HOUSTON - Junior forward Lauren Hughes scored three of the Rice soccer team's five goals to help pace the Owls to a convincing 5-0 Conference USA victory over visiting Old Dominion Friday evening at Holloway Field in Houston.
Rice improved to 9-3-3 overall and remained tied for second place in the C-USA standings with 16 points garnered from a 5-2-1 league record. Old Dominion dropped to 4-8-4 on the season and 3-3-2 in C-USA action (11 points).
Hughes opened the scoring in the 17th minute with a close-range goal after a pair of passes through traffic from Gabriela Iribarne and Danielle Spriggs. It was all the room on the scoreboard Rice would need, but the Owls weren't finished.
Holly Hargreaves chipped a high shot for a goal in the 32nd minute for a 2-0 advantage. After the intermission, Spriggs stretched the margin to 3-0 with goal in the 53rd minute. Hughes came right back her second score of the night in the 58th by alertly playing a rebound of a shot that hit off the post. She quickly notched her first three-goal game at Rice in the 61st minute. The standout from Ottawa, Ontario, launched a loose ball off an ODU defender for the hat trick to make the score 5-0.
Rice went on to finish the contest with 23 shots. Almost lost in all the offensive fireworks was the Owls' seventh shutout of the season. Senior goalkeeper Amy Czyz registered a total of two saves and the Rice backline allowed only four shots on the night.
The Owls conclude the two-game weekend homestand against C-USA foe Charlotte on Sunday (Oct. 26). Start time against the 49ers is set for 12 noon (Central Time). The contest is Rice's final home game of the regular season.