Head Coach Nicky Adams previews the Owls' upcoming Conference USA Championship match in the above video.
Rice Soccer vs. Charlotte: Nov. 1 (Wed.), 10 am (Central Time) at FAU Soccer Complex in Boca Raton, Fla.
Watch online via CUSAtv
(the online webcast & live stats features activate at game time.)
C-USA Semifinal (game 1): Nov. 3 (Fri.), 10 am (Central Time) at FAU Soccer Complex in Boca Raton, Fla. Watch online via CUSAtv C-USA Championship Final: Nov. 5 (Sun.), 10 am (Central Time) at FAU Soccer Complex in Boca Raton, Fla. Watch online via ESPN3
By: John Sullivan, Rice Athletics (firstname.lastname@example.org)
THIS WEEK: The No. 18 ranked Rice soccer team, 12-2-2 overall and the 2017 Conference USA regular season champions with an unbeaten 9-0-1 league record, is back out on the road for the annual C-USA Championship in Boca Raton, Fla., on Nov. 1-5. Rice is the No. 1 seed of the week-long event, and meets No. 8 seed Charlotte (9-8-1, 4-5-1) to open the tournament on Wednesday at 10 am (Central Time). The league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament is on the line this week at the FAU Soccer Complex. Sunday’s Championship Final is set for an online broadcast on ESPN3.
2017 C-USA CHAMPIONS: Soon after the Rice Soccer team defeated Charlotte 1-0 on Oct. 22 on the road in North Carolina, the Owls officially clinched the 2017 C-USA regular season championship a few minutes later as other league matches became final. It is the first time for Rice Soccer to win the outright regular season conference championship. In 2012 the Owls shared the C-USA regular season crown with then league member Colorado College. The Blue & Gray have also won the C-USA Tournament in both 2005 and 2014 (which are also league championships but separate from the regular season). The C-USA regular season standings are determined by getting three points for a win and one point for a tie. Rice amassed 28 points from its nine conference wins and one tie, a comfortable margin ahead of second place North Texas (23 points).
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 80-44-22. 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.
NATIONAL RANKING (as of latest publication/Oct. 24): Rice is ranked as the No. 18 team in the nation according to the latest United Soccer Coaches (published on Oct. 24). The Owls’ 221 points is the 18th-most of any team in the country after ten 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. 30 RPI was listed as No. 30 in the nation. View the NCAA’s latest RPI here. The Owls are also ranked No. 32 in the NCAA in Shots-on-Goal with 8.47 s.o.g. per game.
DOUBLE-DIGIT "W's": Rice has reached the double-digit win plateau for the fourth straight year. The Owls have won at least ten matches in six of the last seven seasons under head coach Nicky Adams. The current 12-win tally is tied for the fourth-most in a single season of Rice soccer. On two occasions the Owls won a school record 14 matches, most recently in 2014.
RICE IN THE C-USA CHAMPIONSHIP: Rice has made the C-USA Championship for the eighth-straight year but the squad is also looking for its first victory in the tournament since 2014, when the team last won the postseason crown. Since joining Conference USA in 2005, the Owls’ all-time record in the league’s postseason tournament is a winning 8-6-2 ledger. There have been six times where the Blue & Gray failed to get out of the first round, and two occasions where the squad won its opening game but was halted after that (2007 and 2011). On the two occasions that Rice’s tournament match has gone to penalty kicks (the back-to-back seasons of 2010 and 2011), the Owls were prevented from advancing both times. There have only been two seasons (2006 and 2009) when the team did not qualify for the postseason tournament.
PREVIOUS MATCH: (Oct. 22) DENTON, Texas – The University of North Texas pushed across the equalizer in the 89th minute as the visiting Rice Owls and Mean Green soccer teams finished in a 1-1 double-overtime tie on a cold Friday evening in Denton Texas… Rice, which had already locked-up the Conference USA title, closed out the regular season portion of the schedule with a 12-2-2 ledger. The Owls opened the scoring in the 15th minute. Sophomore Lianne Mananquil fielded Annie Walker’s centering pass and found the back of the Mean Green net for her fourth goal of the season. Rice held the lead all the way until the 89th minute when North Texas’ Cat Sebazco scored her first goal of the season after a corner kick… North Texas finished with a sizable 10-3 advantage in corner kicks on the windy night where temperatures were in the 40s. The Owls had a 16-14 advantage in shots.
THE RICE-CHARLOTTE SERIES: Rice leads the series with Charlotte 4-0-0. The most-recent clash was a 1-0 Rice road win at Charlotte on Oct. 22. The Owls topped the 49ers 2-0 at home in 2016 and 2-1 at Charlotte in 2015.
THE ’17 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 11-match unbeaten streak is the best in program history. Prior to the season finale at North Texas the Blue & Gray had won 16-consecutive C-USA regular season games dating back to 2016.