall in a field of 20 teams at the Aggie Invitational hosted by New Mexico State.