After defeating Northridge 3-1 in their final match at George Allen Field, the Long Beach State women’s soccer team became regular season champions and advanced to the conference tournament semifinals as the No. 1 seed.
Moments after Sunday’s win, the 49ers anxiously waited for the remaining Big West games to play out, in order for the final standings to be determined. UCSB tied Cal Poly, allowing the 49ers to clinch the first place title with a total of 17 points, just one point above the Gauchos.
“It’s been a lot of games in a row and I think we’re in a good rhythm,” head coach Mauricio Ingrassia said.
Long Beach (10-5-3, 5-1-2 Big West) will go against UC Davis (7-7-4, 4-2-2 Big West) in the first round of the tournament 5 p.m. Thursday at UC Irvine. The winner of the match will advance to the tournament finals on Sunday.
The 49ers won every conference game played at home, but ran into trouble when on the road. The team suffered a single loss against UC Riverside, and drew ties against Cal State Fullerton and UC Davis.
Despite the few unfavorable results, Long Beach State finished the season with multiple players chosen for the Big West All-Conference teams. Senior midfielder Dana Fujikuni was selected as Midfielder of the Year with four goals and four assists. Senior defender Sarah Maher was selected as Defensive Player of the Year, contributing to five shutouts and scoring two goals in conference play.
Senior forward Ashley Gonzales was also chosen for the All-Big West First team, for the third time in her career. She led the team with six goals total, half of which were scored in conference play.
“Ashley’s work ethic is tremendous,” Ingrassia said. “No one works harder or longer than she does.”
Ingrassia was nominated as Coach of the Year for his efforts guiding the team to the program’s fifth Big West regular season championship.
Junior midfielder Katie Pingel, junior midfielder Taylor Bistline and freshman defender Elysia Laramie were selected for the All-Big West second team, honorable mention and All-freshman team, respectively.