Joelle Anderson has kicked a healthy number of goals during her five seasons as a member of the Pepperdine Waves women’s soccer team. However, it’s an assist the 22-year-old had in the Waves’ 1-0 win at fifth-ranked Texas Christian University on Sept. 16 that really geeked her out.
In the 65th minute, Anderson kicked a pass from outside the circle downfield that bounced off a TCU defender and landed in front of Pepperdine sophomore forward Tori Waldeck. The 19-year-old kicked the ball between two opponents for the goal.
“That was an awesome moment for Tori,” said Anderson, the redshirt senior forward. “Sending her that ball and her being able to finish that was amazing. That whole feeling was amazing.”
Waldeck, a left-foot dominate player (with an appetite for kicking and scoring the ball with either boot), also got excited about the scoring pass.
“I’ll do anything to get an assist or even start the attack for my team,” she said. “I like to pass the ball if I think a player is in a better position.”
Along with passing, the two players’ main goal on the pitch is to score goals for the Waves. Doing that and doing it well led to Anderson and Waldeck earning West Coast Conference (WCC) Offensive Player of the Week honors this season.
Anderson won the WCC’s weekly award in back-to-back weeks—on Sept. 6 and 14—due to her stellar play in a four-game stretch. Waldeck was tapped for the recognition a week after Anderson thanks to the game-winning score against TCU and an assist she had on a score by Anderson three days later.
Anderson, who has been named to an All-WCC squad every season since 2017, said it was an honor to be named the conference’s top offensive player.
“I’ve been working hard the past four years to get to this point,” she said. “To see my work paying off in the end has been cool to see. I give credit to all my teammates for pushing me in practice and helping me be the best player I can be.”
Waldeck said winning the award was great.
“It’s a high honor because the WCC is very competitive,” she said. “It speaks more to our team—the fact that right now we are doing great offensively. I’m here to put the ball in the back of the net for Pepperdine.”
Waldeck’s score on TCU’s home field marked the third time in Pepperdine history the team downed a top-five opponent on the road. She attempted five shots against TCU. Her goal happened in the 65th minute.
Waldeck felt like she “blacked out” when she scored.
“I lost the ball but turned around and stuck with it and kicked it in,” she said.
Waldeck had the primary assist on Anderson’s goal in Pepperdine’s 1-0 triumph over Texas A&M on Sept. 19. The next day, she learned she was the WCC’s offensive standout when the conference tagged her in a social media post.
“I was in my dorm room studying,” said Waldeck, an All-WCC second teamer and WCC All-Freshman team member last season. “I thought ‘Is that real?’”
Waldeck has three goals and five assists, collecting 11 points, heading into Pepperdine’s Saturday match against Portland.
Anderson scored the game-winning goal in the 95th minute in Pepperdine’s 1-0 road win at Lipscomb on Sept. 2. At Vanderbilt three days later, in a 4-1 Pepperdine win, Anderson booted a score in the first two minutes of the match and in the 47th minute, her corner kick led to a goal score by Waldeck.
Anderson scored between two defenders in Pepperdine’s 4-1 win over UC San Diego on Sept. 9. In the next match, a 3-0 win over UC Santa Barbara on Sept. 12, Anderson scored in the 12th minute.
She has six goals, two assists and 14 points. Anderson’s 30 career goals place her fourth on Pepperdine’s all-time goal list.
Anderson, calm off the pitch but competitive on it, said it is pleasing to be one of the top scorers in Waves’ history, but it is not her main focus.
“I’m just trying to show up for my team every day and help my team in every way I can,” she said.
Anderson was selected with the 26th pick in the National Women’s Soccer League draft by the Houston Dash last January. Being drafted, she said, and joining the Dash after the Waves’ season, is a reminder of how hard she has worked on her craft.
“It’s super humbling,” she said. “I keep reminding myself of things I need to work on. I want to give everything I have to this team. I want to keep working hard every day because there are things I can get better at before I go pro next year.”
Waldeck said Anderson is an amazing player.
“She makes everyone around her look good,” she said.
Pepperdine’s record was 9-1 and the squad was ranked ninth nationally as of press time. The squad began the season on Aug. 19 with a victory over USC. A win over San Diego State followed. Pepperdine was defeated by Long Beach State next. The Waves then downed UC Riverside before they faced Lipscomb.
Goalkeeper Zoe Clevely was named WCC Defensive Player of the Week in late August. Senior defender Trinity Watson was named to the Top Drawer Soccer Team of the Week for the second time this season the same week Anderson won the second offensive honor.
The Waves are a special group, said Anderson.
“The energy we have this year and how everyone gets along on and off the field is super amazing,” she said. “Every time we practice, we get better. Our coaches are doing an excellent job tactically as far as what we need to focus on.”
Pepperdine won the WCC championship and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament Anderson’s freshman season. The fifth-season player said this year’s bunch has the potential to win the NCAA crown.
“I feel that energy with this team,” Anderson said. “Our goal is to play more games than any Pepperdine team has, ever.”
Waldeck said Pepperdine has championship goals but can’t take anything for granted.
“Our theme this year is ‘Back to basics,’” she said. “Within that theme, we say, ‘We are grateful for everything but entitled to nothing.’ We need to put in the work every day. Any team can beat us and we can beat any team.”