Soccer Team Opens C-USA Action This Weekend

Sept. 22, 2011

  • Rice Ticket Office Page
  • Catch the home games on OwlVision All-Access (subscription service; available at game time)
  • Live Stats vs. UAB (available at game time)
  • Live Stats vs. Memphis (available at game time)
  • Just For Kicks, 2011 Edition
  • Rice Soccer 360! (a 360-degree photo of Rice Soccer)

    THIS WEEK: The Rice soccer team, 5-2-1 on the season and ranked in the Central Region, opens Conference USA league play this weekend to close out the current homestand. The Owls face C-USA foes UAB and No. 9 Memphis at the Rice Soccer Stadium's Holloway Field on Sept. 23 & 25, respectively. Friday's start time with the UAB Blazers (3-5-0) is 7 pm. Sunday's first kick with the undefeated Memphis Tigers (8-0-0) is at 1 pm.

    CATCH THE GAME LIVE ON OWLVISION ALL-ACCESS: All Rice soccer home games are scheduled for a live web broadcast on OwlVision All-Access. OwlVision is a subscription-based service which provides a live video and audio feed on the Internet. Join broadcaster Charlie Adams for the Rice call of the home soccer action. More information for watching Rice sports is at the same All-Access Soccer Link (provided above).

    QUICK ON THE OWLS: The 2011 Rice soccer team features 16 letterwinners, including seven regular starters, from last season's team that went 8-8-4 and reached the Conference USA Tournament. A total of eight newcomers are on the squad, all of which are freshmen with elite club and high school experience. The Blue & Gray has four veteran seniors, led by Hope Ward in the midfield. Junior defender Amy Beger is a stalwart on the Owls' backline who earned all-region and conference honors last season.

     

     

    HEAD COACH NICKY ADAMS: Rice Director of Athletics Rick Greenspan promoted Nicky Adams to the Owls' head soccer coach on Nov. 15, 2010. Adams joined the Rice soccer staff in January of 2003 and was named associate head coach in 2006. She replaced former head coach Chris Huston (who started the Rice program in 2001) effective for the remainder of the 2010 schedule beginning with a home game against No. 9 BYU on Sept. 18. Adams, a former All-America soccer player and 2001 graduate of Texas A&M, has led the Owls to a 10-6-5 record since Sept. 18, 2010... She is assisted by coach John Adams (Cincinnati, 2003), who is in his second year with the team, Allison Martino (Texas A&M, 2008) who is in her first year at Rice, and Owl great Kate Edwards as the new student coach.

    RANKED IN THE REGION: Rice is ranked eighth in the Central Region by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). After four-straight wins and the team's best start to a season since 2006, Rice was ranked No. 8 in the NSCAA's Central Region on Sept. 5, 2011. The Blue & Gray has held that spot in the region on the strength of tying BYU (the No. 20 ranked team in the country) on the road in Provo, Utah, and defeating regionally-ranked Western Kentucky at home last weekend. The regional ranking is the Owls' first while under the direction of head coach Nicky Adams. View the latest NSCAA Central Region poll here.

    PREVIOUS OUTING: Owls Defeat WKU In Double-OT;
    HOUSTON - Rice senior midfielder
    Nikki Storness scored the game-winning goal in double-overtime to lift the Rice soccer team to a come-from-behind 3-2 non-conference victory over visiting Western Kentucky Saturday night at the Owls' soccer stadium in Houston... After Rice opened the scoring with a Jessica Howard goal in the 19th minute, Western Kentucky tied the contest with a goal by Mallory Outerbridge in the 32nd. Outerbridge then helped WKU take the lead in the second half when her corner kick found teammate Torrie Lange in the 56th minute. Lange scored from close range to put the Hilltoppers in front 2-1. The deficit had the full attention of Rice head coach Nicky Adams... "I thought we started the game really on fire, creating five shots in the first five minutes and Jessica getting us on the board fairly early," said coach Adams. "We got a little complacent after that goal, and had a let-down in the second half to fall behind... "We told the team, 'we're creating opportunities and we have to stay positive,'"the head coach added. "We had some changes in some positions tonight and it went well. We were able to attack in numbers."... The lead did not last very long. In the 59th minute Jessica Howard stole a WKU deflection and needed only a touch before hammering a shot from the top of the 18. The ball hit the bottom of the crossbar, and bounced in behind the keeper for a new 2-2 game. Howard's first two-goal game of her career was her team-leading fifth of the season and the eighth goal of her young career... "I was really comfortable with some of the changes we made tonight, and a lot of us all got some (offensive) chances," Howard explained after finishing the game with two goals on just five shots. "We have a lot versatility and we were able to get a lot of different players on without any drop-off. Two goals felt great, but that wasn't going to mean anything if we don't get a win."... Rice continued to apply the offensive pressure for the remainder of the half, out-shooting the Hilltoppers by a total of 23-13 at the end of regulation. The teams remained tied 2-2 after 90 minutes, and were still deadlocked after a 10-minute overtime. In the 102nd minute, Rice junior defender Amy Beger made a steal in WKU's half and brought the ball down the right wing. She served a long cross past the left post, where Storness was on the end line. From the end-line the veteran from California headed a shot at the sharpest angles, but the ball found the back of the Hilltopper net for the game-winning goal. The golden-goal was Storness' first of the season and her first in more than two full years... "Amy was out there but I was thinking, she can score from there, because we see her do it all the time," Storness said. "I saw her hit it, and it came over the keeper's gloves and just dropped... in slow motion. I headed it, but I slipped backward, going the other direction. I didn't know it went in, but everyone was around going crazy. It was exciting."... The golden goal completed the come-back as the Owls improved to 5-2-1 on the season. The Blue & Gray also remained undefeated at home with a perfect 4-0-0 ledger. Western Kentucky, who entered the match regionally-ranked in the NCSCAA South, fell to 5-3-0... "We were down, but kept fighting," coach Adams explained. "First, `Hojo' came up big to tie it up. It's hard-enough to score one goal in a game, and getting two tonight show's how far she's come in just two years. That was huge for Nikki to then get the game-winner tonight in double-overtime. I've been proud of her as one of our senior leaders off the field, and tonight she stepped-up with a finishing play on the field to get her teammates a win. I'm happy for Nikki and the girls for the way it finished-out tonight."

    100+ RICE WINS: On Sept. 4 of this season the Rice soccer program recorded its 100th career victory with a 4-1 win over longtime rival Sam Houston State. Rice University began varsity soccer for the first time in 2001 and quickly reached the 100-win plateau in the 2011 season. The Owls are now at 101 victories all-time.

    SIZZLING CZYZ: True freshman goalkeeper Amy Czyz has been sound-and-solid in eight starts this season. So far the Rice rookie keeper has maintained a .762 save percentage and a 0.61 goals-against average. Czyz' goals-against average is ranked 26th among the current NCAA leaders. The California native is one of only five freshmen in the nation's Top 26 for goals-against average.

    PLAYING SOME `D': Credit Owl defenders for helping out their freshman goalkeeper. The foursome of all-conference honoree Amy Beger, former C-USA all-freshman honoree Hayley Williams, junior Lauren LaGro and sophomore Rachel Petmecky have combined to hold opponents to just 9.1 shots per game. That's not a lot of chances over a 90-minute contest. Yes, it is still fairly early in the 2011 season, but for now that mark would be among the best in school history for keeping foes from taking shots. The school record for fewest shots allowed average is 9.4 set back in 2003. Stellar defense helped that Owl team win seven games in a row and reach the Championship Final of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament.

    MORE ON SHOTS: Rice has done so well in limiting shots that there has only been one time this year the Owls were out-shot in a game by their opponent. That one time was when nationally-ranked BYU launched a shot attempt in the closing seconds of double-overtime to finish the contest with an 11-10 advantage over the Owls. When Rice lost at Utah State by a score of 1-0 two days before (Sept. 8), the goal was on the Aggies' only shot on-goal the entire game. This season the Owls have out-shot their opponent by a ratio 2.1-to-1. The team's advantage in corner kicks meanwhile has been a steady 1.6-to-1.

    NEWS & NOTES:: Rice is off to its best start to a season since 2007 when that team also began the year with a 5-2-1 ledger... The Owls are undefeated at home (4-0-0). The last time the Blue & Gray went to 5-0-0 at home was also in 2007 when the squad finished with an 8-1-1 home ledger... On the offensive side Rice has been distributing the attack equally across the roster. In eight games, seven different Owls have scored goals, while eight different players have all registered assists... Sophomore Jessica Howard notched the first multi-goal game of her career last Saturday against Western Kentucky. The second goal tied the game 2-2 in the second half... Senior midfielder Hope Ward has moved into a tie for second place on Rice's all-time list for career assists with 18. Ward now needs six more assists to tie the school record set during the 2007 season... The 0-0 tie at BYU marked the second-straight year for the Owls to register a tie to a Top 20 team on the road under watch of head coach Nicky Adams. In 2010 Rice tied No. 19 UCF 1-1 in a league game in Orlando, Fla.

    SIGN-UP FOR THURSDAY'S FREE SOCCER CLINIC: The Rice soccer coaches and players are hosting a free YOUTH soccer clinic on Thursday, Sept. 22, from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm at the Rice Soccer Stadium. The clinic is open to age groups 12 and younger and promises to put the FUN in soccer fundamentals... Participants should plan on bringing their own soccer ball and water to the clinic. There will be an autograph session with the Owl players and free posters provided immediately following the clinic... For more details please contact Coach Martino at 713-348-6955, or by email to am57@rice.edu.

    VS. THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS: UAB is 3-5-0, but a closer look at the Blazers' schedule is in order. Four of the team's five losses have been to powerhouse programs Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Florida State and Alabama. Only a week ago UAB coasted past SEC power Mississippi by a score of 4-2. Rice has not beaten UAB since a 1-0 victory at the C-USA Tournament in El Paso in 2007... After a red-hot 8-0-0 start Memphis is the No. 9 ranked team in the country. A year ago the Tigers won the C-USA Tournament and advanced to the NCAA Championships. The Owls battled that 2010 Memphis team on the road in Tennessee, but fel by a core of 1-0. In 2009 the Owls upset the Tigers 2-1 in a televised game from Rice.

    BIG HOME CROWDS: The 1,481 fans that came to see the Rice-Houston game last season was the Owls' third-largest home soccer crowd in the program's history. Here's a closer look at Rice's big home crowds.

    Rice's Largest Home Crowds
    Year	Attn.	Opponent
    2001	1,752	Army
    2001	1,487	Texas State
    2010	1,481	Houston
    2001	1,360	Houston
    2005	1,276	Auburn
    2005	1,273	UTEP
    2005	1,087	Houston
    2010	1,047	BYU
    

    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.

    OTHER C-USA ACTION: Conference USA's high-flying brand of soccer is in full-swing with league games this week. The C-USA weekend slate is as follows:
    Friday, Sept. 23
    East Carolina at Colorado College, 5 pm
    (9) Memphis at Houston, 7 pm
    (19) UCF at SMU, 7 pm
    Southern Miss at Tulsa, 7 pm
    UAB at Rice, 7 pm
    Marshall at UTEP, 8 pm

    Sunday, Sept. 25
    Marshall at Colorado College, 1 pm
    East Carolina at UTEP, 1 pm
    UAB at Houston, 1 pm
    (9) Memphis at Rice, 1 pm
    (19) UCF at Tulsa, 1:05 pm
    Southern Miss at SMU, 2 p

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