Oct. 31, 2013
LONG BEACH - The Long Beach State women's soccer team kept its Big West Tournament hopes alive with a 1-1 double-overtime tie against Cal State Fullerton Thursday evening at George Allen Field.
The top four will advance to the Big West Tournament, and there are currently six teams fighting for two spots as Cal Poly and UC Irvine have claimed the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, respectively. The 49ers have nine points and are tied for fourth in the conference standings with UC Santa Barbara and UC Riverside. LBSU will play UCR this Sunday, Nov. 3, and can secure a tournament berth with a win over the Highlanders.
Long Beach State (8-6-3, 2-2-3 Big West) remained unbeaten in its last seven home games as it has played to three-straight draws at George Allen Field.
Sophomore defender Melanie Fox led the 49ers with her first career goal and a personal-best three shots, while freshman Mimi Rangel and sophomore Hannah Sanders added two shots each. LBSU finished the night with 11 attempts, including four on frame.
Cal State Fullerton (8-5-5, 3-2-2 Big West) struck first as Janali West headed a cross from Lauren Mellano to the lower left netting at the 33:34 mark.
Just over two minutes later, freshman Regan Smithers sent a free kick into the box from about 45 yards out and Fox was able to get her head on the ball, flicking it toward the goal. Fox's initial header attempt hit the crossbar, but it bounced right back to her feet and she proceeded to place the ball into an open net.
Smithers was making her first career start in place of regular starting center back Taylor Nelson, who had to sit out Thursday's game due to a red card received at Cal State Northridge last week.
After Fox's goal, CSF and LBSU played just over 74 minutes of scoreless soccer. Despite outshooting the Titans 6-to-3 and getting four corner kicks in the second half, Long Beach State was unable to tack on another goal, resulting in the home team's third overtime game in their last five outings.
The 49ers' best opportunity after regulation came in the 103rd minute when Hannah Reed drilled a shot from the top of the box that sailed high. CSF had a similar look in the 109th minute as West's attempt went just over the crossbar.
West finished with five of Cal State Fullerton's 12 attempts, while Erica Mazeau and Lauren Mellano each picked up an assist on West's goal.
Long Beach State returns to the pitch on Sunday, Nov. 3, when it squares off against UC Riverside on Senior Day. The 49ers will honor their five seniors - Kristyn Benavidez, Kassidy Hause, Eileen Maes, Jessika Oseguera and Chyann Saban - prior to the 2 p.m. kickoff.
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