Los Angeles Soccer: Callie Payetta
November, 8, 2010
By Scott French | ESPNLosAngeles.com
Long Beach State's women are headed to the NCAA tournament for the second time in three years after upsetting 11th-ranked UC Irvine, 1-0, in Sunday's Big West Conference tournament title game.
Defender Bo Rael (Rancho Cucamonga/Los Osos HS), an Oregon transfer, headed home a corner kick by UCLA transfer Nicole Sweetman (Oxnard/Oaks Christian HS) eight minutes into the second half to lift the visiting 49ers (14-5-2), who needed outstanding defense -- led by Alex Balcer, who repeatedly made big plays -- and a little bit of luck.
UCI (17-2-2) hit the goal frame three times, with left back Nikki Forrest (Upland/Upland HS) nearly pulling the Anteaters even with a drive off the right post in the 76th minute.
“We knew we had to have a game plan, we knew we had to be flawless, we believe in ourselves, we know we can beat anyone in the country with the right game plan and the right mentality, and the team's really come a long way,” said Mauricio Ingrassia (Los Alamitos/Los Alamitos HS and Cal State Fullerton), who has won three Big West regular-season titles in seven seasons as Long Beach State coach -- after winning five state and two mythical national titles at Long Beach City College.