Head Coach Nicky Adams previews the Owls' opening matches of the season in the above video, and also takes an impromptu Rice Orientation Week Quiz! See if you can beat Coach Adams to the goal!
THIS WEEK: The Rice soccer team opens its 2017 season on Friday (Aug. 18) at longtime state rival and Big 12 powerhouse Texas. Start time is slated for 7 pm in Austin at the Longhorns’ Mike A. Myers Soccer Stadium. The non-conference clash is the first of two weekend matches for the Owls. The Blue & Gray return home to host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on August 20 at Holloway Field. Start time against the Islanders is set for 6 pm.
QUICK ON THE OWLS (0-0-0): The 2017 Rice soccer team returns eight of 11 starters from last season's squad that went 11-5-1 and finished second in the Conference USA regular season standings. The Owls return a total of 18 letterwinners from a year ago and welcome in a talented new recruiting class.
COACH'S CORNER: Rice soccer is under the direction of head coach Nicky Adams, who is now in her seventh full year at the helm of the program. Adams enters the season with a career record of 68-42-20. A former pro player and All-America honoree while playing at Texas A&M, Adams was inducted into her alma mater's Athletics Hall of Fame in the fall of 2015. Adams' coaching staff includes Courtney Sirmans in her third year with the program, and Brenton Saylor in his second year with the Owls.
PRESEASON HONORS: IRVING, Texas – Led by the senior duo of preseason honorees Samantha Chaiken and Nia Stallings, the Rice soccer team was picked tied for second in the 2017 C-USA head coaches' poll announced on Monday (Aug. 7)… The preseason all-conference honors and ranking were determined on a vote of the 14 C-USA head soccer coaches. It is the fourth time in the last five years for Rice to be picked as high as second by the annual head coaches’ poll. Defending regular season champion North Texas was picked first in the poll. The Owls were tied for second in the poll with 2016 C-USA Tournament champ Charlotte… As a junior last season the league coaches voted Chaiken as the C-USA Midfielder of the Year. The Dallas native earned All-Central Region honors from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) after starting all 17 games and finishing second on the team with 1,532 minutes. Chaiken also finished fourth on the team in shots and maintained a .344 shots-on-goal percentage… Stallings is a returning first team All-Conference USA forward from a year ago who earned the Rice Soccer Offensive MVP award for leading the program with five goals and sharing the team lead with seven assists. The native of San Antonio, Texas, scored in four-straight matches during one stretch and twice notched the Owls’ game-winning goal. Stallings maintained a steady .500 shots-on-goal percentage while playing 85 or more minutes 12 times… All the Owls trained under head coach Nicky Adams, now starting her seventh full season at the helm of the soccer program and her 15th year at the school overall.
SOLID IN 2017 EXHIBITIONS: The Owls were solid in two preseason exhibition matches last week. Rice posted a 2-2 tie on the road at SEC foe LSU last Friday (Aug. 11). The Owls then rallied for a 1-1 tie with Southland Conference favorite Stephen F. Austin on Sunday (Aug. 13).
RICE IN OPENERS: Since starting the soccer program in 2001, Rice is 5-9-2 in season-openers. In 2016 the Owls lost the season-opener to national power Texas A&M on the road, 4-1. The Blue & Gray was supposed to open the 2016 season on the road at state foe SMU, but weather conditions forced a cancellation of that match (which was not rescheduled). The Owls opened the year two days later in College Station, Texas. Rice is looking for its first win in a season-opening match since 2008.
THE RICE-TEXAS SERIES: Rice has faced Texas a total of four times. The most recent meeting was in the opening round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament where the Longhorns claimed a 3-0 win. The teams met for the first time in 2002 when Rice Soccer was in its second year of existence. The Longhorns claimed a 2-1 win in Austin in 2005, but the Owls claimed a 1-0 victory in Houston a year later. The 2006 Rice team defeated Texas as part of an 8-0-1 start to the season.
LONESTARS: Three Owls can trace their respective playing roots back to the regional power Lonestar Star Soccer Club. The central Texas trio of Jessica Johnston (Austin), Erin Mikeska (Elgin) and Nia Stallings (San Antonio) played for Lonestar SC prior to enrolling at Rice.