Long Beach State Women’s Soccer Falls To First-Place Cal Poly – The562.org

Long Beach State Women’s Soccer Falls To First-Place Cal Poly – The562.org

Thursday night at George Allen Field was an all too familiar feeling for Long Beach State women’s soccer as they outplayed their visitors but left without anything to show for the effort.

Cal Poly scored in the ninth minute and then held off a relentless LBSU attack in a 1-0 victory that left the Mustangs (12-6, 8-1) atop the Big West Conference standings. The Beach (9-6-2, 6-2-1) had a chance to take first place with a win, but now need a victory over UC Santa Barbara on Sunday to clinch a spot in the Big West Tournament.

Although Cal Poly held a 14-13 advantage in shots for the game, LBSU had the best opportunities to score for the majority of the contest. The Beach defense bounced back after giving up the early goal, the first they’ve surrendered in three games, and held the Mustangs without a corner kick while LBSU took eight of their own.

“When you get around the end so many times you’ve got to be able to make the play,” LBSU coach Mauricio Ingrassia said. “Unfortunately our touch was a little bit too far, or a little bit too short… We played well enough to win tonight, that’s for sure. I told the team there’s nothing to hand their heads about. We just have to take care of Sunday and get into the tournament.”

If the standings hold through the weekend, Cal Poly would host the conference tournament and LBSU could end up playing the Mustangs again next weekend.

“One of the takeaways we could get out of this is knowing to shut them down early,” LBSU senior defender Kaylee Ramirez said. “They’re a team that likes to score early on and that’s how they get most of their results so I think if we get past that first 15-20 minutes strong in the back we can get our front foot forward because we created so many chances that this game could’ve easily gone our way.”

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Olivia Ortiz scored the only goal of the game in the ninth minute when she blasted a set piece rebound into the top corner past LBSU goalkeeper Zora Standifer, who finished with six saves.

Ramirez helped solidify the Beach defense after that, and also recorded the first shot on goal for LBSU in the 17th minute off a nice set piece.

“Our whole season has been about bouncing back,” Ramirez said. “We’ve had so much adversity, injuries, losses and whatever it might be. We really pride ourselves on moving on to the next. We’re not going to get anywhere if we just look at what just happened.”

LBSU continued to pepper the Cal Poly 18-yard box with crosses and long balls in from all angles, but the home side was just missing that final touch. Junior Lena Silano finished with a game-high six shots, and three on goal, including the best chance of the game in the 51st minute that required a diving stop by Cal Poly goalkeeper Mackenzie Samuel.

READ MORE about Silano and her incredible transformation before this season.

“We got around the end a lot and served balls across and just couldn’t quite finish them,” Ingrassia said. “We just have to keep plugging away. We have got to respond and we’re not looking past Sunday.”

Sunday at 2 p.m. will also be Senior Day for Ramirez and a handful of LBSU players who’ve spent a lot of time at the Beach.

“It’s definitely going to be an emotional day,” Ramirez said. “I think that’s going to help us. All of us seniors don’t want it to end on Sunday. We want to keep going to the Big West Tournament and to the NCAAs so I think having that emotion knowing this is our last go, and everyone else knowing that too, is going to help us.”

VIDEO: Long Beach State vs. Cal Poly, NCAA Women’s Soccer

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