By: Ignacio Cervantes
Section: Sports, Daily Forty-Niner
With its first win over a ranked team in four years, Long Beach State women’s soccer remains undefeated to start the season after a 2-1 road victory over the No. 8 ranked Pepperdine University.
CSULB’s winger Summer Laskey and junior forward Lena Silano scored their first collegiate goals for CSULB just two minutes apart, inside the first ten minutes of the match, which proved to be all CSULB needed to win the 90-minute bout.
“We talk about, ‘It doesn’t matter who gets the final touch in the goal,’” Ingrassia said. “We have a lot of contributors and it can be anybody that gets the final touch and most the time Lena is setting people up. Today it was her turn to reward herself. She was so composed, dribbled the goalkeeper, and slotted it perfectly.”
Soon after CSULB scored for a second time, Pepperdine answered back with a quick goal of their own in the 11th minute.
From there, both teams displayed grit, with CSULB battling to protect the lead against Pepperdine who have scored 10 goals in four games so far this season.
CSULB sophomore goalkeeper Morgan Houston-Shepherd was a wall between the goalposts, notching a season-high seven saves to earn her team its second straight win of the season.
Shepherd’s performance comes shortly after another big performance against Cal State Northridge where they received their first “Big West Conference Defender of the Week” award.
“I waited two years for this to happen,” Houston-Shepherd said about being able to help the team win games after redshirting her freshman year and being denied last season when COVID-19 hit. “Now that it’s finally happening, I’m glad we’re off to a strong start and hopefully we can keep it going.”
Pepperdine went on to finish the game with six more shots on goal than Long Beach State, but CSULB proved to be the more efficient team, scoring two goals on three shots.
“I thought our game plan was very well executed,” Long Beach State head coach Mauricio Ingrassia said. “It’s really hard to go on the road and win. It’s really hard to even score and for us to get two goals early, it was excellent.”
Up next for CSULB is a road game against the No. 4 ranked UCLA Bruins at Wallis Annenberg Stadium on Sunday, Aug. 29, at 6 p.m.
“We have to recover,” Ingrassia said about Sunday’s matchup. “[UCLA] don’t have a game today [Thursday]. They were watching on TV and here we are running marathons.”