Aug 30, 2013
The Long Beach State women's soccer team is looking to bounce back from a tough loss at Santa Clara, which was ranked 23rd in the Soccer America poll, when it continues its road trip this Sunday (Sept. 1) at Texas Tech. Kick-off is set for 4:30 p.m. (PDT). This marks the second-straight ranked opponent the 49ers will be facing as the Red Raiders are No. 23 in the NSCAA poll.
A GLANCE AT TEXAS TECH
No. 23 Texas Tech (2-0-0) opened the 2013 season with a pair of wins, defeating New Mexico, 1-0, before toppling Colorado State, 6-0. Jessica Disabella led the attack with two goals and one assist. She scored the game-winner against the Lobos in the 86th minute. Hayley Haagsma also found the back of the net twice vs. Colorado State, while goalkeeper Victoria Esson did not allow a goal in 136 minutes played. The Red Raiders will host Idaho State (Aug. 30), before the 49ers make their way to Lubbock, Texas.
Long Beach State trails in its short series with Texas Tech, 0-1-0. The two teams met for the first time last year at the Under Armour Invitational in Fullerton. The Red Raiders scored the game-winner with 31 seconds left in the second and final overtime for the 3-2 win. Eileen Maes accounted for both of the 49ers' goals.
When the underclassmen outnumber the upperclassmen, there are bound to be some growing pains. The 49ers have a group of 12 extremely talented freshmen, but the task of replacing the likes of two-time All-American and Big West Offensive Player of the Year Nadia Link, along with all-conference defenders Alex Balcer and Jordan Nelson, will not be easy. LBSU, which has played seven true freshmen including five who have started both matches so far, is still gaining experience and searching for the right chemistry.
The last time Long Beach State had such a huge roster turnover was in 2009, when it had to recover from the loss of 11 players to graduation. That squad struggled to a 5-11-3 record, but the 49ers proceeded to win the next two Big West Tournaments and make an unprecedented run to the NCAA Elite Eight (2011).
MAES HELPS REPLACE MISSING LINK
Two-time Big West Offensive Player of the Year and NSCAA All-American Nadia Link had been a stalwart on the 49er front line the past three years. This season, with the loss of Link to graduation, most of the focus will shift to senior Eileen Maes. Maes, who has taken a team-high five shots, was a second-team All-Big West selection last year. She totaled nine goals, which ranked second in the conference. The Oakland, Calif., native is one of five seniors on a 49er squad that features 21 underclassmen.
MCKEOWN GETS THE NOD
True freshman Ashton McKeown (Huntington Beach, Calif.) begins the 2013 season as the 49ers' starting goalkeeper. She allowed just one goal in a tough 1-0 loss to Northern Arizona in the season opener and had four saves at No. 23 Santa Clara. McKeown also played 57 minutes in an exhibition match against FIU, finishing with two stops while holding the Panthers scoreless. McKeown prepped at Calvary Chapel High School in Santa Ana where she was a two-time first-team All-Orange Coast League selection.
LBSU will face three non-conference opponents who were ranked in the NSCAA Preseason Poll (Aug. 17). The 49ers have road contests this week at then No. 16 Santa Clara and No. 24 Texas Tech. They then return home to host sixth-ranked BYU (Sept. 21), which advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight a year ago.
Long Beach State returns to George Allen Field for a pair of night games next weekend as it entertains Cincinnati on Friday, Sept. 6 (7 p.m.), and Loyola Marymount on Sunday, Sept. 8 (6 p.m.).
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