The Long Beach State women's soccer team remained undefeated and dominant at home by shutting down San Diego State, 3-0, on Monday night at George Allen Field.
The Monday night win, which helped the 49ers move to No. 23 in the latest TopDrawerSoccer rankings, was the third straight shutout win for LBSU and goalkeeper Ashton McKeown, who only needed to make three saves on the night. LBSU has outscored its opponents 9-1 thanks to starting its offense with the defensive back line.
Three days after upsetting No. 11 USC, LBSU head coach Mauricio Ingrassia said the matchup with SDSU was, "the scary game," because he didn't know how his team would respond. He was not disappointed as LBSU sophomore defender Sarah Maher assisted on the opening goal and scored the second one to extend her birthday celebration. The Long Beach Wilson High alum turned 19 on Sunday.
“This was a game that in the past, we haven’t maybe managed correctly – the day after a big win,” Ingrassia said. “I felt the team was very focused and took care of business from the beginning.”
"We're maturing as a team," he added. "(Maher) has also matured and is very smart. We called her out in a film session about seeing beyond in the game, and today she showed why she was named Most Improved player last season."
After a relatively even opening 15 minutes, LBSU took over thanks to aggressive play out of the back. In the 25th minute, Maher sent a perfect long ball forward to Fujikuni from past midfield to the top of the 18 yard box. The sophomore took a first touch to control the pass, and fired it across the mouth of goal. It looked to be headed wide left, but senior Mimi Rangel met it at the back post to finish. It was the midfielders 11th career goal, and fifth career game-winner.
"It's easier to play (in this system) now because I know how (McKeown) is going to play it, and she's a great communicator," Maher said. "This team has shown we can push through key points in the game."
Seven minutes later off of one of five corner kicks for LBSU, Maher collected a loose ball at the top of the box and scored through traffic. The two scoring plays were Maher's first colligate assist and goal of her career.
Freshmen Chloe Froment and Kaitlin Fregulia connected for the final goal in the 42nd minute. Froment, who was named the Big West Women's Soccer Defensive Player of the Week on Monday, teed up a free kick from about 50 yards out and Fregulia flicked it past SDSU goalkeeper Gabby English with a well-timed header. Froment finished with two assists.
LBSU will continue this eight-game home stand on Friday night at 7 against Loyola Marymount.