FULLERTON — Amidst a sea of orange at Titan Stadium, Long Beach fans jumped out of their seats when a goal off the left foot of senior midfielder Dana Fujikuni tied the game in the second half.
The goal pushed the game into double overtime, but neither teams had enough to come up with a win. Long Beach State (5-4-2) tied Cal State Fullerton (3-7-2) with a score of 1-1 in a rivalry game that set a competitive tone for the rest of Big West conference play.
With 11 corner kick opportunities and two 10-minute overtime halves, Long Beach was not able to put up a winning goal. The 49ers defense struggled in the first half when a goal by Titans junior forward Atlanta Primus was scored just under three minutes.
“I was really excited to get to play out here,” sophomore forward Rola Badawiya said. “We have never beaten them here.”.
Snapping out of their sluggish performance in the first half, the 49ers stole the momentum from the Titans 60 minutes in. Multiple crossbar shots and crucial saves from senior goalkeeper Imani McDonald raised the energy throughout the massive stadium. Players on both teams began cheering while close shots and fouls brought out mixed emotions from the crowd.
“We came out slow, but we regrouped at halftime and played a hell of a second half,” head coach Mauricio Ingrassia said.
Long Beach fans became hopeful when Fujikuni took a left-footed shot on goal and hit the left goal post. The slow-moving ball found its way behind Fullerton sophomore goalkeeper Tianna Sanders, bounced over the line and fell into the net.
Senior forward Ashley Gonzales fought to score a record-breaking goal in the conference opener with two shots missing the net by a hair and a header hitting the crossbar. Badawiya stood out on the offensive end, faking out the Titans defense and accumulating three shots total.
Despite the tie, The Beach showed improvement from last year’s matchup, where they fell to Fullerton 2-0.
“I am a little disappointed. We had a lot of opportunities. I think we should have won that one,” Fujikuni said.
Long Beach will fly overseas for a 10 p.m. Oct. 4 matchup against Hawaii for its second conference game of the year.