Los Angeles Soccer: Myriah Stockman
Pepperdine's dream of an unbeaten season ended Friday night to a goal scored with just eight seconds to go in the first half.
No. 10 Santa Clara pulled out a 1-0 triumph over the third-ranked Waves, vaulting into the top spot in the West Coast Conference when Bridgett Miller (Los Angeles/Archer School for Girls) put away a deflected free kick in the Bay Area showdown.
Roxanne Barker (Irvine/Woodbridge HS) made two big saves to keep Pepperdine (13-1-4) level, but there were no answers for Miller's goal.
“[Santa Clara is] a good team, and, to their credit, they came out firing, and we came out flat,” Waves head coach Tim Ward told his school's athletics web site. “As poorly as we were playing in the first half, I thought we were going to come out with a 0-0 score at half, but, unfortunately,
it didn't happen.
“The second half, we played much better and had some excellent scoring opportunties.”
The best was a Myriah Stockman try off a corner kick in the 52nd minute that Broncos goalkeeper Bianca Henninger saved.
Santa Clara (12-1-5) is 5-0-1 in the WCC. The Waves, who are home Sunday against Portland, and San Diego are 5-1; BYU is 4-1-1.
The loss ended a program-record 18-game unbeaten streak for Pepperdine,
In other women´s action:
- Taylor Nelson (Garden Grove/Pacifica HS) and Nicole Sweetman (Oxnard/Oaks Christian HS and UCLA) scored goals three minutes apart early in the second half as Long Beach State (12-5-1) clinched a Big West Conference tournament berth and climbed within a point of first-place UC Irvine with one game to go with a 2-0 victory over visiting UC Davis.
- Sydney Leroux netted her second first-half hat trick in as many weeks and Jenna Richmond added two goals as sixth-ranked UCLA (13-1-2) romped to an 8-0 Pacific 12 Conference victory at Colorado.
- Lauren Mellano (Fullerton/Troy HS) scored 105 seconds into overtime as Cal State Fullerton (8-8-3) edged Pacific, 1-0, in Big West play. The Titans tied an NCAA record (set in 2005 by William & Mary) with their 11th overtime game of the season and are 4-4-3 in games with the extra period.
- USC (6-12-0) saw its three-game winning streak halted in a 3-0 Pac-12 loss at Utah.
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.
UCLA finally has a victory. Another might boost the Bruins back into the top 25.Chandler Hoffman scored his third goal of the season and All-American Kelyn Rowe added another to lift UCLA (1-2-1), one of the chief preseason NCAA title favorites, to a 2-1 triumph Friday night over St. Mary's at Drake Stadium.
The Bruins, ranked sixth in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America preseason poll (and as high as No. 2 elsewhere), dropped out of the top 25 following losses to Louisville and UC Davis and a draw at Santa Clara.
Hoffman, who has eight goals in his last 10 games for the Bruins, finished a sequence from Shawn Singh and Eder Arreola (Chino Hills/Chino Hills HS) three minutes into the second half. Rowe's goal, a magnificent blast from just wide of the box to inside the far post, made it 2-0 in the 73rd minute.
UCLA takes on Loyola Marymount on Sunday at 5 p.m. on the Bruins' North Athletic Field.
In other men's action:
- Everett Pitts (Chino Hills/Ayala HS) volleyed home a rebound 16 minutes into overtime to lift No. 9 UC Irvine (5-0-0) to a 3-2 triumph at Wisconsin. The Badgers (2-2-0) rallied after Enrique Cardenas (Coachella/Coachella Valley HS) provided the Anteaters a 2-0 lead with a pair of yeoman's goals in the first six minutes of the second half.
- Kevin Venegas (Lakewood/Los Alamitos HS) sent Cal State Fullerton (3-0-1) to a 2-1 win over UW Green Bay at UNLV's tournament, converting a 73rd-minute penalty kick for the winner.
- Chris Smith (Palmdale/Quartz Hill HS) fed goals by Taylor Bowlin and Yarden Azulay as Cal State Northridge (2-2-0) romped, 3-0, over Missouri State at New Mexico's tournament.