First Place Owls Host Two C-USA Games This Weekend

Oct. 13, 2010

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  • Just For Kicks, 2010 Edition
  • Rice Soccer 360! (a 360-degree photo of Rice Soccer)

    THIS WEEK'S GAMES: The Rice soccer team, 8-5-1 overall and in first place in the Conference USA standings with a 5-0-1 league record, is back home for two critical C-USA games this weekend. The Owls host conference rivals Marshall and East Carolina on Oct. 15 & Oct. 17, respectively. Start time for Friday's match vs. the Thundering Herd is slated for 7 pm. Sunday's game with the ECU Pirates begins at 1 pm (all times Central).

    FIRST PLACE IN CONFERENCE USA: After three weekends of Conference USA play the Owls are alone at the top of the league standings with 5-0-1 C-USA ledger. Rice is off to its best conference start in school history, has already surpassed its conference win total from 2009 (4), and is just one victory away from matching its highest C-USA win total in a single-season (6 set in 2005 and again in 2008). The highest the Blue & Gray has ever finished in the C-USA standings is tied for third (2005). The Owls twice tied for second as members of the Western Athletic Conference from 2001 to 2004.

    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, and follow a text play-by-play of the action.

    CATCH THE HOME GAMES LIVE ON OWLVISION ALL-ACCESS: Both C-USA soccer games this weekend 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 Court Jackson (Hanszen '08) for the Rice call of home soccer games this season. More information for watching Rice sports is at the same All-Access Soccer Link (provided above).

    HOME SWEET HOME: The Owls are back home after playing a pair of C-USA games at Southern Miss and UCF last weekend. Playing at home has traditionally been good news. In the 88 games played on campus at the Soccer & Track Stadium, Rice owns an all-time record of 56-25-7 (.676)... A year ago the Blue & Gray was among the C-USA leaders in home attendance by averaging 454 fans per game. The 2010 team is well ahead of that pace by averaging a steady 638 fans per game... Rice is back on the road next week for C-USA showdowns at Memphis (Oct. 22) and UAB (Oct. 24).



    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. The group may have a young backline playing on defense, but the rookie foursome has done well into league play.

    EDWARDS RETURNS TO ACTION: The Owls received a huge lift for the remaining games of the season when senior midfielder Kate Edwards returned to action on Sunday after missing the previous seven games with an injury. Prior to a Sept. 10 injury 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-longest total in school history. The Westlake Village, Calif., native shares the current team lead in goals (3) and 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.

    NICKY ADAMS SERVING AS INTERIM HEAD COACH: Rice Director of Athletics Rick Greenspan announced on Sept. 15 that Nicky Adams would serve as the Owls' Interim Head Soccer Coach, and that she would remain in that role for the remainder of the season. Adams joined the soccer staff in January of 2003 and was promoted to associate head coach in 2006. She replaced former head coach Chris Huston, who started the Rice program in 2001... Adams, a former All-America soccer player and 2001 graduate of Texas A&M, made her interim head coaching debut vs. No. 9 ranked BYU on Sept. 18. The team is 5-1-1 since that game... She is assisted by coach John Adams (Cincinnati, 2003), who is in his first year with the team.

    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. Rice 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, the program won its debut match by defeating Army 3-2 at home.

    HIGH RPI: The NCAA has come out with its latest Women's Soccer RPI of the season and the Owls are 44th in the nation. Check out the NCAA's RPI link to see the full listing.

    REGIONAL RANKING: Rice soccer moved up a spot to 9th in the Central Region in the latest poll from National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). The regional ranking began on Oct. 4 and is the Owls' first since October of 2008. Check out the NSCAA web page and the organization's latest Central Regional Rankings at these links.
    NSCAA Home Page
    Central Regional Rankings (Oct. 11, 2010).

    BEST CONFERENCE STARTS: Rice is off to its best-ever start to a conference season, but a closer look at the previous best starts in school history may be in order.

    Best Rice Starts In Conference Games
    Year Six Games Of note/Finish
    2010 5-0-1 currently first in C-USA
    2005 4-1-1 won C-USA Tourney/NCAA bid
    2003 4-2-0 finished second in WAC
    2004 & 2007 3-2-1 14-win season in `04

    FITZSIMMONS NAMED C-USA CO-DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: IRVING, Tex. - IRVING, Tex. -- Rice senior goalkeeper Catherine Fitzsimmons has been named a Conference USA co-defensive player of the week for soccer the league office announced from its headquarters in Irving, Tex., on Monday (Oct. 11). Fitzsimmons shared the defender of the week honors with Memphis' Lizzy Simonin. SMU midfielder Kaitlyn Eidson was named the C-USA offensive player of the week... Fitzsimmons played all 200 minutes of Rice's two C-USA games over the weekend and her solid effort in-goal helped the Owls remain in sole possession of first place in the league standings. She followed-up a complete game shutout at Southern Miss with a career-tying nine saves on the road against No. 19 ranked UCF. For the weekend the Ann Arbor, Mich., native maintained an 0.45 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage. She finished with a total of 13 saves as the team improved to 8-5-1 overall. Rice soccer is off to its best conference start in school history at 5-0-1... The award marks the first time for Fitzsimmons to earn/share the league's weekly defensive honor. One week ago Rice junior forward Hope Ward was named the C-USA offensive player of the week (Oct. 4)... Lizzy Simonin played a vital role at centerback for Memphis in both of the Tigers' 2-0 shutout victories over conference opponents. Simonin helped the Memphis defense limit East Carolina to seven shots, with only three on goal. On Sunday, Simonin led a Memphis defensive effort that held Marshall to just six shots... Eidson scored three of the Mustangs' four goals en route to a 2-0-0 weekend mark against C-USA foes. She scored the lone goal in a 1-0 shutout win over UTEP when she headed in a goal in the ninth minute of play. Eidson then added two more goals Sunday in a 3-1 win over Colorado College.

    OTHER HONORS FROM AROUND THE WEB: Just down the cyber-neighborhood from the C-USA co-defender of the week award, Catherine Fitzsimmons was named to's weekly honors list.

    NICE SIX-GAME STREAK: The current six-game non-losing streak is Rice's longest in a single-season since the 2006 team went 8-0-1 to start the year. That season the Blue & Gray won its first three, tied Ivy League foe Penn on the road in Philadelphia, then proceeded to win each of its next five matches... The Owls also had both a 5-0-1, and a 6-0-1, non-losing streak in 2004 (which were both surpassed in 2006)... The longest win-streak in school history is a 7-0-0 run in the final weeks of the 2003 season.

    PREVIOUS OUTING: Owls Tie No. 19 UCF Sunday In Orlando
    ORLANDO, Fla. - After a combined total of 40 shots in 110 minutes from two overtime periods, the Rice and No. 19 UCF soccer teams finished in a 1-1 tie Sunday afternoon (Oct. 10) in Orlando, Fla. For Rice a tie against a nationally-ranked opponent on the road is good enough to help the Owls remain alone at the top of the C-USA standings while adding to its best-ever start to a conference season (5-0-1)... The teams battled to a scoreless first half, but UCF took the game's first lead early in the second stanza. In the 48th minute senior forward Kim Newsome fielded a centering pass from Nicolette Radovcic and scored on her first shot attempt of the game. The goal was Newsome's sixth of the season... Down but not out, the Owls would not go away so easy and put the equalizer on the board in the 66th minute. UCF deflected away Korey Taylor`s fifth shot of the day, but Kate Edwards (in her first game back from an injury) got the loose ball to fellow senior Elizabeth Nesbit on the left side. Nesbit opportunistically struck the ball to the back of the Knight net from a few yards out on the left side to tie the game, 1-1. The midfielder from Waterford, Va., had played her entire college career (45 games before Sunday) without a goal, but she came up big in one of the program's most important games in years... The teams continued to trade shots over the final 23-plus minutes of regulation, then again for two 10-minute overtime periods, but neither team would yield. UCF finished with a total of 22 shots while Rice countered with 18. Taylor and the Knight's Tishia Jewell shared the game-lead with five shot attempts. Veteran Owl goalkeeper Catherine Fitzsimmons tied a career-high with nine saves... Rice is now 8-5-1 overall and an unbeaten 5-0-1 in the league. UCF moved to 9-2-3 on the season and 4-0-2 in C-USA action... Over the weekend the Owls successfully passed the test of team's first two C-USA road games (including a 2-0 victory at Southern Miss on Oct. 8) to remain in first place in the conference standings. Rice tied a national Top 20 opponent on their home field, and came back from a late deficit to do so. Now mix-in that the Blue & Gray were able to get an all-conference caliber player back on the field who had been sidelined the last seven games (Edwards). Rice interim head coach Nicky Adams said, all things considered, the Owls are feeling like today's winner... "UCF is a great team that is deserving of a Top 20 ranking, and we were right there with them," Adams said. "I am really proud of our team for how hard they played the entire game, all the way through double-overtime. We created a lot of opportunities on offense and worked well together on defense... "Korey put a lot of pressure on them, she continues to play well," Adams added. "Cat (Fitzsimmons) made a lot of big saves, Amy Beger did a great job for us on the back line, and it is tremendous to get Kate back. She played well today and (her return) is going to be big. Z (Nesbit) started today because she deserved it, she has been playing well. Her goal was really special. Today is a good result against a very good team. There's a lot of games left though, and we have a lot of work left to do."
    UCF Box Score html

    THE McKINNEY TORNADO: Senior forward Korey Taylor had a great week helping ignite the Rice offense last week. The McKinney, Tex., standout recorded two assists and kept opposing defenses on their toes with a total of 11 shots as the Owls held first place in the C-USA standings... Taylor tallied assists on Jessica Howard's goal vs. Southern Miss (Friday) and on Elizabeth Nesbit's game-tying goal at No. 19 UCF on Sunday... For the weekend the Taylor led the team with 11 shots, including four on-goal for a .364 percentage... She finished the C-USA weekend playing 171 of the team's total minutes.

    ON THE THUNDERING HERD: Marshall (4-7-2, 2-4-0) is in the midst of a rugged stretch of four-straight road games. The Thundering Herd own C-USA wins over Tulsa and Southern Miss. The team dropped a narrow 2-1 decision at nationally-ranked UCF early in C-USA play and fell to UAB last weekend by a 1-0 score in overtime... The Herd's offensive attack features four players who share the team lead in goals. A total of nine different players have already scored for the sqaud this season.

    THE MARSHALL SERIES: Rice leads its series with Marshall 3-1-0, but the Thundering Herd have won the most recent meeting between the two almost a year ago. Marshall blanked the Owls 1-0 last season in West Virginia. Rice claimed home wins in the series in both 2005 and 2008.

    ON THE PIRATES: Talk about a tough stretch of road games, since Sept. 10 East Carolina has battled its way through eight-straight games away from its home field. This weekend in the city of Houston will extend the non-home streak to 10-straight. Road games have not slowed-down the Pirates. Behind the offensive play of junior forward Amanda Malkiewicz (5 goals, 5 assists), ECU peppers opponents with a .526 shots-on-goal percentage.

    THE EAST CAROLINA SERIES: On the strength of a 1-0 victory over Rice last year in Greenville, NC, East Carolina leads the series with the Owls 3-2-0. It is more accurate to say, however, that Rice has not defeated, nor scored on the Pirates since 2005! After two Owl wins in 2005, ECU has posted three-straight shutouts in 2007 (1-0), 2008 (2-0) and 2009 (1-0).

    WHEN FIRST GOALS ARE ALSO GAME-WINNERS: True freshman Hayley Williams scored her first career Rice goal on Oct. 1 vs. UTEP with a header after a corner kick. The goal proved to be even more dramatic because it also was officially the game-winning goal. Williams became only the 13th player in school history to record a game-winning goal with her first career goal. Fellow freshman Jessica Howard accomplished the same feat earlier this year vs. Stephen F. Austin. Howard unchained a textbook bicycle kick in front of the visitor's net to make her the 12th player to knock 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).

    THIS `N THAT: Rice is averaging 18.7 shots per C-USA game... A year ago the Rice defense was last in the conference in shots allowed per game (15.5), but so far the Owls' starting backline (which features four players who had never played together until this year, including two true freshmen), has allowed an improved 12.6 shots per game... The Owl forward tandem of senior Korey Taylor and junior Hope Ward have both exceeded their previous highs for shots in a single season. Ward leads the team with 37 shots while Taylor is second with 34... Senior midfielder Elizabeth Nesbit scored the first goal of her collegiate career in her first start of the season, and only her fifth career start in the last four years, to tie Sunday's game vs. No. 19 ranked UCF. It was Nesbit's first goal in her 45 Division I games-played.

    DID YOU KNOW? More than 1,000 fans came out to Rice's home game against No. 9 BYU on Sept. 18. The 1,047 vocal fans gave the Owls their largest home-attended game since 2003... Rice has averaged 520 fans for each of its last four home games.

    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.

    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 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.

    M*A*S*H UNIT: The Owls had missed the play of Kate Edwards for seven games but that's not all the Owls have had to overcome. Senior goalkeeper Meghan Erkel and junior midfielder Nikki Storness have been sidelined with injuries. 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. Rice has also played without injured players Megan Aultman, Kasey McKenny and Marie Hunnell.

    OTHER C-USA ACTION: All the Conference USA teams are going head-to-head again this weekend. The league's weekend slate is as follows:

    Friday (Oct. 15)
    UCF at Colorado College, 5 pm
    Memphis at Tulsa, 5 pm
    East Carolina at Houston, 7 pm
    Marshall at Rice, 7 pm
    UAB at SMU, 7 pm
    Southern Miss at UTEP, 7 pm

    Sunday (Oct. 17)
    UCF at UTEP, Noon
    Southern Miss at Colorado College, 1 pm
    East Carolina at Rice, 1 pm
    Marshall at Houston, 1 pm
    UAB at Tulsa, 1 pm
    Memphis at SMU, 2 pm

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