Aug. 19, 2011
LUBBOCK - The visiting Rice soccer team led the game in shots and corner kicks, but Texas Tech took advantage of an Owl miscue in the second half to claim a 1-0 win over the Blue & Gray in the 2011 season-opener for both teams Friday night at the Walker Soccer Complex in Lubbock.
The teams were scoreless at the half, but the Owls were playing well. Rice held a 5-4 lead in shot and 4-2 advantage in corner kicks. In the 25th minute freshman Gabriela Iribarne came off the bench and blasted away on a shot from inside the Red Raider 18. Texas Tech goalkeeper Victoria Esson punched the attempt over the top of the crossbar for one of her five saves on the night.
In the 64th minute Rice was again on the prowl in the attacking third. Tech thwarted the possession, made the transition to offense and worked for a pair of consecutive shots on Rice's side. Owl freshman keeper Amy Czyz, in her Division I debut, made a save on the Red Raider's first attempt. Tech's Tiffni Smith then corralled the deflection on the right wing and found the back of the net with a follow-up shot on the left side.
"Overall we played well, but Texas Tech took advantage of a mistake," said Rice head coach Nicky Adams. "We had a mistake after one of our own re-starts, and it ended up costing us the game.
"Being the season-opener, on the road and on a different (artificial) surface is challenging in itself, but I thought the girls adjusted really well," Adams said. "We put Texas Tech on their toes and strung together some really, really, good play. We out-shot them (11-10) had more corner kicks (7-5). Give their keeper credit. She came up with some big-time saves. Tipping Gabi's shot over the bar, that was a rocket. We had Hope (Ward) and Jessica (Howard) on break-aways in each half, and the keeper came up big both times.
"We didn't play poorly, in fact we're really in a good position," Adams explained. "We did some good things that we can take away from this game and some things we can build-on. Hope and (freshman midfielder) Quynh-Nhu (Truong) had some really good touches to get us forward. Ashton (Geisendorf) coming off the bench was unbelievable. She did a great job applying pressure on their back line and goalkeeper. We had some areas that we will take a look at on video, and that we'll talk about before the McNeese State game, but I don't think we have cause for concern. We just need to finish on opportunities and put the ball in the back of the net.
"We have to be ready to play Sunday, no question," Adams surmised. "It will be nice to come home and get to business."
The Owls (0-1) are back on campus to play their 2011 home-opener on Sunday, Aug. 21. The Blue & Gray hosts McNeese State at 1 pm at the Rice Soccer Stadium.