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Long Beach State closes out regular season by hosting Hawaii, CSUN in key Big West games

Nadia Link is one of seven seniors who will be honored prior to the 49ers' final regular season game against Cal State Northridge on Sunday.

Oct. 23, 2012

Hawaii (8-8-2, 3-4-0 Big West) at
Long Beach State (11-6-0, 4-3-0 Big West)
Friday, Oct. 26
Time: 7 p.m. (PT)
Location: George Allen Field
Follow the 49ers: Live Stats

Cal State Northridge (8-4-5, 5-1-1 Big West) at
Long Beach State (11-6-0, 4-3-0 Big West)
*Senior Day
Sunday, Oct. 28
Time: 2 p.m. (PT)
Location: George Allen Field
Follow the 49ers: Live Stats

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The Last Meeting
Long Beach State3
September 4, 2011
George Allen Field
49ers score early in 3-0 win over Hawaii
The Long Beach State women's soccer team took an early lead and never looked back in a 3-0 win over the University of Hawaii Sunday afternoon at George Allen Field.

The Last Meeting
Cal State Northridge0
Long Beach State2
November 3, 2011
George Allen Field
Link, Sweetman lift 49ers to 2-0 win over CSUN in Big West semifinals
The second-seeded Long Beach State women's soccer team took the first step towards repeating as Big West Tournament champions on Thursday afternoon as they topped No. 3 seed Cal State Northridge, 2-0, in semifinal action at George Allen Field.

With a spot in the Big West Tournament on the line, the Long Beach State women's soccer team will finish out the regular season at home against conference foes Hawaii and Cal State Northridge. The 49ers are set to take on the Rainbow Wahine at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 26, before returning to the pitch two days later for a 2 p.m. tilt with the Matadors. Both games will be played at George Allen Field.

Seven 49ers will be playing in their final regular season games at George Allen Field this weekend. Long Beach State will honor its senior class, which includes Camille Berg, Alex Balcer, Jenny Soza, Nadia Link, Kelsey Wilson, Jordan Nelson and Shannon Bullock, prior to Sunday's game against Cal State Northridge.

LBSU faces a must-win situation as it enters the final weekend of the regular season fifth in the Big West standings with 12 points. If the 49ers drop just one game, the highest they could finish would be tied for fourth with Cal State Fullerton and they would miss out on the Big West Tournament due to the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Titans. Long Beach State can mathematically still finish anywhere from first to sixth. 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.

The Rainbow Wahine (8-8-2, 3-4-0 BWC) come in to Friday's match on a two-game winning streak, taking down UC Davis (3-2) and Pacific (2-1) last weekend. Hawaii is led by sophomore forward Tiana Fujimoto who has scored eight goals and assisted on two others this season. Senior goalkeeper Kanani Taaca has made 55 saves and owns a 1.70 goals against average.

Long Beach State leads the all-time series with Hawaii, 3-2-1. The 49ers have won three in a row, including a 3-0 non-conference victory at George Allen Field in 2011. Nadia Link led the way with two of LBSU's three goals.

Cal State Northridge (8-4-5, 5-1-1 BWC) is tied with UC Irvine for second place in the Big West after earning two victories at home last weekend. The Matadors dominated Pacific on Friday, winning 6-1, and then defeated UC Davis, 1-0, on Sunday. Senior forward Melissa Fernandez leads CSUN with 17 points (6 goals, 5 assists), while goalkeeper Cynthia Jacobo owns a conference-best 0.58 goals against average. Cal State Northridge will play at UC Irvine on Friday night before making its way to Long Beach.

The 49ers lead the all-time series with the Matadors, 9-7-1. Last season, LBSU earned a split, falling 1-0 in regular season play before avenging that loss with a 2-0 victory in the semifinals of the Big West Tournament.

A new single-game home attendance record was set at George Allen Field in the 49ers' match against UC Irvine last Saturday. With 1,304 fans in attendance, Long Beach State broke the previous record of 1,204, which was established in 2007.

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 107-60-17. 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 (Oct. 12) and Pacific (Oct. 14). It also marks the third-straight year that the 49ers have reached double figures in the win column. Last year, LBSU totaled a program-best 18 victories, topping the previous record of 14, which was established in 2006, 2008 and 2010.

Nadia Link is third among the 49er all-time leaders with 31 career goals. She needs three 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 (2nd, 12), shots (3rd, 206), points (4th, 81) and assists (5th, 19).

Junior Eileen Maes has continued to produce on the offensive end as she leads the team with eight goals. Maes, who has twice been named the Big West Offensive Player of the Week, hit her first hot streak of the season at Cal State Fullerton's Under Armour Invitational where she connected for three goals in two games, earning her all-tournament honors. Maes went off again three weeks later, finding the back of the net in four-straight contests. She registered the game-winner against both UC Davis (Oct. 12) and Pacific (Oct. 14), and also scored vs. UC Santa Barbara (Oct. 5) and Cal Poly (Oct. 7). On the year, the Oakland, Calif., native has eight goals, three assists, 19 points and 40 shots.

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. 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 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 Sept. 21 following a six-save performance in a 1-0 win vs. San Diego, and then again on Oct. 15 after posting shutouts at UC Davis and Pacific. She was also tabbed the College Sports Madness Big West Player of the Week for the latter effort. On the season, the Vista, Calif., native has compiled 69 saves and a 1.19 goals against average, good for fourth in the Big West.

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, 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 shots (260) and is tied for first with Cal Poly in assists (26). The 49ers also rank second in goals (30) and points (86). Individually, Nadia Link leads all players with 76 shots, 22 points and eight assists. She is also tied for fourth with seven goals, while teammate Eileen Maes is tied for second (8).

Long Beach State has reached double figures in shot attempts 15 times this year and has fired off more than 20 shots on three occasions. The 49ers had a season-high 25 attemps 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 on Sunday, Oct. 7, when Cal Poly prevailed 4-3 in double overtime. Prior to that 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 49-16-11 home record since 2004.

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 selction, the Tuscon, 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).

Nadia Link was named to the 2012 Missouri Athletic Club's (MAC) Hermann Trophy Watch List by the NSCAA and the MAC prior to the season. The MAC Hermann Trophy is the highest individual award in intercollegiate soccer. The list will be narrowed down by the NSCAA members from Division I programs to 15 semifinalists by Nov. 29. Member coaches and fans will then vote for their top three choices and the finalists will be announced Dec. 6.



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