Nov. 12, 2011
MALIBU, Calif. - Junior Nadia Link tied the 49er single-season record for goals as she registered the game-winner in overtime to lift the 24th-ranked Long Beach State women's soccer team past No. 7 Pepperdine, 1-0, in NCAA first round action Saturday afternoon at Rokus Field.
With the win, the 49ers notched the program's first NCAA Tournament victory after falling just short in first-round action in 2008 and 2010. LBSU also extended its current win streak to six games, improving to 16-5-1 overall.
"It was seven and a half years of work (in getting the program's first NCAA win)," head coach Mauricio Ingrassia said. "This year we felt that we had the experience and we talked about that. We felt that we had players that were in this once and a couple of players that were in it twice, like Shawna and Nicole, and a coaching staff that has now been in it for a third time. It just means the world to me, the players, the alumni, the fans, our school and to our soccer community to get this first win. It's just a great time for Long Beach State soccer!"
Link netted her team-leading 16th goal to tie the 27-year old single-season school record which was established by Annette Fernandez (1984).
"I saw the pass coming from Sidney Garza and all I heard was Mauricio say `take it down the line', and I remember thinking that it was a long way," Link said. "The ball went in, but I don't remember celebrating because I was too busy crying."
Link scored in the 99th minute as she received a pass from Garza at midfield and dribbled down the left sideline before cutting inside and sending the ball from the top of the box to the upper right corner. Link, who was named the Big West Conference Offensive Player of the Year, led the 49ers with five shots, including two on frame. Senior Shawna Gordon also finished with two attempts.
Senior Kaitlyn Gustaves had another outstanding performance in between the posts, compiling a career-high 12 saves. Gustaves hasn't allowed a goal in three consecutive games and earned her 10th shutout of the year. In the 35th minute, she made a great save on Amanda LeCave's breakaway shot from the top of the box.
In the second half, LBSU stepped up the offensive attack and came close to denting the scoreboard in the 61st minute when Gordon's shot from 40 yards out sailed just wide. In the 66th minute, Link also took a shot inside the box that missed to the right and she had another opportunity at the 69:33 mark as her attempt went just over the crossbar.
Pepperdine (15-2-5) won the battle in shot attempts, 16-to-7, but the 49ers owned a 4-1 advantage in corner kicks. Both teams finished with 12 fouls apiece and three yellow cards were issued.
The Waves, who suffered just their second loss of the season, saw their 21-game home unbeaten streak snapped. Lynn Williams and Michelle Pao tallied four shots each, including four on target by Williams.
Long Beach State will face Miami (Fla.) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, Nov. 18, at Drake Stadium on the campus of UCLA. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.
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