The Long Beach State women’s soccer team finished last season with a disappointing 5-11-3 overall record and just one Big West Conference victory, leaving them eighth in the nine-team league.
The Beach will return a large portion of last season’s young core, including leading goal scorer Shawna Gordon. LBSU will also return former Big West Midfielder of the Year Lindsay Bullock as well as Nicole Hubbard.
With the season right around the corner, the Daily 49er took time to talk with head coach Mauricio Ingrassia about this year’s squad. LBSU will host San Diego State at George Allen Field on Saturday at 5 p.m. in an exhibition.
Daily 49er: Scoring was a struggle last season, what’s been addressed since the end of the season to improve in that area?
Mauricio Ingrassia: I think that some of the key players got a lot fitter, we had a couple of key players that hadn’t played in a long time last season. You know with soccer every team in the world is looking for goal scorers. It’s not just at this level. And so we just have to all be willing to give the extra push to get the ball in the back of the net. It’s a team thing more than an individual thing.
49er: Nicoline Jorgensen appears to no longer be on the roster. There are just two goalkeepers listed, but Kaitlyn Gustaves had to sit out last season. Is there a favorite to be the starter between Emily Kingsborough and Gustaves?
MI: No, they are both working hard and they are a crew. They understand that when one plays the other one is going to be behind her. Right now, Emily played every minute in the spring and we didn’t drop a game in spring, and she had four or five shutouts, so she did a great job. Kaitlyn couldn’t play in the spring so now this is the first time she is actually able to compete.
49er: Any comment as to why Jorgensen is off the team?
MI: She’s not [kicked] off the team, she transferred out. She couldn’t pay out-of-state tuition and she didn’t get the in-state wavier, she is from Denmark. She needed to find a school that suited her, so she transferred to Cal Baptist.
49er: What needs to be done to get this team back into contention in the Big West?
MI: They just need to keep working and keep having good days. Last year we were really young, we had 18 new kids, the first time I think we were out-numbered by the newcomers, and that’s what happened last year. Now they have a full year under their belt, we had a great training camp. We did a lot of work over the summer. We had a great spring, played some good competition and had some really good results. With time, that confidence is going to come. We had a tough schedule so we’ve got August and September to get that team up to par to contend for the league.
49er: Are there any specific players you expect to have a breakthrough season? Are any newcomers expected to make an immediate impact?
MI: I don’t know about individuals but I expect the team to have a breakthrough season. I think the team is a work in progress with all the returning players we have. I’m waiting for the team to breakout and play the way that they are capable of playing. We have a couple of newcomers that I think are going to get minutes right away. Kassidy Hause, Tori Baldridge have done a good job, Kristyn Benavidez was doing well but she got injured and Sidney Garza transferred from Saint Mary’s. There are pieces that are going to help.
49er: Lindsay Bullock had a game winner in the offseason, do you think that kind of success can carry over into the next season or do you think that’s a whole different story?
MI: Well you’re talking about a player that has been the Big West Player of the Year and had ten goals as a sophomore when we went to the NCAA Tournament. She had five goals as a freshman, she knows how to get it done and has been in a lot of battles. We expect her to have a great senior year.
49er: You had a lot of freshman and transfer players last season, do you think a year of experience under their belt will help them out this year?
MI: Definitely, a lot of the kids came in last year and hadn’t hit the weights. We hit the weights right away in spring and they are a little stronger, bigger, wiser and older.
49er: What team in the Big West will be the toughest competition next season?
MI: I think every game is tough. I don’t know if I can pinpoint any one team because we only play each team one time and every game is like a championship game. There are no easy games in the Big West and there haven’t been since I’ve been here.
|San Diego State
|Brigham Young University
|UC Santa Barbara
|Cal State Northridge