HOUSTON -- Midfielder Lianne Mananquil scored a goal and had an assist to help lead the Rice soccer team to a 2-0 Conference USA shutout victory over visiting UTEP Sunday afternoon at Holloway Field in Houston.
Rice improved to 9-2-1 on the season and stayed unbeaten and untied in C-USA play with a 6-0-0 league record. The perfect 6-0-0 ledger is the program's best conference start in school history. The Owls notched their seventh-straight win in 2017, but the team has in fact now won 13-straight C-USA regular season matches dating back to last year.
Rice also continues to hold onto sole possession of first place in the conference standings with 18 points. The C-USA standings are determined by getting three points for a win and one point for a tie. There are now just four league games remaining in the 10-game C-USA regular season schedule.
The match was a 0-0 stalemate in the first half, but Rice quickly seized the advantage in the second period. In the 54th minute, Nia Stallings crossed a pass into traffic from the right sideline. Annie Walker got a foot on the ball from 10 yards out, but was immediately smothered by a hoard of Miner defenders. Mananquil alertly played the free carom and lined a shot to the back of the UTEP f0r her third goal of the season.
The Blue & Gray didn't stop there, however, and was again quickly on the offensive. In the 54th minute, Mananquil was sprinting with the ball across midfield and threaded a pass to Ashley Burgess outside the 18. The true freshman settled the ball with a touch before launching a rocket shot that beat the opposing keeper. Burgess' third goal of the season gave the Owls the 2-0 advantage.
With better play in the second half Rice finished the day with a 14-7 advantage in shots and holding a 7-3 margin in corner kicks. Owl sophomore goalkeeper Maya Hoyer recorded a pair of saves on the way to her fifth complete game shutout. UTEP is now 6-9-0 on the season and 2-4-0 in conference.
Rice next returns to action with a C-USA home game on Friday (Oct. 13). The Owls hosts longtime Middle Tennessee at 7 pm at Holloway Field.
The box score for the match is available at the above link. More details, including a postgame interview with Rice head coach Nicky Adams, will be available soon.