Nov. 12, 2011
MALIBU, Calif. -- In a close fought overtime game, the No. 7 Waves fell 1-0 to Long Beach State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday in the first postseason game played at Tari Frahm Rokus Field. Despite a strong effort from the Waves, as they outshot the 49ers 16-7 and forced Beach's goalkeeper to make 12 saves, the Waves were unable to find the back of the net and the 49ers' were able to put the game-winner away with 13 seconds left in the first overtime period.
The loss ends the Waves' stellar 2011 season with a record of 15-2-4 and the second West Coast Conference championship in school history.
The Waves started the game off a bit slow, but settled down and started to play their game, with junior forward Anisa Guajardo (Clovis, Calif./Buchanan HS) getting off a strong shot at the 15:59 mark. In the 36th minute the Waves had an excellent opportunity as freshman Amanda LeCave (Windsor, Calif./Windsor HS) won a challenge and put the ball through on a breakaway. She tried to slot her shot past 49er goalkeeper Kaitlyn Gustaves, but Gustaves made the save. LeCave followed up with a second shot but Gustaves again made a stellar save to preserve the 0-0 tie. The Waves and 49ers went into the half with the score tied at 0-0 and the game fairly evenly matched. The Waves led in the shots column 6-2 but the 49ers had two corner kicks to the Waves' zero. The team forced the 49ers' goalkeeper to make five saves in the half.
Freshman forward Lynn Williams (Fresno, Calif./Bullard HS) started off the second half with another test on the 49ers' goalkeeper with a shot just 4:50 into the second half. Sophomore defender Michelle Pao (Cupertino, Calif./Monta Vista HS) again tested the keeper at the 56:26 mark with a shot after a strong run down the right sideline.
At the 68:15 mark the 49ers forced junior goalkeeper Roxanne Barker (Irvine, Calif./Woodbridge HS) to make her first save of the game. About four minutes later on the other end of the field Williams had a nice header off a ball played forward, but again Gustaves was able to make the save for the 49ers, her third of the quarter. The Waves continued to force things on the offensive end with another shot by Williams and the squad's first corner kick of the day at the 78:43 mark.
In the final few minutes both teams scrambled to find the back of the net, but neither was successful and through the final 90 minutes the game was tied at 0-0.
At the end of regulation Gusatves had 12 saves for the 49ers and Barker had one for the Waves. The Waves outshot the 49ers 16-7 but the Beach had four corners to the Waves' one.
With the possibility of two 10 minute sudden death overtime periods and possibly penalty kicks, the Waves went into the first overtime period on the offensive. Just 42 seconds in senior forward Laura Cole (Whittier, Calif./La Habra HS) sent a twisting hard, low shot, but Gustaves was able to make the save. Then two consecutive shots at the five and six minute marks of overtime by Guajardo and Pao, respectively, sailed high. With 13 seconds left in the first 10 minute overtime period the 49ers' Nadia Link put away a nice shot into the upper right corner of the net to get the 1-0 sudden death victory.
On the goal, head coach Tim Ward said, "Nadia, a great player, scored a great goal to beat us. She pushed it, she made a great play. She hit a corkscrew and it wrong-footed Roxy. There was nothing she could do. It was a great goal."
The win was the first in the NCAA Tournament for the 49ers as they advance to the tournament's second round. The Waves are now 6-6 in NCAA Tournament games.
"We wanted to make a run further than Pepperdine's ever been" Ward said. "We've been to a couple of Sweet Sixteens. I think this team maybe deserved a better draw than it got, but we did get them on our home field, and it's our first loss on our home field all year, so that's sort of extra painful in a way. But I'm really, really proud of our team and what it achieved this year. We had two championship sides playing each other in the first round this year. Long Beach State's an excellent team, well-coached. I hope they win their next round because I like their staff, I like their program."