SPOKANE, Wash. – The Gonzaga University women’s soccer team battled toe-to-toe with No. 18 Pepperdine University Sunday afternoon at the Gonzaga Soccer Field, unfortunately a goal with four minutes remaining in regulation by the Waves dealt the Bulldogs a 1-0 loss to their third ranked opponent in four matches.
“I thought we competed pretty well today,” stated Gonzaga head coach Amy Edwards. “We needed to be a little sharper, but we still competed and created some good opportunities.”
The match was a stalemate until the 85:56 mark when Lynn Williams broke through the Gonzaga defense, who had played brilliantly all afternoon, to score her fifth goal of the season. Williams had received a pass from Jackie Pedrazza in the middle of the Bulldogs defense and, with her burst of speed, made her way around the Zag defense and placed a close range shot into the net.
Despite the goal, the Bulldogs defense, including keeper Susan Brown, was solid throughout the match and thwarted multiple Wave attempts to keep GU in the game.
Brown made back-to-back phenomenal saves between the 76th and 78th minute. The first came on a long and low shot by Michelle Pao that Brown dove to her right to push out of bounds. Two minutes later, Pepperdine put together a nice give-and-go in front of the goal with the final shot by Ana Pontes being cleared on a kick save by Brown.
The defense also held the Waves point leader Anisa Guajardo – who had scored eight goals and tallied eight assists for 24 points – to just one shot in 90 minutes.
“Our defense played very well,” explained Edwards. “Lynn [Williams] and Anisa [Guajardo] have been scoring lots of goals for them and I thought we handled them quite well. Susan [Brown] had another great day and the backs played solid. It was unfortunate we didn’t get a result on some of our dangerous chances to put Pepperdine under some pressure.”
Gonzaga’s best opportunity came in 81st minute when a cross from the left flank found the head of freshman Heather Johnson. Johnson’s flick backwards was ultimately saved by Wave keeper Roxanne Barker.
The Bulldogs pushed themselves in the final three minutes to score the equalizer, but a header by freshman Lauren Luke went wide and an 18-yard shot opportunity by classmate Lexi Clark also sailed wide.
“Our goal was to compete with them today and we did,” Edwards stated. “We competed we just didn’t get on the right side of finishing our opportunities. “
Gonzaga dropped to 7-10-1 with the setback and 1-5-1 in league, while Pepperdine improved to 13-5-0 and 4-2 in conference.
The Zags close out WCC action Friday, Nov. 2 with a match at the University of San Diego. Game time is set for 7 p.m.