Pepperdine Powers Into Sweet 16 With 4-0 Win
The Waves are making their third Sweet 16 appearance in the program's eighth postseason run.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The No. 11 Pepperdine women's soccer team punched its ticket to the Sweet 16 with a 4-0 win over Illinois State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday. Pepperdine got a pair of goals and one assist from Lynn Williams to power its way into the third round.
The four-goal win matches the second largest margin of victory this season for the Waves and gives the program its third Sweet 16 appearance. Pepperdine last made the round of 16 in 2005. The shutout is also the 11th of the season for the Waves, matching a program record.
The Waves, who move to 16-2-4 with the win, will play top-ranked UCLA on Sunday at 3 p.m. That game will be played at Drake Stadium on the UCLA campus as well.
"This was a really good performance by the girls tonight," said head coach Tim Ward, who now sits on 199 career wins, seven of which have come in eight postseason appearances. "We feel incredibly blessed to be continuing this run. We scored some brilliant goals against a really good team. I thought our forwards and our play in the final third was really lively and really sharp."
Amanda LeCave (Windsor, Calif./Windsor HS) got the Waves on the board just 6:15 into the game, finishing a pass into the box from Ally Holtz (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School) with her right foot. It was the third shot of the game for Pepperdine.
Williams (Fresno, Calif./Bullard HS) struck for her first of the day midway through the half, finishing off a brilliant sequence from Bri Visalli (San Jose, Calif./Valley Christian HS) and Taylor Alvarado (Santa Paula, Calif./Santa Paula HS). Alvarado and Visalli bounced the ball back and forth until Visalli was able to send a pass up the middle of the field towards Williams who slid it past a diving Redbird keeper and just inside the left post.
Williams' second goal came in the 69th minute and helped Pepperdine take control of the game. The senior forward received a pass from Alvarado and then streaked up the field and into the box. She cut back and fired off a shot from just inside the 18 yard line, hitting the upper left corner for the score. Williams wasn't done as she sent a pass into the box in the 86th minute after a run up the right side, finding Kristen Rodriguez (Inglewood, Calif./Notre Dame Academy) who finished for her second goal of the postseason.
"At halftime coach Ward told me to get after them," said Williams. "So when I got the ball I heard him yell go and I just took off towards the goal. I initially wanted Amanda (LeCave) to change her run, but when the defender went with her I knew I had a shot."
The pair of goals gives Williams 14 on the season and the assist gives her 10 helpers. Both totals lead the team. For Rodriguez it was her fourth goal of the year, half of which have come in Pepperdine's two postseason contests. LeCave now has two scores.
The Pepperdine defense shut down a high-scoring Illinois State attack that averaged 2.61 goals per game coming into play and featured the NCAA's active scoring leader, Rachel Tejada (74 career goals). The Waves held the Redbirds to seven shots on the night and just three on goal. Tejada, who entered the game with 20 goals this season, had four shots and two on goal.
"We've played through a lot of adversity this year and just kept on going," said Ward. "This was a great challenge tonight. I can see why Tejada has scored so many goals this season, she's an exceptional talent, but we were able to do a good job on her for most of the game. This team seems to always have a response."
The Waves posted a total of 16 shots in the game and drew four corner kicks.
Illinois State finishes its season 10-6-1. Pepperdine will be looking to advance to the NCAA College Cup for the first time with a win on Sunday. Check back in with PepperdineSports.com or @PeppSoccer on Twitter for broadcast details of that game.