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The Rice Soccer team is back on the road for a pair of Conference USA games this weekend. The Owls (6-5-1 overall, 2-2-0 in C-USA) play at league foes Old Dominion and Charlotte on Oct. 9 and Oct. 11, respectively. Game times are set for 6 pm on Friday and noon on Sunday. All times listed are Central Time.
This Week's Soccer Links
Friday, Oct. 9: Rice at Old Dominion, 6 pm
Sunday, Oct. 11: Rice at Charlotte, Noon
In the below video, Rice head soccer coach Nicky Adams previews the upcoming matches, and updates the Owls' progress heading back out on the road.
QUICK ON THE OWLS (6-5-1, 2-2-0): The 2015 Rice soccer team returns seven of 11 starters from last season's squad that posted a school record-tying 14 wins, won the C-USA Tournament Championship and advanced to national postseason play in the NCAA Tournament. The Blue & Gray return a total of 20 letterwinners from a year ago and welcome in a talented new recruiting class.
COACH'S CORNER: Rice soccer is under the direction of head coach Nicky Adams, the 2015 Conference USA Coach of the Year who is now in her fifth full season at the helm of the program. Adams enters the weekend with a career record of 53-35-8. A former pro player and All-America honoree while playing at Texas A&M, Adams was just recently inducted into her alma mater's Athletics Hall of Fame. Her coaching staff includes veteran assistant Allison Martino (now in her fourth year at Rice), and the rookie duo of Courtney Sirmans and Cami Koski, who are both in their first year with the program.
PREVIOUS OUTING: HOUSTON -- The Rice soccer team was able to force overtime with a dramatic goal in the final seconds of regulation, but FAU slipped away with a 3-2 Conference USA win in double-overtime Sunday afternoon in Houston... Rice struck first for a goal in the game's 30th minute after freshman Marissa Topolski played a sharp cross from the left side to Danielle Spriggs in the FAU keeper's box. Spriggs punched a shot to the back of the net for a 1-0 lead on her third goal of the season... FAU bounced back to take the lead before the intermission. The duo of Sammy Rowland and Alex Mastrobuono came off the bench to score in the 34th and 39th minute of the game, respectively, with their first goals of the year... Rice turned up the offensive pressure with a 14-5 advantage in shots for the second half, but could not find the equalizer... until the very end of regulation. With 57 seconds ticking on the clock, the game's 90th minute, Dominque Mazero's shot was blocked over the endline. Holly Hargreaves Rice hustled down the right wing, centered to Lauren Hughes, who took a shot as the stadium announcer was counting down the final ten seconds of regulation... FAU successfully blocked Hughes' shot, but the ball bounded away. Though normally a defender, senior Jasmine Isokpunwu, alertly played forward in the situation and opportunistically chipped the deflection into the back of the FAU net with just two seconds left on the game clock. Isokpunwu's second goal of the season made the score 2-2 and sent the match into overtime... The contest was deadlocked after the first OT. In the game's 102nd minute FAU improvised counter attack after a steal, where Geovana Alves notched the game-winning goal with a slicing shot from the left wing to the ride-side netting of the Rice goal. The score was Alves' team-leading sixth goal of the season... Rice finished with a 22-16 advantage in shots and 7-3 margin in corner kicks. FAU is now 7-7-0 on the season and 1-3-0 in conference.
ON OLD DOMINION: Old Dominion enters Friday's match as just one of two unbeaten & untied teams in the C-USA standings with a perfect 2-0-0 league record. Playing the ODU on the road is actually going to be even tougher than when the league schedule was originally announced. The Monarchs are on fresh legs after an unexpected `open' date on the schedule last week. Storms and safety concerns relating hurricane Joaquin forced a rescheduling of ODU's C-USA matches last weekend. The Monarchs will be rested and ready to roll after not having played since Sept. 27.
THE RICE-ODU SERIES: Rice leads the series vs. ODU 2-0-0. In a quirk of the C-USA schedule, all of the previous meetings between the Owls and Monarchs have been played in Houston. This is the first time for Rice to play in the state of Virginia.
ON CHARLOTTE: Charlotte is looking forward to playing its home field for the first time in two weeks. The 49ers are 5-7 overall and 1-2 in C-USA, but a closer look at the schedule is in order. One loss was to No. 16 ranked South Carolina, another was to a USF squad that is receiving votes in the national poll, and a third was in double-overtime. Charlotte hosts North Texas on Friday night before the Owls visit on Sunday.
THE RICE-CHARLOTTE SERIES: Rice and Charlotte are meeting for the first time. The Owls are 3-3-0 all-time when playing in the state of North Carolina, including a sensational 3-0 run to the 2015 C-USA Tournament Championship held at Charlotte's Soccer Complex.
FOR THE RECORD: Senior Lauren Hughes set the new school records for career goals and points last year and she's been able to add to those marks this season - upping her career totals to 38 goals and 103 points. The senior from Ottawa, Ontario, has also now added another school record for her resume. Hughes became the Rice career leader with 27 assists. In the Oct. 2 victory over Florida International she tied the school record with three in a single game, then added another on Sunday against FAU.
GO FISH!: Junior defender Jenny Fichera has started every game of her collegiate career, a streak of 51-straight matches dating back to 2013. Not only does Fichera's steady defensive work keep her in the starting lineup, she rarely comes off the field. So far the Ann Arbor, Mich., native has played 1,090 of 1,127:52 minutes this season, or 96.6 percent of the team's total playing time.