LBSU ends nonconference play with shutout of San Diego
Published: Saturday, September 22, 2012
Updated: Saturday, September 22, 2012 01:09
After spending two weekends on the road, the 49ers returned home to face their rivals, the San Diego Toreros.
And what a homecoming it was.
Competing in front of a season-high 808 spectators, No. 22 Long Beach State (7-3) played suffocating defense and got a late goal from freshman forward Elizabeth Lyons to claim a 1-0 win in a rematch of last year’s Sweet Sixteen NCAA tournament game.
“It feels great. I think we owed ourselves a performance,” head coach Mauricio Ingrassia said. “I still don’t think we played our best soccer, but I felt like we were better and more commanding. I definitely feel very good about the second half.”
After a scoreless first half in which only eight shots were taken total, both sides turned up the pressure and took eight shots apiece in the second. One of those shots was a strike by Lyons in the 71st minute that put the ‘Niners on the board and in the lead for good.
“I had a defender that was playing down near the end line and I had another defender coming right at me,” Lyons said. “I cut back and I shot it in the back-lefthand corner with my left foot.”
It was the first collegiate goal for Lyons, who had seen a lot of playing time but hadn’t found the back of the net in any of her first nine games.
“I thought she was a little too frantic,” Ingrassia said of Lyons’ play in the first half. “Right before the half I talked to her about doing one thing at a time. She wants to do everything at once, and you can’t...but that was a fantastic finish. That was a brilliant finish and a brilliant first goal.”
It was all the 49ers would need to close out their nonconference slate with a win. USD (3-7) piled on the pressure in the final 15 minutes, but a strong defensive effort led by middle defender Alex Balcer helped goalkeeper Marrina Meyers post her second consecutive shutout and third this season.
“My player of the game is Alex Balcer,” Ingrassia said. “She commanded the team in our worst time. When they were pushing, she was a big-time leader today, and we needed that to seal the game.”
The ‘Niners have the rest of the weekend off, but will resume their season Friday next week, when they travel to UC Riverside for their Big West Conference opener.