Daily 49er

New hope for LBSU soccer

Long Beach keeps the Big West Conference Tournament dreams alive with a 3-0 victory over UC Riverside.

Long+Beach+State%27s+senior+Tori+Bolden+shoots+the+ball+in+Sunday%27s+match+against+UC+Riverside+at+George+Allen+Field.++
Long Beach State's senior Tori Bolden shoots the ball in Sunday's match against UC Riverside at George Allen Field.

Long Beach State's senior Tori Bolden shoots the ball in Sunday's match against UC Riverside at George Allen Field.

Joseph Kling

Joseph Kling

Long Beach State's senior Tori Bolden shoots the ball in Sunday's match against UC Riverside at George Allen Field.

Marck Parra, Staff Writer

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With its season on the line, the Long Beach State women’s soccer team responded with a commanding 3-0 victory at home over UC Riverside on Sunday to keep its Big West Conference Tournament hopes alive.

The 49ers were in danger of being eliminated from the Big West Conference Tournament for the first time since 2013.

Goals by junior defender Sarah Maher, freshman forward Rola Badawiya and senior forward Tori Bolden propelled the team to their first victory in five games.

Long Beach head coach Mauricio Ingrassia said it was exactly the result the team needed in order to bounce back from the past couple of weeks.

“I thought it was a good demonstration of character,” Ingrassia said. “You saw a tremendous team response tonight while we were in a tough spot with a lot of diversity.”

The 49ers now move up in the Big West Conference standings, three points behind Cal State Fullerton, who sits in fourth place with the last qualification spot for the tournament.

“I thought Tori Bolden was who she’s been all year, she’s great,” Ingrassia said. “I thought the first goal really took a lot of pressure off us.”

Bolden, who scored the team’s third and final goal, said the pressure was mounting for the team, but she relished the opportunity to get back in the win column.

“This is my last year, and I just want to at least make it to the [Big West Conference] tournament, the [NCAA] college tournament and try to go as far as possible,” Bolden said.

The game was a tale of two halves for the 49ers, who, after looking sloppy and misguided in the opening minutes of play, responded with a dominant second half performance that would prove to be too much for the Highlanders.

The 30th minute would bring Long Beach’s best chance of scoring, when Bolden received a pass in the Highlanders’ box and ripped a shot that rattled the left goal post.

The match headed into halftime a scoreless draw.

No team had clear control of the second half until the 63rd minute of play when Long Beach broke the scoreless deadlock. Maher headed in a corner kick by Froment to score and give Long Beach the lead and the momentum. After the first goal, the offense looked sharper—it seemed like a matter of minutes until the lead was doubled.

In the 79th minute of play, Long Beach was awarded with a penalty kick that Badawiya took and converted.

The final goal for the 49ers came two minutes later in the 81st minute, after Bolden received a pass by junior midfielder Rocio Rodriguez. With the score, Bolden notched her fourth goal of the season, and first since scoring two against Hawai’i back on Oct. 1.

Playing a crucial part in the victory was the defense, led by sophomore defender Chloe Froment. Froment and the defense gave Long Beach the security blanket it needed.

“We had to be strong in the back and as soon as we were getting the ball, we know we have fast forwards, so we were just playing them until we scored,” Froment said.

Long Beach will have everything to play for again during its Big West Conference play at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 26 at Cal State Northridge.

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