Soccer defeats Vanderbilt
The Rice University soccer team returned home to Holloway Field after winning back-to-back games on the road last week. On Friday, Sept. 5, the Owls played their second straight Southeastern Conference opponent, the Vanderbilt University Commodores. Rice shocked Vanderbilt by tying the game in the 90th minute of play and then won the game in the first minute of overtime with a header off a corner, resulting in a final score of 2-1.
Friday night’s matchup between Rice and Vanderbilt was played to a home crowd of nearly 700 Rice students and staff. Rice held a 6-4 shot advantage and 3-1 corner advantage over Vanderbilt in the first half of play. However, the Commodores scored the only goal of the first half in the 37th minute of play on a near-post header.
With 34 seconds remaining in the game, sophomore defender Jenny Fichera worked through multiple deflections and a scramble near the goalpost to put the ball in the back of the net for her first career goal. The 90th-minute goal gave the Owls a chance to win and sent the game into overtime.
Rice would not need much time in overtime to win the game against the Commodores. One minute into overtime, junior forward Lo Hughes earned a corner and sent the ball into the crowded penalty area. Freshman forward Nia Stallings connected on the corner and headed the ball into the near post for her first collegiate goal. The Owls improved to 3-1-1 on the season with the win.
Head Coach Nicky Adams said the team proved their resilience with the come-from-behind win over Vanderbilt.
“The grit and character [Rice] shows on a daily basis; this is what it’s all about,” Adams said. “I’m so proud of their effort…and for digging through and getting it done in the end.”
Adams realized how big this victory is for her team. According to Adams, the challening non-conference schedule will prepare Rice for C-USA competition.
“[This win] is huge,” Adams said. “Our non-conference scheduling is really tough having played Big 12 and SEC teams [thus far in the season]. It is preparing our program for the season and will ready us for our conference play.”
Fichera said scoring in the final minute of regulation was an exhilarating relief for the team.
“It felt awesome,” said Fichera. “[We knew] it was coming the whole game… it was nice to get those passes in [the penalty box] and get it in the back of the net.”
The Owls will be riding a three-game winning streak when they play another SEC opponent, the University of Arkansas Razorbacks, on Friday, Sept. 12. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Razorback Field in Fayetteville, Ark.
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