Oct. 31, 2012
EL PASO - The Rice soccer team held a 16-10 lead in shots and a 10-8 margin in corner kicks for the 90 minutes, but SMU claimed a 3-1 win over the Owls in the opening round of play at the annual Conference USA Tournament Wednesday evening in El Paso, Tex.
Rice is now 11-7-3 on the season under head coach Nicky Adams for the most wins the program has recorded in five years. Though the Owls' action in the C-USA Tournament has concluded due to the single-elimination format, the Blue & Gray is holding to the hopes of continuing the season with a possible at large bid to the NCAA Tournament beginning next week.
The Owls doubled SMU in shots 10-5 in the first half and also led in corner kicks 5-3, but SMU opened the scoring late in the period. In the 42nd minute Rice attempted to head-away a Mustang corner from the right side, but the ball went back over the team's own line. The subsequent corner went to the left side, where Mallory Baum served the ball into the Rice box. Rachel Larson took the attempt that bounced off the framework before going in for a 1-0 Mustang lead.
SMU extended the lead to 2-0 in the 61st minute when Rikki Clark scored from close range after a throw-in. The goal was Clark's fourth of the season.
The Owls continued to fight. Only seven minutes later, freshman Lauren Hughes took a hard shot from 10-yards in front of the Mustang goal. SMU made a save on the play, but the force from the shot was too much to control and bounded away. Rice rookie Holly Hargreaves, who the day before was named the C-USA freshman of the Year, alertly controlled the rebound and buried a follow-up shot to the back of the net in the lower right corner.
The goal was Hargreaves' team-leading tenth of the year. It's the most goals registered by an Owl freshman in seven years, and cut the Mustang lead to one with more than 30 minutes left in regulation.
Rice thoughts of a comeback were averted with a quick turn-around SMU goal in the 71st minute. Shelby Redman hit the ball in from the right wing after a cross from Olivia Elliott. The goal was Redman's ninth of the season.
Hughes led all players with four shots. Hargreaves took three shots and sophomore Gabriela Iribarne came off the bench to take three shots in 48 minutes of action.
SMU is now 9-7-4. The Mustangs advance to meet UCF, a 2-0 winner over Memphis in the late game.