49ers finish conference play strong, rides momentum into MPSF Tournament
Nov. 21, 2012
MPSF TOURNAMENT PREVIEW: With its first appearance at the MPSF Tournament since 2008, the 49ers look to build upon a season that saw both upset and heartbreak and win their opening match Friday, Nov. 23 at the McDonald's Swim Stadium against No. 4 Stanford at 3 p.m.
The last time a 49er squad won their first match of the tournament came in 2002 when Long Beach State defeated UC Santa Barbara 8-5 and finished seventh going 2-2 at the tournament.
LBSU will look to avenge its 12-11 loss to the Cardinals during conference play back on Oct. 24th as the 49ers ride a three-game winning streak coming into Friday's matchup. The Cardinals and 49ers both head into the tournament having won three of their last four contests.
49ERS TAKE CARE OF GAUCHOS: Long Beach State took care of business in its final game of the regular season defeating then seventh-ranked UC Santa Barbara 12-10 on a rainy Saturday afternoon to finish 22-7 overall and 4-4 in the MPSF conference. Dan Matulis and Nolan McConnell each recorded a hat trick for the 49ers.
The physical match between LBSU and UCSB was back-and-forth in the first half as the Gauchos took a 7-6 lead heading into the half.
Long Beach State would then take over in the second half, going on a 6-0 run, holding UC Santa Barbara scoreless until the 1:50 mark in the fourth quarter.
Balint Meszaros recorded 11 saves against the Gauchos to finish the regular-season with a total of 258, making him sixth on the list for saves in a single season at Long Beach State.
LONG BEACH STATE BY THE NUMBERS: Heading into the MPSF Tournament, four LBSU players are ranked in the conference individual statistical category. The trio of Dan Matulis, Milos Vrzic, and Nolan McConnell have accounted for just over 53 percent of the goals scored in conference play. Twelve 49ers have recorded at least one hat trick during the regular season with 13 different players having tallied at least 10 goals.
Sophomore transfer Balint Meszaros leads the league in games played with 25.75. Meszaros is fourth in the league with a saves per game average of 10.02, totaling 258 saves on the year heading into the tournament. The sophomore is currently sixth on the list for saves in a single-season with the opportunity to claim the most saves in a single-season title from Derek Weibe-Bailey who finished with 282 saves back in 2008.
Matulis jumps to eighth in the conference with a 2.28 goals per game average for a total of 66 at the end of the regular season. Matulis is having a breakout season with the 49ers nearly doubling his goal count last year of 35. The junior leads LBSU with a 22 multi-goal games while the closest person to Matulis is true freshman Nolan McConnell with 12 multi-goal games. With the hat trick against UCSB, Matulis is now sixth all-time for goals scored in a single-season at Long Beach State.
Senior Spencer White is 14th in the league with 55 goals scored in his first year at Long Beach State. White's 55 goals are also good for 14th on the all-time list for goals scored in a single-season for the 49ers.
McConnell is as advertised for LBSU scoring 10 goals in the final-four matches of conference play. The freshman finishes his first season at Long Beach State with 40 goals putting him 21st in the individual statistical category for goals scored.
Vrzic, the 49ers hot hand in conference play with 17 goals makes the top 25 in scoring in the conference again this week. The sophomore comes in at No. 23 with a 1.31 goals per game average tallying 28 goals on the season, good for fourth on the team.