TULSA, Okla. -- The Rice soccer team surrendered the lone goal of the match in the 77th minute as former conference foe Memphis claimed a 1-0 win over the Owls in the opening round or the Tulsa Classic Tournament Friday evening in Oklahoma.
At the opening whistle it was Rice that had Memphis on its heels. The Owls missed a shot just wide in the second minute and Tiger keeper Marys Bard-Martel corralled a two hard attempts from Jenny Fichera and Nia Stallings in the 13th and 17th minutes, respectively. On two occasions in the first ten minutes it looked like it might be a game of inches when Rice was on a break-away, but whistled for being offside.
A talented Memphis team bent but didn't break, and neither did Rice, in a scoreless first stanza. In the second half UM held an 8-5 advantage in shots. Tiger standout Valerie Sanderson notched her sixth goal of the young season in the 77th minute, scoring from well inside the Rice 18 after eluding Owl defenders.
Memphis went on to hold a 18-9 advantage in shots for the match with an 8-2 margin in corner kicks. Rice true freshman goalkeeper Samantha Colley, a native of Columbia, Tenn., had a solid showing and finished the day with a career-high eight saves.
"I thought it was a tale of two halves," said Rice head coach Nicky Adams. "I thought we came out in the first half and dictated the tempo of the game and created early opportunities where we could have been up 2-0 by halftime. Unfortunately, we didn't finish those opportunities and that's been hindering us so far this season. The second half Memphis came out and made us defend more than we could attack, and that was the game-changer.
"It's something we have to continue to work on and get better because," coach Adams added. "Tulsa (the Owls' next opponent on Sunday) is a great team - very, very organized and physical. We'll have to be at our best, no question."
Rice, now 2-2-1 on the season. The Owls are next in action on Sept. 11 against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane on the road in Oklahoma.