Link is 49ers’ lone star in Texas
Published: Monday, September 10, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 10, 2012 23:09
When the Long Beach State women’s soccer team traveled to the Lone Star State over the weekend, it found that everything — the crowds, the losses, the victories — is bigger in Texas.
After enduring a 3-0 beatdown to Texas A&M in front of nearly 2,000 fans Friday night, the 49ers relied on a hat trick from Nadia Link to defeat North Texas 3-2 in overtime on Sunday.
No. 16 LBSU (5-2) lost its nationally televised matchup to No. 14 Texas A&M (5-1) in undramatic fashion, surrendering two goals in the first half before giving up a third late in the game.
Texas A&M’s Annie Kunz started the scoring for the Aggies in the 31st minute, when she received a pass from midfielder Leigh Edwards and hit the back of the net from six yards out. Forward Kelley Monogue built upon the lead with a goal of her own in the 43rd minute, a strike from the arch of the penalty box that was assisted by forward Catalina Clavijo.
After the halftime break, the ‘Niners got back to playing the way that earned them a national ranking. It didn’t show up on the scoreboard, however, as shots by forward Nadia Link and each of the Nelson sisters failed to get past goalkeeper Jordan Day. Texas A&M then delivered the dagger in the 86th minute when Kunz scored her second goal of the game.
Looking to end a two-game losing streak on the road, LBSU returned to action the following Sunday morning against North Texas.
Link got the 49ers ahead early with a goal in the 12th minute and scored again in the 24th. She was assisted by midfielder Kelsey Wilson both times.
LBSU couldn’t hold the 2-0 lead though, as North Texas defender Kelsey Hodges scored ten minutes before halftime and midfielder Karla Pineda tied it up half an hour later. Despite several scoring opportunities later in the second half, the ‘Niners couldn’t grab the lead in regulation and were forced to play their third overtime of the season.
The 49ers, who had emerged victorious in each of the previous two overtime matches, nearly suffered their first loss, as goalkeeper Marrina Meyers had to make two saves in to first five minutes to keep the game going. She wasn’t needed for much longer, however, as Link came through with her fourth goal of the season in the 97th minute. Taken off a pass from midfielder Eileen Maes from inside the box, Link sealed the win for the 49ers and earned her first career hat trick.
LBSU returns to California this weekend for a pair of games in the Cal State Fullerton Under Armour Invitational. The ‘Niners will face Texas Tech on Friday and Army on Sunday.