By Jarrod Castillo, Editor
With Big West Conference play approaching, Long Beach State (5-4-1) looked to capitalize on a strong second half against Brigham Young University on Sept. 17 in the last preseason game against the LMU Lions (2-6-3).
It seemed that the Beach would be on their way to an easy victory when senior forward Ashley Gonzales guided the ball to the back of the net, making it 1-0 in the sixth minute, compliments of junior defender Chloe Froment’s assist from the halfway line.
“I saw Chloe and I know she has a dinger of a kick so I knew she was going to get it to me,” she said. “We practiced it all week so [I] just gotta get to the end of it and I did so it was really exciting.”
With that goal, Gonzales tied the school record of most goals scored with 33. She ties Janet Fettig, who set the record between 1984-1986.
The Beach didn’t wait long to increase its lead as in the 30th minute, junior forward/midfielder Katie Pingel scored from two different headers by sophomore defender Sarah Pilster and senior midfielder Dana Fujikuni, making it 2-0.
Not to be outdone, LMU scored a goal less than a minute later. Senior defender/midfielder Shelby Cormier received a great assist from junior defender/midfielder Kallie Kampfl, making it 2-1 to end the first half.
The second half saw a huge momentum swing in favor of the Lions as they became the aggressors. Time and again, LMU attacked the Beach’s defense by actively looking for any opening.
Then in the 71st minute, sophomore midfielder/forward Jackie Fiacco assisted senior midfielder Melissa Lewis in tying the game, 2-2. The Beach tried to get the go-ahead goal after Lewis’ goal, racking up nine shots in the period to no avail.
“When you don’t score, when you don’t put away the opportunities that are given to you, the momentum is going to shift at some point,” LBSU head coach Mauricio Ingrassia said. “All of a sudden now, the game becomes broken and it becomes transitional.”
“Definitely there were momentum shifts, but it’s really all our doing,” he concluded.
As time expired with the game tied, both teams looked for any extra energy reserved for overtime.
Although it was a disappointing end to the preseason, McDonald says she can’t wait to start conference play.
LMU tried to get a quick goal in the 91st minute but the Lions’ only opportunity of the period would find itself sailing into the 60-degree night. The Beach attempted to match that intensity in the 98th minute but their shot attempt would be saved.
After being tied 2-2 through 100 minutes, it seemed as if both squads were injected with adrenaline as both came out aggressive to start the second overtime period.
In the 108th minute, LMU had a great chance to score off a set piece, though Long Beach State thwarted that attempt.
With time running out, the Lions made one last push from their side and took a shot from just past the halfway line. However, senior goalkeeper Imani McDonald calmly caressed the ball as time expired.
Though both teams played hard, 110 minutes later, the score would remain 2-2 to give Long Beach State their first tie to end the preseason. Although it was a disappointing end to the preseason, McDonald says she can’t wait to start conference play.
“We’re so ready, we are stoked. I’m so excited,” McDonald said. “We open with Fullerton and I could not be more excited.”
Long Beach State is on the road to start Big West Conference play on Thursday, Sept. 27 against the Cal State Fullerton Titans at 7 p.m.