Beach Drops UC Santa Barbara To Advance To The Big West Tournament On Senior Day
Ashley Gonzales converted a penalty kick in the 67th minute to pick up the 1-0 win.
Long Beach, Calif. - Ashley Gonzales coolly converted a penalty kick in the 67th minute to score the only goal in a 1-0 victory for Long Beach State over UC Santa Barbara on Senior Day for the Beach. The win advanced Long Beach State into the Big West Tournament, which the 49ers will host at George Allen Field beginning on Thursday, November 3.
Senior goaltender Ashton McKeown had an excellent day for Long Beach State (8-6-4, 4-1-3 Big West), making five saves and finishing with her seventh shutout of the year on senior day.
McKeown turned away a good effort from Maddie Gibson of UC Santa Barbara (11-6-2, 2-5-1 Big West) in the seventh minute, the second of two early saves for the senior. The run of play would turn towards Long Beach State after the opening minutes, as the Beach had a number of excellent chances in the opening half.
A good combination attack in the 11th minute was waved off on an offside call, and a great chance for senior Mimi Rangel came just a few minutes later, as a bad back pass from the Gauchos found the feet of the midfielder at the top of the box, but the shot ended up just high of the bar.
A 17th minute counter attack led to a shot from Tori Bolden, but Brittany Rogers made one of her six saves to turn the shot away, and a Chloe Froment free kick cleared the head of Kaitlin Fregulia by inches in the 21st minute.
Having survived those chances in short succession, Rogers would make one more save, a great effort to stop Rocio Rodriguez on another counter at the end of the half.
Long Beach State continued to maintain pressure in the second half, as a Fregulia header off of a Rangel free kick was saved by Rogers in the 61st minute.
The 49ers’ efforts finally paid off in the 67th minute. Tori Bolden streaked down the outside, turning the corner and was tripped in the box, a clear penalty that was promptly given. Ashley Gonzales came to the spot, and scored her ninth goal of the season to give Long Beach State the lead.
The Long Beach State defense was able to absorb the attacks of the Gauchos for the rest of the game, until McKeown was called upon one more time. In the closing seconds, UCSB’s Chace Schornstein took a desperation shot from distance, but one that was weighted perfectly, forcing McKeown into a great save to tip the ball over the bar and preserve the win for the Beach.
The victory guaranteed a spot in the four-team Big West Tournament for the Beach, which Long Beach State will host at George Allen Field on November 3 and November 6. Long Beach State and CSUN will open play on Thursday at 5 p.m., with the second semifinal between Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine following at 7:30 p.m. The championship game to determine the Big West’s automatic representative in the NCAA Tournament will then be held on Sunday, November 6.
Tickets for the Big West Tournament are available now here at www.longbeachstate.com.
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