Waves Score Big Victories

Pepperdine Men's Golf Win at Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate

Pepperdine Waves athletes recorded a few wins, a couple losses and a tie over the last few days of competition.

The Waves men’s golf team took home a record-setting win in its first tournament of the season on Sunday, Oct. 24, and two days later Pepperdine women’s tennis player Lisa Zaar won the ITA Southwest Regional championship. On Oct. 23, the Waves women’s volleyball team, ranked 25th nationally, picked up a win at Oregon, while the third-ranked women’s team battled to a tie on their home field. The ninth-ranked men’s water polo team collected a loss at home that day and lost on the road the next. 

The men’s golf team, the reigning NCAA champions, won the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate in Alpharetta, Ga. Pepperdine had a three-day total of 42 under 822 (275-275-272) as it finished four shots better than Texas A&M in the eight-team event. Pepperdine’s total of 42 under 822 is the fifth-best score in program history and it broke the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate record by 14 shots. 

Senior Joe Highsmith led the way for the Waves as he captured his second career individual title. He had a tournament-best 23 birdies and was the top-scoring player on both par 4s (-9) and par 5s (-10). Highsmith had a four-shot win with his 19 under 197 (63-65-69).

Junior William Mouw finished tied for sixth place with 10 under 206 (70-69-67) and senior Joey Vrzich tied for 13th with a 6 under 210 (69-73-68). Junior Dylan Menante placed 19th with a 4 under 212 (74-70-68) and senior Derek Hitcher tied for 29th with a 1 under 215 (73-71-71). 

Zaar, the junior women’s tennis player, captured her ITA crown at the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego. She won the title match with a straight-set win over San Diego’s Abigail Desiatnikov, 6-4. 6-0. Zaar only lost one set in the event. 

According to a press release, Zaar said she was happy to win the title and had been focusing on improving her game and getting better each match. 

“I’m happy it paid off in the end,” she said. “Now, it’s back to Pepperdine to keep working hard and preparing for nationals that’s coming up.” 

Waves head coach Per Nilsson said Zaar’s work on and off the court is paying off.

“Lisa deserves the success she had this week,” he said. 

The volleyball squad swept the Portland Pilots, 25-12, 25-21, 25-14, in the Pilots’ Chiles Center. 

Senior outside hitter Rachel Ahrens led Pepperdine with 15 kills, four digs, and one block, and freshman outside hitter Grace Chillingworth recorded 12 kills, one ace and one block. Sophomore middle blocker Meg Brown posted eight kills, three aces and three blocks including one solo. Emma Ammerman, a sophomore outside hitter, had nine kills and four digs, while Isabel Zelaya, the junior setter, recorded 36 assists, which aided Pepperdine in recording 48 total kills and posting a .383 collective success rate. 

The women’s soccer team played into two overtimes but ended up in a 0-0 tie with the Saint Mary’s Gaels. 

Pepperdine’s defense kept the Gaels in the midfield and defensive zones throughout the contest. Redshirt senior goalkeeper Zoe Clevely had one save and classmate Calista Reyes, a defender, ran the length of the field to block the last shot by the Gaels in the second overtime. 

The Waves outshot Saint Mary’s, 13-3. Pepperdine sophomore Tori Waldeck, senior Joelle Anderson, redshirt junior Olivia Packer and sophomore Skylar Enge all saw potential scoring kicks stymied.

Pepperdine coach Tim Ward said in a statement he was proud of the Waves’ performance even though they failed to score. 

“Hats off to Saint Mary’s,” he said. “They set up shop in a way that was very organized and very hard to break down. In a game like that, you’re only going to get a few chances.” 

Ward was glad that Pepperdine prevented the Gaels from scoring. 

“Shutouts are good, ties are better than losses, and we’re still on track to get to the postseason,” he said in the statement. “We’re going to learn from it.”

Clevely is now tied for second on Pepperdine’s single-season solo shutout list at 10. Her 16 total solo shutouts are fifth in Waves history. 

Clevely, Anderson, Reyes and Packer, along with their classmates Devyn Gilfoy, Kelsey Hill and Kaliee Gifford, were recognized before the match as a part of Pepperdine’s Senior Day celebration.

The men’s water polo team was downed by the Pacific Tigers, 12-10, on Oct. 23, then by top-ranked UCLA, 18-10, the following afternoon. 

Sophomore attacker Christian Hosea scored four goals against the Tigers and sophomores Jake Howerton, an attacker, and Nico Tierney, a center defender, recorded two goals and two assists. John Claude Marco, the senior goalkeeper, had six saves in the game. 

Against UCLA, senior utility Sean Ferrari had three goals, and senior attacker Balazs Kosa recorded two scores. Marco posted eight saves.