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Waves Earn 1-1 Tie With #6 UCLA


MALIBU, Calif. – Despite a slow start to the 2007 season, momentum has been building for the Pepperdine women’s soccer team, and the Waves’ progress continued with a well-played 1-1 tie against sixth-ranked UCLA on Friday afternoon at Tari Frahm Rokus Field.


The Waves (1-4-2) got a goal in the 44th minute by sophomore midfielder Sophia Medina (Downey, Calif./Los Alamitos HS), which cancelled out a goal that came in the 42nd minute by the Bruins’ Lauren Cheney.


The second half and the two overtime periods were played in a rainstorm (quite rare for Southern California in September) and no more goals were scored as Pepperdine ended what had been a 10-game losing streak to the Bruins (3-1-2).


“Over the last couple weeks, even in some of our losses, we’ve been playing quite well,” Pepperdine Coach Tim Ward said. “We just weren’t getting results. But we’re making progress. Our young players are figuring it out, and we believe that on any day we can play with anyone.”


Pepperdine actually controlled long stretches of the first half and kept the ball locked in UCLA’s defensive half. The Waves had a couple of good early chances, including a seventh-minute header that went a little high by Medina and a hard shot from distance in the 25th minute by sophomore forward Courtney Price (Corona, Calif./Colony HS) that forced a diving save by UCLA goalkeeper Valerie Henderson.


UCLA took its first shot in the 27th minute, but it was the Bruins’ second shot that ended up in the net. From the left side, Caitlyn Mac Kechnie centered the ball toward the top of the box for Cheney, who turned and struck a strong shot that found the upper-right-hand corner of the net for her fourth goal of the season at 41:27.


After suffering a number of 1-0 losses earlier this season, the Waves wasted no time making sure that this game wouldn’t end similarly. Junior forward Amanda Rupp (Encinitas, Calif./La Costa Canyon HS) took the ball on the right wing and crossed it into the box. It fell to the feet of junior forward Emily Wynne (El Cajon, Calif./University HS), but she got tangled up and couldn’t get a shot off. Medina was in the right place at the right time, following up on the loose ball and driving her open shot into the back of the net. It was her first goal of the season and it came at 43:02.


“This was a good match and we both had our chances,” Medina said. “We both got one and we were unfortunate not to get another one. During practice we always work on following up and making sure we know where we’re supposed to go. In a situation like that I know to crash the goal. I was fortunate that I was there to put it in.”


As the rain began to fall, play became more back-and-forth in the second half. After the Waves had a 6-2 shot advantage in the first half, the Bruins had a 4-1 edge in the second.


One minute into the first overtime period, junior defender Ashley Copp (Coronado, Calif./Coronado HS) nearly won it for the Waves. A foul on UCLA gave Pepperdine a free kick from about 22 yards away, and Copp bent a shot that went inches over the crossbar.


Danesha Adams gave the Bruins their best opportunities to win the game in overtime. She first hit the crossbar with a shot in the 109th minute. She then got free on a breakaway in the 115th minute, but Pepperdine goalkeeper Kayla Stolte (Santee, Calif./West Hills HS) came out of her goal to challenge Adams and made a game-saving play, as she was able to dive and somehow take the ball away before Adams could shoot. Then, about a minute later, Adams had another open shot from distance but missed about a foot wide of the right post.


A defensive line that started two freshmen and two juniors did quite well to slow UCLA’s high-powered attack.


“UCLA has some world-class players and we knew they would create chances,” Ward said. “But the whole defense played great. It was a tremendous team effort. Everyone who stepped on the field did a great job.”


The final shot total was UCLA 12, Pepperdine 10. Stolte made four saves for the Waves.


Said freshman defender Haleigh Guertin (Corona, Calif./Santiago HS): “We played well. We stayed together and stayed comfortable and strong on the ball. We’re definitely excited about the way we’ve been playing. Each game we’ve stepped it up a little more.”


The Waves continue their seven-game homestand next weekend with matches against Utah (Friday, Sept. 28) and Cal State Northridge (Sunday, Sept. 30).


PEP (1-4-2)             1      0      0      0      =      1

UCLA (3-1-2)         1      0      0      0      =      1

Goals: Lauren Cheney (Caitlyn Mac Kechnie), UCLA, 41:27; Sophia Medina (Amanda Rupp, Emily Wynne), PEP, 43:02.

Shots: PEP 10, UCLA 12.        Corner Kicks: PEP 3, UCLA 5.        Saves: PEP 4, UCLA 2.        Fouls: PEP 12, UCLA 17.



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