Sept. 5, 2010
A Rice California connection of junior Annie Kadota and Kate Edwards, playing in their home state for the first time as members of the Owls' soccer team, combined for goals to lift the Blue & Gray to a dramatic 2-1 come-from-behind victory over San Francisco in overtime Sunday afternoon on the road in Berkeley, Calif.
Rice closed out the final round of action at the California Invitational Tournament with a win over a USF squad that entered the weekend with an undefeated record and a West Regional ranking from the National Collegiate Soccer Coaches Association. Kadota and Edwards, two of six California Owls in the starting lineup Sunday, provided the goals with no shortage of drama.
San Francisco opened the scoring with a first half goal. In the 36th minute, Rice goalkeeper and Golden State native Meghan Erkel charged off her line to meet USF's Hanna Haanes attacking for the ball inside the 18. Haanes won the duel and converted on a shot to an open net for her fourth goal of the year.
The Owls led in shots at the half, 6-4, and turned-up the offensive pressure in the second half with a 7-2 shots advantage. In the 60th minute Edwards blasted away on an attempt that came in high and deflected in for a score off the crossbar. The goal was the team-leading fourth of the season for the native of Westlake Village, Calif., and the 19th of her career to give her sole possession of fourth place on the Owls' all-time list. More importantly it tied the game and provided an instant emotional lift.
"Kate came up with a great goal," said Rice head coach Chris Huston. "It tied the game, but mentally it was the signal that things can go our way if we keep playing hard and keep playing together. The girls did that and played well. Even on the goal we gave-up Meghan was being aggressive and confident that she had that play. That's the way I want to see us. When we were behind we never put our heads down, we stuck-in and just worked that much harder."
The score was deadlocked 1-1, but Rice looked as though it might win in regulation with a Jordan Holloway header after a corner kick in the closing seconds that was corralled for a USF save. The Owls out-shot the Dons in the overtime period 3-0 and the final attempt brought the contest to an end. In the 95th minute junior forward Hope Ward took a shot that looked like it had a chance to go in. The ball hit the crossbar and, unlike Edwards earlier attempt, bounded downward rather than rattle inside. Kadota, a southern California native from Rancho Santa Fe, opportunistically headed the ball to the back of the net from close range and collected the game-winning goal in her home state.
""When Hope took the shot I think everyone kind of froze because it looked like it was going in," Kadota said. "I thought her shot was going in. I was five yards away and there were a lot of players around, but it just came right to me. That was being in the right place at the right time, but it still felt awesome. It feels good because we've been working hard, but haven't had the results the last few games. We got a result today. I'm also happy because my parents were there and they don't get to see me play that much."
Kadota's game-winner was just her second career goal, and her first in two years after scoring in her Division I debut on the opening day of 2008. She led all players with four shots. Credit Ward with her team-leading third assist of the season. A host of Owls contributed to the win, including California natives Erkel with three saves, Nikki Storness (full 95 minutes), Julia Barrow (85 minutes) and Alexandra Trenary (69 minutes). Rice improved to 2-3-0 on the young season. The Dons dropped to 3-2-0.
The Owls closed out the weekend action in the Bay Area and are back at home for the team's next match. The Blue & Gray host in-state rival Texas-San Antonio on Friday (Sept. 10). Start time at the Rice Soccer Stadium is set for 7 pm. The Owls are then right back out on the road to face the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., on Sunday, Sept. 12, at 1 pm.
The game's complete box score can be viewed at the above link.