Soccer, Sports

Missed chances haunt The Beach as they draw 1-1 against Utah Valley

Long Beach State fought hard to earn a 1-1 draw against a tough Utah Valley Wolverines team on Sunday afternoon at George Allen Field.

The Beach had plenty of chances to score in the second half, but a combination of their lack of clinical finishing and Utah Valley’s stingy defense resulted in the points being shared.

Head coach Mauricio Ingrassia and his team will look back at this game and wonder what could have been if they had put half of their chances in the back of the net.

“We can’t leave five goals on the table,” Ingrassia said. “But it’s a Sunday game, and if you can’t win it, you don’t wanna lose it; we showed a lot of character today.”

The first 15 minutes of the game were controlled by The Beach. Sophomore forward Cherrie Cox and redshirt sophomore Elysia Laramie were making runs behind Utah Valley’s defense while the midfield and defense were comfortable in possession.

Utah Valley took the lead in the 24 minute after senior midfielder Heather Stainbrook jumped on a second chance ball within the six-yard box to make it 1-0.

In the 29 minute, passes from junior forward Summer Laskey and junior midfielder Makayla Demelo set up Cox from close range as she stroked a shot above the Utah Valley keeper and just below the crossbar to tie the game at 1-1.

“It’s definitely exciting,” she said when she scored her third goal of the season. “Our team is very energetic in the attacking third, we’re definitely gonna get a lot of chances, so now it’s just putting them away and there’s gonna be a lot more coming.”

The Beach was very diverse in their offensive attack as they played long balls down the wings, drove into space with the ball, played one-touch football in the midfield and looked comfortable in possession when the defense played the ball out from the back.

Utah Valley’s attack felt one-dimensional, as they relied on long balls over the top of Long Beach State’s back line for their forwards to run in behind to chase down the ball.

The Beach started the second half with junior Zora Standifer in goal as she replaced Houston-Shepherd.

“We decided beforehand Morgan would start and Zora would finish,” Ingrassia said, “It’s the last game before conference and they both needed to get minutes.”

A golden opportunity presented itself in the 51th minute when a Utah State defender failed to properly clear a Beach corner kick and the ball bounced off the crossbar and over the goal for another corner kick.

The Beach failed to capitalize on this and many other opportunities to take the lead.

“I had two opportunities one-on-one with the goalie. Props to her [CJ Graham], she’s a really good goalie,” Cox said. “Time to keep practicing those, put ‘em behind you and make the next one.”

There was a buzz amongst the crowd when The Beach won a corner kick in the 89th minute as they sent everyone into Utah Valley’s box, including keeper Standifer, hoping for someone to score a winning goal.

Unfortunately for Long Beach, no one was able to get on the receiving end of Ceja’s corner and the ref blew the final whistle.

The Beach had a total of five corner kicks and nine shots in the second half but lacked the clinical finishing to separate themselves from Utah Valley.

“That’s a good team, they beat USC on Friday and have played a tough schedule,” Ingrassia said about the opposing Utah Valley Wolverines. “They may not have the big brand name, but that’s a good soccer team.”

The Beach are (4-3-1) and begin Big West Conference play on Thursday as they host UCI at George Allen Field at 7 p.m.

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