Head Coach Nicky Adams previews the Owls' match vs. LA Tech in the above video.
By: John Sullivan, Rice Athletics (firstname.lastname@example.org)
THIS WEEK: The Rice soccer team returns to action with a Conference USA league match on Thursday (Sept. 21). Rice (4-2-1 overall, 1-0-0) hosts C-USA co-leader Louisiana Tech (8-1-2, 1-0-0) at 7 pm Holloway Field. The Thursday contest is Rice’s lone match of the weekend. The Blue & Gray return to action on Sept. 28 at Western Kentucky.
QUICK ON THE OWLS (4-2-1, 1-0-0): 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 C-USA regular season standings. The Owls return a total of 18 letterwinners from a year ago and welcome in a talented new recruiting class. The team’s two losses this year were both on the road to nationally-ranked Texas and Memphis.
HIGH R.P.I.: If you have disdain for the politics of the various national and regional polls, and prefer the cold, hard, math of the NCAA’s rating power index, then note that Rice’s Sept. 17 RPI was listed as No. 28 in the nation. The Owls also ranked No. 6 in the NCAA in scoring offense with 3.0 goals per game. Rice is No. 13 in Shots-on-Goal with 8.89 s.o.g. per game. View the NCAA’s latest RPI here.
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 owns a career record of 72-44-21. 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.
C-USA HONORS CHAIKEN: IRVING, Texas – Rice senior Samantha Chaiken has been named the Conference USA Soccer Offensive Player of the Week, the league office announced from its headquarters on Monday (Sept. 18)… In Rice’s only game last week, Chaiken scored two goals and had an assist in the 6-2 C-USA victory over league foe FAU (Sept. 15). Not only did Chaiken control the tempo and possession in the midfield, she led all players in the match with seven shots - including five that were on goal to tie for the team’s 2017 season-high. Her five points in the match is the second-most by a Rice Owl this season. Chaiken maintained a .714 shots-on-goal percentage while playing all 90 minutes of the match… In seven games this year Chaiken leads Rice Soccer in shots (24), shots-on-goal (8) and shots-on-goal (10). In her career she has started all 58 Rice games in which she has played. This is the first time in her career for Chaiken to be named the league’s Offensive Player of the Week.
PREVIOUS MATCH: (Sept. 15) HOUSTON – The Rice soccer team exploded for four second half goals to coast past visiting FAU 6-2 in the Conference USA opener for both teams on Sept. 15 at Holloway Field in Houston. Senior Samantha Chaiken scored two goals and had an assist while true freshman Rebecca Keane also tallied a pair of goals. Liane Mananquil and Erin Mikeska both registered scores as the Blue & Gray tied its fourth-biggest goal total in school history and its highest output since 2014. Rice outshot FAU 24-7 on the night and held a 13-3 advantage in corner kicks. With the win Rice improved to 4-2-1 on the season and 1-0-0 in C-USA league play. FAU dropped to 4-4-1 overall and 0-1-0 in conference.
THE RICE-LA TECH SERIES: Rice leads the series with Louisiana Tech, 4-0-0. Thursday's match is the first time for the teams to meet in Houston in three years, when the Owls claimed a 6-0 victory at Holloway Field (the fourth-highest scoring output in school history). Rice has won twice in Ruston, including the inaugural meeting in 2013 by a score of 3-0 and last season by a 4-0 margin. The Blue & Gray battled for a 1-0 victory over Tech in the semifinal round of the 2014 C-USA Tournament. After that narrow win over the Bulldogs in Charlotte, N.C., Rice went on to claim the league’s postseason crown.