Long Beach State women’s soccer team opens season on Friday

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long beach state womens soccer seasonThe Long Beach State women’s soccer team officially opens the 2010 season on Friday, Aug. 20, when it welcomes BYU to George Allen Field for a 5 p.m. non-conference showdown.

Long Beach State and BYU are tied in the all-time series, 2-2-0. The 49ers evened the playing field with a 3-0 win in the most recent meeting on Sept. 11, 2008, in Long Beach. This will mark just the second time the two teams will face off at George Allen Field.

Scouting the Cougars

BYU was recently picked to win the Mountain West Conference and was also ranked No. 22 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Preseason Top 25 Poll.

Last year, the Cougars claimed the MWC regular season title with a 6-0-1 mark in league play. They finished the 2009 campaign with an 18-4-2 record and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. BYU returns 14 letterwinners and eight starters from that squad, including All-MWC first-team selections, Kassidy Shumway, McKinzie Olson and Carlee Payne (2009 MWC Freshman of the Year).

Continue the Streak!

Long Beach State is looking to extend its streak of season-opening wins to five on Friday. Over the last four years, the 49ers have come out of the gates strong, outscoring their opponents, 12-0, in the first match of the season. Overall, The Beach is 8-6-2 in season openers, while it owns a 6-4-0 mark when kicking off the year at home.

Long Beach State fans got a preview of the women’s soccer team on Saturday, Aug. 14, when LBSU took on San Diego State in an exhibition game at George Allen Field. Eighteen 49ers saw action in a 2-1 loss to the Aztecs. Senior Lindsay Bullock scored for The Beach as she headed in the lone goal in the 59th minute.

Beach Picked 6th in BWC

LBSU was picked to finish sixth in the Big West Conference according to the 2010 preseason poll, which was voted on by the league’s head coaches. The 49ers (44 points) just missed out on landing in the top five as they finished one point behind Cal State Northridge. UC Santa Barbara was picked as the favorite with four first-place votes and 75 total points.

Returning Players

Long Beach State returns 18 letterwinners from a young 2009 squad that finished a rebuilding season with a 5-11-3 record. The 49ers, who had more newcomers than returners last year, are looking to reclaim their spot at the top of the Big West after winning three consecutive regular season titles from 2006-08.

Leading the way for The Beach are midfielders Shawna Gordon and Lindsay Bullock. Gordon, a 2009 first-team All-Big West selection, was LBSU’s top scorer last season with 15 points (5 goals, 5 assists). Bullock, meanwhile, finished second on the team with four goals and one assist. Bullock is a two-time first-team all-conference and second-team All-West Region pick.

Also back for The Beach are Nicole Hubbard (3 goals, 1 assist), Karina Camacho (1 goal, 2 assists) and Chantel Hubbard (4 assists).

Fresh Faces on the Women’s Soccer Team

The 49ers have added six newcomers for the 2010 season. Looking to make an immediate impact are freshmen Tori Baldridge (Crescenta Valley HS) and Kassidy Hause (Lakewood HS) and junior transfer Jazz Strozier. Baldridge was a high school All-American, while Hause was tabbed the Press-Telegram Dream Team Player of the Year. Strozier, meanwhile, tallied 30 goals en route to earning first-team All-America honors last season at Ventura College. All three registered at least 20 minutes in LBSU’s exhibition game.

Also joining the 49ers are freshmen Kristyn BenavidezSidney Garza and Chyann Saban.

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