Record Crowd Watches Long Beach State Stun No. 4 UCLA 1-0
Senior Vania Robles’ tally in the 66th minute was the difference for the Beach.
Long Beach, Calif. - In front of a record-smashing crowd of 2,232, Long Beach State smashed expectations, holding No. 4 UCLA off the scoreboard and claiming a signature 1-0 win to open the season at George Allen Field Friday night. Senior Vania Robles was able to poke home a cross from Ashley Gonzales to push the 49ers to the win.
Both teams started the game tentatively, feeling out the game as the contest was the opening game for each team in the 2015 campaign. The 49ers had an early chance in the 11th minute, as a cross into the box was just over the head of Jessica Vincent, while UCLA (0-1-0) answered with a chance in the 26th, as Kodi Lavrusky skied a shot over the bar.
Neither side mounted serious pressure during the rest of the half, even though the Beach created one final chance in the 41st minute, as a Kayla Lombardo shot was blocked into the box in front of Vania Robles, who forced UCLA keeper Cassie Sternbach into a save.
The action quickly ramped up in the second half. A free kick from Amber Munerlyn was punched clear by Ashton McKeown for the first action in front of goal in the second.
Long Beach State (1-0-0) responded with a chance as Gonzales was free in front of in of the goal from a cross by Celeste Dominguez, but the junior pushed the shot just wide.
In the 67th minute the deadlock was finally broken. After an interception, a tremendous run by Gonzales led to a chance for the beach, with Robles stretching just in front of a UCLA defender to poke the ball into the right side, and sending the crowd into a frenzy with under 30 minutes to play.
UCLA had two additional chances to equalize, but Long Beach State came away clean both times. Lavrusky appeared to have tied the game on a header in the 73rd minute, but was caught behind the Beach offside trap and the goal was overruled.
Then in the 83rd minute, a shot by Munerlyn hit the crossbar, but the rebound to Lavrusky was sent wide and the 49ers clean sheet was maintained.
With that threat turned aside, Long Beach State was able to absorb the UCLA pressure without incident for the final minutes and collected the program’s second win over UCLA, and the first since 1983. The crowd, filled with fans chanting “Long Beach State” throughout the crucial moments, was nearly 1,000 more than the previous record of 1,304, set in 2012. It also marked just the sixth crowd of over 1,000 for the Beach at George Allen Field, all coming under head coach Mauricio Ingrassia’s tenure.
Long Beach State returns to George Allen Field on Sunday, as the 49ers try to complete a perfect weekend by defeating Auburn. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m.
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