Visalli's Late Strike Gives Waves 2-1 Win
The Waves are a perfect 6-0 at Tari Frahm Rokus Field this season.
MALIBU, Calif. - Bri Visalli again came up big for the No. 11 Pepperdine women's soccer team on Sunday, scoring a game-winning goal in the 74th minute to give the Waves a 2-1 win over San Francisco.
A day after scoring a goal and assisting on the game-winner in a comeback against Santa Clara, Visalli netted her second goal of the season to help move Pepperdine to 11-1-1 on the year and keep the Waves perfect at 2-0-0 in WCC play.
"That was another hard-fought WCC game," said head coach Tim Ward. "That's how it is in this conference, a lot of one-goal games. We did a good job keeping our composure and picking up the victory. For a while I thought it could go either way, but in the second half I thought we started to create the better chances."
After the teams played a scoreless first half, the Waves got on the board first after the Dons were called for a hand ball in the penalty box. Kristen Rodriguez (Inglewood, Calif./Notre Dame Academy) took the penalty kick for the Waves, burying her first goal of the season inside the right post in the 54th minute.
Nine minutes later, however, it would be a penalty against the Waves inside their 18-yard box that evened the game. Sonja Giraud knocked home the penalty shot for the Dons for her second score of the year.
In the 74th minute, Ally Holtz (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School) made a long run up the middle of the field and slid a ball to her right just inside the box as the defenders converged on her. Visalli came up and struck the shot from the top of the box on her first touch, slotting the strike perfectly inside the left post for the goal. It was Holtz's second assist on the year as she now has four total points. Visalli has six points for the Waves, with two goals and two assists.
"Bri's finish was out of this world," said Ward. "She was a little concerned earlier in the year when she wasn't scoring, but we told her that we knew when the team needed her most, she would get the goals. I think that strike on Friday really helped her confidence."
Visalli (San Jose, Calif./Valley Christian HS) had another chance less than three minutes later when she struck a volley out of the air that looked to be headed towards goal, but was blocked by a USF defender.
Down a goal, the Dons began to press and Jamie Van Horn (Danville, Calif./San Ramon Valley HS) made a possible goal-saving tackle at the top of the box in the 79th minute to keep USF from equalizing. The Dons put a header high over the crossbar in the 83rd minute and then Hannah Seabert (Riverside, Calif./Woodcrest Christian HS) made a save on a shot by Alex Alugas in the final minute to end it.
The Waves and Dons each fired off 12 shots in the game, with Pepperdine putting a game-high six on target. The Waves also held an 8-4 advantage in corner kicks won.
Eight different players took shots for the Dons, who fall to 5-6-2 overall and 1-1-0 in WCC play.
Pepperdine improves its home record to 6-0 with the victory as they stay atop the early-season conference standings. The Waves continue WCC play next week as they hit the road against Saint Mary's (Friday) and Pacific (Sunday). Both games will be broadcast live on TheW.tv.