Los Angeles Soccer: Karissa Garcia
The eighth-ranked Waves (15-1-4) claimed their first conference title since 2002 when San Diego routed Santa Clara, 3-0, knocking the seventh-ranked Broncos from the top spot they wrested last weekend from Pepperdine.
San Diego (12-7-0), which was led by three Stephanie Ochs assists, also claimed a share of the crown, but Pepperdine wins the automatic berth to the NCAA tournament after beating the Toreros last month.
Santa Clara (13-2-5) fell to 6-1-1 in WCC play; USD and Pepperdine finished 7-1.
The Waves scored a 4-0 victory over San Francisco in Malibu, with Laura Cole (Whittier/La Habra HS) and Amanda LeCave scoring first-half goals and Karissa Garcia and Michelle Pao tallying after halftime.
In other women's action:
- Sydney Leroux scored her 15th and 16th goals and assisted two by freshman Sam Mewis as fourth-ranked UCLA (15-1-3) romped to a 5-2 win over USC (7-13-0) in front of 3,826 at Drake Stadium. Zakiya Bywaters had three assists for the Bruins, who finished second to Stanford in the Pacific 12 Conference.
Pepperdine heads into Friday night's showdown at Santa Clara likely for the West Coast Conference women's soccer championship with a 13-0-4 record, a school-record 18-game unbeaten streak and a No. 3 spot in the national rankings.
Head coach Tim Ward thinks it's the just the beginning.
Pepperdine has had some outstanding teams but never been considered a national power, but in a landscape that is embracing more and more contenders every year -- it's not just North Carolina, Notre Dame and Santa Clara anymore -- “I feel we're a team of destiny a little bit,” Ward says.
“I feel a change in the air ...,” he says. “I think it's our time. I think it's our time to rise up and become a power in women's soccer.”
They've made their first move with a young but veteran side that has locked things down in the back, conceding just nine goals in 17 games, while feasting on a varied attack led by a local hero and two major signings from Fresno.
The three forwards -- cerebral Laura Cole (Whittier/La Habra HS), finisher Anisa Guajardo and freshman phenom Lynn Williams, the latter two from the Central Valley -- have gotten most of the attention, combining for 19 goals and 13 assists, but Ward is fond of the assessment a friend, a top high school coach, offered after watching the Waves: “Twenty-six women with one heart.”
“I don't know if this is the most talented team we've ever had,” he says. “It certainly rivals the 2002 team [that went 18-2-2, won the WCC and reached the NCAA Sweet 16], but it is a great team. The environment, the camaraderie and team spirit definitely is what gets us through the tight [moments].
“We still have a long way to go to get better. Here we are undefeated, but we can get so much better. ... We have no illusion we're all that or we're there yet. That's another nice thing about the team. There's a lot of humility. We're sticking together like good teams should, sacrificing for each other, and we're staying humble.”
Credit goes to the senior leadership -- Cole, defensive midfielder Karissa Garcia and left back Myriah Stockman -- and the knowledge that with 10th-ranked Santa Clara and fellow national power Portland still on the schedule, the team hasn't won anything yet.
Chandler Hoffman scored twice in the final 21 minutes and ninth-ranked UCLA toppled No. 24 San Diego State, 2-0, Sunday at Drake Stadium to claim its eighth straight victory against Pacific 12 Conference men's soccer competition.
Hoffman scored in the 70th and 83rd minutes, his 10th and team-best 11th goals of the season, as the Bruins (10-3-1) improved to 5-0 in Pac-12 play with a six-point lead on San Diego State (8-3-2) and Washington (8-3-2), which are 3-2 in conference.
Hoffman, who ended a four-game goal drought, tallied from Kelyn Rowe's long ball to break the scoreless draw, then added the second from a feed by Victor Muñoz, firing home after his first attempt was blocked. Hoffman has 17 goals in his last 20 games for UCLA.
In other men's action:
- Sean Sears and Artur Jozkowicz (Santa Monica/Santa Monica HS) netted second-half goals, and Loyola Marymount (5-9-0) won its third in a row, a 2-1 decision over visiting San Francisco, the West Coast Conference leader heading into the weekend.
- UC Santa Barbara transfer Taylor Rivas (Lancaster/Lancaster HS) tallied in the 87th minute and Cal State L.A. (8-1-5), No. 13 in the NCAA Division II rankings, escaped with a 1-1 draw in a California Collegiate Athletic Association clash at Cal State San Bernardino (5-8-1). UC Irvine transfer Brett Faggioni scored for the Coyotes in the 12th minute.
Pacific (1-2-0) halved the deficit with two minutes to go on Angelica Figueroa's penalty kick following a hand ball.
“We knew that we needed to get our confidence up -- we knew we needed to come out and get it done,” Kerridge, who leads USC with two goals and two assists, said on a video posted on her school's athletics website. “It wasn't the prettiest soccer, like we have been playing, but we got the job done, and that's all that matters.”
In other women's action:
- All-American Sydney Leroux's scoring streak hit three games as No. 15 UCLA (4-0-0) won Tennessee's tournament with a 2-0 triumph over eighth-ranked Florida. Leroux was the event's MVP, and freshmen Ally Courtnall (who also scored), Samantha Mewis and Abby Dahlkemper made the all-tournament team.
- Surprising UC Riverside (2-1-1) won its second in a row, surpassing last year's victory total with a 2-1 overtime triumph over visiting San Jose State. Kayde Hensley's 102nd-minute goal lifted the Highlanders to the title in their tournament.
- No. 13 UC Irvine (4-0-0) also won both of its games at UCR's event, finishing with a 2-0 triumph over Mississippi State as UCLA transfer Natalia Ledezma (La Mirada/La Mirada HS) netted her third goal.
- Karissa Garcia's goal in the sixth minute led Pepperdine (4-0-0) past visiting Long Island, 1-0.
- The Waves' West Coast Conference rival Loyola Marymount also is unbeaten, 3-0-1 after a 0-0 draw with Fresno State.
- Nadia Link (Rowland Heights/Walnut HS) scored her second goal of the weekend, but Long Beach State (2-2-0) lost, 2-1, at No. 12 Marquette.