Soccer, Sports, Women's Sports

Meyers and Maes lead 49ers to NorCal sweep

Thanks to a pair of shutouts by goalkeeper Marrina Meyers and a pair of goals by midfielder Eileen Maes, the Long Beach State women’s soccer team will enter its next match as the third-place team in the Big West Conference.

The 49ers (11-5, 4-2 Big West) earned a 1-0 victory over UC Davis (8-6-2, 2-2-1 Big West) on Friday and ended their northern California swing with a 2-0 win over Pacific (3-10-1, 0-4-1 Big West) Sunday afternoon. The victories will give The Beach some momentum as they head into an important conference match with UC Irvine at home Saturday night.

The LBSU defense played an essential role in each of the wins, despite being without starting center back Jordan Nelson. In the game against UC Davis, the defense allowed five shots on goal, and Meyers saved each one. That effort ended up being critical, as Maes’ goal in the 78th minute was the only score of the game.

Two days later at Pacific, Maes came through again and scored her team-leading eighth goal of the season in the 31st minute. Forward Nadia Link added her seventh goal of the season in the final minute of the game to ensure a second consecutive victory for the 49ers.

The defense was stifling once again, as it helped Meyers to her fifth shutout of the season by allowing the Tigers to get off only one shot on goal and take only seven shots total.

The pair of wins earned the ‘Niners six points in the Big West table, which gets them to 12 for the season. They are currently four points back of Cal Poly and one point behind UC Irvine, which will be visiting George Allen Field on Saturday.

The Anteaters (8-8-1, 4-1-1 Big West) have found success in the Big West after stumbling during nonconference play. They are led by junior forward Natalia Ledezma, who has scored three times and provided five assists this year.

The game will also be the first of the 2012-13 Black & Blue rivalry series between LBSU and UCI. The women’s soccer teams will kick off the annual rivalry competition at the same time as the schools’ women’s volleyball teams, which will be playing in Irvine.

LBSU only has three matches left on its regular season schedule before postseason play begins. In order to book a ticket to the Big West tournament, the 49ers must finish in the top four of the end-of-season standings. Prior to their wins over the weekend, the ‘Niners were in fifth and in need of a nearly perfect end to their season.

Now in third, The Beach will put its postseason hopes on the line when it faces UCI on Saturday at 7 p.m.


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