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Friday, November 25, 2011
COLLEGE: Duke ends 49ers' dream year

By Scott French

Long Beach State's unprecedented run through the NCAA Division I women's soccer tournament came to its conclusion against a faster, stronger, better team. That didn't make it any easier to accept.


The 49ers bowed in a quarterfinal Friday night to Duke, which claimed a College Cup berth with a 2-0 victory in Durham, N.C., capping its dominance with two fine second-half goals to reach the final four the first time since 1992.

Long Beach (18-6-1) stayed level until the 67th minute, but its failure to create much of an attack -- with just three shots (to Duke's 15) and none on frame -- meant it was going to take something very special to add to NCAA victories over Pepperdine, Miami and San Diego with an upset of the third-ranked Blue Devils (21-3-1).

“They were very athletic, more so than my kids,” 49ers coach Mauricio Ingrassia told ESPN Los Angeles afterward. “Normally, we get to the ball quicker or we hang in the air higher. They just had some beastly athletes -- and good soccer players. End of the day, we did very well to give ourselves a shot.”

Duke will meet Wake Forest (18-3-4), a 3-0 winner over Central Florida, in a semifinal next Friday in Kennesaw, Ga. A third Atlantic Coast Conference team, Florida State (18-6-1), routed ACC rival Virginia, 3-0, and will face top-ranked Stanford (23-0-1), which beat Oklahoma State, 2-1, in overtime.

Duke was explosive on the flanks, especially through Mollie Pathman on the left, and moved the ball impressively, but Long Beach stayed in the game by surviving Kelly Cobb's blast off the crossbar in the 22nd minute and through strong play by center backs Jordan Nelson (Garden Grove/Pacifica HS and Loyola Marymount) and Alex Balcer and goalkeeper Kaitlyn Gustaves (Long Beach/Wilson HS).

Duke went ahead when Kim DeCesare headed home a cross from Pathman, who had little resistance after right back Jenny Soza slipped as she tried to match steps. It ended Long Beach's 544-minute shutout streak, stretching back six games.

Gilda Doria made it 2-0 from the remnants of a corner kick in the 74th, collecting a clearance, pulling a U-turn to get the ball on her favored left foot, then firing upper-shelf from the top of the box.

“It was coming in the second half,” Duke coach Robbie Church said in the postgame news conference. “We had some separation from them. We were able to attack down the left flank really, really well -- both Mollie and Kelly [Cobb]. Mollie Pathman, some services she had down the flanks were unbelievable from the back side. ...

“Long Beach State, what a great run they had. It's a good team. Mauricio is a good coach. He had them really organized. I was a little concerned that maybe they spring one. We dominate and we dominate and we don't finish, and maybe they spring one.”

The 49ers, who had two extended periods of better possession and opportunity, couldn't turn their chances into shots. They struggled on a narrow field, labored to string together passes against Duke's pressure and only once isolated star forward Nadia Link (Rowland Heights/Walnut HS) one-on-one with a defender in the box.

“I feel like we didn't finish our attacks properly,” Ingrassia said. “We had some decent buildups, but when we'd get into the final third, we weren't sharp in how we went about going into attacks. We'd end up with nothing, when we should have had a dangerous shot on goal.”

Ingrassia said he wasn't yet ready to consider his team's achievements this season.

“I can't do that,” he said. “Right now it stings, and the girls are hurting a little bit because they feel they might have been able to get more out of the game. I'm sure as time goes by, we'll be able to reflect and understand that our program really did something special this year. And we're looking to follow it up.”

THE SCORES

Friday
Duke 2 (DeCesare 67, Doria 74), Long Beach State 0

Home teams listed first

NCAA PAIRINGS

Division I
Third round (Sunday)

Indiana (13-3-5) at North Carolina (18-2-2)
St. Mary's (10-6-5) at Brown (12-4-3)
Louisville (13-6-2) at Maryland (14-3-3)
Rutgers (10-6-4) at UCLA (16-4-1)
James Madison (13-4-2) at Connecticut (18-3-2)
Akron (15-3-4) at Charlotte (13-4-2)
New Mexico (18-0-3) at South Florida (13-3-3)
UC Santa Barbara (15-6-1) at Creighton (19-2-0)

Division II
Semifinals (Dec. 1 at Pensacola, Fla.)
Franklin Pierce (21-0-1) vs. Lynn (14-4-2)
Millersville (14-6-2) vs. Fort Lewis (22-1-0)

Division III
Semifinals (Dec. 2 at San Antonio)
Montclair State (19-3-3) vs. Ohio Wesleyan (12-4-4)
Calvin (18-5-2) vs. Oneonta State (18-2-2)

Division I
Semifinals (Dec. 2 at Kennesaw, Ga.)

Stanford (23-0-1) vs. Florida State (18-6-1)
Wake Forest (18-3-4) vs. Duke (21-3-1)

Division II
Semifinals (Dec. 1 at Pensacola, Fla.)
Grand Valley State (20-0-3) vs. Chico State (13-6-5)
St. Rose (22-1-1) vs. Armstrong Atlantic (18-2-3)

Division III
Semifinals (Dec. 2 at San Antonio)
Wheaton, Ill. (22-1-2) vs. Ithaca (15-3-3)
Messiah (20-0-1) vs. William Smith (20-0-1)

NAIA PAIRINGS

Second round (Nov. 28-29 at Orange Beach, Ala.)
Hastings (21-1-0) vs. St. Xavier (14-8-0)
Science & Arts of Oklahoma (14-8-0) vs. Asusa Pacific (13-3-3)
Rio Grande (18-2-0) vs. Belhaven (16-4-0)
William Carey (14-3-3) vs. Mobile (16-2-1)
Baker (18-1-1) vs. Huston-Tillotson (18-2-1)
Great Falls (16-4-0) vs. Grand View (17-2-2)
Bethel, Tenn. (14-2-2) vs. Southern Poly (16-2-2)
Hannibal-La Grange (16-4-1) vs. Lindsey Wilson (19-0-0)

Second round (Nov. 28-29 at Decatur, Ala.)
Lindsey Wilson (18-0-2) vs. Oklahoma City (17-2-2)
Spring Arbor (19-2-1) vs. Concordia, Ore. (16-4-1)
Olivet Nazarene (17-2-2) vs. Baker (14-3-1)
Embry-Riddle, Fla. (17-2-1) vs. Martin Methodist (14-1-2)
Lee (19-2-0) vs. Houghton (17-3-1)
Westmont (13-6-0) vs. Point Loma Nazarene (19-1-2)
Mobile (18-3-1) vs. Graceland (10-6-4)
Hastings (19-2-1) vs. Azusa Pacific (14-2-2)

NCCAA PAIRINGS

First round (Nov. 30 at Kissimmee, Fla.)
Cal Baptist (15-5-0) vs. Southwestern Assemblies of God (10-7-4)
Cedarville (13-6-1) vs. Oakland City (11-5-1)
Judson (13-8-1) vs. Grace (10-7-4)
Palm Beach Atlantic (12-7-0) vs. Geneva (14-5-3)

First round (Nov. 30 at Kissimmee, Fla.)
Cal Baptist (15-2-1) vs. Colorado Christian (5-15-1)
Mount Vernon Nazarene (10-8-2) vs. Oklahoma Wesleyan (13-6-1)
Trinity International (8-9-3) vs. Truett McConnell (8-10-1)
Grace (12-7-2) vs. Asbury (13-8-1)