Jan. 29, 2014
No. 12 Long Beach State vs. No. 8 San Diego State
Location: Long Beach, Calif.
WILL THE DRAMA CARRY OVER?
Last year, Long Beach State and San Diego State played in three closely contested games. In fact, none of the three games were decided by more than two goals and the teams actually equaled each other out with each scoring 19 goals over the three contests. The Aztecs got the best of the season series, winning both regular season matchups. However, The Beach pulled off the 8-6 upset in the postseason to take third in the Big West Tournament to end the year. The two programs were neck and neck in the national poll last year and early this year. SDSU will be the 49ers second top-10 challenge this year as the Aztecs rank eighth in the latest CWPA poll.
MORGAN WITH A BIG START
Junior attacker Justine Morgan made a big splash to start the 2014 season last weekend. Morgan scored nine goals to lead the 49ers to a 3-1 start to the year. Her nine goals account for over one-third of her total just a year ago. She scored 26 goals in all of 2013 while playing in all 32 contests. She tallied two hat tricks last weekend with both coming on Sunday against Bakersfield and Claremont.
THE BEACH IN THE POLLS
The 2014 season began with Long Beach State already on the doorstep of being a top-10 program. Its No. 11 preseason ranking was the highest under head coach Gavin Arroyo and highest since the 49ers began the 2006 season in the top-10. After an idle first week, The Beach moved up to No. 10 in the CWPA poll. With their lone loss in a 3-1 record to start the season to No. 4 Cal, The Beach dropped a couple spots to No. 12 in the national poll with a matchup with No. 8 San Diego State looming this weekend.
NEWCOMERS PITHING IN
Two newcomers to the 49ers program joined in Sunday's scoring party. Junior transfer Kellie Guerin and freshman Faith O'Malley each pitched in a goal to the team's 13-goal effort against Claremont. O'Malley was the lone freshman to score last weekend.
ANOTHER STRONG START
The Beach is off to another strong start. The 49ers duplicated last season's opening weekend result, going 3-1 through their first tournament. Last year started with an upset of Michigan and a narrow overtime loss to San Diego State, who was ranked No. 7 at the time. The unranked 49ers of 2013 went to have a great season. This time, the 49ers went into their opening weekend ranked 10th in the country by the CWPA. They were unable to score the season opening upset against No. 4 Cal but took care of business the rest of the weekend.
COMING HOME EARLY
The Beach will make an early season appearance at LBSU's Campus Pool this Sunday, Feb. 2. No. 10 San Diego State will roll into town for a noon matchup of former conference rivals. Last year, 49er fans had to just five chances to check out the team and LBSU posted a 3-2 record in home games. It wasn't until Mar. 12 that The Beach played at home. This year, The Beach will welcome in their fans for seven home games and are home twice in February, three times in March and twice more in April.
POSTSEASON AT THE BEACH
The Big West Tournament will take its turn in Long Beach this year with Long Beach State hosting the conference-wide tournament. The tournament to decide the Big West's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament runs Apr. 25-27 in the Campus Pool.
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