The Long Beach State women’s soccer team returns home from the Big Island for a two-game homestand. Long Beach hosts a 6 p.m. Thursday matchup against Cal Poly and finishes the weekend 6 p.m. Sunday against UC Santa Barbara.
“Against Cal Poly we just have to be us,” head coach Mauricio Ingrassia said. “Show up as who we are and take care of business.”
The team is approaching the weekend one game at a time, giving its full attention to the Mustangs. Long Beach has struggled to find its offense lately, starting Big West play with a tie, but are coming off a big 3-2 win against Hawai’i. Senior midfielder Dana Fukijuni and senior forward Ashley Gonzales have made up a huge chunk of the team’s offense with eight goals and five assists combined.
“I think this is the most resilient team in terms of responding to setbacks that we’ve ever had,” Ingrassia said.
A tough preseason has prepared Long Beach for an easier conference schedule, but not everything has gone according to plan. The team’s first Big West game ended in a tie against conference rival and last place team, Fullerton. On paper it looked like an easy win, but the Titans scored three minutes into the match, demoralizing the 49ers.
Long Beach has had heartbreaking moments all season, but have always found a way to bounce back.
“Every time we’ve had a setback or a painful moment like against UCLA, we bounced back 36 hours later getting a big win against SMU,” Ingrassia said.
This weekend will be a big test for how the 49ers can perform with short rest. Cal Poly is led by senior midfielder Sydney Knauer and junior forward Jessica Johnson who have combined for five goals, while Santa Barbara is led by junior forward Shaelan Murison who has scored nine goals this season.
With only four more home games left in the season, it will be important for the 49ers to have a successful weekend before they hit the road again.