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Eighth-ranked 49ers head to No. 3 Duke for Elite Eight match-up on Friday

The 49ers will be making their first-ever appearance in the Elite Eight when they take on No. 3 Duke on Friday.

Nov. 22, 2011

NCAA Elite Eight
No. 8 Long Beach State (18-5-1) at
No. 3 Duke (20-3-1)
Friday, Nov. 25
Time: 4 p.m. (PST)
Location: Koskinen Stadium
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LONG BEACH - The No. 8 Long Beach State women's soccer team will continue its historic season on Friday, Nov. 25, when it takes on top-seeded and third-ranked Duke in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament. Kick-off is set for 4 p.m. (PST) at Koskinen Stadium in Durham, N.C.

Long Beach State is making its second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division I Women's Soccer Championship. LBSU, which earned its first-ever bid in 2008, has now made the 64-team bracket three times in the last four years.

The third time has been the charm for the 49ers as they not only earned the program's first NCAA Tournament win, but they are also the only team in Big West Conference history to advance to the Elite Eight. Cal State Fullerton (2005) and UC Irvine (2010) are the other two Big West programs to earn a postseason victory as they reached the Sweet 16.

Long Beach State is one of just three teams in the Elite Eight that has yet to allow a goal in the NCAA Tournament. The 49ers posted three straight 1-0 victories to advance to the quarterfinals. Top-ranked Stanford and No. 6 Virginia are the only other two schools to record a shutout in each of their first three games.

Dating back to the regular season, LBSU has posted five consecutive shutouts and has blanked its opponent in seven of the last eight contests.

With its victory over San Diego in the Sweet 16, LBSU extended its season-long winning streak to eight games. That is also a school record, eclipsing the previous best of six games which was set in 2008 and 2010.

The 49ers also have an impressive streak going on the defensive end as they have not allowed a goal in 447 minutes.

LBSU jumped 13 spots to No. 8 in the most recent poll released on Nov. 21. The 49ers also finished the regular season ranked 24th in the Soccer America poll and was receiving votes in the NSCAA poll (Nov. 8). Long Beach State has been in the top 25 six times this year with its highest ranking during the regular season coming at No. 22 in the NSCAA poll released on Oct. 11.

Since Mauricio Ingrassia took over the helm of the 49er women's soccer team in 2004, the program has established itself as one of the dominant forces in the Big West. The 49ers have won either a regular season or tournament championship in five of the last six years. LBSU, which has made an appearance in the conference finals in three of the last four seasons, recently claimed its second consecutive Big West Tournament title, and also won an unprecedented three straight regular season championships from 2006-08.

Nadia Link and Shawna Gordon highlighted the postseason awards for Long Beach State as they were named the Big West Offensive Player and Midfielder of the Year, respectively. The duo, along with Alex Balcer, also earned first-team All-Big West honors. Kaitlyn Gustaves and Jordan Nelson were second-team selections, while Nicole Hubbard garnered honorable mention recognition.

Duke (20-3-1) advanced to the Elite Eight for the third time in school history with a 2-1 win over Ohio State. The Blue Devils were trailing, 1-0, at the break, but scored twice in the second half for the comeback victory. The last time Duke was in the NCAA quarterfinals was in 2008.

Kelly Cobb has paced the Blue Devils with 11 goals, eight assists and 30 points, while Kaitlyn Kerr has chipped in 10 goals. Mollie Pathman leads the team in assists with 10. On the defensive end, goalkeeper Tara Campbell has played in all 24 games, registering a 0.45 goals against average, 12 shutouts and 67 saves.

Long Beach State trails in its short all-time series with Duke, 1-0. The two teams met in Honolulu, Hawaii, at the Outriggers Hotel Classic on Sept. 11, 2004. The Blue Devils prevailed, 3-0.

Eighth-year head coach Mauricio Ingrassia is closing in on the century mark for career wins at Long Beach State. Against UC Davis (Oct. 28), he picked up his 90th victory as he has led the 49ers to a 10-plus win season six times. Ingrassia is 96-53-17 at LBSU.

Long Beach State has enjoyed an historic season in 2011. In addition to claiming their second consecutive Big West Tournament title and winning their first-ever NCAA Tournament games, the 49ers have notched single-season records in goals (49), assists (52) and points (150). LBSU has also shattered the old record of 14 wins that the 2006, 2008 and 2010 clubs established as it has totaled 18 victories in 2011. The 49ers have registered their sixth 10-win campaign in the last seven years.

Individually, Nadia Link is tied at the top of the single-season charts with 16 goals and sits at No. 2 with 42 points. In addition, Link and Shawna Gordon are tied for third with 10 assists as they trail only Janet Fettig (13) and Annette Fernandez (12), who both posted their top numbers in 1984.

Freshman Ashley Roese made her first career goal one to remember as she scored the game-winner in a 1-0 victory over San Diego that put the 49ers in the NCAA Elite Eight. In the 56th minute, Roese worked to get free in the box before chipping a shot past a lunging USD goalkeeper in a one-on-one situation. The Arroyo Grande native was playing in just her ninth game of the season. Prior to the goal, Roese had two points as she notched a pair of assists in a 6-0 win at Cal Poly.

Senior Kaitlyn Gustaves was named the Primetime Player of the Week on Nov. 15 for her stellar outing in the 49ers' 1-0 overtime victory at No. 7 Pepperdine in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Gustaves had a career-high 12 saves in the win. The Long Beach native also posted her fifth consecutive shutout and extended her streak to 477 scoreless minutes with the 1-0 triumph over San Diego on Sunday. Her previous best in saves was nine in a 2-1 overtime victory against Cal State Fullerton. That showing earned her Big West Defensive Player of the Week honors on Oct. 10. On the season, Gustaves has compiled 80 saves, 12 shutouts and a 0.74 goals against average.

Junior Nadia Link, who was invited to the U.S. U-23 National Team camp in early October, ranks among the nation's best in points (12th), goals (T14th) and assists (T23rd). Link delivered the game-winner in the 99th minute of a 1-0 overtime win at No. 7 Pepperdine to give Long Beach State its first-ever NCAA Tournament victory. On the year, Link has posted a Big West leading 16 goals, 10 assists and 42 points. 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. She has also tied the single-season school record for goals, ranks second in points and is tied for third in assists. Link has registered at least one point in 15 of LBSU's 24 contests. The Rowland Heights native received Big West Offensive Player of the Week honors and was named to the Soccer America Team of the Week twice this season, while also being selected to the Team of the Week. In the 49er career record books, Link is fifth in points (59), sixth in goals (24) and is tied for eighth with 11 assists.

Senior Shawna Gordon is known for her finesse as she has a team-high 10 assists, but she is also one of the 49ers' top scoring threats with seven goals. The Rancho Cucamonga native established a school record with four assists in a 6-0 victory against Saint Mary's on Sept. 18. Gordon is currently third in LBSU history with 24 career helpers, is sixth with 58 points, and is tied for eighth with 17 career goals.

The 2011 NCAA Division I Women's College Cup is set for Dec. 2-4 at KSU Soccer Stadium in Kennesaw, Ga. The semifinals will be held on Friday, Dec. 2, at 5 and 7:30 p.m., while the championship game is slated for a 1 p.m. start on Sunday, Dec. 4.



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