Waves women’s tennis advances in NCAA tourney

The Pepperdine women’s tennis team celebrates after its NCAA Tournament win over Miami. The Waves will face top-ranked North Carolina in the NCAA semifinals. Contributed photo.

The Pepperdine Waves women’s tennis team will compete in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament for the third straight full season on Friday. 

The Waves, ranked eighth, will take on the top-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels in Champaign, Ill. Pepperdine defeated the Tar Heels 4-3 in the tournament’s semifinals last May. 

The 23-6 Waves advanced to face North Carolina thanks to their impressive 4-0 victory over ninth-ranked Miami in the Super Regionals on April 13 at Pepperdine’s Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center. 

Pepperdine grabbed an early lead over Miami in doubles play. Freshman Savannah Broadus and sophomore Janice Tjen grabbed a 6-2 win after the first four games were split between the squads. Then, graduate student Shiori Fukuda and sophomore Taisiya Pachkaleva won their match 6-3.

Pepperdine won all six of the first sets in singles play. Broadus won her third consecutive tournament match 6-1, 6-0. Fukuda then won her contest 6-1. 6-1. Pachkaleva won her match 7-6 (2), 6-0 to cement the Waves’ victory. Tjen, junior Zaar, and graduate student Victoria Flores were in various stages of their matches when Pepperdine garnered the winning point. 

Pepperdine downed Denver 4-0 in the opening round of the tournament on May 6. The next day, they beat USC 4-1 in the second round. 

Peppderine’s men’s tennis squad also qualified for the NCAA Tournament. The group beat Washington 4-0 in the opening round in Columbia, South Carolina, on May 6. However, the Waves lost the next day to South Carolina 4-1. The squad concluded the season with an 18-8 record.

The winner of the Waves/Tar Heels match will advance to the tournament semifinals. Pepperdine’s victory over North Carolina in 2021 propelled the Waves to the national championship match, which they lost to Texas.