Sept. 17, 2010
THIS WEEK'S GAME: The Rice soccer team, 3-4-0 on the young season, is back in action Saturday night (Sept. 18) with one of its biggest matches of the year. The Owls host No. 9 ranked BYU at 7 pm at the Rice Soccer Stadium. Rice will be under the direction of Nicky Adams in her debut as the Owls' interim head coach.
Chris Huston LEAVES RICE SOCCER PROGRAM: Chris Huston, who has led the Rice women's soccer program from its beginning in 2001, will no longer serve as the head coach of the Owls, Rice Director of Athletics Rick Greenspan announced on Sept. 15 (Wed.). Greenspan also announced that Associate head coach Nicky Adams will serve as the interim head coach, effective immediately... Huston compiled 91-78-13 record in her tenure at Rice, highlighted by C-USA title in 2005 and a pair of appearances in the NCAA Tournament. She was introduced as the Owls' first soccer coach on May 26, 2000 and saw the team debut in the fall of 2001 by compiling a 7-9 record, earning the second seed in the WAC Tournament. For her effort, she was named the WAC coach of the year, one of two such awards she earned during her time at Rice... Adams joined the Owls program in January of 2003 and was promoted to Associate head coach in 2006... Huston's soccer career began at Klein Oak High School in north Houston, where she earned all-America honors for the Panthers. She played collegiately at the University of North Carolina, where she was a member of NCAA Championship teams 1989 and 1990... Injuries ended Huston's playing career but she graduated from UNC in 1992 with a degree in psychology and returned to the state of Texas to begin her coaching career... She spent four years coaching successful club teams throughout Texas and in 1998 was selected to become the first head coach of the University of Houston's women's soccer program... Greenspan indicated no final decision will be made on the head coaching position until the end of the current season.
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.
FIVE-GAME HOMESTAND: The BYU match kicks-off a lengthy five-game homestand for Rice. The Owls are playing on-campus through October 3. Each of the team's first four Conference USA games are scheduled for the Rice Soccer Stadium as part of the current homestand.
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 the forward tandem of senior Korey Taylor and junior Hope Ward. Rice boasts two experienced goalkeepers with the senior duo of Meghan Erkel and Catherine Fitzsimmons. The Blue & Gray is currently without senior midfielder Kate Edwards due to an injury. Edwards leads the team in goals (3) and is second in shots (14).
RICE SOCCER TURNS TEN: 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.
DID YOU KNOW? This is the Owls' second game against a nationally-ranked opponent this season. Rice played on the road at No. 14 California on Sept. 3.
PREVIOUS OUTING: Owls Fall In Close Game At Oklahoma, 1-0
NORMAN, Okla. - The Rice soccer team saw its two-game win-streak come to an end with a 1-0 loss to Big 12 foe Oklahoma Sunday afternoon on the road in Norman, Okla.... The two teams battled for a scoreless first half, but Sooner forward Whitney Palmer scored her third goal of the season in the game's 62nd minute to provide the narrow margin. Rice fell to 3-4-0 on the season while the Sooners improved to 3-2-1... Oklahoma finished the game with a 19-13 lead in shots, but Rice out-shot the Sooners in the second half 11-10 and the corner kicks were an even 2-2. Senior keeper Catherine Fitzsimmons responded to her second-straight start in goal with a career-high nine saves, the most by an Owl this season. Oklahoma was on the attack early and Fitzsimmons nearly tied her previous career-high of five saves by the intermission. The Ann Arbor, Mich., native worked the entire 90 minutes for the fourth time in her career... For the first time in more than three years the Owls were without the services of standout midfielder Kate Edwards, who had to be assisted off the field early in Friday night's 2-1 victory over UTSA. The Owls' senior from Westlake Village, Calif., went down in the seventh minute Friday after a collision near the sideline at midfield. Prior to Sunday Edwards had started every game in her Rice career, a total of 65-straight dating back to her freshman season of 2007 for the eighth-highest total in school history. Edwards is the team's active leader in career goals with 19 (4th all-time), third in career shots (158), and tied for sixth with five in game-winning goals... With the starting lineup slightly altered Rice was led offensively by redshirt sophomore Amy Beger and freshman Jessica Howard, who shared the team lead with three shots each. Only two days before the duo was part of an Owl lineup that peppered UTSA with 33 shots, the seventh-highest single game total in history.
THE OPPOSITION : BYU (6-0-1) has been playing in high gear. Not only do the Cougars average 2.4 goals and 14.1 shots per game, seven different players on the team have already scored goals in seven games this season... BYU has claimed two wins over Top 25 teams (Northwestern & Washington State) and was the overwhelming favorite to win the Mountain West Conference championship in a poll of the league's head coaches.
THE SERIES: Both Rice and BYU were once members of the same Western Athletic Conference in the 1990s, but Saturday's clash marks the first meeting between the two schools in soccer. BYU had already joined the MWC when Rice began soccer for the first time in 2001.
THREE OWLS GARNER CAL ALL-TOURNEY HONORS: Three Owls, Julia Barrow, Kate Edwards and Annie Kadota, were named to the California Invitational All-Tournament Team on Sept. 3-5. 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.
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:
Friday (Sept. 17)
TCU at (18) Memphis, 7 pm
SMU at North Texas, 7 pm
Southern Miss at Ole Miss, 7 pm
Lamar at UTEP, 8 pm
UCF at Arizona, 8:30pm
Saturday (Sept. 18)
No. 9 BYU at Rice 7 pm
Sunday (Sept. 19)
UCF vs. (19) Arizona State, 11:30 am
East Carolina at William & Mary, 1 pm
Northwestern State at Southern Miss, 1 pm
(13) Oklahoma St. at Colorado College, 2 pm
Saint Mary's (CA) at SMU, 2 pm
Alabama A&M at UTEP, 2 pm
Houston at UTSA, 7 pm
LEAGUE PLAY NEXT WEEK: It's the last weekend for non-conference games as C-USA league play begins next week. Rice hosts longtime rivals Tulsa and SMU on Sept. 24-26 as part of the current five-game homestand.