Nov. 3, 2013
LONG BEACH - The Long Beach State women's soccer team was unable to come back from a two-goal deficit as it fell to UC Riverside, 2-1, Sunday afternoon at George Allen Field.
The 49ers saw their postseason hopes dashed as the Highlanders (No. 3 seed) and Cal State Fullerton (No. 4 seed) claimed the final two spots in the Big West Tournament. Prior to today's games, Cal Poly and UC Irvine had already clinched the No. 1 and 2 seeds, respectively. This marks the first time in four years that the 49ers will not be in the NCAA Tournament after making three-straight appearances from 2010-12.
Long Beach State (8-7-3, 2-2-3 Big West) also saw its seven-game home unbeaten streak come to an end as it was the team's first loss at George Allen Field since the season opener on Aug. 23.
The 49ers finished the afternoon with 11 shots. Junior Taylor Nelson scored LBSU's goal in the 56th minute, while freshman Regan Smithers picked up her first career assist. Sophomore goalkeeper Kaci McCain had five saves in the loss.
UC Riverside (7-12-1, 4-4-0 Big West) started off as the aggressor with two shots and two corner kicks in the first five minutes of play. The pressure paid off for the Highlanders as they took the early lead with Tyler Cunningham's goal at the 10:49 mark.
Long Beach State nearly tied it up in the 27th minute when freshman Mimi Rangel had an open look from the left side of the box, but her shot went just wide of the far post. UCR held a 10-to-3 advantage in shot attempts after the first half.
In the second period, Cunningham struck again, this time beating McCain on a breakaway to put the visitors up, 2-0, at the 51:46 mark. Just over three minutes later, the 49ers cut the deficit in half as Smithers delivered a free kick into the middle of the box where Nelson rose up and headed the ball past the UCR goalkeeper. LBSU continued to attack and dominated possession the rest of the way, but just couldn't break through as the Highlanders held on for the 2-1 victory.
UC Riverside totaled 15 shots and was paced by Cunningham and Danielle Giltner, who had four attempts each.
In what was supposed to be a rebuilding year with 21 underclassmen, including 13 freshmen, Long Beach State held its own and showed glimpses of a very promising future. The 49ers had a handful of big wins this season, defeating UC Irvine and nationally-ranked Texas Tech on the road, while also topping then No. 11 BYU at George Allen Field.
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