Soccer manages to split opening weekend contests
Despite having few experienced players on this year's soccer team, the Owls still hoped to get a win under their belt in the first week of play. The soccer team played two games this past weekend, traveling to Waco, Texas to take on Baylor University (1-0) Friday night, followed by their home opener against Stephen F. Austin State University (1-1-0) Sunday afternoon. Both games were possible wins for the Owls, a rarity in this year's difficult schedule, designed by Head Coach Chris Huston so as to prepare the team for a possible NCAA tournament run.
The game against Baylor was a myriad of missed opportunities for the Owls, as they fell 1-0 despite out-shooting Baylor 12-8 on the contest.
The game remained scoreless for the first half, as neither team was able to gain a clear upper hand. Baylor out-shot Rice in the first half 6-4, but senior goalkeeper Meghan Erkel kept the score tied at zero.
In the 63rd minute of the game, Baylor defender Georgia Mullins deflected a corner kick, one of Baylor's three in the game, into the back of the Owls' net.
That shot was a disappointing way to lose for the Owls, who had battled hard the entire game.
"We didn't control the game the entire time," senior midfielder Kate Edwards said. "We came out a little flat in the first half, and they came out after halftime ready to play. We just lost our composure for two minutes."
Friday was the first time that Rice had lost a season-opening match since 2003. Among the bright spots in the match were the three freshmen who started for the Owls: Midfielder Jessica Howard and defenders Hayley Williams and Alexandra Trenary all saw quite a bit of playing time, much like they did in the scrimmage against Texas A&M University on Aug. 14.
The result for the Owls was favorable on Sunday, as they cruised to a 3-1 victory against Stephen F. Austin, controlling the game from start to finish.
Senior midfielder Kate Edwards, who was making her 61st consecutive career start, put the Owls up 1-0 nine minutes into the game. She was standing a few yards away from the net, when teammate Jordan Holloway sent a pass her way, which she deposited on a one-touch shot.
The Owls remained scoreless for the rest of the first half and a good chunk of the second half, until Howard, a midfielder/forward, contributed. Junior forward Hope Ward hit a long cross ball into the middle of the box, and Howard executed a bicycle kick, depositing the ball into the back of the net for her first career goal.
"For Jessica to get her first collegiate goal in that style was spectacular," Huston said. "The entire crowd was so into the game after that point."
The Owls responded one more time, with Edwards scoring again in the 80th minute off of another pass from Ward for her third career multi-goal game. The second goal put her all-time career total at 18, tying Caitlin Robbins (Lovett '09) for fourth all-time for the Owls. The assist also put Ward in a tie for fifth all-time on the Owls' assist list with former Owl Shelley Wong (Will Rice '10).
SFA was able to rebound and score one goal in the 88th minute, but it was far too little, too late. Sophomore midfielder Kylie Louw scored off a long cross ball just as the game was ending, providing the final 3-1 margin.
The Owls play once this weekend, as they host rival Texas Tech at 7 p.m. tonight at Holloway Field/Rice Track.
"Tech is going to be a big, physical team and a real challenge for us," Huston said. "I feel like if we both come out with our best games, it is going to be a great contest.
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