Several players, including senior midfielder Shelby Little, attempt to wrestle the ball back into the Waves’ posession. This type of struggle characterized much of the game. Photos courtesy of Mary Elisabeth
Rain clouds hung over a damp Tari Frahm Rokus Field on Oct. 15, as Pepperdine Women’s Soccer tied University of San Francisco with a final score of 1-1. It was their first home match since Oct. 1, when the Waves tied Gonzaga University 1-1 Oct. 5, and losing to University of Portland 0-2 Oct. 8.
The Waves had a strong first several minutes, with players such as senior defender Trinity Watson keeping an advantage in possession and setting up deep balls. Junior midfielder Tori Waldeck made aggressive maneuvers and pushes toward San Francisco’s goal.
“We’ve been struggling a little bit with getting balls in the back of the net, so we’ve got to make the most of our chances,” freshman forward Tatum Wynalda said.
Despite this, San Francisco scored first. Junior forward Kaylin Lunsford moved past the Waves’ defensive line to connect with junior midfielder Jameson Ward for a goal in the 8th minute. The shot just escaped Waves junior goalkeeper Ellie Sommers’ grasp — making the score 1-0 for San Francisco.
The Waves responded soon after with a goal of their own in the 20th minute. Following a free kick leveled by Watson in the 19th minute, Waldeck found the ball and launched a cross that soared in front of the goal, allowing Wynalda to score and tie the game 1-1.
“We’ve been working on that kind of stuff all week,” Wynalda said. “We have to give it to Tori. Tori did all of the work. I was just there at the right spot. She played a great ball across.”
There were no more goals for the remainder of the first half. However, the Waves made several more pushes toward San Francisco’s goal. San Francisco’s shot on goal in the 42nd minute was saved thanks to Sommers, along with the defensive line as a whole.
Though the second half brought slightly clearer skies, the play on the field remained much the same. Despite several more set-ups and crosses by Waldeck and Watson, the score remained tied.
“We’re pretty frustrated and disappointed because we’ve had some really good performances in WCC play,” Head Coach Tim Ward said. “Right now it’s just hard for the ball to find the back of the net.”
In a struggle foreshadowed during their 3-0 win over USD on Oct. 1, the Waves were unable to find a finishing touch despite several opportunities.
“The irony is we’ve been finishing really well in training this week,” Ward said. “I thought a lot of our shots were goal bound. [San Francisco] had a couple of great stops, their keeper made a couple of great plays. And sometimes that’s soccer. That’s just the way the ball bounces.”
Ward said although San Francisco was a fierce opponent, he thought Pepperdine was indeed the better team, and was disappointed they were unable to solidify the win. Despite this, Ward said he found certain positive takeaways, including the play and effort shown on the field.
“I was really proud of the girls late in the game,” Ward said. “We changed our shape to try go get the winner [and it] showed a lot, and created a lot of chances in the last ten minutes.”
In the waning moments of the game, the Waves set up a flurry of opportunities. During this period of time, Waldeck sustained an injury and did not return to play.
After Pepperdine Women’s Soccer did not comment on Waldeck’s current injury status out of respect for her privacy after the Graphic reached out.
The Waves sustained several injuries throughout the season prior to this match, including in crucial positions. Ward said although the injuries were unfortunate, the team as a whole still had a job to do and still needed to press forward.
Sommers said she was optimistic at the performance the team has been able to put out despite such challenges.
“We’ve lost two center backs, we’ve been struggling to find a consistent lineup,” Sommers said. “So, I think for us to be able to pull off the results that we did today, we couldn’t have done it without the collective effort in training.”
Sommers also said players such as sophomore defender Ashlyn Siriani stepped up and filled a role in response to such struggles. Sommers said this was Siriani’s first game in which she played the entire 90 minutes.
Though they did not see play, redshirt freshman goalkeeper Taylor Rath and freshman goalkeeper Harlee Head were both seen supporting Sommers throughout the game and have both supported Sommers through training.
“We’re disappointed by the scoreboard, but not necessarily by the overall performance,” Ward said. “We just got to keep trying to see who we have healthy for the next one, and just push on from there.”
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