No. 8 49ers defeat No. 9 UCI, clinches spot in conference tournament
Nov. 11, 2012
LONG BEACH, Calif. - Nolan McConnell made sure Barry Snyder, Brian Schiefer, Travis Cleland, and Spencer White's last home game was a win as he fired off four goals in the first period to help the No. 8 Long Beach State hold on for the 12-10 victory over No. 9 UC Irvine Sunday afternoon at the Campus Pool.
With the win, the 49ers have clinched a spot in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament (Nov. 23-25) with one game remaining in the regular season. It will be the first time Long Beach State has qualified for the conference tournament since 2008.
McConnell went on an offensive scoring spree in the first period shooting 4-4. The true freshman scored three-straight goals to start the match starting with a laser from four-meters out 25 seconds into the game. McConnell followed his first goal with a beautiful lob shot over UCI's Michael Bailey and then finished the hat-trick off at 5:01 with a skip shot past the Anteater defense to make it 3-0. Nick Rascon joined McConnell with a goal of his own in the first to give the 49ers a 4-0 lead before UC Irvine's Jacob Mourer ended the run with a goal at 1:23. McConnell would find the back of the cage with 58 seconds remaining to finish the day off with a team-high and game-high four goals.
The Anteaters rallied in the second frame as they went on a 3-0 run lasting 6:30 seconds. White would end the Anteater's run with a goal immediately after Blake Terry was excluded at the 53 seconds mark making it 6-4 Long Beach State. Dimitrios Lappas fired a rocket into the back of the net past UCI's Bailey with five seconds left to extend the 49ers lead to 7-4 heading into the half.
Both teams exchanged a couple goals to start the second half as Rascon fired a cannon past Bailey from five-meters out but UCI's Nick Pfeil responded immediately after McConnell earned the exclusion. Milos Vrzic sneaked a goal in past UC Irvine's defense to bring the 49er lead back up to four as Long Beach State headed into the final frame with a 10-6 lead.
Rascon finished with a hat-trick of his own after slamming one in at the 5:08 mark to extend the lead back to four. UCI's Bojan Hrlec tried to start a rally for the Anteaters pounding a penalty shot in past Balint Meszaros with 2:15 left in the game but it was too late as the 49ers held on for 12-10 victory at home to honor their four seniors.
Meszaros finished the day with eight saves bringing his total up to 247. With one game remaining, the sophomore is 10 saves shy of taking sole-possession of sixth-place in the single-season saves category.
Long Beach State will return to action Saturday November 17th for its final game of the regular season against UC Santa Barbara at the UCSB Campus Pool. Ball is set to drop at noon. The outcome of the match vs. the Gauchos will determine what seed the 49ers receive in the tournament.