HUNTINGTON, W.Va – Marshall made the most of just two shots on-goal to claim a 1-0 Conference USA win over the visiting Rice soccer team Sunday afternoon in Huntington, West Virginia.
The Owls finished the match holding a 5-2 lead in shots on-goal, and did a particularly solid job of controlling the tempo in the first half with an overall shots advantage of 8-3. Rice’s closest chance at getting on the board was with less than a minute to go in the first half. In the 45th minute freshman Darcy Mickalow’s header from inside the keeper’s box was just outside the right post.
Riding a streak of nine-straight matches without a loss, Marshall turned up the pressure in the second stanza. In the 66th minute, the Herd’s Mack Moore played a rebound off the Rice crossbar to the back of the Owl net for her first career score. Marshall proceeded to keep Rice off the board for the 1-0 final. The Herd finished with a 12-11 lead in shots, while the corner kicks were an identical 3-3.
“I thought it was a tale of two halves,” said Rice head coach Nicky Adams. “The way we came out and approached this game was awesome. I thought in the first half we created tons of opportunities and were unlucky. I am very disappointed we didn’t get any goals in that first half, and that could have changed things completely.
“In the second half Marshall made some technical adjustments,” coach Adams explained. “It wasn’t our best half of soccer, but we built some chances and could have helped ourselves a couple of times by playing better. It proves how playing a full, 90-minute performance is crucial in conference. On Friday (in the Owls 3-1 win at WKU) we came out well and built a big enough lead so that if there was an error in the second half we were covered by scoring earlier goals. At the end of the day today, we didn’t put the ball in the back of the net.
“Kudos to Marshall for continuing to fight,” she added. “Marshall is known for being a blue-collar, hard-working team. That was no surprise, but we have to find a way to be more consistent for a 90-minute game and not just a 45-minute period.
Rice moved to 5-4-1 overall and is 1-1-0 in C-USA league play. Red-hot Marshall improved to 8-1-2 on the season and 1-0-1 in conference.
The Owls have concluded the weekend road swing. Rice next returns home on Friday and Sunday (Oct. 2-4) to host C-USA foes FIU and Florida Atlantic, respectively. Start time for the FIU match is slated for 7 pm.