Waves women’s tennis advances to NCAA quarterfinals

Waves women's tennis beats USC 4-0 to advance to NCAA tournament quarterfinals. Photo by Jeff Golden.

Pepperdine headed for Stillwater, Oklahoma, after advancing with 4-0 victory over USC

The Pepperdine Waves women’s tennis team will take their rackets to the NCAA Championships’ quarterfinals for the third time in four years. 

The Waves, the tournament’s sixth seed, defeated 11th-seeded USC 4-0 on May 10 at Pepperdine’s Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center to advance to the championships’ final site, the Michael and Anne Greenwood Tennis Center in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Pepperdine will play third-seeded Michigan on Friday at 12:30 p.m. The winner of their match will advance to the semifinals and be one contest away from the title match. 

Waves junior Savannah Broadus said in a press release that advancing to the quarterfinals feels special since the squad lost in the Sweet Sixteen in the 2023 tournament. 

“You see part of the elite programs in the country when you make it to the final site,” she said. “I’m so happy. I can’t put it into words how grateful, thankful, proud, and excited I am to play at the final site.” 

The Waves were defeated by top-seeded North Carolina in the quarterfinals two seasons ago. 

Pepperdine beat UCLA in the 2020-21 quarterfinals and eventually made it to the national title game where they were felled by Texas. 

Waves graduate student Anna Campana said advancing to the quarterfinals is an unreal experience.

“Win or lose, it’ll be an experience we’ll never forget,” she said. “Everyone on the team is going to value it and enjoy being there. We have fun with each other and the energy is so high whenever we’re on the court together — and it makes it so much easier knowing that the girls playing next to you want you to win as much as you want to see them succeed too.”

Campana and Lisa Zaar, also a graduate student, secured the doubles point for the Waves against USC by storming back from a four-point deficit against the Trojans’ Snow Han and Emma Charney. The Pepperdine duo won the match 7-6 (6). 

In singles play, all six Waves — Campana, Zaar, Broadus, seniors Nikki Redelijk and Janice Tjen, and freshman Vivian Yang — won their first sets. Pepperdine was dominant from then on. 

Yang defeated McKenna Koenig 6-2, 6-0 to give the Waves a 2-0 lead. It was her third victory in the NCAA tournament. Yang won 10 consecutive games against Koenig to get the win.

Zaar then beat Han 6-1 in the initial set of their matchup. Zaar took a 5-2 lead in the second set. Han held serve in the eighth game, but Zaar eventually regained control and won the set 6-3. Zaar has beaten Han three times this season. 

Broadus dominated the first set against Eryn Cayetano to grab a 6-0 win. Broadus was up 5-2 in the second set when Cayetano rallied. However, Broadus eventually won the set 7-5 and clinched the win for Pepperdine. 

Pepperdine enters Friday’s match with a 20-6 record and on a nine-game winning streak. 

The Waves won the West Coast Conference title on April 27 with a 4-0 victory over San Diego. Pepperdine then defeated SIU-Edwardsville 4-0 in the first round of the NCAA Championships on May 3. The next day, the Waves downed Arizona State 4-1 in the second round before beating USC six days later.

The other teams competing in the tournament’s quarterfinals included second-seeded Stanford, fifth-seeded Virginia, seventh-seeded Georgia, eight-seeded UCLA, 13th-seeded Texas A&M, and 16th-seeded Tennessee.