BOCA RATON, Fla. -- The No. 1 seeded Rice soccer team held a 17-7 advantage in shots and a steady 8-3 margin corner kicks, but No. 8 seed Charlotte slipped away with a 1-0 victory over the Owls in the opening round of the Conference USA Championship Tournament Wednesday morning in Boca Raton, Fla. (Nov. 1).
Rice saw its school record 11-game unbeaten streak come to an end. The Owls are now 12-3-2 on the season, tied for the fourth-highest single season win total in the history of the program.
A nine-win Charlotte squad, that had won this same tournament last season, was ready to play its best game after the Owls posted to a 1-0 win over the 49ers in a C-USA regular season road game just two weeks ago in North Carolina. In the rematch, Charlotte registered five of its seven shots on the day in the first 25 minutes of the contest.
Rice turned up the offensive pressure midway through the first half with five shots additional and four corner kicks. The Owls continued the pace in the second period with a 9-2 margin in shots. Credit 49er goalkeeper Abby Stapleton for making saves on shots from five different Rice players in the second half.
In a sequence in the 88th minute that was against the game's flow, Charlotte’s Megan Green corralled a loose ball on the right wing and played to C-USA Offensive Player of the Year Martha Thomas. Thomas shot and found the back of the Owl net on the left side for her 12th goal of the season. The timing could not have been worse, as the Blue & Gray then had only 169 seconds to find an equalizer.
The box score for the match is available at the above link.