HOUSTON -- True freshman Gabby Martniez scored the first goal of her collegiate career to pull the Rice soccer team even on the way to a 1-1 double-overtime tie against longtime state foe SMU Thursday evening in Houston.
The Owls (3-1-1) finished with a comfortable 25-11 edge in shots and a held a 7-2 advantage in corner kicks. The Blue & Gray also stretched its current unbeaten streak to four-straight matches.
A long soccer rivalry that dates back to the start of the Owl program in the Western Athletic Conference in 2001, the 2015 edition of Rice-v-SMU had a little bit of everything and a tip of the cap to the series' history. The Mustangs opened the scoring in the first half. SMU midfielder Claire Oates found forward Lauren Guerra with pass in traffic just outside the keeper's box on the right side. Guerra scored her second goal of the season in the 21st minute for a 1-0 lead.
Rice outshot the Ponies 8-4 in the first half, and turned the offensive pressure even higher after the intermission. In the 54th minute, SMU thwarted an Owl counter-attack only to have the ball go over the endline for a Rice corner. The Blue & Gray didn't have anything to show for three set pieces in the first half, but found some magic with their fourth. Junior Jenny Fichera served the ball and found a leaping 5-foot-9 Martinez in the keeper's box. The Owl rookie from Chandler, Ariz., headed the ball to the back of the Mustang net to make it a new 1-1 game.
That was all either defense would yield the rest of the contest. Rice put together four shot attempts in the first overtime period. In 102nd minute, SMU defenders saved the day by successfully blocking Owl senior forward Lauren Hughes' shot attempt. In the 103rd minute, Oates lined a dangerous hard shot high, that bounded off the Rice crossbar. Martinez finished the night leading all player with a career-high seven shots. Owl goalkeeper Zoe Pochobradsky finished the match with four saves, three of which were in the second half.
The 1-1 draw was only the second tie in the 18-game Rice-SMU series. The 18 matches is tied for the most times Rice has played an opponent. The Mustangs still lead the series 10-6-2, but have not beaten Rice in Houston dating back to 2006.
Rice closes out the current homestand on Sept. 6 (Sunday). The Owls host SEC power Arkansas in a special 7 pm start.