In its first game without senior Ashley Gonzales, the Long Beach State women’s soccer team hosted No. 22 Northwestern on Thursday. LBSU head coach Mauricio Ingrassia announced after the match the reigning Big West Offensive Player of the Year had suffered a torn ACL in Sunday’s match against No. 6 UCLA.
The senior captain will be forced apply for a medical redshirt, in the hopes of retaining a last year of eligibility. With Gonzales on the sidelines, the LBSU squad played inspired soccer in a 2-0 shutout win at George Allen Field.
“I think we owed ourselves that performance,” Ingrassia said. “We had some good moments in the last game and we were able to take what we did well and evolve it into this game.”
LBSU (1-1-1) experimented with its backline early on, which opened the game for its forwards. Sophomore Chloe Froment moved from the central position into the right back, allowing her to expose the Wildcats defense and be a facilitator for the 49ers. LBSU dominated possession and only allowed Northwestern (2-1-0) two shots throughout the first half.
The 49ers opened up the second half after senior Tori Bolden earned a free kick near the LBSU sideline 20 yards out. Senior Jessica Vincent sent the set piece into the box and found sophomore Kaitlin Fregulia, who jumped high to head it past the Wildcats’ goalie.
“I thought the difference today was Tori Bolden,” Ingrassia said. “Her ability and work ethic to stretch teams, I thought she was the difference and I told the team that.”
In the 83rd minute sophomore transfer Katie Pingel took matters into her own hands and delivered a strong strike from the top of the 18-yard box.
The 49ers had a total of 20 shots in the game to the Wildcat’s six. Northwestern received a total of four yellow cards throughout the game and a red card in the 66th minute.
“We knew at halftime we were getting into their heads at halftime,” Pingel said. “We just had to keep pressing and shooting and one was bound to go in.”
Pingel now leads LBSU with two goals this season. She is expected to be the 49ers goal scorer with Gonzales out for the remainder of the season.
“I think she [Gonzales] was that leader and captain that everyone looked to,” Pingel said. “She came to me and said ‘You’re going to have to step up, I know you just transferred and you’re a sophomore but you have to put the team on your back and lead this team’, so I said ‘Okay’.”
LBSU will now travel to San Diego State and play the Aztecs at 7 p.m. on Sunday. Last season the 49ers defeated the Aztecs 3-0 at George Allen Field.