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Pepperdine golfers advance in tournament

Staff Report
5:28 pm PDT August 12, 2014

Two Pepperdine golf products had outstanding performances at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship last week, as Grace Na reached the quarterfinals and Liv Cheng advanced to the Round of 16.

It was a career-best performance for both individuals at the prestigious tournament, which is being held at Nassau Country Club in Glen Cove, N.Y. This was the fifth time in six years that Na (Alameda, Calif./Alameda HS) made it to match play, but the first time she got past the Round of 32. Cheng (Auckland, New Zealand) also competed in match play in 2013.

During stroke play on Monday and Tuesday, Na tied for eighth place with a 1-over 141 (70-71), while Cheng tied for 57th place at 147 (72-75).

Na defeated Karah Sanford (Escondido, Calif.) in the Round of 64 (3&2), Simin Feng (China) in the Round of 32 (2&1) and Lauren Kim (Los Altos, Calif.) in the Round of 16 (2 up) before falling to Hannah O’Sullivan (Paradise Valley, Ariz.) in the quarterfinals (5&4).

Cheng bested sixth-seeded Megan Khang (Rockland, Mass.) in the Round of 64 (4&2) and Amy Lee (Brea, Calif.) in the Round of 32 (2&1). She finally lost to Eunjeong Seong (Korea) in the Round of 16 on the 19th hole after rallying from a three-hole deficit after nine holes, and a two-hole deficit with four to play.

Both Na and Cheng were seniors for the Waves in 2013-14. They helped Pepperdine to four West Coast Conference titles in their four years. They became the ninth and 10th players in program history to earn All-WCC first team honors four times.

Na was a four-time All-American and earned both Golfweek and WGCA first team honors as a junior and senior. In 2013-14, Na broke her own school single-season record with a 71.73 scoring average. She won two events as a senior, the Golfweek Conference Challenge and the Anuenue Spring Break Classic. Na ended the year ranked eighth nationally by Golfweek/Sagarin and ninth by Golfstat.

Na is just the second Wave to earn four-time All-American honors (Lindsey Wright) and the second to be a two-time All-American first teamer (Katherine Hull). She also holds the school record for career scoring average (72.88) and finished second in career victories (six), second in below-par rounds (37), third in top 20 finishes (30) and fourth in top 10 results (21).

Na was chosen as the West Coast Conference’s Player of the Year all four seasons, and she was an eight-time WCC Player of the Month.

Cheng appeared in 118 rounds, a figure that ranks 10th all-time at Pepperdine. She was named to the WGCA All-West Region team in 2012. Her best career finish was a tie for second place at the 2014 WCC Championships.

Academically, Cheng was a three-time Women’s Golf Coaches Association All-American Scholar, a three-time WCC All-Academic first team selection and a two-time Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar. She’s just the second Wave to earn WGCA All-American Scholar status three times. She is Pepperdine and the WCC’s nominee for the 2014 NCAA Woman of the Year award

Pepperdine’s Lynn Williams named to MAC Hermann Watch List 

The 2014 MAC Hermann Award Watch List was announced on Wednesday, Aug. 6, and Pepperdine’s Lynn Williams was one of 63 players named to the preseason list.

The MAC Hermann Trophy is the most prestigious individual award in NCAA soccer presented annually to one male and one female athlete. The winners will be announced Friday, Jan. 9, 2015, at the trophy presentation banquet at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis.

Williams was the Waves’ leading goal scorer last year despite missing the last four games of the season with an injury. The 5-7 forward tallied 11 goals on the year and had three assists to total a team-high 25 points for the season. Williams earned NSCAA All-Region honors and All-WCC first team for the second straight year. She was a Freshman All-American and WCC Freshman of the Year in 2011 as well.

Heading into her senior year, Williams sits sixth on the career goals list, with 25, and is third on the career goals per game average, with 0.45 per contest. Her 10 game-winning goals rank fourth all-time and her five multi-goal games are tied for second most in Pepperdine history. She is also eighth on the career assists list, with 14, and seventh in total points with 64.

The lists are compiled by the NSCAA Men’s and Women’s NCAA Division I All-America Committees, based on their analysis of returning All-America and All-Region players, as well as any prominent newcomers. Near the end of the collegiate regular season, NCAA Division I coaches that are NSCAA members will vote on their top choices and the lists will be narrowed down to the top 15 players. Fans will also have the opportunity to participate in the selection process, by voting for their favorite semifinalist in November at the MAC Hermann Trophy website. From that pool of 30, six finalists (three men, three women) will be chosen for the award.

The Waves start their 2014 campaign on Aug. 22 against Cal Poly at home.