IRVING, Tex. - The Rice Owl duo of sophomore Jenny Fichera and Nia Stallings have been named the Conference USA Soccer Defensive Player of the Week and Co-Offensive Player of the Week, respectively, the league office announced from its headquarters in Irving, Tex., on Monday (Sept. 8). North Texas junior Molly Grisham joined Stallings as the C-USA Co-Offensive Player of the Week.
Fichera helped anchor a young Rice backline that limited SEC foe Vanderbilt to just four shots on goal in the 2-1 overtime victory on Friday (Sept. 5). With the Owls trailing in the final minute of regulation, Fichera alertly played the direction of a deflection and finished past the keeper to send the match into overtime with her first collegiate goal. This is the first C-USA Defensive Player of the Week accolade of 2014 for the sophomore from Ann Arbor, Mich. A year ago Fichera was named to the league's All-Freshman Team.
Soon after Fichera tied the Vandy match, Stallings scored the golden-goal just a minute into overtime to secure the 2-1 victory over the Commodores. In only 23 minutes of playing time the San Antonio, Texas, native shared the team-lead with three shots. Her strike was the first goal of her career. This is Stallings' first C-USA Offensive Player of the Week award.
Like Stallings, Grisham also came in as a substitute to play a role. The junior form Longview scored the match-winner in a 1-0 victory over Vanderbilt on Sept. 7.
The Rice soccer team is now 3-1-1 on the season. The Owls return to the road for its next game at SEC power Arkansas on Sept. 12.