By Dulce Carrillo, Staff Writer
Long Beach State (4-1-1 Big West, 9-5-2 overall) defeated the number one seeded UC Irvine Anteaters (4-1-2 Big West, 8-6-3 overall) 2-1, thanks to freshman forward Sierra Castle’s first goal and senior forward Ashley Gonzales’ record-breaking goal.
To start the first half, Long Beach State goalkeeper Imani McDonald blocked an Irvine shot and would have four saves in the half. McDonald would finish the game with five saves.
At about the 35th minute, the Beach would draw first blood. Sophomore forward Kaylee Ramirez was able to cross the ball into the box when Castles ran to her spot and, with her right foot, tapped the ball past Anteater goalkeeper, junior Maddie Newsom, and into the back of the net.
After the first 45 minutes, Long Beach State had a 1-0 lead against the Anteaters.
In the second half, the Beach had a more defensive approach as their defense did not allow the Anteaters to progress into the Long Beach half. This was something Long Beach State head coach Mauricio Ingrassia liked seeing.
“We grind it out and we work hard,” Ingrassia said. “We get all the little things you got to do to a win a game like this.”
With the game slowly getting out of reach for the Anteaters, the Beach looked to put the nail in the coffin. However, Gonzales would score the second goal of the match for Long Beach, all thanks to an incredible effort to fight for the ball.
After chasing the ball back to the Irvine goalkeeper, Gonzales would slowly tap the ball into the back left corner of the net for her fifth goal of the season. More importantly, the goal marked her 34th goal of her collegiate career, breaking the previous mark of 33 set by Janet Fettig in the early ‘80s.
“I’m really happy to get this win for my team and move on to the next game,” Gonzales said after the game.
When asked if the record weighed on her, she said it did but the thought soon passed.
“[A] few weeks ago, it was [weighing on me], but after that, it was just like, ‘you know what, if I get it, I get it.’ But if I don’t, then whatever, as long as I’m playing with my team,” Gonzales concluded.
With time running out, the Anteaters were desperate to get a goal to provide some sort of life to the squad. Many would figure that one of their forwards would score but instead, help came from a very unexpected place.
With 14 seconds remaining and after conceding two goals earlier in the match, Newsom scored off an assist from senior midfielder Kelsee Pottorff. Pottorff sailed the kick into the box and after a few deflections, Newsom was able to corral the ball and kick it into the back of the net, thanks to a deflection from a Long Beach State player.
Although the Anteaters were able to score one goal, it would be too late, as the Beach came away with the 2-1 victory. With the win, the Beach are one point behind UC Irvine for first place and one point ahead of third place UC Santa Barbara.
Long Beach State will play UC Davis on Thursday, Oct. 25 at 4 p.m. and their last game before the Big West Tournament will be on Sunday, Oct. 28 at 2 p.m. against the CSU Northridge Matadors.