Los Angeles Soccer: Florida State
November, 25, 2011
By Scott French | ESPNLosAngeles.com
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).