Program seeking fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance
49ers will take on the 18th-ranked Broncos on Saturday
49ers face a must-win situation with Big West Tournament spot on the line
49ers look to break single-game attendance record this weekend
49ers enter the weekend tied for third in Big West standings
Long Beach State soccer has developed into a national contender under the direction of 11th-year head coach Mauricio Ingrassia. After the program was reinstated in 1998, the 49ers did not have a winning season until Ingrassia took the reigns. Since his first year in 2004, LBSU has won either a Big West regular season or tournament title five times, made four NCAA Tournament appearances and set the school record for wins three times.
Ingrassia has compiled an impressive 116-69-20 overall record in his 10 years at the helm. He has led the 49ers to a Big West title in five of the last eight years, and during that span, LBSU has posted a 37-21-6 mark (.625) in conference play.
Last season, the 49ers were 8-7-3 in a rebuilding year. Their roster featured 12 true freshmen, seven of whom earned multiple starts. The Beach showed their potential with big wins at No. 23 Texas Tech and against 11th-ranked BYU. Mimi Rangel was tabbed the Big West Freshman of the Year, while she was also a first-team all-conference selection. Junior Taylor Nelson joined Rangel on the All-Big West First Team, and sophomore Elizabeth Lyons garnered second-team recognition. In addition, Rangel and Mimi Akaogi were named to Big West All-Freshman Team.
In 2012, Ingrassia reached a milestone as he notched his 100th career victory with a 2-1 win over Michigan. The 49ers also picked up big non-conference wins over Baylor and San Diego to help them earn an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament. It was LBSU's third-straight postseason appearance, and fourth overall. Long Beach State closed out the campaign with a 12-8-0 record. Nadia Link garnered All-America and Big West Offensive Player of the Year honors for the second consecutive season. Link and Alex Balcer were also All-West Region selections, while seven 49ers were named to the all-conference team.
In 2011, Long Beach State finished with an 18-6-1 overall record in what was the greatest season in program history. The 49ers claimed their second-straight Big West Tournament title and not only did they earn their first NCAA Tournament win, but they advanced all the way to the Elite Eight with victories over No. 7 Pepperdine, Miami and San Diego. LBSU also shattered the single-season school record for wins (18), goals (49), assists (52) and points (150).
Nadia Link, who tied the individual single-season school record with 16 goals, became the first player in program history to earn NSCAA All-America honors. Link was joined by Shawna Gordon and Alex Balcer on the NSCAA All-West Region Team. In addition, Link and Gordon highlighted six 49ers on the all-conference team as they were tabbed the Big West Offensive Player of the Year and Big West Midfielder of the Year, respectively.
After being picked to finish sixth in the 2010 Big West Preseason Poll, the 49ers exceeded expectations, claiming the program's first Big West Tournament title and advancing to the NCAA Tournament. LBSU tied the school's previous win record, finishing with a 14-6-2 overall mark and was second in the Big West regular-season standings at 5-2-1.
Lindsay Bullock was named the Big West Midfielder of the Year for the second time in her career, while Bullock, Shawna Gordon and Nadia Link were first-team all-conference selections. Bullock, Gordon and Bo Rael were also named to the NSCAA All-West Region Team.
Ingrassia wasted no time in building the 49er program as his first recruiting class, which was ranked 15th in the nation, quickly paid dividends, going 12-5-3 in 2005. Hayley Bolt was named the Big West Conference Co-Freshman of the Year and joined Kim Silos as a Soccer Buzz Freshman All-American, firsts for the LBSU program, as were the national and regional rankings during the season. Even more impressive was the fact that upwards of eight freshmen were starters.
A year older in 2006, the squad broke the school record for victories in a season, going 14-5-1 and winning the franchise's first Big West regular-season title. LBSU also established itself in the top-25, remaining there for a good portion of the season. The defensive unit ranked 19th nationally in goals against average (0.64). Bolt was named the league's midfielder of the year, while Silos was the offensive player of the year. Both players earned all-region honors, another first for the program.
In 2007, Long Beach State won its second consecutive Big West title after posting a 5-2-0 mark in conference action. Despite outshooting Cal Poly 21-to-3 in the Big West Tournament semifinals, the 49ers fell by a single goal.
In 2008, the 49ers went 14-5-4, tying the single-season record for wins, while also establishing then school records in goals (44), assists (37), points (125) and shots (326). The record-breaking campaign, which saw Long Beach State go undefeated in league play at 7-0-1, culminated in the program's third-straight Big West regular season title, its first at-large bid to the NCAA Division I Women's Soccer Championship and its first appearance in the conference tournament finals.
LBSU racked up the postseason awards as Ingrassia was recognized as the Big West Coach of the Year, Lindsay Bullock was named the conference's midfielder of the year, and Liz Ramos earned top goalkeeper honors. In addition, the 49ers placed 10 student-athletes on the All-Big West team, with Bullock and Hayley Bolt also being All-West Region selections.
The Beach has also been recognized internationally. Nadia Link was invited to the United States' U-23 National Team Camp in the fall of 2011 and the spring of 2012. Shawna Gordon attended the U-20 National Team Camp in the spring of 2009, while Hayley Bolt was invited to train with the U-20 National Team during the spring of 2005. Jenn Brooks and Mariko Strickland were also invited to the Australian National Team camp in Spring, 2007.
Prior to Long Beach State, Ingrassia won five state titles at Long Beach City College, the most by any coach in California history (1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003). The Vikings finished the season ranked in the nation's top-five in five of his final seven years, including a No. 1 ranking in 2002 and 2003. Overall, Ingrassia went 184-24-8 (.870), and ended on a 55-game unbeaten streak which began in October, 2001.
From 2000-03, the Vikings went an astounding 95-3-1 (.965), starting with a 25-2-0 record in 2000, followed by marks of 24-1-0, and 24-0-1. In 2003 they went 22-0-0.
LBCC won five South Coast Conference titles and made the playoffs eight times. The Vikings earned their first playoff berth in school history in 1996.
Over Ingrassia's tenure at LBCC, the Vikings had three national players of the year (2000, 2002, 2003), nine All-Americans, 13 all-region selections and numerous all-conference honors. Six players were also named the South Coast Conference Athlete of the Year.
In addition to his players' accolades, Ingrassia was named the NSCAA/adidas Junior College National Coach of the Year in 2003, and was tabbed the conference's top coach three times (1997, 2000, 2003), as well as California State Coach of the Year five times. Ingrassia holds a USSF National "A" Coaching License.
Ingrassia graduated from Cal State Fullerton in 1995 with a degree in psychology and earned his master's at Azusa Pacific in 1998. Ingrassia's playing days included two years at San Diego State (1989-1991) and another with the Titans (1993). Ingrassia has one daughter, Madison.