Oct. 10, 2010
ORLANDO, Fla. -- After a combined total of 40 shots in 110 minutes from two overtime periods, the Rice and No. 19 UCF soccer teams finished in a 1-1 tie Sunday afternoon in Orlando, Fla. For Rice a tie against a nationally-ranked opponent on the road is good enough to help the Owls remain alone at the top of the C-USA standings while adding to its best-ever start to a conference season (5-0-1).
The teams battled to a scoreless first half, but UCF took the game's first lead early in the second stanza. In the 48th minute senior forward Kim Newsome fielded a centering pass from Nicolette Radovcic and scored on her first shot attempt of the game. The goal was Newsome's sixth of the season.
Down but not out, the Owls would not go away so easy and put the equalizer on the board in the 66th minute. UCF deflected away Korey Taylor`s fifth shot of the day, but Kate Edwards (in her first game back from an injury) got the loose ball to fellow senior Elizabeth Nesbit on the left side. Nesbit opportunistically struck the ball to the back of the Knight net from a few yards out on the left side to tie the game, 1-1. The midfielder from Waterford, Va., had played her entire college career (45 games before Sunday) without a goal, but she came up big in one of the program's most important games in years.
The teams continued to trade shots over the final 23-plus minutes of regulation, then again for two 10-minute overtime periods, but neither team would yield. UCF finished with a total of 22 shots while Rice countered with 18. Taylor and the Knight's Tishia Jewell shared the game-lead with five shot attempts. Veteran Owl goalkeeper Catherine Fitzsimmons tied a career-high with nine saves.
Rice is now 8-5-1 overall and an unbeaten 5-0-1 in the league. UCF moved to 9-2-3 on the season and 4-0-2 in C-USA action.
Over the weekend the Owls successfully passed the test of team's first two C-USA road games (including a 2-0 victory at Southern Miss on Oct. 8) to remain in first place in the conference standings. Rice tied a national Top 20 opponent on their home field, and came back from a late deficit to do so. Now mix-in that the Blue & Gray were able to get an all-conference caliber player back on the field who had been sidelined the last seven games (Edwards). Rice interim head coach Nicky Adams said, all things considered, the Owls are feeling like today's winner.
"UCF is a great team that is deserving of a Top 20 ranking, and we were right there with them," Adams said. "I am really proud of our team for how hard they played the entire game, all the way through double-overtime. We created a lot of opportunities on offense and worked well together on defense.
"Korey put a lot of pressure on them, she continues to play well," Adams added. "Cat (Fitzsimmons) made a lot of big saves, Amy Beger did a great job for us on the back line, and it is tremendous to get Kate back. She played well today and (her return) is going to be big. Z (Nesbit) started today because she deserved it, she has been playing well. Her goal was really special. Today is a good result against a very good team. There's a lot of games left though, and we have a lot of work left to do."
After the two-game conference road swing the Owls return home to host C-USA foes Marshall and East Carolina on Oct. 15 & 17, respectively. The start time for Friday's match with the ECU Pirates is set for 7 pm at the Rice Soccer Stadium.
The game's box score appears a the above links.