Junior defender Austin Stevenson had a standout night for the 49ers (11-9, 1-2 Gold Coast), leading the team with three goals on the evening and making him the team’s top-scoring defender of the season with 17 goals.
“The big thing that we’ve been focusing on has been our defense,” Stevenson said. “When we get good defensive stops, we tend to get a bit more energy on offense.”
The 49ers’ defense only allowed six goals in the match, where the Gauchos registered a game-high 26 shots.
Sophomore goalkeeper Thomas Freeman was poised in goal, making 10 key saves throughout the contest, and didn’t allow Santa Barbara to score more than two goals per period.
“For us, I think it’s just about getting back to the standard on defense that we have to be,” Long Beach head coach Gavin Arroyo said. “Tonight we definitely got back to it.”
They were just as potent on offense as they were on defense, as the 49ers scored three goals in every period excluding the fourth.
Sophomore attacker Austin Stewart added a goal in the first period and another in the second to bring his team-leading season tally to 36 goals.
Just before halftime, tensions reached a high point as Long Beach’s Arroyo and Santa Barbara head coach Wolf Wigo both received yellow cards, as the two met to confront official Darren Spiritosanto about calls he made.
“The landscape of the Golden Coast [Conference] is any given day… it doesn’t matter who you play, it’s when you play,” Arroyo said.
Long Beach will look to carry the momentum of the win to Sunday when the team hosts both Cal Berkeley at noon and Golden West College at 3 p.m. as part of a double-header at Ken Lindgren Aquatics Center.