Pepperdine Women’s Soccer team celebrates after scoring a goal. The Waves shut out the Matadors 8-0 Thursday, Aug. 18. Photos by Haley Hoidal
No. 17 Pepperdine Women’s Soccer kicked off their season with a strong 8-0 victory over CSU Northridge Thursday, Aug. 18, at Tari Frahm Rokus field. With their season underway, the Waves look to use these victories to gain confidence in the early parts of the season.
Five Waves converted on goals Thursday afternoon. Senior midfielder Carlee Giammona and redshirt senior forward Leyla McFarland scored two goals each. Freshman forward Melinda Livadas started her Pepperdine career with two goals of her own. Freshman midfielder Tatum Wynalda and redshirt midfielder Trinity Watson contributed each with one goal.
This was the first match for Team 30 —the 30th year of this program — and after Team 29’s historical run reaching the Sweet 16 — Head Coach Tim Ward said the team tries not to compare themselves with past teams but instead to use the past to give them insight into what’s possible.
“We would love to go further than any Pepperdine team has ever gone,” Ward said. “We’ve had four Sweet 16 runs, but we’ve never busted through that. And we want to solve that. We want to win a national championship.”
Lividas echoed Ward’s comment and said the team is climbing a mountain to reach the summit.
“We’re gonna keep pushing hard in practice,” Lividas said. “Keep our stride and our effort and just keep attacking, pressing, defending and the energy high. Job’s not done.”
Early in the game, the Waves controlled the pace with their offensive proficiency. The Waves attempted 13 shots compared to only one attempt from the Matadors — but the one shot attempt from the Matadors was too close for comfort.
“Right before we scored our first goal, [the Matadors] had a really good chance,” Ward said. “The margins are finite at this level. So, in a weird kind of way, it was a perfect tonic for us to remind ourselves. ‘Look, it could have been 1-0 the other way. Their best chance came in that moment.’”
For the Waves’ first goal, Watson found herself behind the play defensively but caught up and saw Giammona ahead of the defense. With the rest of the Matadors trailing, Giammona was alone with CSU Northridge redshirt senior goalkeeper Taylor Thames and softly tapped in a goal.
“Trinity [Watson] makes an amazing play,” Ward said. “[She] turns a defensive moment into an offensive moment. And we got the first goal of the game and that sort of cracked it wide open.”
Lividas made her presence known by scoring two back-to-back goals in the 31st and 34th minute of the game. On her second goal, Lividas converted on a header after Giammona crossed the ball toward her from the left corner.
During the offseason, Lividas said the team focused on tempo.
“We really want to connect the ball to the feet and then put it in the back of the net,” Lividas said.
Then, a near minute after she was subbed into the game, senior forward Alex Hobbs drew a foul after being tackled by her defender. Watson was given the penalty kick and found the bottom of the net. Watson tied a school record on this play as well — having converted on seven penalty kicks in her career.
“I think when you talk about offensive aggression, it takes energy,” Ward said. “This might be the deepest team we’ve ever had. I think we saw that whenever [someone] came off, whoever went on the field, that level on the field did not drop.”
The Waves continued to demonstrate their offensive prowess in the second half. The Waves scored goals two minutes from each other thanks to McFarland on both occasions.
In the 59th minute, Watson controlled the corner kick from the left side to sophomore forward Kelsey Adams. Adams leaped into a header and McFarland delivered with a header of her own.
“I’ve noticed just how lethal we are,” Giammona said. “I think something that we can keep building on is when we get our opportunities, we want to finish them. That’s something we try to focus on and I think that will help us throughout the season.”
To complete the finishing touches, Wynalda found herself ahead of the field and crossed her defender. This gave her the opening she needed to convert a 15-yard goal.
As the season progresses, Ward said the team is finding their identity early. Because the team has had a lot of historical success, the weight the players feel might be the weight of comparison to past greats, Ward said.
“We try to take that weight off of [the players],” Ward said. “Part of the goal is to have some outcome goals, but to really focus on the process, not to worry about the outcome, but to focus on our soccer, our character, our way of doing things.”
Giammona said one thing the team works on is their team building and team camaraderie.
“The stuff on the field is going to come from practice and training, but stuff like working as a team and being all united is something that we really focus on,” Giammona said. “I think that’s something we continue to get better at every single year.”
Ward said though the USC game was a preseason match, it was a great statement game. While USC is a traditional powerhouse, so are the Waves, Ward said.
“I think it shows a lot of people that we’re for real,” Ward said. “Today I think it’s a great result for us. So just you know take one game at a time. Just stay humble. Stay Hungry. Get after it.”
The Waves defeated UC San Diego 1-0 on Aug. 21 and look to face Louisiana State University on Thursday, Aug. 25
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Contact Jerry Jiang via Twitter ( @j_jiang30 ) or via email: email@example.com