Five spots away from being ranked, the 49ers are ready for another tournament run barring any injuries.
The Long Beach State women’s soccer team record does not indicate how well it has been playing. Its three losses have come from top ranked teams, including a 1-0 loss to No. 8 UCLA with two seconds remaining.
Long Beach (4-3) currently holds the fifth best preseason record out of the nine teams in the Big West, but expect that to quickly change once conference play begins. Despite the team’s current record, the 49ers are the most talented team in the Big West and are 26 votes away from being ranked No. 25 in the nation. No other Big West teams are receiving votes for the Top 25 rankings.
Only once have the 49ers let an opponent score multiple goals in a game this season. Long Beach has been excelling on the defensive end with defenders such as junior Chloe Froment and senior Sarah Maher. With senior goalkeeper Imani McDonald holding down the fort, the 49ers have been consistent all year on that end of the pitch.
The biggest problem lies in the team’s ability to execute against tougher opponents. The 49ers can score, and it was even more apparent after the team’s recent 6-0 win against St. John’s. Seniors Dana Fujikuni and Ashley Gonzales have been fantastic so far this season, but it’s time for more of the younger players to step up if the team wants to make a deep postseason run. Freshman forward Sierra Castles and sophomore forward Kaylee Ramirez have both gotten heavy minutes, but are still without a goal seven games in. It’s a lot to ask for young players to step up in big moments, but there have been many opportunities for the younger players to be aggressive and put up shots. As soon as that happens the 49ers will begin to put numbers on the board against ranked teams.
Long Beach has had a tough preseason schedule, but once conference play begins expect to see the 49ers on top with an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.