Oct. 3, 2010
HOUSTON -- Junior forward Hope Ward assisted on Korey Taylor's game-tying goal in the 82nd minute then scored the game-winner in the 84th to help rally the Rice soccer team to a dramatic 2-1 Conference USA victory over visiting Colorado College Sunday afternoon at home. With the win the Owls improved on their best conference start in history and remained in a tie for first place in the C-USA standings at 4-0-0.
Behind an 11-7 shots advantage in the first half Colorado College opened the scoring early. In the 20th minute, Tiger junior Elizabeth Wright served a long centering pass to Sydney Fetter at the keeper's box. Fetter headed the ball in on the left side for her first goal of the season and 1-0 Tiger lead.
Colorado College held the lead at the intermission and all the way until the closing minutes of the last act. In the 82nd minute Ward brought the ball down the right wing and passed to Taylor from 10 yards out. The senior from McKinney, Tex., was covered by two Tiger defenders and didn't get a shot-off with her right foot, but spun to take an improvised attempt with her left. The ball found the back of the net on the left side to tie the game at 1-1. It was Taylor's third goal of the season and the 12th of her career.
In the process Ward had tallied her team-leading sixth assist, and the 15th of her college career. The Kingwood, Tex., standout moved into a tie for third on the Owls' career assists list, but she wasn't done igniting the offense just yet. Just 96 second later, in the 84th minute, freshman Hayley Williams found Ward with a pass just inside the 18. She unleashed a shot and scored to give Rice its first lead of the day at 2-1. The Owls had come back, and then protected the margin for the final 6-plus minutes for the end result.
In addition to the late offensive fireworks, Rice also had a sound and solid effort from goalkeeper Catherine Fitzsimmons. Fitzsimmons replaced starter Meghan Erkel in the 21st minute when she had to be assisted off the field with an injury. Fitzsimmons answered the call with four saves and was one of a couple of key Rice replacements on the day. The Owls were also without regular starters Kate Edwards (three goals) and Jessica Howard (two goals) and went deep into the bench for a team victory.
Not only does Rice remain a perfect 4-0-0 in the league, the team improved to 7-5-0 on the full season. Colorado College dropped to 4-4-4 overall and 0-3-1 in C-USA play. Freshman midfielder Madison Whitehead led the Tigers with four shots. Sophomore keeper Hanna Berglund registered five saves in her first Division I start.
Rice closed out its five-game homestand at 4-1, with each of the last four matches crucial conference wins. The Owls must now go on the road for each of their next two C-USA games on Oct. 8 & 10. The Blue & Gray play at league foes Southern Miss on Friday, followed by national power UCF on Oct. 10. Start times are set for 4 pm (Central Time) and noon (Eastern), respectively.
The game's box scores are available at the above links.