Oct. 30, 2011
LONG BEACH - It was a wild second half in which five goals were scored over a 15-minute span, but it was the Long Beach State women's soccer team that prevailed, 4-2, over Pacific Sunday afternoon at George Allen Field.
With the win, the 49ers secured the No. 2 seed in the Big West Tournament and will host Cal State Northridge in a semifinal game on Thursday, Nov. 3.
LBSU, which recognized its seven seniors prior to the game, improved to 13-5-1 overall and 6-2-0 in Big West action, while the Tigers dropped to 8-9-1, 2-5-1 BWC. Long Beach State also moved to 9-1-0 in home games.
Junior Nadia Link led the 49ers with two goals, an assist and a game-high five shot attempts. Seniors Nicole Hubbard and Jazz Strozier also found the back of the net, while Strozier, sophomore Kelsey Wilson and junior Jordan Nelson each finished with an assist.
Senior Kaitlyn Gustaves manned the net for the entire 90 minutes, notching two saves.
The 49ers took an early 1-0 advantage when Link scored at the 6:34 mark. Senior Shawna Gordon gave a nice lead pass up the left side to Hubbard, who crossed the ball to the middle of the box. Strozier then collected it and made her way around a Pacific defender before finding Link. From the top right corner, Link sent a bullet to the upper left netting.
That lead held up through the remainder of the period as Long Beach State owned a 5-to-3 advantage in shot attempts.
After a fairly quiet first half, the two teams then went on an offensive frenzy after the break, combining for five second-half goals. The Tigers tied it up in the 64th minute when Liz Higashino received a free kick from Brittni Beeman and punched the ball in from about six yards out.
LBSU responded just over four minutes later, regaining the lead on Hubbard's eighth goal of the year. Wilson's corner kick sailed across the box to Hubbard, who headed the ball to the near post.
The Tigers wouldn't go down quietly as they came back to even the score at 2-2 in the 73rd minute, but Long Beach State showed its resiliency once again when Link netted the game-winner at the 78:15 mark. Wilson served a ball to the middle of the box where Link got a head on it, directing it toward the far post. It was Link's team-leading 14th goal of the year as she now ranks second in LBSU's single-season record books, behind only Annette Fernandez who had 16 tallies in 1984.
Just 39 seconds later, Strozier added an insurance goal for the final 4-2 margin. From the right wing, Link crossed the ball to Strozier who was able to knock it to the back of the net.
Long Beach State and Pacific both finished with 13 shots each, while the 49ers held a 5-to-2 edge in corner kicks.
The 49ers, who will be making their sixth postseason appearance in the last seven years, begin their defense of the Big West Tournament title on Thursday, Nov. 3, when they play host to Cal State Northridge at 2 p.m. in a semifinal game.
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