The Pepperdine Waves women’s soccer team opened West Coast Conference play with a shutout victory on Oct. 1.
The Waves, ranked 17th in the nation, defeated the visiting San Diego Toreros 3-0 at Pepperdine’s Tari Frahm Rockus Field.
Balls kicked by senior midfielder Shelby Little and freshman forwards Tatum Wynalda and Melina Livadas all found the back of the net during the contest’s second half.
Despite not scoring in the first half, Pepperdine Waves head coach Tim Ward said his team performed amazingly in the first portion of the game. He did note the missed scoring opportunities, though.
“On another day, we could have been two or three goals up,” Ward recalled. “So at halftime, we said, ‘The performance is great, but if we want to be a championship team, you’ve got to bury your chances and put the nails in the coffin’ — as we say. We started the second half incredibly well.”
The Waves rained down scoring attempts on the Toreros’ defense throughout the contest. Pepperdine attempted 31 total shots, 10 of them on goal. Pepperdine’s defense held San Diego in check. The visiting squad only attempted two shots in the first half. San Diego attempted zero in the second half.
The win was Pepperdine junior goalkeeper Ellie Sommers’ fifth solo shutout of the 2022 campaign.
Pepperdine’s first score happened in the 54th minute. Trinity Watson, a senior defender, took a corner kick from the left corner and sent the ball toward ball Little. Little tapped the ball out of the air with her right foot and past San Diego’s goalkeeper into the net.
Watson took a second corner kick in the 70th minute. Her pass bounced off the shoulder of a Toreros defender and hit the left post. The ball fell right in front of Wynalda. The freshman kicked the ball into the net with her right foot.
Seventeen minutes later, sophomore forward Kelsey Adams picked off a San Diego pass, and then sent the ball to sophomore midfielder Caroline Coleman. Coleman passed the ball to Livadas, who hammered the ball with her left foot from 20 yards out into the goal. She ran and hugged several teammates to celebrate after the score.
The score was Livadas’ third of the season, while Wynalda now has five goals. Little now has one goal this season. She scored six goals during her first three seasons.
Ward said the Waves had opportunities to score in the first couple of minutes after halftime also.
“I stood up and yelled for the first time of the whole match,” he said with a chuckle. “I’ve been doing this a long time. When your moment comes, you need to arrive in your moment. I didn’t want it to be one of those days where the better team didn’t find a way to win the game, and I felt we were the better team today. All due respect to our opponent. I thought we needed a goal.”
Pepperdine entered Wednesday’s contest at Gonzaga with a 7-1-2 record. The team plays at Portland on Saturday. Their next home game is Oct. 15 against San Francisco.
The match against San Diego was Pepperdine’s first since the Waves were defeated by top-ranked UCLA 4-0 on Sept. 18. The downing by UCLA is the Waves’ only loss of the season.
Little said she and her teammates “reset” in the time between their last two outings.
“It was a tough game,” Little said about the UCLA match. “The break off really helped us, and we were really hyped to just get out here and start WCC off strong.”
Pepperdine started the season with an 8-0 win over CSUN on Aug. 18. The group has also recorded wins over UC San Diego, San Diego State, UC Santa Barbara, Arizona, and Long Beach State. The Waves games against LSU and California ended in ties. Pepperdine held six of their opponents scoreless.