Ahead by a goal in the final minutes of a tight game, Long Beach State women’s soccer looked poised for it’s first regulation win of the season. Instead, the Nebraska offense pushed back as the Beach fell, 2-1, at George Allen Field, Friday.
“I think maybe we just were too excited and weren’t all the way in the moment,” junior forward Kaylee Ramirez said.
Nebraska (1-2-1) worked the ball down the left flank to earn two corner kicks in the first five minutes of the game. Long Beach (1-3) junior keeper Marta Alemany Sanchez charged to punch away both crosses.
Alemany Sanchez has started every game this season. She hunted the ball, often sprinting out of goal to clear away dangerous chances. When she was unable to clear the ball herself, her voice pierced the air with clear instructions to defenders.
Her voice was heard often early on, as the Beach remained under constant pressure from the Huskers throughout the first 15 minutes.
“We should have been tougher on the ball,” Ramirez said.
When the Beach attempted counterattacks, the Nebraska midfield aggressively pressed to regain possession before Long Beach could advance past midfield.
However, just past the 15-minute mark, CSULB senior forward/midfielder Katie Pingel drew a free kick in the attacking third which resulted in a corner kick for the Beach. The initial cross was deflected to Long Beach State freshman forward Aleea Caceres high in the box, but forced her to shoot against her own momentum as the attempt was saved.
The teams traded possessions for the remainder of the game, but the Huskers were more effective in driving the ball into dangerous areas as the Beach found themselves on the wrong end of a 19-6 shot differential.
“I think our pressure at midfield, we had some issues there,” CSULB head coach Mauricio Ingrassia said.
With the game still scoreless in the 55th minute, Pingel chased a bouncing ball in the left side of the box. Nebraska senior goalkeeper Aubrei Corder left the net and slid to knock it away from Pingel, but missed the ball and caught Pingel’s feet, resulting in a Long Beach State penalty kick.
Ramirez took the penalty rolling it on the ground to Corder’s right. Corder guessed correctly and got a glove on it, but the pace of the strike allowed it to trickle in for a 1-0 Long Beach lead.
The game picked up as Nebraska pressed back with two fast breaks in the ten minutes following the goal. Alemany Sanchez was up to the task on both of them.
In the 67th minute, Nebraska sophomore midfielder/forward Dakota Chan collected a bouncing ball in the middle of the field over thirty yards from the goal. Chan turned and fired a strike over the outstretched hand of Alemany-Sanchez, tying the game.
“Taking a shot from outside the box, you’d think we would handle it,” Ingrassia said. “But that’s part of the game.”
Alemany Sanchez collided with the goalpost while trying to stop it and was removed from the game due to bleeding from her face. She was replaced by Long Beach State redshirt sophomore Ashley Seymore.
The Huskers gave Seymore a rude welcome. A Nebraska corner kick in the 76th minute curled into the arc above the 18-yard box. Huskers senior defender Sinclair Miramontez sprinted from the midfield unchallenged and rifled the ball into the top of the net for the go-ahead goal.
“That second goal was just a bullet,” Ingrassia said.
Long Beach finishes its homestand at noon Sunday against Drexel at George Allen Field.