LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 16 Pepperdine women’s soccer team staved off heartbreak on the road at No. 24 Kentucky on Sunday, recovering from a last minute equalizer to down the Wildcats 3-2 in overtime in dramatic fashion.
Lynn Williams scored what looked to be the game-winning goal in the 82nd minute, but Kentucky found a score with just seconds on the clock to push it to extra time. It took a little under two minutes in OT for Williams to end it, however, as she finished off a long run from Meagan Harbison to give the Waves a dramatic victory.
“This was really an amazing game today,” said Pepperdine Head Coach Tim Ward, whose team is now 6-1-1 after playing their last four games away from Malibu. “Kentucky had some of the most dynamic strikers we’ve faced all season, but our girls did a wonderful job staying composed and capitalizing on our chances. This was a fantastic program win and a great way to end a tough two-week stretch.”
The Waves struck in the 21st minute, getting the first goal of the season from Rylee Baisden (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza HS). Pepperdine went on the counterattack after Kentucky gave the ball away and Ally Holtz (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School) was able to play it in to Baisden who slotted the shot in the far post.
Kentucky threatened late in the half, firing off a barrage of five quick shots in the box, but Hannah Seabert (Riverside, Calif./Woodcrest Christian HS) made a pair of key saves to keep the Wildcats off the board. Seabert made three saves in the first half.
Kentucky got the eaqualizer in the 61st minute when Kelli Hubly sent home a cross inside the box for her first goal of the season. It was just the fourth goal the Waves had given up all year. Another giveaway in the midfield would put the Waves back on top, though, when Williams (Fresno, Calif./Bullard HS) went on the break and beat the Kentucky keeper to her right for the score.
The Wildcats had some late heroics in their back pocket, however, as Arin Gilliland sent a shot inside the far post with just over 30 seconds to play to push the game to overtime.
Just minutes into the overtime period the Waves responded. Harbison (Rancho Penasquitos, Calif./Westview HS) made a long run from the midfield and found Williams open in the box for the game-winning score.
“Kentucky stepped up their pressure in the second half and we maybe looked a little tired after so much travel,” said Ward. “After they scored the late equalizer our girls did an amazing job of keeping their heads on straight, getting refocused and scoring a wonderful goal to win it. Harbison stole the ball in the midfield and played a great ball to Lynn for the goal. It was a fantastic win against a quality team. Hannah (Seabert) also might have been the MVP of the game, because she came up with some huge saves to keep us alive.”
The goal was Williams’ team-best fifth of the season and 30th of her career, putting her third on the Pepperdine all-time scoring list.
The Waves were outshot in the game, 19-9, but scored on three of the five balls they put on target in the win. It was the first loss at home this year for the Wildcats, as they fall to 5-2-0 on the season.
Kentucky’s Gilliland led all players with nine shots in the game, putting five on goal. She finished with a goal and assist for the Wildcats. Four of Williams’ five shots were on goal as she led all players with her two scores in the contest.
Williams now has 12 points on the season and three game-winning goals. She has scored the winners against No. 10 North Carolina, Xavier and Kentucky so far this year.
Seabert finished the contest with seven saves in goal for the Waves. It was only the second time she has allowed multiple goals this year, with the other coming against No. 1 UCLA.
Pepperdine comes home after playing on the road for its last four games, taking on Boise State in Malibu on Friday. The Waves will then head to No. 14 USC for a matchup next Sunday.