The Beach needed a positive end to a frustrating homestand and found it in a 3-0 win against the Drexel Dragons Sunday at George Allen Field.
“This is the type of game that, if you get it earlier in the year, it helps build your confidence and your identity,” Long Beach head coach Maurico Ingrassia said.
Long Beach State (2-3) was more aggressive offensively against the Dragons (2-2-1) than it had been in any game during the season-opening homestand.
The Beach had not scored a first-half goal coming into the game but nearly found one in the sixth minute. Senior forward Lena Silano controlled the ball at the top of the attacking arc and rolled a soft pass back to senior midfielder Taylor Blistline. Blistline’s lob flew inches above the top of the goal.
“I think for us it’s just really important to finish our chances,” senior forward/midfielder Katie Pingel said.
The Dragons momentarily escaped the pressure when the Long Beach State back line misplayed a pass down the middle in the 21st minute. The miscue gave Drexel’s leading scorer – sophomore forward Lauren Currey – a breakaway chance against CSULB keeper Marta Alemany Sanchez.
Alemany Sanchez charged Currey and slid to make the save with her right foot. The 3-0 win gave Alemany Sanchez her first shutout of the season.
In their last match, a 2-1 loss to Nebraska, the Beach appeared hesitant to attack after allowing scoring chances. That was not the case Sunday.
Long Beach junior forwards Nadiyah Siqueros and Kayla Cannon combined for three quality strikes on goal from the right corner of the box in the 10 minutes following Currey’s breakaway. The Beach bombarded Drexel keeper Libby Baeza and her second-half replacement Myuki Schoyen with 15 shots on goal.
“It was a good balanced attack,” Ingrassia said.
In the 43rd minute, Siqueros attacked on the right then cut to the middle above the box drawing a free kick near the arc. Junior defender Myah Baksh took the free kick and bounced a shot over a diving Baeza for a 1-0 Long Beach lead at halftime.
“I had [Baksh] as a young player in club [soccer] since she was 14 so I know her very well and she knows me very well,” Ingrassia said. “She fit in from day one.”
The goal was the first Baksh has scored with the Beach after transferring from Santa Clara University.
“We play the same style of play that I’ve always known how to play,” Baksh said. “It’s super easy to step in with this team. They’re fantastic girls and fantastic players so it’s been a very nice transition.”
Long Beach continued to attack the net in the second half, but also gave the Dragons four corner kicks in the first 12 minutes of the frame.
CSULB didn’t earn its first second-half corner kick until the 66th minute. Sophomore forward Elysia Laramie awaited Pingel’s one-hopped cross and one-timed it with her left foot for her first goal of the season and a 2-0 lead.
Pingel then touched a pass from junior defender Sarah Pilster into the box before chasing it down and tapping it in to ice the game, 3-0, in the 80th minute. She became the seventh different Long Beach player to score a goal this season.
Long Beach travels to Dallas, Texas for two games starting with a matchup against Ole Miss Thursday, Sept. 12 at 2 p.m.