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No. 21 LBSU women's soccer opens Big West play at UC Riverside, Cal State Fullerton

The 49ers begin their Big West Conference slate on the road this weekend as they head to UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton.

Sept. 25, 2012

No. 21 Long Beach State (7-3-0, 0-0-0 Big West) at
UC Riverside (5-4-2, 0-0-0 Big West)
Friday, Sept. 28
Time: 5 p.m.
Location: UC Riverside Soccer Stadium
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No. 21 Long Beach State (7-3-0, 0-0-0 Big West) at
Cal State Fullerton (3-6-0, 0-0-0 Big West)
Sunday, Sept. 30
Time: 5 p.m.
Location: Titan Stadium
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The Last Meeting
UC Riverside0
Long Beach State1
October 21, 2011
George Allen Field
Sweetman's second-half goal gives 49ers 1-0 victory over UC Riverside
Senior Nicole Sweetman scored the game-winning goal in the 75th minute to give the Long Beach State women's soccer team a 1-0 victory over UC Riverside Friday afternoon at George Allen Field.

The Last Meeting
Cal State Fullerton1  
Long Beach State2ot
October 9, 2011
George Allen Field
Thrilling rally brings No. 23 Long Beach State past Cal State Fullerton
The Long Beach State women's soccer team used a late rally to remain undefeated in the Big West and pick up its sixth-straight win with a dramatic 2-1 overtime victory over Cal State Fullerton Sunday afternoon at George Allen Field.

The 21st-ranked Long Beach State women's soccer team opens Big West action on the road for the second year in a row as it travels to UC Riverside on Friday, Sept. 28, before heading to Cal State Fullerton on Sunday, Sept. 30. Both matches are set for a 5 p.m. start.

UC Riverside (5-4-2, 0-0-0 BWC) split a pair of games in its own tournament last weekend, falling to New Mexico, 1-0, before topping Lamar, 2-1. Celina Valencia leads the team with three goals, two assists and 27 shot attempts. Crystal Lopez has also scored three times, while adding one helper. Jessica White has manned the net for UCR with 54 saves and a 1.29 goals against average.

Long Beach State leads in its all-time series with UC Riverside, 6-2-4, and is unbeaten in the last five meetings (4-0-1). The 49ers have also blanked the Highlanders in each of the last two years, defeating UCR, 1-0, at George Allen Field in 2011 and 3-0 in Riverside in 2010.

Cal State Fullerton enters the weekend with a 3-6-0 overall record. The Titans will be returning from a 12-day layoff when they host UC Irvine in their Big West opener on Friday (Sept. 28). Ann Marie Tangorra is tops on the squad with four goals, nine points and 31 shots, while Erica Mazeau has totaled a team-high five assists. Lindsey Maricic (1.00 GAA) and Katie Pulliam (1.75 GAA) have split time in front of the net for Fullerton.

Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton are tied in the all-time series, 7-7-0, but the 49ers have won two in a row. In 2011, LBSU beat the Titans, 2-1, in overtime at George Allen Field. The last time the two teams met at Titan Stadium was in 2010 when Long Beach State claimed a 5-2 victory.

The 49ers were ranked 21st in the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll released on Sept. 25. LBSU has appeared in the NSCAA top-25 every week this season with a high ranking of No. 11 on Aug. 28. Long Beach State also came in at No. 7 in the first NCAA Women's Soccer RPI rankings (Sept. 25).

LBSU extended its home winning streak to 12 games with a 1-0 victory over San Diego at George Allen Field last Friday (Sept. 21). Freshman Elizabeth Lyons accounted for the only goal of the game, while sophomore goalkeeper Marrina Meyers compiled six saves in her third shutout. At the 70:48 mark, freshman Hannah Sanders delivered a lead pass to Lyons on the right side, who then made a quick cut move to shake her defender before sending the ball to the upper left corner. It was Lyons' first career goal.

The 49ers have now defeated USD by way of a 1-0 score in each of the last three meetings. In 2011, Long Beach State topped the Toreros in San Diego and at UCLA in the NCAA Sweet 16.

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 103-57-17. 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 is three victories away from reaching the 10-win plateau for the seventh time in the last eight years. In 2011, the 49ers registered a school-record 18 wins, eclipsing the previous high of 14, which the 2006, 2008 and 2010 squads had established.

Sophomore goalkeeper Marrina Meyers was named the Big West Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 24. The Vista, Calif., native earned her first weekly award after compiling six saves and picking up her third shutout in a 1-0 victory over San Diego (Sept. 21). On the season, Meyers has 51 saves and a 1.16 goals against average.

Freshman Elizabeth Lyons connected for her first career goal last weekend, netting the game-winner in a 1-0 victory over San Diego. Lyons, who has consistently put pressure up top with her speed, finally broke through on her 15th attempt of the season. The Los Angeles native also has one assist on the year.

Junior Eileen Maes accounted for three of the 49ers' four goals in their two games at the Under Armour Invitational, Sept. 14-16. 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 LBSU 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 was named to the Under Armour Invitational All-Tournament Team and was also tabbed the Big West Offensive Player of the Week for her effort. On the season, she has compiled four goals, three assists, 11 points and 27 shot attempts.

Alex Balcer was selected as one of 30 national candidates for the 2012 Women's Soccer Senior CLASS Award. In her three-plus year career, Balcer has been an All-Big West selection, Big West Tournament MVP and NSCAA All-West Region pick. Off the field, she is majoring in biology-physiology and has earned numerous academic awards. In addition to being a two-time Big West All-Academic selection, the Tucson, Ariz., native 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).

The 49ers have been clutch late in games this season as they have scored the game-winner in either the second half or overtime in six contests. 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 also completed a hat trick at the 96:06 mark in a 3-2 triumph over North Texas (Sept. 9). In addition, Long Beach State 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. LBSU also scored in the final 20 minutes to top Army, 2-0, and San Diego, 1-0.

Dating back to last year, Long Beach State has won 12-straight home 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 48-14-11 record during the eight-plus year span.

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 LBSU's top-10 in game-winning goals (T2nd, 11), shots (4th, 166), points (5th, 70) and assists (T7th, 14).

Senior Alex Balcer earned Big West Women's Soccer Defensive Player of the Week honors and was named a College Soccer 360 Primetime Performer after leading the 49ers to wins over Saint Francis (Aug. 24) and No. 24 Baylor (Aug. 26). Balcer was the centerpiece of a stingy LBSU defensive unit that held Saint Francis to just five shots in a 2-0 win. She also stepped up on offense in a 2-1 overtime victory against Baylor, scoring the equalizer in the 64th minute. It was Balcer's second goal of the season and third of her career.

Long Beach State, winners of the last two Big West Tournaments, was picked to finish first in the 2012 Big West Preseason Coaches Poll. LBSU received nine of the 10 first-place votes for a total of 99 points. It was the first time since 2007 that the 49ers were favored to win the conference.

Long Beach State hosts UC Santa Barbara in its Big West home opener at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 5. The 49ers will also entertain Cal Poly in a 1 p.m. conference tilt on Sunday (Oct. 7).



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