LBSU’s women’s soccer team has been dealt a devastating blow after star striker Ashley Gonzales left their match against UCLA with a suspected knee injury.
The senior forward went down at the 12-minute mark in the first half of the match due to a knee crash with a UCLA player. After laying on the pitch in pain, she left the match limping with the help of medical personnel.
“It is hard to have your captain go down and see the team [try to] recover the way they did,” said Head Coach Mauricio Ingrassia.
The team lost the match after conceding five and scoring one, but LBSU fans can rest peacefully knowing that sophomore forward Katie Pingel may potentially take on the scoring load after netting her first goal of the season against UCLA.
Before the injury, Gonzales had been inching closer to becoming LBSU’s all-time goal-scorer, with 29 career goals after netting one against Cal State Northridge in LBSU’s season opener. Her current tally keeps her four goals shy from the 33 goals scored by Janet Fettig, who has held the record since 1986. Needless to say, losing her goal-poaching and ability to cause havoc near goal will be a big impediment for the squad.
As the marquee forward for the 49ers, Gonzales’ goal-scoring ability was the catalyst for LBSU’s championship run last season. As a junior, she buried home eleven goals and had 57 shots at goal as the team took home the Big West Tournament Title for the third time in the program’s history.
The Ontario, California native earned 2016 Big West Conference Offensive Player of the Year honors in addition to a First Team All-Big West selection. Gonzales was also named to the 2016 NSCAA All-West Region First Team and 2017 MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List, which only highlights her importance to a 49ers team looking to repeat as champions this season.
The team is hoping that Gonzalez will be back in the squad by the time conference play starts on Oct. 1, as she looks set to etch her name into LBSU history books during her senior year.