Sept. 1, 2010
THIS WEEK: The Rice soccer team, 1-2-0 on the young season, returns to action this weekend (Sept. 3-5) for a pair of matches to be played in the Bay Area of California as part of the Cal Invitational Tournament. The Owls face nationally-ranked California on the road in Berkeley on Friday at 6 pm Central Time (4 pm Pacific). The Blue & Gray then meets the University of San Francisco at Cal's Edwards Stadium on Sunday at 2:30 pm Central (12:30 pm Pacific) to wrap-up the weekend's action.
RICE SOCCER TURNS TEN: Time sure flies when you're having fun. After starting the team from scratch and taking the field for the first time in on 2001, the Owls' soccer program is celebrating its 10th anniversary season in 2010. The Blue & Gray signed its first recruiting class in the spring of 2001 and was on the field and playing by August 31 that same year. In an electric on-campus atmosphere, Rice soccer won the program's debut match, defeating Army 3-2 at home.
LIVE IN-GAME STATS: Live in-game statistics for all Rice home matches are posted on the web. At the start of the game go to the GameTracker link at the top of this page, the soccer schedule page, or on the home page of RiceOwls.com, and follow a text play-by-play of the action.
QUICK ON THE OWLS: The 2010 Rice soccer team features 15 letterwinners, including four regular starters, from last season's team that went 6-10-3. A total of nine newcomers are on the roster, eight of which are freshmen from the club and high school ranks. The Blue & Gray has some experienced players in key spots, such as senior Kate Edwards in the midfield and the forward duo of senior Korey Taylor and junior Hope Ward. Rice boasts two experienced goalkeepers with the senior tandem of Meghan Erkel and Catherine Fitzsimmons.
HEAD COACH CHRIS HUSTON: Now with her tenth Rice team from the soccer program she started from scratch, Chris Huston has guided the Owls to an established spot alongside the more experienced teams in the state of Texas and the NCAA. Her won-loss record at Rice is 89-76-13. The two-time Western Athletic Conference coach of the year owns a career college coaching record of 111-92-15. The former standout at the University of North Carolina served as the head coach at the University of Houston for two years after starting that program in 1998. Huston owns a career C-USA regular season record of 40-27-4. She is aided by associate head coach Nicky Adams (Texas A&M, 2001; eighth year) and new assistant coach John Adams (Cincinnati, 2003; first year).
DID YOU KNOW? This is the Owls' tenth varsity soccer team since starting the program in 2001, but this is coach Huston's eleventh year with Rice University. She was hired by the school to begin the soccer program a full year before the new team was slated to take the field.
PREVIOUS OUTING: HOUSTON, Tex. - Texas Tech's Jessica Fuston scored two first half goals to lead the visiting Red Raider soccer team to a 2-0 victory over Rice on Sunday (Aug. 29) at the Owls' Soccer Stadium... Fuston opened the scoring in the game's 17th minute with a goal from just outside the keeper's box after a long crossing pass from Taylor Lytle from deep in the right corner. Twenty-two minutes later Fuston added her second goal of the night and her team-leading fourth goal of the season with close-range attempt to the back left side of the net... The Owls turned-up the offensive pressure in the second half and outshot Texas Tech by a 12-7 margin. Rice finished the match with 17 shots, including five on-goal, to tie its season high. Red Raider goalkeeper Colleen Pitts tallied four saves and had some help from teammates to preserve the shutout. In the 88th minute Rice senior forward Korey Taylor took a shot after a deflection that brought Pitts off her line. Tech defenders however filled in from behind and cleared the ball to help keep Rice off the scoreboard... Rice dropped to 1-2-0 on the season. The Red Raiders remained undefeated at 4-0-0... "It was a tough loss all the way around," said Rice head coach Chris Huston. "It was very similar to our first game at Baylor where we had a good second half and played well at times, but we did not maintain a good work rate for the full 90 minutes. It's a good sign we were able to make adjustments in the second half and played with confidence when we were down. We'll have a lot of work ahead as we prepare for a very demanding road trip to California next weekend."
GOIN' BACK TO CALI: Heading out to California seems like old times. Rice soccer was a frequent flyer out to the Golden State when it was a member of the Western Athletic Conference from 2001 to 2004. The trip out west this weekend, however, is the Owls' first as a C-USA affiliate and first time to California in seven years. If you're doing the math it might seem a little curious how Rice could be in the WAC yet somehow not have a single game in California while playing its last year in that league. In 2004 Rice's WAC schedule saw the Owls host California schools Fresno State and San Jose State, and travel west for league matches at Nevada, Boise State and Hawaii. Rice soccer's last trip to California was in October of 2003, where the Blue & Gray defeated Fresno State 4-1.
GOLDEN STATERS: There are six native Californians on the current Rice roster, and all have a prominent role. Veterans Kate Edwards (Westlake Village) and Meghan Erkel(Granite Bay), sophomore Julia Barrow (Hermosa Beach) and freshmen Alexandra Trenary(Coto de Caza) have all been starters. Senior Nikki Storness (Rancho Santa Margarita) has played in every game with one start. Junior Annie Kadota (Rancho Santa Fe) meanwhile came off the bench last week and had a sensational season-high 38 minutes against Texas Tech.
STEADY "EDDIE'S" STARTING STREAK & CAREER GAMES PLAYED: Senior midfielder Kate Edwards has been in the starting lineup for all 62 games Rice has played dating back to her freshman season of 2007. Edwards is now tenth on Rice's all-time list for career starts, and needs one more start to tie Erin Scott for ninth. Another way of looking at Edwards' streak is that she has never not started. It's one of the longest streaks on campus, but NOT affiliated with Baker College!
THE OPPOSITION: California (1-0-2) is currently ranked 18th in the nation by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, as well as tied for 19th in the country according to Soccer Times... The Dons of San Francisco are undefeated at 3-0-0 heading into a Friday match against fellow tournament participant Hawaii.
THE SERIES: Both Bay Area teams lead their respective series with Rice by identical 1-0-0 margins. In 2005 a Cal team that was a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament (and went on to finish with a No. 9 national ranking) defeated Rice 2-0 in the first round of the NCAAs held in Austin, Tex... USF topped Rice 1-0 in Eugene, Ore., on the opening day of the 2003 season.
WHEN FIRST GOALS ARE ALSO GAME-WINNERS: True freshman Jessica Howard scored her first career Rice goal Aug. 22 vs. Stephen F. Austin with a textbook bicycle kick in front of the visitor's net. The goal proved to be even more dramatic because it also was officially the game-winning goal. Howard became only the 12th player in school history to record a game-winning goal with her first career goal. Two Owls, current juniors Annie Kadota and Hope Ward, accomplished the feat as freshmen two years ago. Current sophomore Julia Barrow's first goal in 2009 was also a game-winner (on the road at Stephen F. Austin).
FOR THE RECORD: With every save, every win and every minute played by goalkeeper Meghan Erkel, the senior sets a new Rice career record. The veteran Erkel is the reigning Owl record holder for career saves (253), wins (27) and minutes played (5,091:20).
WE'VE GOT SPIRIT, YES WE DO...: The 2009 soccer season was already over when it was announced last spring, but in case you missed it, Rice midfielder Elizabeth Nesbit was named the 2010 Conference USA Spirit of Service Award winner for the sport of women's soccer. Nesbit, a senior from Waterford, Va., earned the prestigious honor from the league office for her superior charity and volunteer service efforts over every other women's soccer player in the conference. Known simply as "Z" by her teammates, Nesbit performed volunteer service including, but not limited to, working with a medical team in Malawi, Africa, prior to the start of the 2009 soccer season. She helped provide medical aid to children in rural and often isolated parts Malawi, and her humanitarian efforts made her an easy choice for the league's Spirit of Service Award last spring.
JUST FOR KICKS: Fans will once again have a chance to get some extra insight to the Owls' soccer team via RiceOwls.com. Over the course of the season the players will be featured one-by-one in a question & answer segment titled "Just For Kicks." Fans can check out the feature at the link at the top of this page.
SIMMONS SIDELINED: True freshman forward/defender Cortney Simmons has been sidelined for the season. Simmons is one of the gems of the Owls highly-touted recruiting class from the recent spring signing period.
OTHER C-USA ACTION: All the Conference USA teams are in action this weekend. The league's weekend slate is as follows:
Thursday (Sept. 2)
Colorado College at Wyoming, 5 pm
Friday (Sept. 3)
Radford at Marshall, 4:30 pm
East Carolina at Old Dominion, 6 pm
Rice at (18) California, 6 pm
Houston at TCU, 7 pm
(15) Memphis at (20) Oklahoma State, 7 pm
Saint Louis at SMU, 7 pm
Southern Miss at Samford, 7 pm
Western Carolina at UAB, 7 pm
UCF at USF, 7 pm
UTEP at Stephen F. Austin, 7 pm
Murray State at Tulsa, 7:35 pm
Sunday (Sept. 5)
Colorado College at Oklahoma, Noon
Southern Miss at Vanderbilt, Noon
Houston at Baylor, 1 pm
(15) Memphis at Arkansas-Little Rock, 1 pm
Missouri State at Tulsa, 1 pm
VCU at UCF, 1 pm
UTEP at Houston Baptist, 1 pm
Appalachian State at Marshall, 1:30 pm
Davidson at SMU, 2 pm
Rice vs. San Francisco, 2:30 pm
UAB at Samford, 6 pm