Head Coach Nicky Adams previews the Owls' upcoming two matches in the above video.
By: John Sullivan, Rice Athletics (firstname.lastname@example.org)
THIS WEEK: The No. 23 ranked/Conference USA leading Rice soccer team is back out on the road for a pair of critical league matches on Oct. 19 & 22. Rice, 10-2-1 overall and in sole possession of first place in the C-USA standings with a perfect 7-0-0 record, plays at Old Dominion (7-3-4, 4-1-2) on Thursday at 6 pm (Central Time). The Owls then play at defending C-USA Tournament champion Charlotte on Sunday. That match is scheduled for 12 Noon (Central Time).
NATIONAL RANKING: Rice is ranked as the No. 23 team in the nation according to the latest United Soccer Coaches poll. The Owls' 104 points is the 23rd-most of any team in the country after nine 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 SoccerAmerica.com.
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. 16 RPI was listed as No. 40 in the nation. View the NCAA's latest RPI here. The Owls are also ranked No. 8 in the NCAA in scoring offense with 2.69 goals per game. Rice is No. 12 in Shots-on-Goal with 8.54 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 7-0-0 C-USA ledger is the program's best start to a conference season. The Blue & Gray have in fact now won 14-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 78-44-21. 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 -- For the third time this season Rice's Samantha Chaiken has been named the Conference USA Soccer Offensive Player of the Week, the league office announced from its headquarters in Irving, Texas, on Monday (Oct. 16)... In Rice's only game action last week Chaiken scored a pair of goals and assisted on another as the Owls posted a 4-2 C-USA victory over league foe Middle Tennessee (Oct. 13). Not only did the Dallas native control the flow of play from the midfield, she led all players in the match with seven shots to tie her career high - including five that were on goal as she continues to rank among the Rice and C-USA leaders. The senior team captain maintained a .714 shots-on-goal percentage while playing all 90 minutes of the match. She also had an assist on Nia Stallings's goal in the 13th minute... The weekly C-USA award is the third time for Chaiken to earn the honor this season. She was the league's Offensive Player of the Week on both Sept. 18 & 25. A host of Owls have earned the weekly conference awards as the team has built its 10-2-1 record and unblemished 7-0-0 C-USA ledger. Senior Nia Stallings was the Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 11 and sophomore Louise Stephens was the Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 9. Sophomore Maya Hoyer was selected the Goalkeeper of the Week for both Oct. 1 & 9.
PREVIOUS MATCH: (Oct. 13) HOUSTON -- On a night the Rice soccer seniors were honored before the start of their final home game of the season, the Owl senior duo of Samantha Chaiken and Nia Stallings combined for three goals and two assists in a 4-2 Conference USA victory over visiting Middle Tennessee Friday evening at Holloway Field in Houston... Rice improved to 10-2-1 on the season and stayed unbeaten and untied in C-USA play with a 7-0-0 league record. The perfect 7-0-0 ledger is the program's best conference start in school history. Overall the Owls notched their eighth-straight win in 2017, but the team has in fact now won 14-straight C-USA regular season matches dating back to last year... Rice also continues to hold onto sole possession of first place in the conference standings with 21 points. The C-USA standings are determined by getting three points for a win and one point for a tie. There are now just three league games remaining in the 10-game C-USA regular season schedule... Rice finished the day with a 17-15 advantage in shots and holding a 6-1 margin in corner kicks. Owl sophomore goalkeeper Maya Hoyer recorded six saves in the win. Middle Tennessee is now 6-7-0 on the season and 3-3-0 in conference.
THE RICE-OLD DOMINION SERIES: Rice leads the series with Old Dominion 4-0-0 dating back to 2013. Three of the Rice wins, in 2013, 2014 and 2016, were at the Owls' Holloway Field. The 2015 season is the only time the teams have met in Norfolk, Va. Rice claimed a 2-0 road victory over the Monarchs that year.
THE RICE-CHARLOTTE SERIES: Rice leads the series with Charlotte 3-0-0. The most-recent clash was a 2-0 home win over the 49ers in 2016. The Blue & Gray claimed a 2-1 at Charlotte in 2015.