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LBSU women's soccer returns home to take on Big West rival UC Irvine on Saturday

The 49ers return to the friendly confines of George Allen Field this weekend as they will play host to Big West rival UC Irvine on Saturday.

Oct. 16, 2012

UC Irvine (8-8-1, 4-1-1 BWC) at
Long Beach State (11-5-0, 4-2-0 BWC)
Saturday, Oct. 20
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: George Allen Field
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The Long Beach State women's soccer team continues Big West Conference play at home on Saturday, Oct. 20, when it takes on UC Irvine in a pivotal match-up at 7 p.m. at George Allen Field.

The Last Meeting
Long Beach State1
UC Irvine0
November 6, 2011
Irvine, Calif.
49ers claim second consecutive Big West Tournament title with 1-0 win at UC Irvine
Behind a phenomenal defensive performance and a goal from senior Jazz Strozier, the Long Beach State women's soccer team claimed its second consecutive Big West Tournament title with a 1-0 victory over top-seeded and 16th-ranked UC Irvine Sunday afternoon at Anteater Stadium.

Long Beach State is currently tied for third with Cal State Fullerton in the Big West standings with 12 points. The 49ers are just one point behind second-place UC Irvine and four points behind conference leader Cal Poly. Cal State Northridge is also still in the playoff picture in fifth place (10 points). The top four teams advance to the Big West Tournament which will be held at UC Irvine's Anteater Stadium on Nov. 1 and Nov. 4.

In Saturday's crucial match-up with UC Irvine, LBSU will be looking to break the program's single-game home attendance record of 1,204, which was established in 2007. The 49ers' top attendance mark at George Allen Field this season was 808 against San Diego on Sept. 21.

The Anteaters (8-8-1, 4-1-1 BWC) are coming off a 1-0 win at Pacific on Friday (Oct. 12) and a 1-1 tie at UC Davis on Sunday (Oct. 14). UCI's lone conference loss came against Cal Poly on Oct. 5. Junior forward Natalia Ledezma leads UC Irvine with 11 points (3 goals, 5 assists), while sophomore forward Laura McGrail has a team-best five goals. Freshman Corey Tobin has taken over goalkeeping duties, owning a 4-2-1 record and 1.47 goals against average.

Long Beach State trails in its all-time series with UC Irvine, 10-7-3. In 2011, the Anteaters won the regular season meeting, 2-0, but the second-seeded 49ers returned to Irvine to avenge that loss with a 1-0 victory over the top-seeded Anteaters in the Big West Tournament championship game. It was the second year in a row that LBSU defeated UCI to win the conference tournament.

Long Beach State swept the Big West weekly awards for the first time since 2010 as junior Eileen Maes was named the offensive player of the week and redshirt freshman goalkeeper Marrina Meyers earned defensive player of the week honors. The duo led LBSU to road wins at UC Davis (1-0) and Pacific (2-0). Maes, who scored on two of her four shots on frame, accounted for both of the 49ers' game-winning goals.

Meyers, who was also tabbed the College Sports Madness Big West Women's Soccer Player of the Week, paced the defensive effort, registering her fourth and fifth shutouts of the year. The Vista, Calif., native totaled five saves against the Aggies, the biggest of which came in the 65th minute when she swatted away a penalty kick. It was the second weekly honor for both Maes and Meyers and increased Long Beach State's season total to five.

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 seven 10-plus win seasons, owns a career record of 107-59-17. 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 surpassed the 10-win plateau for the seventh time in the last eight years after defeating UC Davis and Pacific last weekend. This also marks the third-straight season that the 49ers have reached double figures in the win column. Last year, LBSU totaled a program-best 18 victories, eclipsing the previous record of 14, which was established in 2006, 2008 and 2010.

Nadia Link enters the weekend ranked third among the 49er all-time leaders with 31 career goals. She needs just three more to eclipse the 26-year old school record which is held by Janet Fettig. Link is also among LBSU's top-10 in game-winning goals (2nd, 12), shots (3rd, 202), points (4th, 81) and assists (5th, 19).

Junior Eileen Maes has continued to produce on the offensive end as she now has a team-leading eight goals. Maes, who scored the game-winner at UC Davis and Pacific last weekend, has found the back of the net in each of the last four contests. She has also registered at least one point in 10 of LBSU's 16 games. Her best weekend came at Cal State Fullerton's Under Armour Invitational, where she connected for three goals in two games. Maes was named to the all-tournament team and was tabbed the Big West Offensive Player of the Week for her effort. On the year, Maes has eight goals, three assists, 19 points and 39 shots.

Even with all eyes on her, once All-American Nadia Link gets going, she is nearly unstoppable. The senior forward has a team and conference-best 22 points, 15 of which were compiled in three games. Link registered her first career hat trick in a 3-2 overtime win against North Texas (six points), finished with one goal and a career-high three assists at UC Riverside (five points) and had one goal and two helpers vs. Cal Poly (four points). On the year, the Walnut, Calif., native has six games with multiple points.

Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Marrina Meyers, who walked on and did not see any playing time last year, has stepped into a starting role in 2012. She has settled right in as she has twice been named the Big West Defensive Player of the Week, earning the honor on Oct. 15 after posting shutouts at UC Davis and Pacific, and on Sept. 21 following a six-save performance in a 1-0 win vs. San Diego. On the season, the Vista, Calif., native has compiled 69 saves and a 1.22 goals against average, which ranks fourth in the Big West.

Senior Kelsey Wilson (San Clemente, Calif.) has compiled a career-high six assists this season. She ranks second on the squad behind Big West leader Nadia Link (8). Wilson, who is often on the front end of the 49ers' set plays, has had at least one assist in five games, including three of the last four. She also had a career-best two helpers at UC Riverside (Sept. 28). Wilson is one assist away from breaking into the school's all-time top-10 after just one-plus seasons at Long Beach State.

Redshirt freshman Renee Mendiola has come on strong in conference play. Since the start of the 49ers' Big West slate, Mendiola has amassed three goals and one assist. Even more impressive is the fact that she has only taken three shots in Big West games. Mendiola missed last weekend's action with an injury. The Long Beach native's seven points ranks fourth on the team.

The 49ers have put their depth on display this season with 13 different players accounting for the team's 30 goals. Eileen Maes leads the way with eight goals, while Nadia Link has added seven. Renee Mendiola (3), Alex Balcer (2) and Jessika Oseguera (2) have also found the back of the net on more than one occasion.

LBSU is tops in the Big West in points (86), assists (26) and shots (248). The 49ers also rank second with 30 goals. Individually, Nadia Link leads all players in the conference with 72 shots, 22 points and eight assists. She also ranks third with seven goals, while teammate Eileen Maes is second (8).

Long Beach State has reached double figures in shot attempts 14 times this year and has fired off more than 20 shots on three occasions. The 49ers had a season-high 25 attempts in a 2-0 triumph over Saint Francis and also had 24 against Cal Poly and 22 in a 3-2 overtime win vs. North Texas.

Long Beach State saw its 13-game home winning streak come to an end when Cal Poly prevailed, 4-3, in double overtime on Oct. 7. Prior to the loss, the 49ers hadn't dropped a game at George Allen Field since Sept. 9, 2011. LBSU is still quite comfortable when playing in Long Beach, however, as it owns a 49-15-11 home record since 2004.

Long Beach State will finish out the regular season at home against Hawaii on Friday, Oct. 26 (7 p.m.), and Cal State Northridge on Sunday, Oct. 28 (2 p.m.).



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