October 14, 2012
MALIBU, Calif. – No. 17 Santa Clara returned for its first home match in more than three weeks and secured a 2-1 victory against No. 18 Santa Clara Sunday in West Coast Conference action at Tari Frahm Rokus Field. The Waves (11-3-0, 2-0-0 WCC) shook off a slow start to win their fifth consecutive match and improve to 6-0-0 at home at the expense of the Broncos (8-3-4, 1-1-1 WCC).
“That was a really good soccer team that we just beat,” Pepperdine head coach Tim Ward said. “I have a lot of respect for their program. Our energy wasn’t the greatest today, but what I like about our team is that we didn’t play our best, but we still found a way to win.”
Pepperdine overcame a few tense moments in the early going and applied pressure by the end of the second half. Michelle Pao (Cupertino, Calif./Monta Vista HS) put the Waves on the board of a free kick. Pao buried the strike from 30 yards to the lower left corner for her second goal of the year.
Santa Clara answered in the 74th minute on a goal from Sofia Huerta (4) on a Julie Johnson assist. It was a battle from there as both teams pressed for the go-ahead goal.
Lynn Williams (Fresno, Calif./Bullard HS), who leads the WCC in shots by a wide margin, collected her fourth goal of the year and second game winner in the 82nd minute. Williams weaved through the Bronco defense and fired a shot in traffic to the far post from 15 yards.
“Michelle Pao’s goal today was a legitimate strike,” Ward said. “In the second half, they deserved a goal and I thought it was fair at 1-1. From there it was game on and Lynn came through for us. Of all people, she deserved it. She’s been playing so well with no goals to show for it. She has been so instrumental in our team success so far and it was a great goal.”
Senior goalkeeper Roxanne Barker (9-3-0) turned in another impressive performance between the Pepperdine pipes. Barker (Irvine, Calif./Woodbridge HS) collected six saves (three in each half) and smothered multiple Santa Clara threats.
“Roxy, for me, was the player of the game,” Ward said. “We needed her to make some great saves for us today and she did.”
Santa Clara held a 14-6 shot advantage and held a 5-0 lead in corner kicks. Of Pepperdine’s six shots, five were on target. Bronco keeper Alexis Rubattino made three saves in her second start of the year.
With the win, Pepperdine increases its home unbeaten streak to 27 regular season matches.
Pepperdine returns to WCC action when it hosts crosstown rival Loyola Marymount Friday, October 19. Game time is set for 3:00 p.m. at Tari Frahm Rokus Field. In addition to being part of the PCH Cup between the Waves and Lions, the contest will be a “Pink Match” to help increase cancer awareness and give students and fans the opportunity to become more involved in the fight against the disease.
NOTES: Pepperdine’s last home contest was a 2-0 victory against UC Santa Barbara Sept. 21 … With two shots against Santa Clara, Lynn Williams has 67 on the year, 27 on goal … Roxanne Barker needs one victory to tie the program’s career standard of 45 held by standout Anna Picarelli (2002-05) … Today’s match was a “Represent” match, a WCC initiative to support and promote positive sportsmanship.