From Reports By Long Beach State Information Department
A month ago at George Allen Field, the Long Beach State Women’s Soccer team showcased its dominance and outshot the Pacific Tigers, 21-9, in a 2-1 victory. On Thursday, LBSU will be playing the Tigers again at George Allen. The only difference is that this time, it’s for a chance to play in the Big West Conference Championship Game.
Since that game in early October, Pacific has gone 4-2-1 in Big West play, and is headed to its first postseason tournament in three seasons. This season, the Tigers are a physical, bruising squad. In their final game against UC Davis, they combined with the Aggies for 36 penalties and five yellow cards in a 2-0 Pacific victory. Led by freshman Kristina Wavomba, who scored her eighth goal of the season to secure the victory, the Tigers are this year’s version of the Big West underdog.
That underdog status used to be owned by the 49ers. Four short years ago, no one in the Big West had heard the names Mauricio Ingrassia, Hayley Bolt, Liz Ramos, or Sara Baca. Now, after some program building and some postseason heartbreak, LBSU rolls into the Big West Tourney as the #1 seed. Last season, Long Beach lost to Cal Poly in the first round of the BWT, and that loss still haunts some of the 49er seniors.
For a conference title this season, it’s going to take the perfect combination of the seasoned vets who have felt the disappointment, and the young bucks, whose naivete may serve as an advantage.
Leading that class of youngsters is sophomore forward Kristen Kiefer, who earned Big West Conference Player of the Week honors following two goals and an assist in the team’s victories over UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly.
The speedy winger scored her seventh goal of the season against UC Santa Barbara on Friday night with just over a minute remaining in regulation. Her game-tying goal sent the match into overtime and allowed the 49ers to walk away with a 2-1 double overtime victory over the Gauchos.
Kiefer scored her second goal on Sunday against Cal Poly on a breakaway in the 40th minute, giving The Beach a 2-1 lead. Kiefer also assisted on the third goal when she passed the ball to Mariko Strickland, who hit the back of the net from 10 yards out at the 67-minute mark. LBSU went on to win 3-2. Kiefer finished the regular season with eight goals and two assists. She is tied for second on the team in points (18) with Hayley Bolt and Kim Silos.
To maintain positive momentum, and to neutralize the physical Tigers, it’s going to be up to Kiefer and her fellow wing-mates to maintain position for LBSU, and keep Pacific on its heels.
Come out to George Allen Field on Thursday @ 2pm to support this LBSU curtain call. Of course, if they win–their first Tourney win under Ingrassia–they’ll get another one at home, in the Big West Conference Championship on Sunday.