Sept. 2, 2011
HOUSTON - Rice sophomore forward Jessica Howard scored the game-winning golden-goal with just over two minutes remaining in the second overtime period to lift the Rice soccer team to a 1-0 victory over visiting LSU Friday night at the Owls' soccer stadium in Houston.
With no shortage of drama, the Owls first survived an LSU break-away for what would have been a one-on-one shot attempt against Owl freshman goalkeeper Amy Czyz with just 30 seconds left in regulation. Before the Tigers could take that shot near the top of the 18, however, Rice sophomore defender Rachel Petmecky made a spectacular, game-saving tackle to slap the ball away. The play thwarted the attack and helped force a ten-minute overtime, at the conclusion of which the teams were still deadlocked at 0-0.
In the second overtime Jessica Howard had two good shot attempts that could have ended the contest, and both in the game's 108th minute. Her first of the two shot attempts (at 107:21) was corralled for an LSU save. Only a few seconds later, Rice was on the attack again. Petmecky made a long throw-in from the left side and found Hope Ward in traffic. Ward played the ball to Howard in front of the Tiger goal. On Howard's second shot attempt, she found the back of the net at 107:45. There was just two minutes and 15 seconds left in the second overtime before the contest would have officially ended in a 0-0 tie.
"We missed that first one (Howard's first attempt), and it was heart-stopping," said Rice head coach Nicky Adams. "It was a nice play and stop on LSU's part, and that was kind of how it went all game. It went back-and-forth. Both teams were tremendous tonight. Battle is what it boiled down to.
"Then Rachel made that long throw and it was another battle in the six-yard box. Jessica was there to slam it home. When you can throw the ball in that far, that's a weapon. Rachel also had that phenomenal tackle when their player got past everyone, with what, 30 seconds ticking down? That was huge."
Rice's goal was Howard's second goal of the season, and it was also her second game-winning score in as many outings. A week ago the Dallas native scored the game-winner in the Owls' 1-0 road win at TCU (Aug. 26).
Coach Adams has long-said that no matter what happens on the field, she and the coaches are simply looking for the team to play hard, and to `go all-out for 90-minutes.' The squad delivered on that to be sure. The impressive part is the team then collectively agreed to a similar, but certainly much-needed, effort for just a little bit longer after their 90-minute portion of the contract had been fulfilled.
"LSU is a tremendous side," the head coach explained. "They are going to beat a lot of teams in a very good conference. I'm so proud of our girl's effort tonight. They battled for 90 minutes and more. That's all you can ask for."
Rice improved to 3-1-0 on the season with the team's third-straight victory, all by defensive shutout. LSU dropped to 1-3-0 overall. The Owls close out the weekend homestand on Sunday (Sept. 4). Rice next plays longtime rival Sam Houston State on Sunday at 7 pm.
The box score from the LSU game appears at the above link.