An incredible run by the Long Beach State women’s soccer team came to an end Friday night as the 49ers lost to third-ranked Duke 2-0 in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament at Koskinen Stadium in Durham, N.C.
"Right now we're hurting a little bit because we were in the game. We feel like we had an outside shot, and definitely getting to half with good energy and 0-0 and feeling strong about ourselves,” said LBSU head coach Mauricio Ingrassia.” It's disappointing to not get the result today, but Duke is a fantastic team, very talented. And they make you pay. We had a little bit of a slip and they make you pay. I wouldn't be surprised if they're playing for a national championship next Sunday. “
Long Beach was able to hold the Blue Devils scoreless for 66 minutes, but Duke defender Kim DeCesare scored at 66:28 on a header off a cross from forward Mollie Pathman. Just over seven minutes later midfielder Gilda Doria took the ball through traffic and sent a bullet into the goal to give Duke the 2-0 lead.
Duke (21-3-1) controlled possession for most of the game and outshot Long Beach 16 to 3.
Ingrassia said both teams had good players and he didn’t think possession was as much of a factor in the win as was having home field advantage.
"Possession doesn't equate. We knew that they would have a lot of possession,” Ingrassia said. “As long as we stay organized behind it and took our chances whenever we could, and I think we were very organized.”
Big West Conference Offensve Player of the Year Nadia Link and BWC Midfielder of the Year Shawna Gordon, the two top scorers for Long Beach, were shut down by Duke’s defense, and did not register a single shot in the game.
Long Beach finishes the season at 18-6-1 and is the first team in the Big West Conference to have made it to the Elite Eight. The 49ers set new school records for the most wins in a season (18), goals (49), assists (52), and points (150).
Ingrassia said this year’s team has set the bar high for the future of the program.
"Every team's going to have to chase at least this, which is a blessing and a curse. But, we're excited that this run was part of our program, and now we see where we can go from here."