“It’s about time…It’s about time.”
Those were the first words Hayley Bolt said after her insane performance in the ‘Niners’ 5-nil win against Cal State Northridge yesterday. Bolt had a hat-trick after not scoring a goal since a win over Pacific on Oct 5th. Since then Bolt has seen 13 shots fly wide, hit the post, or get rejected by goalkeepers. That wasn’t the case today.
It’s safe to say that “It’s about time” are the same words being uttered by Big West coaches knowing that yesterday was Long Beach State’s “Senior Day,” in which Bolt and 10 other players were honored before the match. After being tormented by the talented senior class, they won’t be sorry to see them go. Long Beach State is now a win away from capturing a Big West regular season title and more importantly, hosting the Big West tourney at George Allen field where they are 6-2-2 on the season.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better day,” Bolt said of she and her team’s performance yesterday. Bolt got the Niners on the board before a writer could find time to sit down, scoring in the second and seventh minute of the game.
Her first goal came from a pass off the foot of fellow senior Kim Silos, who secured the all-time Niners career assist record with 27. Bolt then headed in her second goal from freshman Nicole Hubbard’s cross, while her third goal came in the 47th minute off a cross from senior Dana Farquhar. Bolt is now second on the team with seven goals on the season, trailing sophomore Lindsey Bullock who got her ninth goal of the year on a Shawna Gordon corner kick in the 33rd minute of the match.
Hubbard and Gordon are two freshmen who have seen significant minutes for the Niners this season and stars emerging from a team loaded with veterans. Gordon says the seniors are a huge part of her development on the season, and was happy to get the win in possibly their last match at the Beach.
“They mean so much to (the underclassmen),” Gordon said of the seniors, who she says are like big sisters on and off the field. “They have so much heart and they developed the program to what it is today.”
The Long Beach State program has enjoyed success the last couple of years winning the Big West regular season title in ’06, and then tying for the title last season. But still they have yet to win the BW tourney and secure a bid to the NCAA tournament, which has been this team’s goal (no pun intended) since day one of the season. Despite the day dedicated to the seniors, the underclassmen still managed to shine, and the team had a total of 25 shots on the game.
Perhaps one of the most significant plays of the day came with the game well in hand when Kristen Kiefer scored the fifth goal of the match in the 62nd minute. Kiefer has struggled to find the net in the last eight matches, which head coach Mauricio Ingrassia says is part of growing pains for strikers at any level. But he acknowledges the sophomore’s relentless attacks will be needed for this team to succeed in their goal of reaching the NCAA’s. Ingrassia was pleased with his team’s performance over a “solid” Northridge team.
Again the ‘Niner defense was stout, and never really allowed a harmful Northridge attack. The Matadors had ten shots on the match but senior goalkeepers Liz Ramos and Breanna Truelove could have played blindfolded, only needing to stop three shots on goal in the match.
Long Beach State now sits alone atop the Big West and has a three match winning streak heading into a pivotal game on Halloween at second-place UC Santa Barbara. With a win the Niners will secure the BW title and tournament hosting duties.
“I think (this match) was really important for me and my team,” Bolt said, unable to wipe a smile off her face. “Us being able to establish our rhythm from the beginning and being able to stay with it throughout the match—shows a lot of character. And I think that having that heading into Santa Barbara is huge.” Emphasis on the HUGE.
The 11 seniors stuck around after the match taking group pictures, celebrating the win and talking about how they won’t let this be their last match at home.
“No, definitely not,” Bolt said when asked if this was her last match played at George Allen. “I feel like there are many more games that I will play on this field and today wasn’t my last day. That was the mentality we took into this game.”