Long Beach State came out and played with an edge as they controlled the midfield and exploited Fresno State’s backlines to a comfortable 4-0 victory.
The performance at George Allen Field Thursday was a change of scenery for The Beach who had been bested 5-1 against the University of Washington last weekend.
“We needed to get out on the outside of them,” head coach Mauricio Ingrassia said. “We scored some goals and it felt good.”
Fresno was forced to play on their back foot from kickoff with CSULB drawing a corner 40 seconds into the game, setting a persistent 15 minutes of pressure.
That pressure would result in a penalty, as Long Beach senior forward Lena Silano worked her way to the goal before being clipped and brought down by Fresno’s freshman goalkeeper Kaydence Cortez-Garcia.
The 2021 Big West All-Conference First Team forward stepped up and took on the penalty confidently, firing it into the left-hand corner to put The Beach on top 1-0.
Through the midfield, CSULB was able to dictate how the game was played utilizing lead passes to play their attackers through, and committing tactical fouls to fizzle out any Fresno breakthroughs.
Their physical style was, “not by design,” Ingrassia said. With the field conditions becoming dewier and dewier, it caused players to have the ball get away from them.
Desperate for a different look, Fresno went to the bench, making four substitutions between the 20th and 25th minute, but a tactical change from CSULB in the 26th minute saw sophomore defender Summer Laskey replace Silano up front.
Laskey’s impact would be imminent, as it took her just 11 minutes to find the net and fire the ball into the roof to extend the CSULB lead 2-0 after 37 minutes of play. She would score into the left corner six minutes later.
With the clock dwindling down in the 84th minute, freshman forward Cherrie Cox built onto the CSULB lead, running onto a ball from freshman midfielder Sara Ybarra before cutting back, taking a shot, and sending the goalie to recover the ball for the final score of the night.
CSULB will finish its home stand Sunday night against the University of San Diego, before going on the road for the first time this season to take on Harvard.
“We’re just going one game at a time,” Ingrassia said. “It would be a really good way to close out the weekend with two wins.”