The Gonzaga women’s soccer team defeated the Pepperdine University Waves 3-0 in the final game of the regular season Saturday afternoon.
The matchup between the Bulldogs and Waves takes place at Luger Field after the Bulldogs’ last scheduled matchup against the West Coast Conference (WCC) champion Santa Clara Broncos. Last time the Zags took the field, the Zags yielded a 0-0 draw against the University of Portland Pilots. The team's previous game was a 4-0 loss to BYU in Provo, Utah, resulting in the Zags being scoreless for the past two games.
The Waves rode into Spokane coming off a 2-1 loss of their own to BYU in Malibu, California, last Saturday. The 6-4-1 Waves and the 6-3-1 Zags looked to end their respective regular seasons on a high note in hopes for a potential NCAA tournament bid.
Within the first five minutes of the game, the Waves had a shot on goal forcing a tough save from sophomore goalie Lyza Bosselmann. The knuckling shot from the Waves was not the only action that happened in the first half.
The Zags had possession of the ball when redshirt freshman Maddie Kemp played a through-ball for freshman Sydni Burrup. Burrup out-strengthened and split the two defenders marking her and slotted the ball into the bottom left corner, giving the Zags a 1-0 lead.
In the first 15 minutes of the half, the shots were tied at one a piece and each team had two fouls to their name. The Zags won the majority of the possession, but the Waves didn’t let the Bulldogs feel comfortable in the game.
“We came out and we battled from minute one,” GU senior center back and captain Jordan Thompson said. “Everything fell in place. We played the best game that we played all season, and it was really exciting, especially to send our seniors off on such a note like that.”
With five minutes left in the half, senior Alaysia Lane won the ball and took on the defender and eventually won the corner kick. Lane proceeded to whip a dangerous cross into the box, and after a bit of pinball action in the box, freshman Katie Doyle put the ball in the back of the net, giving the Zags a 2-0 lead heading into halftime.
While the Zags had its first half lead, the Waves out-shot the Zags 5-2, and each team had six fouls a piece. Each team had two shots on target and Bosselmann’s two saves were the only two saves in the match at the halfway point. The Bulldogs had one more corner kick opportunity than the Waves, and the Zags were able to have it pay off with Doyle’s goal right before the end of the half.
The Zags’ came out the second half with energy right from the jump. Pressuring the ball and dominating the possession in the Waves’ half, the Zags would capitalize on another set piece opportunity. Burrup won a corner and crossed the ball into the box, floating in and finding the head of Kemp for the Zags’ third goal of the afternoon, extending the lead to 3-0.
“The locker room before the game was electric,” GU head coach Chris Watkins said. “I wish people could see our locker room before we go out to games. It’s crazy, especially today when it’s the last time our seniors will play on our home field.”
Kemp had another close opportunity for a goal in the 62nd minute. A couple of minutes later, the Waves were on the counter attack and Thompson tracked the Pepperdine player all the way from the opposing team’s 18-yard box, à la Seattle Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf against the Arizona Cardinals.
The Waves hit the crossbar with five minutes left in the match, but that would be the only big chance the Waves would have in the second half other than a free kick opportunity that went straight into the path of Thompson.
The game ended in a 3-0 win in favor of the Zags. The Zags finished with eight shots, five of which were on target, as well as six corner kick opportunities. The Zags finish the regular season with a 7-3-1 record.
“Our girls played really smart, really hard and finished well,” Watkins said. “It was one of those complete days for us.”