Long Beach State women’s soccer was stifled offensively against the UCSB Gauchos Sunday, losing 1-0 at Harder Stadium in Santa Barbara.
The loss gives the Beach (3-8, 1-1 Big West) a split of the two-game road trip. Long Beach is now in fifth place in the Big West.
UCSB (5-3-3, 1-0 Big West) tried to work the ball to the left side of the field early in the game, sending a left-to-right cross into the box in the 10th minute. UCSB freshman midfielder Dylan Lewis got a foot on it above the six-yard box, but junior goalkeeper Marta Alemany Sanchez dove to make the save.
In the 14th minute, Gaucho senior forward and leading scorer Shaelan Murison sent another cross towards Lewis, who was right of the six-yard box. Alemany Sanchez dove forward deflecting the cross, but the ball redirected to Lewis, who calmly chipped it into the net for a 1-0 UCSB lead.
In the Beach’s last match, Cal Poly scored its only goal on an almost identical play, where Alemany Sanchez tipped a cross to an attacking opponent. On both plays, the goal scorer read the tip faster than the Long Beach defense.
Having played Thursday night, fatigue set in as the Beach had trouble keeping up with UCSB, which had not played a game in a week.
Long Beach adjusted to the fast-paced attack by widening its midfield formation, blocking the route Gaucho forwards had been taking down the sidelines.
The Beach blazed out of the gates offensively in the second half, drawing a dangerous free kick in the 52nd minute. UCSB committed a foul in the box defending the set piece, resulting in a Long Beach penalty kick.
Junior forward Kaylee Ramirez has earned the responsibility of taking penalty kicks for the Beach. Ramirez typically shoots left on penalties, and did not deviate against UCSB goalkeeper Hanna DeWeese, who guessed correctly and made the save.
Free kicks aside, the Beach has struggled to generate scoring chances this season and that didn’t change against the Gauchos.
Long Beach State’s only dangerous scoring chance after the penalty came on a set piece from 35 yards out in the 89th minute.Junior defender Kaitlin Fregulia softly headed the cross towards DeWeese, who leapt to collect it, ending any hopes to tie the match.
The Beach will begin a three-game homestand at 7 p.m.Thursday against first-place CSUF.