MALIBU, Calif. – Ally Holtz’s goal in the 86th minute delivered a 2-1 victory to the injury-plagued Pepperdine women’s soccer team over visiting Pacific in a West Coast Conference contest on Friday afternoon.
Pepperdine redshirt freshman Rylee Baisden (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza HS) opened the scoring in the 50th minute, but despite playing a woman down, Pacific equalized in the 55th minute on a strike by Brittni Beeman. Holtz (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School) got her second game-winner of the season late, however, when she was first to a rebound and had a great look at an open net.
The Waves improved to 8-5-2 overall and 3-2 in the WCC and kept their NCAA Tournament hopes in good shape. The Tigers dropped to 2-10-3, 1-3-1.
“It doesn’t matter how you win, every win in the WCC is a great win, as far as I’m concerned,” Pepperdine Coach Tim Ward said. “I’m super pleased for Rylee, getting her first goal, and it was a great one. Ally Holtz has had some really good games without scoring a goal so I’m proud of her for the match-winner.”
It was an eventful first half, though it ended scoreless. The Waves earned a penalty kick in the 32nd minute when a bad backpass allowed Pepperdine junior forward Lynn Williams (Fresno, Calif./Bullard HS) to go into a one-on-one with Pacific goalkeeper Tashia Long. Long’s only play was to take down Williams, and she was issued a red card.
Without any time to warm up, Pacific freshman Lena Perry jumped into goal to face a penalty-kick attempt by Pepperdine freshman Kristin Rodriguez (Inglewood, Calif./Notre Dame Academy). Perry guessed correctly and stopped Rodriguez’ shot.
In the waning seconds of the first half, another Williams vs. goalkeeper battle didn’t go so well for the Waves. Williams went after a through ball in the box, but Perry got there first. Williams tried to leap over Perry but got a piece of her and went down to the ground awkwardly. Williams, the WCC’s leading scorer with 11 goals and an All-American candidate, did not return to the game in the second half.
Without their top offensive threat but playing with a woman advantage, the Waves still kept the pressure up and eventually got the go-ahead goal in the 50th minute. Freshman Colby Carson (Morgan Hill, Calif./Valley Christian HS) brought the ball up the left side and crossed it in. The ball took one bounce in front of the onrushing Baisden, who nailed it into the back of the net with a point-blank shot from in front of the net. Baisden’s first career goal put Pepperdine ahead 1-0.
Pacific got a stunning equalizer in the 55th minute, however. Beeman was given some space in the middle of the field from about 30 yards out, and she took a hard, perfectly placed shot that bounced and made its way just inside the right post for her third goal of the season.
Pepperdine regrouped, however, and got the game-winner late. Senior Michelle Pao (Cupertino, Calif./Monta Vista HS) got into the box and dribbled in close on the right size, but had her shot attempt blocked by Pacific’s Perry. The ball popped up and back to Holtz, who immediately one-timed it in from about 15 yards away. It was Holtz’ third goal of the season.
“We haven’t played a game all year when we’ve been a player up,” Ward said. “There are some tactical nuances, and you when you have the numerical superiority you have to capitalize on that. We got a goal, and we were fine for a few minutes, but then we conceded and that threw the team into a little bit of chaos. We waited until about 12 minutes, put some upperclassmen back in, and that was the difference. We’ll take the win.”
Pepperdine, despite missing a few key players due to injury and with a few others hobbled or limited, finished with advantages of 17-10 in shots, 10-5 in shots on goal and 3-0 in corner kicks.
The Waves have their final regular-season home match this Sunday (Oct. 27) against Saint Mary’s at 1 p.m. Fans can watch the game for free at PepperdineSports.com via WaveCasts. Before the game, the Waves will honor their five seniors: Pao, Carolyn Dapper, Kristin DeGrandmont, Katie Gallanes and Katie Rivers.
Goals: Rylee Baisden (Colby Carson), PEPP, 49:57; Brittni Beeman (Alex Hussar), PAC, 54:55; Ally Holtz (Michelle Pao), PEPP, 85:23.