The Long Beach State women’s soccer team extended its postseason run on Friday night, defeating Miami (Fla.) 1-0 in the second round of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament at Drake Stadium. The win advances the 49ers to the round of 16 for the first time ever.
Sophomore Kelsey Wilson scored in the 81st minute to give the 49ers a 1-0 lead, which was all they needed to win the game.
Wilson scored from the left side of the field, sending the ball into the upper corner of the far post. When asked if she intended the ball to be a cross or a shot, Wilson said she wasn’t sure and “it was a little of both.”
“I got a good pass from Nicole (Hubbard) and had open space, which I usually don’t have, so I decided to go down the line and cross it and it kept going,” Wilson said. “It just kept picking up speed and when it hit the side netting, I didn’t know what to do.”
Long Beach State (17-5-1) won its first NCAA tournament game last week, as did Miami (10-8-1). The Hurricanes were one of nine teams receiving a bid into the tournament from the formidable Atlantic Coast Conference.
The 49ers' head coach Mauricio Ingrassia said that the game plan included controlling Miami’s top scorer Katie Howarth, who finished the game without taking one shot.
“Defensively we were very good,” Ingrassia said. “Kait (Gustaves) was good and our back four were very solid.”
Gustaves had three saves in the game and recorded her fourth straight shutout.
Offensively, the 49ers' Nicole Sweetman led the team in shots with three in just 34 minutes of play. Nadia Link, Shawna Gordon, and Taylor Nelson took two shots each, but Ingrassia said the Miami defense was marking “really tight” and not giving any space to feet, instead forcing passes to be sent over the players.
“Our front line worked their asses off,” Ingrassia said.
Long Beach has little time to rest, as the 49ers will play their next match against San Diego on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Drake Stadium.