After playing fairly even for a half, the Long Beach State women’s soccer team couldn’t keep up with No. 14 Brigham Young University in the season opener Friday.
The visiting Cougars relentlessly attacked the 49ers in the first 15 minutes of the second half to record a 2-0 victory in front of 346 fans at George Allen Field.
“We looked like we belonged on the field for large parts of the game,” said LBSU head coach Mauricio Ingrassia, who was pleased with his team’s improvement from last week’s exhibition loss to San Diego State. “Overall, it’s as positive with a loss as you can be.”
The loss snapped a five-match winning streak in season openers for LBSU (0-1).
Senior forward Kassidy Shumway recorded a goal and an assist to power BYU (1-0), the preseason favorites of the Mountain West Conference. BYU is ranked 14th by Soccer America and No. 22 by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
After watching the ‘Niners out-shoot them 4-3 in the first 45 minutes, the Cougars needed just 1 minute, 47 seconds to get on the board in the second half. Sophomore defender Stacy Bartholomew found Shumway with a cross to the middle of the box for a header to the upper right side of the goal.
“[BYU] came out hard and I think we caught ourselves a little bit unorganized,” said LBSU junior goalkeeper Emily Kingsborough, who made six saves and played all 90 minutes. “The first goal was a great goal, there’s not much you can do.”
Just into the 54th minute, Shumway setup a breakaway for sophomore forward Carlee Payne, who rocketed a shot from straightaway off the upper left post and into the net.
“I think [BYU] scored two great goals,” Ingrassia said. “If you’re going to get beat, you want to get beat on goals like that.”
Five of Kingsborough’s saves were made in the second half, which featured a 10-3 advantage in shots for BYU.
Senior midfielder Karina Camacho led all 49ers with three shot attempts, including a pair on goal.
Cougars goalkeeper McKinzie Olson recorded five saves, and was rarely put to the test thanks to an athletic defense that appeared a step quicker than the 49ers throughout the contest.
Anytime LBSU did appear to be on the attack, a mistimed or rushed pass thwarted the opportunity.
“We’ve got to continue to work on combination plays,” Ingrassia said.
Both teams played a physical first half that led to a combined 20 fouls. BYU forward Jennie Marshall picked up a yellow card less than eight minutes into the game for arguing with the officials.
Senior defender Chantel Hubbard was pulled in the second half and did not return. Ingrassia wasn’t sure of the severity, guessing it was either a cramp or a hamstring injury, but wanted to be cautious.
LBSU returns to action Monday on the road against Fresno State. Kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.