The Pepperdine women’s soccer program enjoyed a highly successful first two decades and is poised for more greatness in its third.
Since its inaugural season in 1993, the Waves have turned out one winning team after another. During its 20 seasons, Pepperdine has posted 10-victory campaigns 13 times and has put together a sterling overall record of 221-130-45 (.615).
One constant for nearly the entire history of Pepperdine soccer has been Tim Ward. He missed out on only the very first season, as Ward joined the Waves as an assistant coach in 1994. After four seasons, he was elevated to head coach in 1998, and he has since guided the Waves to tremendous results.
Under Ward, the Waves made their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 2001 (and seven overall, including each of the last two years) and posted 12 winning seasons, including eight consecutive from 1999-2006.
Pepperdine’s best-ever season came in 2002, as the Waves went 18-2-2 and earned the West Coast Conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Though the Waves finished in a tie for first place at 6-1-0, their wins over perennial powers Portland and Santa Clara gave them the crown.
Ward was named runner-up as National Coach of the Year as the 2002 Waves advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the first time, and ended the year ranked fifth in the nation.
The Waves repeated that feat in 2005, winning their first two NCAA Tournament matches to advance to the Round of 16 again. Pepperdine ended the year ranked 15th.
Pepperdine won its second WCC title in 2011, tying for first place with San Diego but earning the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament due to a head-to-head win over the Toreros. The Waves ended the season ranked 10th. the 2012 squad made its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance.
Four players have earned All-American honors. Susan Palmer was honorable mention by Soccer Buzz in 2001, Ashley Swanson was third team in 2002 and honorable mention in 2004 (both by Soccer Buzz), Megan Woods was third team by both Soccer Buzz and the NSCAA in 2005 and Michelle Pao was second team by the NSCAA in 2011.
The Waves have made Tari Frahm Rokus Field a tremendous homefield advantage over the years, posting winning records on their own field in all 20 seasons and compiling an overall record of 132-41-22 (.733).
Pepperdine produced its first Olympian in 2012 when goalkeeper Roxanne Barker, prior to her senior season, played for South Africa during the London Games. Barker was drafted by Portland Thorns FC in the first-ever NWSL Draft of 2013, while Anisa Guajardo was allocated to the Boston Breakers as a member of the Mexican National Team.
Jennifer Evans, who played for the first four Pepperdine teams from 1993-96 and still holds many of the program’s records, became the first women’s soccer player to be inducted into the Pepperdine Athletics Hall of Fame in 2012.