Waves blanking of Saint Mary’s is ‘very Pepperdiney’

Waves senior midfielder Skylar Enge with the ball against Saint Mary's. Photo by McKenzie Jackson.

Women’s soccer squad and coach take pride in shutout victory over visiting Gaels

Pepperdine Waves women’s soccer player Tori Waldeck has experienced a lot during her years excelling on the pitch. 

Heading into Pepperdine’s 2023 campaign, the senior, who has stood out in the sport since she was a youth player, hadn’t experienced a ton of contests that ended in ties, though. That has changed this season. Five of the Waves’ 13 games have ended with the score knotted. (The NCAA eliminated overtime during the regular season in 2022 to reduce the playing volume for student-athletes.)

Waldeck, a forward and midfielder, said most of the ties have happened in games in which Pepperdine lost the lead. 

“We had to learn how to finish games, and as the season has gone on, we figured out how to finish games out,” she said. “The ties have been hard, but from here on out we are doing our best to win out.” 

Waldeck helped the Waves make certain their latest contest wouldn’t end in an even score. She scored one goal and assisted on another in Pepperdine’s 3-0 victory over the Saint Mary’s Gaels, a West Coast Conference foe, on Oct. 7 at Pepperdine’s Tari Frahm Rockus Field. 

Waldeck was glad her team was able to get the win three days after a one-goal victory over Pacific.

“We had a performance where we didn’t play our best,” she said. “We came out with the win, which was awesome, but we worked on things the past few days — defending as a team — that we really did today. I’m proud of our team.”

Pepperdine head coach Tim Ward said the Gaels have always been a tough opponent. He stated the win as “very Pepperdiney” because his squad flexed their defensive and offensive prowess.

“We dominated a majority of the ball,” Ward said. 

The coach described a play late in the contest when the Gaels had a chance to score, but the Waves denied them.

“Every single girl in that moment was willing to sacrifice her body to get the shutout because we have not gotten enough shutouts this year,” Ward said. “Our girls know it. There are championship standards — how many shutouts championship teams have. You are either at the level or you are not. You have to make plays, and they did it. I’m so proud of the shutout.” 

Sophomore defender Taylor Bloom noted that good defense is a teamwide mindset.

“It’s really important as a defense to have each other’s back,” she said.

The Waves have held opponents scoreless in three other games this season.

Pepperdine had a 5-3-5 record heading into their game against Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles on Wednesday. Pepperdine hosts Portland on Sunday and plays at San Diego on Oct. 27. 

Waldeck, after running into the box in front of the Gaels’ goal, took a pass from freshman forward Julia Quinonez in the game’s 17th minute and kicked the ball with her right foot into the back of the net. 

“Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the keeper coming out so I put a little bit of touch on it for it to hit the back of the net,” Waldeck recalled. 

Sophomore midfielder Tatum Wynalda and Quinonez kicked Pepperdine’s other goals in the contest. The Waves bombarded Gaels goalkeeper Taylor Poland with 19 shots, including 13 shots on goal. 

Wynalda scored her third goal of the season around 18 minutes after Waldeck netted her fifth. Pepperdine junior forward Kelsey Adams passed the ball into the middle of the box. The ball hit an opposing player, but Wynalda corralled the ball with her right foot and kicked it past Poland for the score. 

After halftime and in the match’s 48th minute, Waldeck kicked the ball toward the middle of the box. Quinonez headed the ball into the net for her fourth goal of the year. Waldeck was credited for an assist.

Waves goalkeeper Taylor Roth, a redshirt sophomore, had two saves and goalkeeper Harlee Head, a sophomore, had one save. 

Pepperdine defeated UC San Diego 4-0 on Sept. 21. They began competition in the WCC with a 1-0 loss to Santa Clara on Sept. 30. The Waves beat Pacific 2-1 three days before downing Saint Mary’s. 

Pepperdine, Ward said, is kicking for a WCC championship, but noted the bunch has a “day-by-day” mindset.

“We talk about winning the day,” he said. “Find a way to win the day, stay positive, and get better by just a little bit. Over time, if we can just win the day, we can look back and be proud of where we end up. That is how you keep momentum going.”