Soccer Hosts Middle Tennessee Friday Night

Oct. 11, 2017

No . 24 Rice Soccer hosts Middle Tennessee: Oct. 13 (Fri.), 7 pm at Holloway Field.
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By: John Sullivan, Rice Athletics (

THIS WEEK: Where has the time gone? The No. 24 ranked/Conference USA leading Rice soccer team hosts its final home game of the regular season on Friday (Oct. 13). Rice, 9-2-1 overall and in sole possession of first place in the C-USA standings with a perfect 6-0-0 record, welcomes C-USA rival Middle Tennessee (6-6-0, 3-2-0) to Holloway Field. Start time for the league clash is set for 7:05 pm.

NATIONAL RANKING: Rice is ranked as the No. 24 team in the nation according to the latest United Soccer Coaches poll. The Owls' 86 points is the 24th-most of any team in the country after eight weeks of the college season. View the full United Coaches national poll here.

HISTORY LESSON: Rice has been nationally ranked before. With an early non-conference win over Texas in the 2006 season, the Owls jumped out to an 8-0-1 start to climb to No. 9 in the country according to the Internet publication



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 Oct. 9 RPI was listed as No. 44 in the nation. View the NCAA's latest RPI here. The Owls are also ranked No. 9 in the NCAA in scoring offense with 2.58 goals per game. Rice is No. 15 in Shots-on-Goal with 8.42 s.o.g. per game.

QUICK ON THE OWLS: 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 Texas and Memphis, a pair of teams that were nationally-ranked when the Owls faced them. Rice's current 6-0-0 C-USA ledger is the program's best start to a conference season. The Blue & Gray have in fact now won 13-consecutive C-USA regular season games dating back to 2016.

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 77-44-21. 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 WEEKLY HONORS: IRVING, Texas -- Rice's Maya Hoyer and Louise Stephens have been named the Conference USA Soccer Goalkeeper and Defender of the Week, respectively, the league office announced from its headquarters in Irving, Texas, on Monday (Oct. 9)... The sophomore duo worked together to keep the Owls in sole possession of first place in the C-USA standings. Both played the full 180 minutes for the two games where Rice posted a pair of complete game shutouts at home. Stephens, a Houston native and prep standout at Kinkaid, helped the Owl defenders hold UTSA and UTEP to a combined total of just 15 shots. Thanks to Rice's solid defensive work just four of the shots from both games were on-goal... When the four shots made it on the Rice goal Hoyer saved each one. The Los Gatos, Calif., native extended her current streak of consecutive shutout minutes to 470:58 dating back to Sept. 15. This season Hoyer has made 43 saves, owns an 0.82 goals-against average and an .811 save-percentage. She has played every minute in goal for C-USA leading Owls this season. Stephens meanwhile is second on the squad with 1,093 minutes played, or 99.4 percent of the team's total time.

PREVIOUS MATCH: (Oct. 8) HOUSTON -- Midfielder Lianne Mananquil scored a goal and had an assist to help lead the Rice soccer team to a 2-0 Conference USA shutout victory over visiting UTEP Sunday afternoon at Holloway Field in Houston... Rice improved to 9-2-1 on the season and stayed unbeaten and untied in C-USA play with a 6-0-0 league record... Rice also continues to hold onto sole possession of first place in the conference standings with 18 points. The C-USA standings are determined by getting three points for a win and one point for a tie. There are now just four league games remaining in the 10-game C-USA regular season schedule... The match was a 0-0 stalemate in the first half, but Rice quickly seized the advantage in the second period. In the 54th minute, Nia Stallings crossed a pass into traffic from the right sideline. Annie Walker got a foot on the ball from 10 yards out, but was immediately smothered by a hoard of Miner defenders. Mananquil alertly played the free carom and lined a shot to the back of the UTEP f0r her third goal of the season... The Blue & Gray didn't stop there, however, and was again quickly on the offensive. In the 54th minute, Mananquil was sprinting with the ball across midfield and threaded a pass to Ashley Burgess outside the 18. The true freshman settled the ball with a touch before launching a rocket shot that beat the opposing keeper. Burgess' third goal of the season gave the Owls the 2-0 advantage... With better play in the second half Rice finished the day with a 14-7 advantage in shots and holding a 7-3 margin in corner kicks. Owl sophomore goalkeeper Maya Hoyer recorded a pair of saves on the way to her fifth complete game shutout. UTEP is now 6-9-0 on the season and 2-4-0 in conference.

THE RICE-MIDDLE TENNESSEE SERIES: The Owls have faced Middle Tennessee three times and the series is deadlocked at 1-1-1. A year ago Rice defeated the Blue Raiders in Murfreesboro, Tenn., 2-1. The teams met for the first time in 2015 and ended up playing twice that year. The squads tied 0-0 in Houston before the Blue Raiders claimed a 1-0 win in the opening round of the conference tournament a few weeks later.



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