Four Owls Garner All-Conference USA Accolades In Soccer

Nov. 2, 2010

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Rice soccer standouts Amy Beger and Hope Ward, along with freshmen stars Hayley Williams and Jessica Howard, earned all-conference honors for the 2010 season the league office announced Tuesday (Nov. 2) in Orlando, Fla.

The C-USA honorees were selected on a vote of the 12 head coaches and announced on the eve of the annual conference tournament. Beger was named first team all-conference while Ward was selected to the C-USA third team. Williams and Howard were named to the league's All-Freshman squad.

Not only has Beger had an outstanding 2010 season on defense, she's do so after an injury sidelined her all of last year. The redshirt sophomore from St. Charles, Mo., is the anchor of a young Rice backline where all four defenders had never played together before, including two who are true freshmen. Beger started all 19 games for the Owls and rarely came off the field, playing a team-high 1,771 out of 1777 minutes (99.7 percent). She is often assigned to shadow the opponent's top scoring threat and helped the Owls' young defense hold C-USA foes to 13.1 shots per game. Beger has also shown some versatility by coming forward and adding an attacking presence with 30 shots.

Hope Ward is an experienced forward who helped Rice reach the C-USA Championship for the first time in two years and jump out to its best seven-game conference start in school history (5-0-2). She has scored three goals and ranks among the C-USA leaders with seven assists. Ward has played 1,601 of the team's 1,777 minutes (90.1 percent), shares the team lead in shots (47) and is second in shots on-goal (19). A former prep and club standout from nearby Kingwood, Ward maintained a .404 shots-on-goal percentage this season and was named the C-USA Offensive Player of the Week on Oct. 4.



Howard and Williams are a dynamic true freshman duo who joined the Blue & Gray from the same club team (Dallas Sting '93). Williams has had an excellent inaugural Division I season while starting every game on defense. She finished second on the team in playing time, totaling 1,760 of the team's 1,777 minutes (99.0 percent). Her steady, hustling defensive style helped the Owls post a total of five shutouts this season.

Howard is a midfielder/forward who worked her way into 12 starting assignments, including five C-USA games. She scored three goals on 32 shots and maintained a .438 shots-on-goal percentage. This season Howard and Williams became only the 12th and 13th players in Rice soccer history, respectively, to score a game-winning goal with their first collegiate goals. Rice has had at least one C-USA all-freshman honoree every year since joining the league in 2005. It's the Owls' most all-freshman honorees since 2007.

The Rice Owls, 8-8-3 in the regular season and 5-3-3 in conference, meet longtime state rival SMU in the first round of the Championship Wednesday (Nov. 3) at 6:30 pm Central Time (7:30 pm Eastern). The winner of Wednesday's opening round between the No. 5 seeded Owls and fourth-seeded Mustangs then advances to meet C-USA regular season champion and No. 1 seed UCF on the Knights' home field on Friday night at 6:30 pm (Central). The tournament concludes with a championship final on Nov. 7 at 1 pm that will be televised by CBS College Sports. The conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament is at stake in the six-team, single-elimination event. The 2010 C-USA award winners for soccer are as follows:

All-Conference USA First Team

F: Tiffany Brown, Colorado College
F: Lauri Byrne, Houston
F: Tishia Jewell, UCF
MF: Katie Jackson, UCF
MF: Jordan O'Brien, Tulsa
MF: Katelyn Rhodes, Houston
MF: Vendula Strnadova, Memphis
D: Amy Beger, Rice
D: Lauren Shepherd, SMU
D: Lizzy Simonin, Memphis
GK: Aline Reis, UCF

All-Conference USA Second Team
F: Erika Duncan, Marshall
F: Laura McCalla, UAB
F: Kim Newsome, UCF
MF: Kristin Medeiros, SMU
MF: Carolyn Polcari, UAB
MF: Jessica Woodward, East Carolina
D: Marissa Diggs, UCF
D: Kaitlyn Eidson, SMU
D: Sierra Keeler, Colorado College
D: Danielle Munoz, Houston
GK: Caitlin Hulyo, Colorado College
GK: Cami Koski, Houston

All-Conference USA Third Team
F: Britney Lyman, Colorado College
F: Amanda Malkiewicz, East Carolina
F: Claire Nicholson, Tulsa
F: Hope Ward, Rice
MF: Katie Dorman, UTEP
MF: Alena Strnadova, Memphis
MF: Sarah Vinson, Marshall
D: Amanda Broz, East Carolina
D: Freya Holdaway, Marshall
D: Bianca Joswiak, UCF

C-USA All-Freshman Team
Sierra Keeler, Colorado College
Cami Koski, Houston
Jasmine Martinez, Houston
Danielle Munoz, Houston
Rasheeda Ansari, Memphis
Alena Strnadova, Memphis
Jessica Howard, Rice
Hayley Williams, Rice
Claire Nicholson, Tulsa
Jordan O'Brien, Tulsa
Marissa Diggs, UCF
Azia Nicholson, UTEP

Offensive Player of the Year
Tishia Jewell, UCF

Defensive Player of the Year
Lizzy Simonin, Memphis

Midfielder of the Year
Vendula Strnadova, Memphis

Freshman of the Year
Jordan O'Brien, Tulsa

Coach of the Year
Susan Bush, Houston



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