Women's Soccer Takes Down #15 Pepperdine to Remain in WCC Title Hunt
Riley's Opening Minute Goal The Difference in Sunday's Win
MALIBU, Calif. - The Loyola Marymount women's soccer team rebounded in a big way on Sunday, knocking off PCH Cup rival and 15th-ranked Pepperdine, 1-0. The Lions (11-4-3, 6-2-0) jumped ahead early, as Phoebe Riley scored less than a minute into the game, to hand Pepperdine (11-4-3, 6-1-1) its first conference loss of the year.
"We talked the other day at practice and came up with some game goals for today," said Head Coach Michelle Myers. "A lot of those goals were effort areas. We wanted a shutout and we wanted to score the first goal, but the number one goal we wanted was a win. I give the girls a lot of credit. It is not easy to play here."
With the rain coming to a halt prior to the opening kickoff, LMU appeared to be the aggressors from the get go. The Lions earned the opening kickoff and, despite not scoring on their opening possession, forced the ball to stay in the offensive half. LMU recovered the ball and through a series of passes Sarah Sanger and Pilar Torres found Phoebe Riley in front of net for her fourth goal of the season.
The score line remained the same for the remainder of the opening half, despite LMU threatening with six shots before intermission.
Pepperdine's best looks came within the first five minutes of the second half. The Waves took a shot that went past the oncoming keeper, but hit the post of the goal. After the ball rolled in front of net, Pepperdine recovered at the top of the box and sent in a rocket that forced Charlee Pruitt to make a miraculous tip save. The Lions survived back-to-back corners and made it out of the chaos unscathed.
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The Waves continued to attack in the second half, taking 13 of their game-high 16 shots after the break.
Pruitt finished with six saves in the clean sheet.
"I'm just so proud because I thought that we deserved a win today," said Myers. "I thought we had a couple more chances in the first half, but to keep them out of our net it gave us that feeling that things are going to go our way. Our players have worked so hard this season to keep their chances alive."
The Lions jump back to within a point of both Pepperdine and BYU atop the West Coast Conference standings with one game remaining on the regular season schedule. LMU will close out the year at Saint Mary's with WCC title hopes still alive. The game in Moraga will kick off at 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 5 and be streamed on TheW.tv.
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