Soccer To Start Year With Preseason Exhibition Against UC Irvine
Be sure to catch the start of 2018-19 in Orange County.
Long Beach, Calif. -
• Long Beach State begins the 2018 campaign with a unique exhibition, traveling to the Great Park Stadium in Orange County to host UC Irvine in a preseason scrimmage on Saturday, August 11. The Beach is welcoming alumni, fans and supporters to join us for a pre-game reception at the event to help kick off the season. The reception will begin at 5 p.m., with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.
• The Beach returns 18 letterwinners for the 2018 season from the 2017 team, and welcomes back nine starters from last season in goalkeeper Imani McDonald, defenders Kaitlin Fregulia, Sarah Pilster, Chloe Froment and Alyssa Alvarez, midfielders Katie Pingel, Rocio Rodriguez, and Dana Fujikuni and forward Rola Badawiya.
• Another key returner for Long Beach State missed 2017, as Ashley Gonzales returns for the Beach. The senior played in just two games before a medical redshirt, but the 2016 Big West Offensive Player of the Year is back for LBSU in 2018. Gonzales through three seasons already rates among Long Beach State’s all-time offensive leaders.
• The LBSU defense should be an area of strength in the upcoming year. The Beach recorded 9 shutouts one season ago, second-most in the Big West, and return four starters from the back line as well as senior Sarah Maher and goalkeeper Imani McDonald. Combined, Alyssa Alvarez, Kaitlin Fregulia, Chloe Froment, Sarah Pilster and Maher have combined for 195 games of experience in defense.
• In last year’s meeting between the two teams on the road at Anteater Stadium, neither team found the net in 110 minutes in a scoreless draw in the only game between the two.
• In the event of poor air quality due to the fires, alternate locations may be considered. Please follow us on twitter @LBSUAthletics and @LBSUSoccer for updates.
• In the absence of Gonzales at the top of the formation in 2017, Long Beach State had tremendous offensive balance, with 13 different players combining to score the 25 total goals for the Beach on the year, while 12 players combined for the assists on those goals. In total, 17 different players combined to play in Long Beach State’s scoring last season.
• Long Beach State will once again face a tremendous non-conference schedule. On the slate are three road games against opponents ranked in the Top 25, including the season opener against No. 2 UCLA as well as at USC and Texas. Additionally, Long Beach State will host two opponents receiving votes in the preseason polls in Auburn as well as the team’s home opener on August 19 against SMU.
• Receiving two first-place votes, Long Beach State was picked to finish second in the Big West preseason coaches poll, two points behind UC Irvine, who took the top spot along with three first-place votes. Cal State Fullerton also received three first-place votes and was picked to finish third and the three rivals were very close in the final point totals. CSUN was picked to finish fourth, followed by UC Davis who received the final first-place vote. UCSB, UC Riverside, Cal Poly and Hawai’i rounded out the order as predicted by the coaches.
• The Beach had three players selected to the 11-player preseason all-conference team as well. Senior Forward Ashley Gonzales and Junior F/MF Katie Pingel were two of the offensive players selected, while defender Chloe Froment was one of the four defenders picked as the top representatives for the Big West entering the season. All three have previously earned All-Big West honors, with Gonzales and Froment both claiming top individual honors in 2016.
• Along with Long Beach State’s nine returning starters, the Beach brings back six additional players that played in over half of the 49ers’ games last season. Senior Sarah Maher will help bolster the defense, while Taylor Bistline, Kayla Cannon, Kaylee Ramirez, Nadiyah Siqueiros,and Makayla Soll will all continue to challenge for time on the field in 2018.
• Additional reinforcements for the Beach come in the form of seven newcomers for 2018. Riana Castaneda joins the team as a junior college transfer after two years as the starting goalkeeper at Fresno City College. She is joined by six new freshman in a highly touted class featuring Sierra Castles, Charlotte Guillory, Elysia Laramie, Angela Morales, Lena Silano, and goalkeeper Abigail Trengove.
SCOUTING THE ANTEATERS
• UC Irvine won the Big West regular season championship in 2017, and will provide a great warmup to the 2018 season and non-conference slate that will feature some great tests for the Beach. The Anteaters and LBSU were picked to finish 1-2 in the Big West in the preseason coaches poll.
SERIES RECORD vs. UC IRVINE
• UC Irvine has the all-time edge in the series between the Black and Blue Rivals, though Long Beach State currently has a three-game unbeaten streak against the Anteaters. In the last six meetings, the teams have tied three times, with UC Irvine taking one win and Long Beach State two, including the 2016 Big West Tournament championship.
THIS AND THAT
• Last season, Long Beach State led the Big West in attendance and set a new single-season best while averaging 992 in attendance per game. With plenty of fun promotions and a great schedule on the horizon, Beach Women’s Soccer is looking to break 1,000 fans per game for the first time in 2018.
• Long Beach State will have three players on the roster that have earned top honors in the Big West conference in their careers. Forward Ashley Gonzales was the 2016 Offensive Player of the Year, while defender Chloe Froment was the 2016 Freshman of the Year. Defender Kaitlin Fregulia was honored as the Big West Defensive Player of the Year last season as well.
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