MALIBU, Calif. – The No. 21 Pepperdine women’s soccer team started the 2015 season off with a tense victory on Friday, downing Cal State Northridge 1-0 on a penalty kick in overtime. The win not only gives the Waves a 1-0 start to the season, but is the 200th career victory for head coach Tim Ward.
Pepperdine drew the penalty in the box just over three minutes into overtime and Kristen Rodriguez stepped up and buried the kick into the side of the net to seal the victory. The Waves have not lost a home-opener since 2008.
“We were playing a really good program today and at times it wasn’t pretty, but the girls hung in there and fought hard to get the result we wanted,” said Ward, who moves his career record to 200-100-44. “The career milestone is really nice and humbling. It’s really not something I think about too much, but with each result I want our team to play in such a way that honors this university, glorifies God and for us to play in a way that people are proud of what we’re doing on the field.”
Now in his 18th season at the helm for the Waves, Ward is the winningest coach in program history, having coached Pepperdine to 14 winning seasons in the past 17 years. He has earned WCC Coach of the Year honors three times and has picked up two NSCAA West Region Coach of the Year honors during his tenure.
The Waves had to hold off a charge in the second half to secure the season-opening milestone win for their coach, as CSUN got three good looks within the first 10 minutes of the second half. The first shot went high and then Hannah Seabert (Riverside, Calif./Woodcrest Christian HS) made a pair of saves, including coming out to stop a one-on-one chance for CSUN, to keep the Matadors out of the net.
Rodriguez (Inglewood, Calif./Notre Dame Academy) had a couple of chances midway through the second period, but was stopped by CSUN keeper Cynthia Tafoya as she looked to break free in the 67th minute. Rodriguez later sent a shot right at Tafoya and then a header over the bar.
Bri Visalli (San Jose, Calif./Valley Christian HS) had a chance in the 87th minute, but her shot from the top of the box was deflected by a defender and went wide. The Matadors answered in the 89th minute with what might have been their best chance of the day when Tabatha Dickinson sent a sinking one-time shot that Seabert was just able to get a hand on and send off the crossbar.
Pepperdine out-shot CSUN 10-9 through regulation, with the teams trading momentum in the second half. Seabert finished the day with three stellar saves and Tafoya came up with two for the visitors.
The Waves came out aggressive in the overtime period, picking up an early foul on the Matadors before Amanda LeCave (Windsor, Calif./Windsor HS) made a run into the box and was taken down to draw the decisive penalty. Rodriguez, who scored four times as a sophomore last season, netted her first goal of the year with a confident strike to end it.
The Waves now head to San Diego for the Torero Classic on the USD campus, where they will take on North Carolina State on Sunday. Game time for that contest will be 2:30 p.m.