BATON ROUGE, La. – No. 13 Pepperdine defeated No. 20 Illinois 4-2 in the first game of the LSU Invitational. The Waves opened the scoring flood gates tonight, with goals from Myriah Stockman, Michelle Manning, Anisa Guajardo and Laura Cole as the team remained undefeated on the season at 6-0-1.
The game got off to a back-and-forth start at the neutral LSU Soccer Stadium. The Illini began to dictate the pace a bit, earning three corner kicks in the first 15 minutes. The Waves’ defense held strong, and in the 41st minute, Stockman (Sandy, Utah/Brighton HS) served a chip shot from 12 yards out that floated over Illini goalkeeper Steph Panozzo’s head into the right back post, putting the Waves up, 1-0.
On Stockman’s first goal of the season, head coach Tim Ward said, “I felt like the first goal came at a time when the possession arrow favored Illinois. Myriah [Stockman] settled it and chipped the ball into the back post. It almost looked like a cross. And that is something I tell the team to do. Try and get the ball into the back post.”
The Illini countered, and goalkeeper Roxanne Barker (Irvine, Calif./Woodbridge HS) made an excellent save in the 43rd minute to preserve the 1-0 lead going into halftime.
Barker finished the first half with three saves. Despite not having possession early, the Waves kept the shot count close—eight to the Illini’s nine.
The Waves made adjustments at halftime and came out strong, getting their second goal of the game in the fourth minute of the second half from Manning (Calabasas, Calif./Agoura HS), who finished a volley off a pass from Lynn Williams (Fresno, Calif./Bullard HS) to go up 2-0.
The Illini were not going to go down easily, and Megan Pawloski put away the first goal of the game for Illinois, making the score 2-1.
The Waves continued to find the back of the net in the second half, with Guajardo (Clovis, Calif./Buchanan HS) netting her fifth goal of the season off assists from Michelle Pao (Cupertino, Calif./Monte Vista HS) and Williams at the 57:16 mark to cushion the lead, 3-1.
In the 75th minute, Cole (Whittier, Calif./La Habra HS) added another insurance goal off an assist from Ally Holtz (Honolulu, Hawai’i/Punahou HS), putting the Waves up 4-1.
The Illini got on the board one more time in the 84th minute, cutting the Waves’ lead to 4-2, but that score would hold up through the final whistle, giving the Waves their sixth victory of the season and second away from Malibu’s Tari Frahm Rokus Field.
The Waves finished the game outshooting the Illini, 19-14. Both Barker and Panozzo finished with four saves apiece.
The four goals scored is a season high for the Waves and the most the team has scored since it defeated Detroit, 4-0, on Sept. 5, 2010.
“Illinois is a very, very good team. I was blown away,” Ward said. “As a spectator, I think this was a very nice game to watch. This is a great win for our team. We feel like we played really well in the second half.”
Next up for the Waves is a tilt on Sunday with host LSU at 11 a.m. PT.
On the upcoming match, Ward explained, “I am glad that we have a ‘W’ under our belt going into Sunday’s game with host LSU. Tonight was a great performance.”