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LBSU begins Big West title defense with semifinal game against CSUN on Thursday

The 49ers play host to Cal State Northridge in a Big West Tournament semifinal game on Thursday.
(Photo by Steven Georges)

Nov. 1, 2011

Big West Tournament Semifinals
Cal State Northridge (7-9-2, 4-3-1 BWC) at
Long Beach State (13-5-1, 6-2-0 BWC)
Thursday, Nov. 3
Time: 2 p.m.
Location: George Allen Field
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LONG BEACH - The Long Beach State women's soccer team, which is riding a three-game winning streak, is looking to defend its Big West Tournament title this week as it hosts a semifinal match against Cal State Northridge on Thursday, Nov. 3. Kick-off is set for 2 p.m. at George Allen Field.

LBSU was not featured in the national polls this week, but was fifth in the NSCAA West Regional rankings. The 49ers have been in the top 25 three times this season with their highest ranking coming at No. 22 in the NSCAA poll released on Oct. 11.

Eighth-year head coach Mauricio Ingrassia is closing in on the century mark for career wins at Long Beach State. Last Friday against UC Davis, he picked up his 90th victory as he has led the 49ers to a 10-plus win season in six of the last eight years. Ingrassia is 91-53-17 at LBSU.

Nadia Link was named the Big West Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season as she continued her stellar junior campaign with two goals and three assists in key wins over UC Davis and Pacific last weekend. She started with a pair of helpers in a 2-0 triumph against the Aggies and came back two days later to register two goals, including the game-winner, and a helper in a 4-2 win vs. the Tigers.

Cal State Northridge (7-9-2, 4-3-1 BWC) earned the No. 3 seed after winning a head-to-head tiebreaker with UC Davis. The Matadors dropped their last two Big West regular season games against UC Irvine and at UC Riverside, but defeated Cal State Bakersfield, 3-0, in their non-conference finale on Sunday. Heidi Farran leads CSUN with seven goals and 16 points, while Melissa Fernandez has chipped in four goals and four assists. Cynthia Jacobo has anchored the defense with 54 saves, four shutouts and a 1.44 goals against average.

Long Beach State leads in its all-time series with Cal State Northridge, 8-7-1. The Matadors edged the 49ers in the most recent meeting as Heidi Farran scored the game-winner at the 88:23 mark in a 1-0 victory at Northridge on Oct. 14. LBSU had claimed the previous two contests, however, as it beat CSUN by a 2-1 margin in both the regular season and the Big West Tournament semifinals last year. The 49ers are 5-2-1 when playing the Matadors in Long Beach and have not dropped a home contest in the series since 2004.

LBSU has won its last six home games and is 9-1 at George Allen Field this year. Since the program was reinstated in 1998, the 49ers are 69-37-16 when playing in Long Beach and own an even more impressive home record of 48-15-9 in the Mauricio Ingrassia era.

Long Beach State is in the midst of what is already a memorable year. The 49ers have scored a Big West leading 43 goals and they are just one shy of tying the program record, which was established in 2008 (44). LBSU has also registered its sixth 10-win season in the last seven years.

Individually, Nadia Link is second in the single-season record books in goals scored with a team-high 14 tallies. She needs just two more to tie the single-season record of 16 which was set by Annette Fernandez in 1984. In addition, Link (10) needs three more assists and Shawna Gordon (9) needs four helpers to tie Janet Fettig for the single-season record (13).

Junior Nadia Link, who was invited to the U.S. U-23 National Team camp in early October, ranks among the best in the nation in points (T13th), assists (T15th) and goals (T24th) per game. Link also leads the Big West in total goals (14), assists (10) and points (38). She is just the third 49er in school history, and the first since the program was reinstated in 1998, to reach double figures in both goals and assists. Link has four multiple-goal games on the year and has registered at least one point in 13 of LBSU's 19 contests. The Rowland Heights native has been named the Big West Offensive Player of the Week twice this season and was also selected to the and Soccer America Teams of the Week on Sept. 5. In the 49er career record books, Link is sixth with 22 goals, seventh with 55 points and is tied for eighth with 11 assists.

Senior Shawna Gordon is known for her finesse as she has a career-high nine assists, but she is also one of the 49ers' top scoring threats with seven goals. Gordon scored the game-winner on a penalty kick in a 2-1 overtime win at UC Santa Barbara (Sept. 30) before notching two goals and an assist in a 6-0 triumph over Cal Poly (Oct. 2). Earlier this year, the Rancho Cucamonga native also established a school record with four assists in a 6-0 victory against Saint Mary's. Gordon is currently third in LBSU history with 23 career helpers and is tied for eighth with 17 career goals.

Senior Nicole Hubbard registered her first career hat trick in a 6-0 win over Saint Mary's on Sept. 18. The Lakewood native is second on the team with eight goals this season. She is also tied for eighth on the 49ers' all-time top 10 list with 17 career goals.

Senior Kaitlyn Gustaves was tabbed the Big West Women's Soccer Defensive Player of the Week after registering a career-high nine saves in a 2-1 overtime victory against Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 9. On the season, the Long Beach native has compiled 55 saves, seven shutouts and a league-leading 0.93 goals against average. Her GAA and shutout total rank among the top 10 in the 49er single-season record books.

The Big West championship game is set for Sunday, Nov. 6. The winners of both semifinal matches will square off at the home field of the highest remaining seed.



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