HOUSTON -- In less than a minute after entering the game off the bench in the second half, the Rice sophomore tandem Darcy Mickalow and Annie Walker teamed for what proved to be the game-winning goal and assist (respectively) in the Owl soccer team's 1-0 Conference USA victory over visiting Southern Miss Sunday afternoon in Houston.
Rice held a 7-4 advantage in shots and a 7-3 margin in corner kicks in the first half, but neither team had anything to show for their respective efforts on the scoreboard. In the second half, it was Southern Miss that quickly came out with a shot on goal in the 47th minute before forcing the Owls to deny the first of four more USM corner kicks in the period. The Blue & Gray was applying offensive pressure and creating chances, but needed something to go a little differently to break the 0-0 deadlock.
With time ticking away, and Rice never having lost to nor even tied Southern Miss since the C-USA series started more than a decade ago, both Mickalow and Walker simultaneously checked into the match in the 75th minute. Just 46 seconds later, Walker broke free with the ball on the left wing inside the 18. As the USM defense began to close-in, Walker served to the right to Mickalow with some space. With a step and a stride, Mickalow quickly blasted away on a close shot attempt that found the back of the Golden Eagles' net on the left side.
Mickalow's second goal of the season, and second in the last three Rice matches, gave the Blue & Gray a 1-0 lead but there was still some soccer to play. USM worked hard for three more shots on-goal, but Rice freshman keeper Samantha Colley was able to answer the challenge. The Owl rookie finished the day with six saves on the way to her second complete game shutout of the season.
Rice is now 5-4-1 on the season and 2-2-0 in C-USA league play. The Golden Eagles are 5-4-1 overall and 0-3-1 in conference.
The Owls have concluded the two-game weekend homestand and are next back out on the road to continue C-USA action. Rice plays league matches at red-hot state foes UTSA on Oct. 7 (Friday) and UTEP on Oct. 9 (Sunday). Both contests are scheduled for a live online broadcast by CUSAtv.