Thwarted by an outstanding goaltending performance, Long Beach State women’s soccer lost 2-1 to the UC Davis Aggies at George Allen field for the first time since 1984 Friday night.
With just four conference games remaining, the loss threatens the Beach’s (3-10, 1-3 Big West) chances of reaching the postseason. Only the top four teams make the Big West Conference tournament and Long Beach currently sits in seventh.
“[Our] back is against the wall,” head coach Mauricio Ingrassia said.
Despite losing, the Beach threatened the Aggies defense (6-9, 1-4 Big West Conference) for much of the night.
Long Beach paired sophomore forwards Elysia Laramie and Sierra Castles up front and the two peppered junior Davis goalkeeper Jessica Lima throughout the match.
“It feels great working with [Castles],” Laramie said. “We have a really good connection on and off the field, so it always shows.”
In the fifth minute, Castles headed a cross from Laramie on goal, but Lima pinned it against the post. Laramie broke free behind the defense in the 12th minute, but Lima charged her, kicking the shot away.
“We haven’t been able to get out in front all year long,” Ingrassia said.
The two saves by Lima proved critical before the end of the first half.
Aggie senior forward Janae Gonzalez took the buzz out of the home crowd in the 31st minute, burying a deflection after Long Beach junior goalkeeper Marta Alemany Sanchez dove to punch away a cross in front of the net.
“Something we’ve been working on all year and has been our Achilles’ heel is sloppy passing out of the back,” Ingrassia said. “It cost us [tonight].”
Lima continued to impact the game, making another diving save on Laramie preserving the Aggies’ lead early in the first half. Then in the 50th minute, Laramie and Castles executed a give-and-go that left Laramie alone with the ball in the box. She rifled a shot low-left for the equalizer.
“Castles gave me such a great ball,” Laramie said. “I knew I had to finish it.”
Laramie has become the focal point of the Long Beach offense, scoring each of the team’s last four goals. Her five goals this year leads the team and puts her at fourth in scoring the Big West.
The Aggies forced a corner kick in the 67th minute. Alemany Sanchez dove, saving the initial shot, but the rebound once again proved costly, as Aggie junior midfielder Bryanna Duckett tapped the ball in for a 2-1 Davis lead.
Long Beach junior midfielder Ayana Robles created a golden opportunity to tie, hitting the crossbar from 35 yards out in the 89th minute. Laramie launched the rebound over the goal, resulting in a Long Beach loss.
“With all the chances we’ve created, we have to be encouraged,” Ingrassia said.
Long Beach concludes its home stand against UC Riverside Oct. 24 at 7 p.m.