The562’s coverage of Long Beach State athletics for the 2023-24 season is sponsored by Marilyn Bohl.
To say the opening weekend for Long Beach State women’s soccer was historically eventful would be a massive understatement.
On Thursday night, sophomore Cherrie Cox scored the fastest goal in program history by netting one just 41 minutes into the season opener against No. 15 Texas at George Allen Field. Unfortunately the Longhorns came back to win it in the final seconds, but LBSU bounced back to beat visiting Boston College 4-2 on Saturday thanks to a program record four goals from senior Elysia Laramie.
“I’m proud of the group,” LBSU coach Mauricio Ingrassia said. “When you play USC and Texas tough you know you belong. That’s evidence for your confidence. And then it’s just a matter of coming out here and getting it done.”
“We don’t see ourselves as underdogs,” Laramie said. “We’re coming out here to win these games. We really believe we can win these games.”
Laramie also admitted there were doubts about coming back for another season at the Beach after injuries and COVID derailed her collegiate career.
“I think I’ve struggled with ‘It’s been six years, why am I still here?’” she said. “But I told myself, ‘I’m meant to be on this team, I’m meant to play with this group of girls,’ and I think tonight is showing me why I’m here.”
Saturday’s goals came in a 16 minute span of that second half to break a scoreless tie. Laramie also earned Big West Conference and National Player of the Week honors from Top Drawer Soccer.
“I’ve definitely dreamed of it but it feels surreal, it really does,” Laramie added. “It’s a huge moment for me because of everything I’ve been through.”
Laramie is the twelfth player in Big West history to score four-or-more goals in a game, and the first to do so since 2014.
“She does it all for us, and I couldn’t be happier or prouder of her,” Ingrassia said of Laramie. “We weren’t happy with how we finished (against Texas on Thursday) and she said, ‘I realize there’s things I could’ve done better,’ and she took it for the team. That’s someone who is 100 percent team and just wants to win. She’s a great teammate, great captain and great leader.”
After LBSU used a methodical attack to control the first half, the Beach came charging towards Carpenter End in the second half. In the 47th minute, Cherrie Cox tackled the ball away at the end line and sent it into the Boston College 18-yard box. A shot and rebound went straight to Laramie for the finish at the near post.
About 10 minutes later, Cox played a long through ball for Julia Moore, who sent a perfect cross into Laramie for goal number two at the same post. Cox provided the assist on the hat trick goal five minutes later, and then Laramie made history 44 seconds after that on a header thanks to a beautiful pass from Kana Uchida.
“I was very much in the moment,” Laramie said. “I didn’t really process it until I was out (of the game) and realized I just scored four goals.
Laramie’s hat trick is the tenth in LBSU history and the fastest hat trick for the program since 2008.
“The highest quality in (the goals) were the passes from my teammates, they gave me perfect balls, all I had to do was tap it in,” Laramie added.
Cox, who scored two goals against Texas, is also the fifth LBSU player to provide at least three assists in a game since 2003, and the first since 2013.
Boston College scored two second-half goals after that against mostly bench players.
“I thought it was a fantastic performance,” Ingrassia said. “Every game tests and challenges us in different ways and we need that adversity to move forward. Tonight you saw a team that was super confident, especially in the second half, because of the last two games.”
Laramie also scored in the loss to Texas when LBSU led 3-2 with seven minutes left, only to see the Longhorns score a pair of fortune goals to take the points.
The Beach (1-1) visits No. 13 BYU and San Diego State this week.