HOUSTON – The Rice soccer team held a comfortable 18-7 advantage in shots and 5-3 margin in corner kicks, but visiting Western Kentucky scored the lone goal of the match in the 15th minute and hung on for a 1-0 win over the Owls soccer team Friday night at Holloway Field in Houston.
In a play that went against flow, WKU senior forward Iris Dunn stole a Rice pass near midfield and sprinted down the right wing with ball. Dunn unleashed the Hilltoppers’ first shot of the game, and one of only two in the entire first half, from well outside the 18 and found the back of the Owl net on the left side. Her second goal of the season put WKU up 1-0 and proved to be all the margin the Topps would need.
Rice didn’t have any problem applying offensive pressure, with an identical nine shots in both halves. WKU goalkeeper junior Allison Leone made nine saves on the night, and the Blue & Gray also had two bad luck bounces. The first was in the 38th minute when senior Jenny Fichera hit the crossbar. The second was in the 67th minute as junior Samantha Chaiken just missed an equalizer with a shot attempt that caromed off the right post.
“Western Kentucky battled, no question,” said Rice head coach Nicky Adams. “It’s frustrating though when we do so many things so well but then not finish on opportunities we worked so hard to create. WKU put the ball in the back of the net and we need to be able to do that. We were close on more than a couple of plays, but just need quality over quantity right now.”
Rice is now 4-3-1 on the season and 1-1-0 in C-USA league play. Red-hot WKU stayed atop the C-USA standings with a 3-0-0 record and improved to 8-3-0 overall with the team’s fifth-straight win, all by shutout.
The Owls are back at Holloway Field again on Sunday (Oct. 2) to close out the current homestand Rice hosts C-USA foe Southern Miss at 1 pm.