Nov. 10, 2012
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Long Beach State women's soccer team put up a fight but was unable to erase a first-half deficit as it fell to No. 17 Santa Clara, 2-1, in the first round of the 2012 NCAA Division I Women's Soccer Championship Saturday at Buck Shaw Stadium.
Senior Alex Balcer scored the 49ers' goal, while classmate Kelsey Wilson picked up her seventh assist of the season. Wilson closes out her two-year career tied for 10th among LBSU's all-time leaders with 11 helpers.
Long Beach State totaled seven shots and three corner kicks on the afternoon. Balcer and senior Nadia Link led the way with two shot attempts each.
Santa Clara (12-3-6), which is in the midst of its 23rd NCAA Tournament appearance, struck first as Meleana Shim found the back of the net in the 18th minute. Lauren Matheson then scored at the 37:01 mark to give the Broncos a 2-0 lead at intermission. The 49ers won the battle in shots (4-3), with three of their four attempts coming on frame in the first half.
Long Beach State (12-8-0) regrouped during the break and broke through at the 70:32 mark. After a foul was called, Wilson delivered a free kick into the middle of the box where Balcer headed it to the lower left corner for her third goal of the season.
The 49ers continued to put pressure up top but eventually ran out of time. They had an opportunity to tie the game in the 85th minute when Wilson sent a corner kick into a crowd of players, but Santa Clara goalkeeper, Andi Tostanoski, was able to punch the ball away from the goal and a Bronco defender then cleared it out of the box.
Tostanoski had five saves, while Santa Clara finished with 10 shots as Matheson and Dani Weatherholt each had three. The Broncos move on to face top-seeded Stanford in the second round next weekend.
Long Beach State was making its third-straight NCAA Tournament appearance and fourth overall. The seven 49er seniors - Alex Balcer, Shannon Bullock, Camille Berg, Nadia Link, Jordan Nelson, Jenny Soza and Kelsey Wilson - have had a lot to do with the program's recent success. They were all members of the record-breaking 2011 squad that won a Big West Tournament title and advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight, while Balcer, Bullock, Berg, Link and Soza also played a part in Long Beach State's 2010 Big West championship and NCAA appearance.
Link, who recently earned her second-consecutive Big West Offensive Player of the Year award, will leave the program as one of the most decorated players to ever don a Long Beach State uniform. A 2011 All-American and three-time first-team All-Big West selection, Link wrapped up her stellar four-year career ranked among the program's all-time greats as she tied for second in scoring (32 goals), tied for third in points (84) and finished fifth in assists (20).
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