Graphic by Jarrod Castillo/Editor

THE BEACH DEFEND THEIR HOME FIELD AGAINST THE MUSTANGS AND GAUCHOS

A recap of Long Beach State’s weekend as they went 2-0 in the homestand against the Cal Poly Mustangs on Oct.11 and the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos on Oct.14.

 By Jarrod Castillo, Editor

Oct.11 vs. Cal Poly

Long Beach State escapes with a win thanks to freshman forward Elysia Laramie’s goal in the 102nd minute.

Frustration, contemplation and adulation.

This was the rollercoaster of emotions that Long Beach State went through (7-4-2, 2-0-1 Big West) after an arduous battle with the Cal Poly Mustangs (1-11-4, 1-3-1 Big West) on Oct. 11. It took two overtimes to decide the 1-0 contest.

Looking purely at the stats of the game, it could be assumed that because of the amount of shots taken by the Beach, this particular contest was a rout. Long Beach State had 26 shot attempts to Cal Poly’s four and the Mustangs were outpaced in essentially every category.

“This is a game of frustration sometimes,” head coach Mauricio Ingrassia said. “It’s a matter of getting that first goal.”

Even though Long Beach State had a myriad of opportunities, the ball just couldn’t find its way to the back of the Cal Poly goal. A lot of credit has to go to junior goalkeeper Sophia Brown; she had three saves within the first nine minutes, en route to seven for the game.

That set the tone for the game for Cal Poly: defensively, they had no answer to the Beach’s offense. For extended periods of time, the ball stayed on Cal Poly’s side as Long Beach State’s offense kept attacking, akin to a shark smelling blood in the water.

Still, no matter how many times the Beach circled their prey, they could not find the killing blow in the first 90 minutes and the game went into overtime.

The first overtime was more of the same as Long Beach State kept attacking Cal Poly, trying to find a weak seam in the defense. However, two minutes into the second overtime, the Beach found that opening.

Many would have pegged senior forward Ashley Gonzales as the one to score and break the school record or even senior midfielder Dana Fujikuni to step up and score the game-winning goal for the Beach.

Instead, it was freshman forward Elysia Laramie taking charge amid all the pressure. After a cross from Fujikuni and an easy pass from senior midfielder Rocio Rodriguez, Laramie tapped the ball into the back right corner of the net, just past the outstretched arms of Brown, for the 1-0 win.

Dana Fujikuni (9), Rocio Rodriguez (5) and Elysia Laramie (25) all celebrate as Long Beach State defeats Cal Poly 1-0 in double overtime on Oct. 11. (Isabelle Cruz / 22 West Media)

As to how she kept calm in that moment, Laramie says it was “experience.”

“This isn’t our first overtime so we were ready and we knew what we had to get done and we did it,” she said.

Although it took two overtimes to complete, Ingrassia was proud of how the team kept battling.

“The more you miss, the more you let your guard down,” Ingrassia said. “So I’m proud of the group for continuing to fight and the fact that we created a ton of chances, I think, speaks well.”

Ingrassia also alluded to the fact that the team got a confidence boost and that it was “great” playing at home after starting conference play with two straight road games.

“Now, we gotta defend our home field,” he concluded.“We gotta get something on the road and defend our home field; that’s how you win championships.”

Oct.14 vs. UCSB

Long Beach State senior defender Sarah Maher’s second goal of the season helps the Beach put away the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos.

Sixteen shots.

That’s how many shots Long Beach State (8-4-2, 3-0-1 Big West) accrued in 90 minutes against the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (9-6-0, 2-2-0 Big West), 10 less than the 26 the Beach had against Cal Poly.

And yet, it would only take one of those shots to give the Beach the 1-0 victory.

In the first half, both sides played with intensity and for good reason: Long Beach was second in the conference while UCSB was third. Led by junior forward Shaelan Murison, UCSB attacked the Beach’s defense but senior goalkeeper Imani McDonald was there to stop them.

“I can always count on my back four to lay themselves out and give it their all, especially when I jack up,” McDonald said.

The intensity led to a stalemate as at the end of the first half, the game was tied 0-0.

Starting the second half, the intensity ramped up to 11 as both sides came out firing. Even then, head coach Mauricio Ingrassia says not a lot was said during halftime.

“We can just talk about winning or we can go out and do it and we can go out and compete for everything and I was really proud of the group tonight, especially the back four,” Ingrassia said.

It’s important to mention, though, that being intense but under control is one thing and being intense and careless is another. The Gauchos were more of the latter as they racked up 11 fouls in the half, en route to 18 for the game, with one of those costing the Gauchos the game.

After a foul in the 63rd minute, junior defender Chloe Froment lifted a free kick into the box, where it found senior defender Sarah Maher. Arching backwards, Maher gave the ball enough momentum to bounce into the goal after it was deflected upwards by UCSB junior goalkeeper Hanna DeWeese, making it 1-0.

“Chloe [Froment] had a great kick to me and I’m just like, ‘get anything on it,’” Maher said. “I tried to flick it and the goalie was out and it went in.”

In the 68th minute, the Beach was the recipient of a penalty, a result of UCSB’s incessant fouling on senior defender Dana Fujikuni.

With no hesitation, sophomore forward Rola Badawiya blasted the ball into the left post, narrowly missing the opportunity to put the game out of reach.

“It would’ve been great for sure, to go up two,” Ingrassia said. “The good thing is we had another 20 minutes to grind out and the team knows how to do that.”

From there, the Beach looked to put the nail in the coffin while the Gauchos looked for the equalizer. In the end, the Beach secured their third conference win in four games.

Both teams played with great intensity, although for UCSB, it was unsustainable.

UCSB had seven starters play the entire game and it appeared they were fatigued. Meanwhile, the Beach had five players play 90 minutes and made plenty of substitutions, with freshman forward Sierra Castles leading the team with four shots in 62 minutes off the bench.

“I think tonight we really felt it and I think we just gotta bottle this up and do it again on Thursday,” Ingrassia concluded.

The Beach are back in action on Thursday, Oct. 18 at UC Riverside at 6 p.m. as they look to continue gaining ground on first place UC Irvine.