Soccer completes undefeated season at home
This past weekend, the Rice University soccer team won both home games, clinching an undefeated home record for the first time in program history.
Friday night’s Senior Day saw the team’s four seniors honored for their careers at Rice. Goalkeeper Amy Czyz, midfielders Gabriela Iribarne and Quinny Truong and defender Ashton Geisendorff led Rice to a 5-0 victory over Old Dominion University. On Sunday, the Owls defeated the University of North Carolina at Charlotte 4-1.
On Friday night, junior Lauren Hughes got the Owls on the board first in the 17th minute of the game with a close range strike to beat the keeper. In the 32nd minute of the game, junior Holly Hargreaves scored on a chip shot that found the back of the net with the assist coming from Truong. Hughes went on to score two more goals later in the match in the 58th and 61st minute to give her a hat trick and her 10th goal of the season. The defense held strong, only allowing four shots all game.
Czyz said Senior Day allowed her to reflect on her Rice career and the improvements she has seen in the soccer program.
“For us, this is a very special day, and I’m so happy [the seniors] have made it this far and been so successful,” Czyz said. “Getting the big win and the shutout was the perfect way to cap [Senior Day] off, and we just hope we are leaving the program in better hands than when we got it here.”
Head Coach Nicky Adams said the seniors have served as great examples for the rest of team and have helped lead the team to its success this season.
“[Our seniors] bring so much leadership, and they truly love Rice,” Adams said. “Every day they come out and give us everything they have. It’s just contagious when you have great seniors who truly believe in what we’re doing … obviously the team is going to follow.”
On Sunday afternoon, the Owls continued their two-game winning streak, scoring four more goals and winning 4-1. Hughes scored the opening goal of the game off of a deflection in the sixth minute to give the Owls an early lead. Iribarne followed that up with a 35th minute goal to take a 2-0 lead into halftime. Iribarne added another goal in the 71st minute off a cross from junior midfielder Danielle Spriggs. The Owls’ victory earned them a 6-0-2 home record to complement their 10-3-3 (6-2-1 C-USA) season thus far. The current squad has the top two goal-scorers in Rice history in Hargreaves and Hughes, and the all-time leader in shutouts in Czyz.
Adams said she was satisfied with the way the team played this past weekend to stay in second place in C-USA.
“I was pleased with the way our possession was all weekend and [our] ability to find the back of the net, scoring nine goals in one weekend,” Adams said. “I love how we played as one unit on both sides of the ball.”
Looking forward, Adams said the Owls have hopes of entering the NCAA tournament by winning the C-USA tournament or receiving an at-large bid.
“This team is so hungry and definitely want[s] to make [the NCAA tournament],” Adams said. “If we are peaking right now, this is the perfect time and we are excited for what is coming up.”
Iribarne said she hopes she and the rest of the senior class have been role models for the younger players.
“I think this season has been great,” Iribarne said. “[We] know our teammates look up to us [and] we look up to them, so it’s a full circle and we work hard out there for each other.”
Rice will play their final game of the season on the road Thursday, Oct. 30 against the University of Alabama, Birmingham. Rice is currently tied for second place in C-USA and has clinched a berth in the upcoming C-USA tournament beginning Nov. 5, in Charlotte, North Carolina.
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