Early Gonzales Goal Sends Long Beach State To Big West Finals
The Beach recorded their third straight shutout to defeat top seed CSUN.
Long Beach, Calif. - Junior Ashley Gonzales scored her tenth goal of the season in the 13th minute, a calm finish following a Jessica Vincent entry pass that would be more than enough cushion for a stingy Long Beach State defense to claim a 1-0 win over top seed CSUN in the Big West semifinals.
CSUN (11-5-5) had two shots early in the first both, both easily saved by Ashton McKeown over the first eight minutes, but an early goal from Long Beach State (9-6-4) changed the complexion of the contest.
Following a CSUN corner kick, Long Beach State broke on the counter and Vincent threaded a pass to Gonzales who coolly placed the ball past Jovani McCaskill to give Long Beach State a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute; the first goal allowed by CSUN in conference play since the Matadors’ last trip to George Allen Field.
The momentum swung firmly in favor of Long Beach State for the majority of the rest of the match. Shutting down the CSUN attack, Long Beach State finished with 18 shots to 6 from CSUN in total, and had a 12-3 advantage in corner kicks, including a 9-0 edge in the second half.
Two of those corners led to the best opportunities in the game after the early breakthrough. In the 70th, minute a great Kaitlin Fregulia header forced McCaskill into an outstanding save to push the strong shot over the bar, and then on the ensuing corner, McCaskill again was able to turn away another Fregulia header.
Long Beach State is back in action on Sunday, facing the winner of UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton for the opportunity to claim the conference’s automatic bid into the 2016 NCAA Tournament. The game will kick off at 1 p.m. at George Allen Field and will be televised on Fox Sports Prime Ticket.
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