Soccer freshmen score
With Conference USA play slowly approaching, the Rice University women's soccer team has a total record of two wins, four losses and one tie. So far this season, it has been the youth of the soccer team leading the charge and performing well in games. This has proved crucial to the team's overall success because last year's team leader in points and shots, junior Jessica Howard, is out due to injury.
"Howard's phenomenal play last season led to so many attacking opportunities." Head Coach Nicky Adams said, "With Howard out, some key players stepped up and help contribute in Jessica's absence."
This year's soccer team welcomes seven freshmen, highlighted by Holly Hargreaves and Lauren Hughes. Sophomore goalkeeper Amy Czyz has also played extremely well, proving that the younger members on the team have stepped up and cemented their roles on the team. In the first game of the season against Baylor University, Czyz defended the Rice goal well, posting a career-high of eight saves. Though she performed well, the Baylor offense had an advantage over the Owls with 24 shots to eight. Hargreaves led the Rice offense with three shots.
Hargreaves improved on her performance in the second game against Louisiana State University, scoring her first career collegiate goal from 35 yards out to give Rice a 1-0 lead. Czyz had yet another career game, helping her team with 11 saves for a new career high. The game went into two overtimes after LSU tied the game in the 74th minute. The game resulted in a 1-1 tie with no team scoring during the overtime periods.
The freshmen on the team again showed their prowess as Hargreaves and Hughes both scored goals against McNeese State University for the team's first victory of the season. In a loss to Texas Christian University in which Hargreaves led the team with five shots; Hughes followed with four attempts. Another freshman, Jasmine Isokpunwu, had three shots and the Rice Owls won against Texas State University 2-1. In this game, Hargreaves and Hughes again both had goals as two other freshmen, Danielle Spriggs and Isokpunwu, were also in the starting lineup aiding the cause.
Although the team went on to lose two games against Stephen F. Austin University and Okla-
homa State University, the Rice women's soccer team looks to be headed towards C-USA competition in good shape.
The games that have been played so far have displayed the youthful movement on the team. While Czyz defends the goal, the freshmen duo of Holly Hargreaves and Hughes lead the offense. Their performances show how promising the future looks for the Owls.
"The transition to the college level of competition has been smooth," Hargreaves said. "Though the practices have been difficult and intense. It is a very different atmosphere than anywhere else. It is truly a privilege to be a part of Rice soccer."
She attributes her performance in games to both the team and the coaching staff.
"We work together on everything as a unit," Hargreaves said. "If we are successful it is because of everyone as a whole. It's really an amazing thing to be a part of."
Hargreaves also made a point to praise the other years on the team.
"There is a lot of talent with every class as well," Hargeaves said. "I think we can truly accomplish whatever we, as a team, set our minds to do."
Adams also spoke glowingly about the freshmen class.
"Our freshmen class as a whole is a tremendous class and every player has contributed significantly," Adams said. "Each of them is competitive and driven and wants to win. It is very contagious."
Adams spoke about how Hargreaves and Hughes have stepped up to score goals. She continued to rave about other freshmen, including the versatile Danielle Spriggs. Other freshmen who have impacted the team and have made their mark include Becca Koval, Jasmine Isokpunwu, Kara Dugall, and Caroline Scruggs.
As the team enters C-USA play soon, Adams mentioned the competitive schedule the soccer team has played so far this season.
"We play a challenging non-conference schedule to prepare us for conference play," Adams said.
She pointed out tough games with nationally ranked the University of Memphis and University of Central Florida.
"We have a number of home games left in the season, and we would love to have a big student turn out," Adams said.