Sept. 9, 2010
THIS WEEK: The Rice soccer team, 2-3-0 on the young season, is back in action with a split home-and-away schedule this weekend (Sept. 10-12). The Owls host state foe UTSA on Friday at 7 pm at the Rice Soccer Stadium. The Blue & Gray then plays at the University of Oklahoma on Sunday at 1 pm to close-out the slate.
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 90-77-13. The two-time Western Athletic Conference coach of the year owns a career college coaching record of 112-93-15. 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: Owls Rally Past San Francisco For Overtime Victory
BERKELEY -- A Rice California connection of junior Annie Kadota and Kate Edwards, playing in their home state for the first time as members of the Owls' soccer team, combined for goals to lift the Blue & Gray to a dramatic 2-1 come-from-behind victory over San Francisco in overtime Sunday afternoon on the road in Berkeley, Calif.... Rice closed out the final round of action at the California Invitational Tournament with a win over a USF squad that entered the weekend with an undefeated record and a West Regional ranking from the National Collegiate Soccer Coaches Association. Kadota and Edwards, two of six California Owls in the starting lineup Sunday, provided the goals with no shortage of drama... San Francisco opened the scoring with a first half goal. In the 36th minute, Rice goalkeeper and Golden State native Meghan Erkel charged off her line to meet USF's Hanna Haanes attacking for the ball inside the 18. Haanes won the duel and converted on a shot to an open net for her fourth goal of the year... The Owls led in shots at the half, 6-4, and turned-up the offensive pressure in the second half with a 7-2 shots advantage. In the 60th minute Edwards blasted away on an attempt that came in high and deflected in for a score off the crossbar. The goal was the team-leading fourth of the season for the native of Westlake Village, Calif., and the 19th of her career to give her sole possession of fourth place on the Owls' all-time list. More importantly it tied the game and provided an instant emotional lift... "Kate came up with a great goal," said Rice head coach Chris Huston. "It tied the game, but mentally it was the signal that things can go our way if we keep playing hard and keep playing together. The girls did that and played well. Even on the goal we gave-up Meghan was being aggressive and confident that she had that play. That's the way I want to see us. When we were behind we never put our heads down, we stuck-in and just worked that much harder."... The score was deadlocked 1-1, but Rice looked as though it might win in regulation with a Jordan Holloway header after a corner kick in the closing seconds that was corralled for a USF save. The Owls out-shot the Dons in the overtime period 3-0 and the final attempt brought the contest to an end. In the 95th minute junior forward Hope Ward took a shot that looked like it had a chance to go in. The ball hit the crossbar and, unlike Edwards earlier attempt, bounded downward rather than rattle inside. Kadota, a southern California native from Rancho Santa Fe, opportunistically headed the ball to the back of the net from close range and collected the game-winning goal in her home state... ""When Hope took the shot I think everyone kind of froze because it looked like it was going in," Kadota said. "I thought her shot was going in. I was five yards away and there were a lot of players around, but it just came right to me. That was being in the right place at the right time, but it still felt awesome. It feels good because we've been working hard, but haven't had the results the last few games. We got a result today. I'm also happy because my parents were there and they don't get to see me play that much."... Kadota's game-winner was just her second career goal, and her first in two years after scoring in her Division I debut on the opening day of 2008. She led all players with four shots. Credit Ward with her team-leading third assist of the season. A host of Owls contributed to the win, including California natives Erkel with three saves, Nikki Storness (full 95 minutes), Julia Barrow (85 minutes) and Alexandra Trenary (69 minutes). Rice improved to 2-3-0 on the young season. The Dons dropped to 3-2-0.
THREE OWLS GARNER ALL-TOURNEY HONORS: Three Owls, Julia Barrow, Kate Edwards and Annie Kadota, were named to the California Invitational All-Tournament Team. All three of the Owls are California natives. Kadota and Edwards scored goals to help lead Rice to a 2-1 overtime victory against San Francisco on Sunday. Barrow played a total of 175 minutes in the midfield in the Owls' two weekend games.
STEADY "EDDIE'S" STARTING STREAK & CAREER GAMES PLAYED: Senior midfielder Kate Edwards has been in the starting lineup for all 64 games Rice has played dating back to her freshman season of 2007. Edwards is now ninth on Rice's all-time list for career starts, and needs one more start to tie the great Shelley Wong for eighth with 65 starts. 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 : UTSA (4-2-0) has been playing in high gear. Not only do the Roadrunners average 3.5 goals and 17.7 shots per game, ten different players on the team have already scored goals this season... Oklahoma is 2-1-1 heading into a Friday road match at Missouri State. The Sooners are the only team to defeat current Conference USA leader Tulsa this season, and OU also tied C-USA power Colorado College 1-1. Oklahoma's only loss is a 1-0 score at league rival Oklahoma State before a crowd of more than 1,700 fans.
THE SERIES: Rice leads the respective series with both of this week's opponents. The Owls are 2-0-0 against UTSA, including a 2-0 victory on the road in San Antonio last season. Rice claimed a dramatic 1-0 road victory at Oklahoma in 2008 in its only meeting with the Sooners.
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 (261), wins (28) and minutes played (5,276:02).
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).
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. 9)
Middle Tennessee State at UAB, 6 pm
Friday (Sept. 10)
Tulsa at Arkansas State, 4 pm
Colorado College at Utah State, 5 pm
Stephen F. Aus_n at Houston, 5 pm
N.C. State at East Carolina, 6 pm
Alabama at (20) Memphis, 7 pm
UTSA at Rice, 7 pm
(14) Oklahoma State at SMU, 7 pm
Harvard at UCF, 7 pm
Saturday (Sept. 11)
North Dakota at UTEP, 8 pm
Sunday (Sept. 12)
Colorado College at Utah, 1 pm
Texas Southern at Houston, 1 pm
(20) Memphis at Ole Miss, 1 pm
Rice at Oklahoma, 1 pm
Jackson State at Southern Miss, 1 pm
Tulsa at Central Arkansas, 1 pm
UCF at (10) Florida State, 1 pm
New Mexico at SMU, 2 pm
Marshall at Kentucky, 4 pm