Sept. 18, 2012
San Diego (3-6-0) at
No. 22 Long Beach State (6-3-0)
Date: Friday, Sept. 21
Time: 7 p.m. (PT)
Location: George Allen Field
After spending the last two weekends on the road, the 22nd-ranked Long Beach State women's soccer team returns to the friendly confines of George Allen Field where it will host San Diego in its final non-conference game on Friday, Sept. 21. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m.
San Diego leads the all-time series, 9-2-1, but LBSU is unbeaten in the last three meetings at 2-0-1. The 49ers defeated the Toreros twice in 2011, including a 1-0 victory in the NCAA Sweet 16. The last time Long Beach State hosted USD at George Allen Field was in 2009 when the two squads battled to a scoreless tie.
SCOUTING THE TOREROS
San Diego enters the weekend with a 3-6-0 overall record. The Toreros, who will be hosting the 2012 Women's College Cup, have had a tough preseason schedule as Long Beach State is the sixth 2011 NCAA Tournament team they will be facing. USD has also taken on Pepperdine, Texas A&M, Washington State, North Carolina and national finalist Duke. Emily Dillon leads the team with two goals, three assists and seven points. Sierra Ferreira and Mariah Butera also have two goals each. McKenna Tollack has seen most of the action as USD's netminder with 35 saves and a 2.82 goals against average.
IN THE RANKINGS
The 49ers were ranked 22nd in the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll released on Sept. 18. LBSU has appeared in the NSCAA top-25 every week this season with a high ranking of No. 11 coming on Aug. 28.
MAES GETS PLAYER OF THE WEEK NOD
Junior Eileen Maes accounted for three of the team's four goals in Long Beach State's two games at the Under Armour Invitational to earn Big West Offensive Player of the Week honors on Sept. 17. The Oakland, Calif., native scored twice in a narrow 3-2 double-overtime loss to Texas Tech as she connected for a pair of second-half goals to give the 49ers a 2-1 lead with 19:07 remaining in regulation. Maes then came back two days later to register what proved to be the game-winner in the 69th minute of a 2-0 victory over Army. Maes, who was named to the Under Armour Invitational All-Tournament Team, has compiled four goals, three assists, 11 points and 26 shot attempts on the season.
Defender Alex Balcer has been selected as one of 30 candidates for the 2012 Women's Soccer Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the national award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.
Balcer, a two-time All-Big West pick, was the 2011 Big West Tournament MVP and garnered NSCAA second-team All-West Region honors as a junior. Off the field, Balcer is majoring in biology-physiology and has earned numerous academic awards. In addition to being a two-time Big West All-Academic selection, she has also been named to the NSCAA Women's College Scholar All-America Team (2011) and to the CoSIDA/ESPN All-Academic District 8 Third Team (2010).
LINK STAYS HOT IN TEXAS
Senior Nadia Link seems to pull out all the stops when playing in neutral-site games at Aggie Soccer Stadium in College Station, Texas. At the Aggieland Invitational in 2010, Link scored three goals in two upset wins over ranked teams, Washington State and Virginia Tech. This year, Link registered her first career hat trick in a 3-2 overtime victory over North Texas on Texas A&M's home field. Over the three neutral-site games, Link amassed six goals on 11 shot attempts. On the season, she has four goals, three assists and 11 points.
The 49ers, who are 3-1-0 in overtime contests, have been clutch late in games this season. It all started in the opener against Arizona (Aug. 17) when Ashley Roese broke a 1-1 tie at the 93:01 mark. The following weekend, Eileen Maes connected for a game-winning header goal in the 92nd minute of a 2-1 overtime victory vs. No. 24 Baylor. Nadia Link was the most recent heroine as she completed a hat trick at the 96:06 mark in a 3-2 triumph over North Texas (Sept. 9). LBSU also pulled off a huge comeback win against Michigan, scoring twice in the final three minutes of the game for the 2-1 win. Link converted a penalty kick before Kelsey Wilson drove home the game-winner less than two minutes later.
Seven different 49ers have found the back of the net over the first nine games. Nadia Link and Eileen Maes lead the way with four goals each, while Alex Balcer and Jessika Oseguera have two apiece. Ashley Roese, Natalie Zeenni and Kelsey Wilson have also scored.
GIVE ME A SHOT
Long Beach State is tied for first in the Big West with 139 shot attempts. The 49ers have two 20-plus shot games this year, with a season-high 25 coming against Saint Francis (Pa.) on Aug. 24. Nadia Link is tops on the team and in the conference with 34 attempts.
HOME SWEET HOME
Dating back to last year, LBSU has won 11-straight games at George Allen Field. LBSU's last home loss came vs. California on Sept. 9, 2011. Since 2004, the 49ers have been quite comfortable when playing at George Allen Field as they own a 47-14-11 record during the eight-year span.
LINK EYES CAREER RECORDS
Following her three-goal outburst against North Texas on Sept. 9, Nadia Link jumped into a tie for fourth among the 49ers' all-time leaders with 28 career goals. She needs just six more to eclipse the 26-year old school record of 33, which is held by Janet Fettig (1984-86). Link is also among Long Beach State's top-10 in game-winning goals (T2nd, 11), shots (4th, 164), points (5th, 70) and assists (T7th, 14).
Link's 28 goals is also tops among the active Big West career leaders. She has distanced herself from the pack as Cal State Fullerton's Stacey Fox is in second with 16.
INGRASSIA REACHES THE CENTURY MARK
Ninth-year head coach Mauricio Ingrassia registered career win No. 100 with the 49ers' 2-1 victory over Michigan on Sunday, Sept. 2, at George Allen Field. Ingrassia, who has led LBSU to six 10-plus win seasons, owns a career record of 102-57-17. Over the last six years, Ingrassia's teams have proved themselves to be one of the Big West's and NCAA's elite, claiming three regular season conference championships (2006-08), two Big West Tournament titles (2010-11) and making three NCAA Tournament appearances. In 2011, Ingrassia led Long Beach State to the NCAA Elite Eight after capturing a second consecutive Big West Tournament title and notching the program's first postseason victory at No. 7 Pepperdine. The 49ers also earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament in 2008 and 2010.
Long Beach State opens Big West Conference action on the road next weekend when it heads to UC Riverside (Sept. 28) and Cal State Fullerton (Sept. 30).
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