Long Beach State women’s soccer shuts out Northwestern

LONG BEACH >> The Long Beach State women’s soccer team started life without senior captain Ashley Gonzales with an inspired performance and 2-0 win over No. 16 Northwestern on Thursday at George Allen Field.

“We owed ourselves that performance,” LBSU coach Mauricio Ingrassia said. “We only had two days of training but the players did a good job learning and evolving.”

Gonzales, who was the Big West Conference Offensive Player of the Year after scoring a team-high 11 goals last season, found out this week that she tore her ACL in the loss to No. 6 UCLA last weekend. The senior will apply for a medical redshirt.

LBSU (1-1-1) made slight adjustments in formation and got its offense from a variety of places while dominating possession. The 49ers broke though in the 49th minute after senior Tori Bolden earned a free kick near the sideline about 20 yards off of the end line. Midfielder Jessica Vincent sent the set piece service into the middle of the box, where defender Kaitlin Fregulia headed it home.

“Bolden’s work ethic stretches teams and she was a big difference tonight,” Ingrassia said.

On the foul that set up the goal, Bolden was fed on the left flank by defender Chole Froment. The sophomore was moved out from center back in order to be a better facilitator. The 49ers doubled the lead in the 83rd minute on Katie Pingel’s strong strike from the top of the 18-yard box off of a pass from that left flank.

LBSU outshot Northwestern 20-6 and 14-4 in the second half. The 49ers held the advantage in corner kicks, 7-2, and fouls, 11-5, while the Wildcats received four yellow cards and a red card in the 66th minute for dissent.

“We knew at halftime we were getting into their heads at halftime,” Pingel said. “We just had to keep pressing and shooting and one was bound to go in.”

Pinger, a sophomore transfer, leads LBSU with two goals in three games.

“(Gonzales) told me that even though I’m new and a sophomore I need to step up and lead this team. So I said ‘Okay’,” said Pingel.

Northwestern (2-1-0) is ranked No. 16 by TopDrawerSoccer.com after reaching the 2016 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 and winning its first two games this season via shutout.

The 49ers outshot the Wildcats 6-2 in the first 45 minutes. In the 11th minute, midfielder Paige Conway stole the ball in the Northwestern end and played a through ball for Bolden. The senior made a sliding effort but Wildcats goalkeeper Lauren Clem came out for the stop. Vincent had two scoring opportunities near the 15th minute, and nearly scored on a free kick in the 54th minute. Clem finished with five saves. LBSU goalkeeper Imani McDonald came off of her line in the final minutes for one of her two saves that preserved the clean sheet.


LBSU travels to San Diego State on Sunday.

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About the Author

JJ Fiddler

JJ Fiddler is a sportswriter and videographer who has been covering the Long Beach-area sports world for multiple newspapers since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he adopted Long Beach as his home town and is a member of the Long Beach Century Club, where he is a two-time winner of the Keith Cordes Award for best promotion of the city through sports. Reach the author at jfiddler@scng.com or follow JJ on Twitter: @PTGazetteSports.