The Long Beach State women’s soccer team is sprinkled with talent from the starting 11 to the end of the bench. While a near .500 record may not be impressive on paper, Long Beach (4-3) has played well and consistently all season so far.
Senior forward Ashley Gonzales looks to be back in good health, senior midfielder Dana Fujikuni has carried the 49ers offense and senior goalkeeper Imani McDonald has been the anchor to the team’s success.
“I see people earning their way and making the team better,” head coach Mauricio Ingrassia said. “Our goals change, and we keep growing with the game.”
The team’s three losses came from No. 5 UCLA, a 1-0 loss with two seconds remaining, a 2-1 loss to No. 14 Texas and a 1-0 loss to No. 22 Auburn.
The offense hasn’t been clicking for Long Beach early on in games, but Friday’s match against St. John’s showcased the true scoring ability of the team. The 49ers have been due for some while, and it all came into fruition against the Red Storm.
“They [49ers] were focused from the start, and everyone played their part,” Ingrassia said. “Protecting home field is important, and this team is growing week by week.”
Long Beach swept St. Johns 6-0, tying the school record for the largest margin of victory.
“It was great to put six goals into the back of the net in one game,” Fujikuni said. “It shows how much progress we are making.”
Junior forward Taylor Bistline started the game off for the 49ers with a goal in the second minute. Two more goals followed in the first half, as Fujikuni placed one low and chipped the other over the goalkeeper’s head.
When the second half came around, the offensive attack was launched by senior forward Rocio Rodriguez, who found the net 25 seconds. This gave Long Beach a safety cushion, which allowed substitutions to be made within the lineup.
Even with the lead, the 49ers did not stop putting pressure on the Red Storm’s defense. Sophomore forward Mackenzie Magaoay and sophomore midfielder Makayla Soll added to the score as they racked up the fifth and sixth goals of the game. Long Beach ended the offense heavy game with 21 shots total, while St. John’s finished with only 6.
“Their energy was outstanding. The team was the MVP today,” said Ingrassia.
Long Beach has faced the Red Storm twice in the team’s history, and has come out on top both times. After some tough losses on the road, the win against St. John’s helped Long Beach get back into the winning mindset.
“It helped our confidence a lot,” Rodriguez said. “It looks like we’ve got our groove back.”
Long Beach will fight to extend its winning streak at 1 p.m. Friday against USC.