Nov. 2, 2010
THIS WEEK: The Rice soccer team, 8-8-3 on the season and 5-3-3 in Conference USA, is back on the road this week to play in the 2010 C-USA Women's Soccer Championship Nov. 3-7 in Orlando, Fla. The Owls are seeded fifth in the tournament and face fourth-seed SMU (11-6-3, 6-4-1) at 6:30 pm (Central Time) in Wednesday's opening round. The top six teams in the conference are on the UCF campus competing in the single-elimination event where the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament is at stake. Action begins with two quarterfinal games on Wednesday, resumes with two semifinal games on Friday (4 pm and 6:30 pm) and concludes with the championship final on Nov. 9 at 1 pm. The Championship Central web page, full of helpful tournament information, appears at the above link.
CATCH THE GAME LIVE ON OWLVISION ALL-ACCESS: All Rice soccer games at the Championship 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. More information for watching Rice sports on-line is at the same All-Access Soccer Link (provided above).
LIVE IN-GAME STATS: Live in-game statistics for all Rice 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 RiceOwls.com, and follow a text play-by-play of the action.
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 squad, eight of which are freshmen from the club and high school ranks. The Blue & Gray has six experienced seniors, including key spots such as forward Korey Taylor, midfielder Kate Edwards, and goalkeeper Catherine Fitzsimmons. The group may have a young backline playing on defense, but the rookie foursome has done very well against tough C-USA competition.
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.
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 5-4-3 since that game... She is assisted by coach John Adams (Cincinnati, 2003), who is in his first year with the team.
CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT HISTORY: Rice has qualified for its conference tournament in eight of the 10 years since it started the program in 2001. The team has reached the semifinals all but one of the eight times... The Owls were defeated by UCF 2-1 in the first round of their previous C-USA Tournament in 2008... The 2002 Rice team, which hosted the WAC Tournament, was seeded sixth and battled its way to the semifinals... The Owls won the C-USA Championship in 2005 and reached the Western Athletic Conference championship game in 2003 and 2004... The Blue & Gray was twice seeded as high as second in its conference tourney... Rice has served as the host of its conference tournament three times.
Rice's Conference Tournament Results Year Seed Finish 2001 2 t 3rd 2002 6 t 3rd 2003 3 2nd 2004 2 2nd 2005 3 1st 2006 DNQ --- 2007 4 t 3rd 2008 6 t 5th 2009 DNQ --- 2010 5
DID YOU KNOW? When Rice meets SMU in the C-USA Championship it will mark the first time since 2007 that the Owls have faced a team other UCF in the postseason. Each of Rice's last two C-USA postseason games have been against the nationally-ranked Knights. The last time Rice played a postseason team other than UCF the Owls won, defeating UAB 1-0 in El Paso, Tex., in 2007.
THE RICE-SMU SERIES: Rice has faced SMU a total of 12 times since 2001, tied for the most number of times the Owls have played any opponent. Wednesday's meeting is the 13th in the series and that will lift the Mustangs over UTEP on Rice's most-played opponents list. The Blue & Gray is just 3-9 against SMU, including a 2-1 victory over the Ponies in Houston earlier this year. The only other time Rice and SMU have played at a neutral setting was in Honolulu in 2004.
FOUR OWLS GARNER ALL-CONFERENCE HONORS: 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.
Read the full All-Conference Honorees news release here
PREVIOUS OUTING: Owls & Cougars Tie 0-0 After Two OT's (Oct. 29)
HOUSTON - The Rice and University of Houston soccer teams combined for 41 shots in 110 minutes after two overtime periods, but the crosstown foes battled to a 0-0 tie in the final regular season game for both teams before a rowdy crowd of 1,481 Friday night at the Rice Soccer Stadium... The contest marked the final home appearance for six Rice seniors, but it's not their nor the team's final match just yet. The Owls will play in the annual C-USA Championship to be held Nov. 3-7 in Orlando, Fla. The winner of the league tournament earns C-USA's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship the following weekend... Both Rice and Houston already knew before the annual city-showdown that win or lose... or even tie, that both had secured trips to the C-USA Tournament. If going easy in the friendly is the way to head into the postseason, neither team nor both sets of fans successfully got that message. Like all the other Rice-Houston games before it (in any sport the schools both sponsor), both teams went all-out. The foes peppered the opposing goal with shots for 90 minutes, then proceeded to do it some more for the two 10-minute overtime periods after that. If going all-out also means getting a little physical, then consider there were more three times as many fouls called in Friday's Rice-UH soccer game (27) than there were in the Bayou Bucket football game (9) two weeks ago - a shame if you don't know Rice won that one 34-31... Houston held a 21-20 advantage in shots for the match, but Rice finished with a 7-1 lead in corner kicks and out-shot the Cougars 8-3 in the OTs. Owl senior goalkeeper Catherine Fitzsimmons answered the challenge in her final home game with a career-high total of 10 saves. Senior forward Korey Taylor shared the Blue & Gray team lead with three shots, one of four Owls with three attempts on the night. Taylor said her senior classmates and the entire team gave it all they had... "I know that all six of us seniors left everything out on the field tonight," Taylor said. "This is an emotional game going-in, being our last home game, but we all worked hard tonight. Coach told us to play so that you won't have any regrets, and I honestly don't. I think we all worked as hard as we could. It just didn't go our way."... Taylor and the Owls didn't let it go the other way, either. Both teams took shots and had chances. The Owls came close on a near golden pair of back-to-back second half shot attempts. In the 77th minute sophomore defender Amy Beger, playing in her first Houston-game in two years after missing last season with an injury, hit the crossbar. As the fans let out a collective gasp, senior Elizabeth Nesbit corralled the crossbar deflection and took a follow-up shot that ended up going just wide of the target... "We had our opportunities," said Rice interim head coach Nicky Adams. "We knew Houston had a very strong attack and a very good defense. We knew it was going to go back-and-forth. Both teams had opportunities, but couldn't find the back of the net tonight. It was 0-0, but it was a battle. It was typical Rice-Houston game."... "We wanted to get a win heading into the conference tournament, but playing as hard as we did is something we can build-on," Adams added. "The seniors led the way. They are an unbelievable class and have contributed so much to the program and to the University. They are fantastic ambassadors for our program and I can honestly say they give their all every time they step on the field. One of the reasons we're so excited about the conference tournament is that we get to extend our season, and our seniors get an opportunity to play some more."... In addition to the loyal fans from both schools that were present for the match, the third-largest attended Rice home soccer game in school history was helped by the presence of the Owls' neighbors in the Medical Center. Some of the young patients from nearby Texas Children's Hospital were the Owls' guests for the game. In pregame warm-ups the Rice players were honored to wear gold-colored t-shirts that were specially designed by the TCH patients. The soccer team's exemplary relationship with the TCH patients and their families is due in part to the 2010 Owl senior class: Nesbit, Fitzsimmons, Taylor, Kate Edwards, Jordan Holloway and Meghan Erkel.
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BIG CROWDS: The 1,481 fans that came to see last week's Rice-Houston game was the Owls' third-largest home soccer crowd in the program's history. Here's a closer look at Rice's big home crowds.
Rice's Largest Home Crowds Year Attn. Opponent 2001 1,752 Army 2001 1,487 Texas State 2010 1,481 Houston 2001 1,360 Houston 2005 1,276 Auburn 2005 1,273 UTEP 2005 1,087 Houston 2010 1,047 BYU
EDWARDS CONTINUES CAREER CLIMB: Senior midfielder Kate Edwards continues to climb in a host of categories in the Rice record book. Edwards has now made 70 career starts to rank seventh on the school's all-time list. The Westlake Village, Calif., native is currently the team leader in goals (4) and is the program's active leader in career goals with 20 (tied for 3rd all-time) She is third in career shots (170) and tied for sixth in Rice history with five game-winning goals. Edwards continues her career climb despite having missed seven games due to an injury suffered on Sept. 10. She returned to action on Oct. 10 and picked-up right where she left off. Prior to the injury Edwards had started every game in her Rice career, a total of 65-straight dating back to her freshman season of 2007.
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 18.1 shots per C-USA game... A year ago the Rice defense was last in the conference in shots allowed per game (15.5), but 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. Freshman Rachel Petmeky is the latest rookie to build up her Division I resume by making seven-straight C-USA starts on defense. Petmecky and Iron-Owl defenders Amy Beger, Lauren LaGro and Hayley Williams, and goalkeeper Catherine Fitzsimmons, played all 110 minutes last weekend against Houston... Catherine Fitzsimmons moved into fourth place on Rice's career list for goalkeeper saves with 90... Senior forward Korey Taylor moved into 11th place on the school's all-time list for starts with 59. Taylor shares the team lead in shots with junior forward/midfielder Hope Ward. The duo both have set personal season highs with 47 attempts this season... 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 the Oct. 10 game vs. No. 19 ranked UCF. It was Nesbit's first goal in her 45 Division I games-played.
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 RiceOwls.com. 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 after both started 10 games. 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.