Aug. 9, 2011
IRVING, Tex. -- With just three days until the opening exhibition game of the Rice soccer season, Owl junior Amy Beger was named to the 2011 Conference USA preseason team the league office announced on Tuesday (Aug. 9). As a team the Owls were picked fifth overall in the annual preseason poll of the C-USA's 12 head coaches.
Earning honors on the soccer field is nothing new for Beger. The defensive standout from St. Charles, Mo., was an all-Central Region and first team all-conference honoree last season as a redshirt sophomore. In 2010 Beger started all 20 games for the Owls and rarely came off the field, playing a team-high 1,881 out of a possible 1887 minutes (99.7 percent). She was often assigned to shadow the opponent's top scoring threat and anchored a Rice backline where all four defenders had never played together before, including two true freshmen who were in their first season of Division I soccer. Beger helped the Owls' young defense hold C-USA foes to just 13.1 shots per game and her tenacity frustrated opponents.
Her play in the defensive third of the field was sound and solid, but Beger also showed some versatility for the Blue & Gray by coming forward and adding an attacking presence with 31 shots. Perhaps her biggest contribution to the program, however, was the example she set for her teammates. After sitting out all of 2009 with a knee injury, Beger worked hard to come back and post an all-conference and all-region caliber of year. She was voted to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America's 2010 All-Central Region second team.
In 2011 Rice has 16 returning letterwinners, including seven experienced starters, back from last year's squad that advanced to the C-USA postseason tournament. The Owls open the 2011 campaign with a home exhibition match on Aug. 12 against crosstown foe Houston Baptist. Start time is set for 7 pm at the Rice Soccer Stadium.
The complete list of the 2011 C-USA preseason honorees, as selected by C-USA coaches, is listed below:
2011 PRESEASON WOMEN'S SOCCER ALL-CONFERENCE USA TEAM
Sierra Keeler, So., D, Colorado College (Seattle, Wash.)
Amanda Malkiewicz, Sr., F, East Carolina (Forked River, N.J.)
Katelyn Rhodes, Jr. MF, Houston (Lubbock, Texas)
Lizzy Simonin, Sr., D, Memphis (Lee's Summit, Mo.) - PRESEASON DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Amy Beger, Jr., D/F, Rice (Saint Charles, Mo.)
Kaitlyn Eidson, Sr., D, SMU (Katy, Texas)
Jordan O'Brien, So., MF, Tulsa (Garden Grove, Calif.)
Marissa Diggs, So., D, UCF (Rowlett, Texas)
Katie Jackson, Sr., MF, UCF (Satellite Beach, Fla.)
Tishia Jewell, Jr., F, UCF (Satellite Beach, Fla.) - PRESEASON OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Aline Reis, Sr., GK, UCF (Campinas, Brazil)
2011 C-USA PRESEASON POLL
3. Colorado College
9. East Carolina
12. Southern Miss