Non-conference matchups rarely develop playoff-like atmospheres, but a tense match Monday between Long Beach State and the University of San Diego Toreros proved an exception as the Beach prevailed 2-1 in double overtime.
“We had to make a play to break them down,” head coach Mauricio Ingrassia said.
Long Beach (1-2) frequently utilized Kayla Cannon’s speed down the right side of George Allen Field. The junior forward showed an ability to consistently outrun her defender to the outside.
“We had superiority over them with me and [sophomore defender/forward Elysia Laramie’s] speed,” Cannon said.
Sophomore forward Lena Silano fired two shots on goal in the first half, as many as the Toreros (2-1) had previously allowed all year. Meanwhile, the Beach locked down defensively to prevent a USD shot on goal.
Long Beach junior defender Kaitlin Fregulia played an important role in the defensive stand with active tackles and clever ball-distribution under pressure.
Playing in her third game back since missing all of 2018 with a right leg injury, Fregulia stayed down for several minutes after sliding to prevent a cross in the 35th minute. She was carted off the field but stood unsupported on the sideline during the second half.
Long Beach retained possession after the injury but did not threaten to score, ending the first half 0-0.
In the 77th minute, CSULB broke down the USD back line with sophomore forward Sierra Castles collecting a Silano cross in the left side of the box. USD redshirt senior goalie Amber Michel saved the shot, but the rebound trickled near the goalline to the feet of junior forward Mackenzie Magaoay who tapped in her first goal of the season.
“Lena [Silano] has been great,” Ingrassia said. “She worked really hard in the summer and has given us something every time she’s stepped on the field.”
USD answered right back as Torero redshirt senior midfielder Milan Moses controlled the ball with speed into the right side of the box and buried a low strike in the right side of the net for the equalizer.
The game advanced to sudden-death overtime tied 1-1.
In the 107th minute, Michel attempted to clear a Long Beach State cross but failed. With the San Diego keeper out of position, Cannon collected the ball at a sharp angle but was unable to curl her shot on frame.
Moments later, Castles got her foot on a cross from CSULB senior forward Katie Pingel at the top of the box and tipped it to Cannon. Cannon, alone on the right side, uncorked a precise strike into the left wall of the net for the game winner.
“I was wide open so I screamed for Sierra to let it go and I knew that if I got that proper touch and executed properly that we would finish it,” Cannon said.
Long Beach continues its home stand 7 p.m. Friday against Nebraska at George Allen Field.