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Long Beach State Soccer

Long Beach State Women’s Soccer Stays Atop Big West Conference With Win

The562’s coverage of Long Beach State athletics for the 2022-23 season is sponsored by Marilyn Bohl.

The562’s coverage of Long Beach soccer for the 2022-23 season is sponsored by Beach Futbol Club.

Long Beach State women’s soccer played like the top team in the Big West Conference on Sunday night at George Allen Field. The Beach scored three goals in the 10-minute span of the first half on its way to a 4-1 win over Cal State Northridge.

LBSU (6-4-5, 5-0-2) is in first place in the Big West, three points clear of second-place teams Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton.

“This was inevitable,” LBSU forward Lena Silano said of the offensive rhythm her team has cultivated. Silano scored her 13th and 14 goals of the season in the win. It’s her fourth multi-goal effort of the season and fifth goal of the week.

“We worked so hard in the preseason and we weren’t getting rewarded the way we wanted to but you could see the potential,” she added. “We were getting the opportunities they just weren’t going in. It’s great they’re going in when it counts.”

The Beach scored 10 goals in two conference wins this week, and they haven’t lost since Sept. 15. The seven consecutive matches without a loss is the longest for the program since the 2011 Elite 8 season.

“We saw how many chances we were creating early on even though we weren’t getting the result,” LBSU coach Mauricio Ingrassia said. “We’ve created chances against everybody with a very tough schedule. I was encouraged by that. The goals are starting to flow which is nice.”

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LBSU dominated possession, and almost 60 percent of its possession came in the CSUN half of the field. The Beach outshot CSUN 24-12 with 10 corner kicks.

After peppering the CSUN goal in the first half hour, LBSU broke through in the 33rd minute when Summer Laskey scored off the crossbar on assists from Silano and Cherrie Cox. Six minutes later, Maddy Perez and Cox set up Silano for her first goal. Three minutes after that, Perez and Julia Moore played Cox through for a goal of her own.

“We knew that she had it in her,” Ingrassia said of the freshman Cox. “It’s just a matter of being patient with her. I think after the Hawaii game she was able to be confident and see she can do a lot of things and have a lot of fun. She was different the next day at training, and she just took off.”

Cox said that communicating with Silano has been the key to opening up her game.

“She’s one of our most vocal players in the front,” Cox said of Silano. “Even if I’m having a bad game she just keeps picking me up. She doesn’t let me get into my own head. She’s like a mom on the field for me.”

“I saw our connection in the beginning of the year but it wasn’t fully there because she wasn’t playing forward she was playing attacking midfield… now it’s just boom, it’s happening and it’s awesome,” Silano said of her and Cox.

Two minutes into the second half, Silano drew a foul in the 18-yard box and converted the resulting penalty kick. She now has 14 goals and 34 total points this season, which puts her two goals and 10 points shy of both single-season program records with three regular season matches left in the season. Silano also totaled 13 shots to set a new single-game program record breaking the previous record set in 2006.

“She’s self made,” Ingrassia said of Silano. “Everything you see is just hard work. She wasn’t given anything in this program. She just worked and worked and now she’s reaping the benefits. I’m very proud of her. It’s nice to have people around her now that are helping her and she’s helping them. She’s got great vision and she can play others in as well.”

CSUN scored on a set piece in the 68th minute. LBSU goalkeeper Zora Standifer had four saves to increase her save percentage to 84.1% who registered four more saves on the night. She now owns a tremendous 84.1% save percentage on the season.

CSUN would end the shutout in the 68tha minute on a free kick from their leading scorer, Cindy Arteaga. It was the only blemish against Zora Standifer who registered four more saves on the night. She now owns a tremendous 84.1% save percentage on the season.

LBSU hits the road this week for games at Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara.

“We know these are two hard teams to play,” Silano said. “We just have to go moment by moment.”

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JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.