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Submitted by Pepperdine University
2:49 pm PDT July 9, 2021

As usual, head coach Tim Ward has scheduled aggressively and put together a daunting non-conference slate for the Pepperdine women’s soccer team in fall 2021.

“We’re really excited about the schedule we’ve put together,” said Ward, who begins his 24th season in charge of the Waves this fall. “We take great pride in playing some of the best programs in the country and I think we’ve done that again this fall with our schedule. Besides playing some of the strongest teams in the country in our own backyard, we’ve decided to go out of region twice this year to challenge ourselves and show the NCAA selection committee that we have lofty ambitions. 

“We believe that in order to get where we want to go, we need to put ourselves in tough environments that will grow and challenge us, and we’re pretty sure this schedule will do that. In addition to a really demanding non-conference slate of games, we believe the West Coast Conference will be one of the strongest soccer conferences in the country this year. At the end of it all, we will have to earn the right to be called champions and postseason contenders, and we are really excited about that opportunity.”

Of Pepperdine’s 10 regular-season non-conference opponents, all six that played during the 2020-21 school year posted winning records, and four of them went to the NCAA Tournament. The combined winning percentage of those teams in the spring was .698 (55-21-10). The other four opponents are from the Big West Conference, which did not hold a women’s soccer season this past year. Only three of the 10 games will be at home.

The Waves will open with a scrimmage at UCLA on August 12. The Bruins went 13-1-3 last season and made it to the NCAA’s third round. The season then opens at USC the following Thursday, August 19. The Trojans went 7-3-4 and played in the NCAA’s second round. Later that weekend, Pepperdine visits San Diego State on August 22.

Pepperdine’s home opener will be against Long Beach State on August 26. The Waves will face another Big West school on August 29, at UC Riverside.

The Waves’ first big road trip will be to the state of Tennessee. Pepperdine will visit Lipscomb on Sept. 2, before heading over to Vanderbilt on Sunday, Sept. 5. The Commodores went 9-6-1 last year and played in the NCAA’s second round.

Two more Big West schools round out Pepperdine’s home schedule, as UC San Diego (Sept. 9) and UC Santa Barbara (Sept. 12) will visit Tari Frahm Rokus Field.

The most challenging road trip of them all closes out non-conference play, as the Waves face a pair of NCAA quarterfinal teams in TCU (Sept. 16) and Texas A&M (Sept. 19). The Horned Frogs went 12-2-2 last season and the Aggies went 12-4-1.

The West Coast Conference schedule is set to be released on Tuesday by the league office.

The Waves concluded the delayed spring 2021 season with a 6-5-1 record and a fourth-place finish in the WCC at 5-3-1. Four of the five losses came against ranked opponents. Pepperdine returns seven starters, 19 letterwinners and 76 percent of the goal-scoring from the spring.

Non-conference schedule:

August 12 at UCLA (scrimmage)

August 19 at USC

August 22 at San Diego State

August 26 vs. Long Beach State

August 29 at UC Riverside

Sept. 2 at Lipscomb

Sept. 5 at Vanderbilt

Sept. 9 vs. UC San Diego

Sept. 12 vs. UC Santa Barbara

Sept. 16 at TCU

Sept. 19 at Texas A&M