Soccer defeats Marshall and Western Kentucky
Rice soccer earned two wins over Conference USA opponents this weekend at Holloway Field, beating Marshall University 2-1 Friday evening and Western Kentucky University 1-0 Sunday afternoon. Rice remains undefeated against C-USA foes and now holds an overall record of eight wins, four losses and two draws.
Rice’s Friday match against Marshall carried the theme “Soc’toberfest.” Free beer, free Bavarian pretzels, free socks and an opportunity to win a $10,000 scholarship were offered during the game. According to Rice Rally Club co-president Zack Murphy, Rice’s marketing department and Rice Rally Club collaborated to provide the experience.
“[Soc’toberfest] was originally [the marketing department’s] idea but [Rice Rally Club] put it together,” Murphy, a Lovett College junior, said. “It seems like everyone had a good time and we had a really good student attendance.”
On the field, Rice attempted three shots during the first four minutes of the match but was unable to score a goal.
In the 17th minute of the match, with the game still tied at 0, Marshall had its first scoring chance. A high ball was played into Rice’s penalty box and before the ball hit the ground, Thundering Herd forward Farah Abu-Tayeh lobbed the ball over two Rice defenders and forward Marah Abu-Tayeh scored a close-range goal to give Marshall an early lead.
When Owls senior midfielder Lianne Mananquil drew a penalty kick during the next minute, senior forward Louise Stephens missed the penalty shot, kicking the ball above the crossbar. At halftime, Rice trailed Marshall 1-0.
Rice senior forward Haley Kostyshyn responded with a tying goal in the 47th minute of the match, after sophomore midfielder Delaney Schultz set up the goal with a pass to Kostyshyn inside Marshall’s penalty box. Kostyshyn said she was eager to shoot when Schultz gave her an opportunity to score.
“Scoring the goal to tie the match in the second half was crucial for us,” Kostyshyn said. “We came back after halftime and knew we had to get on the board quickly. It was a great feeling to be back in the game and gain that momentum going forward in the second half.”
In the 86th minute of the match, with the score knotted at one, Mananquil created a scoring chance for Rice with a low cross from the right side of Marshall’s penalty box. The goal was converted by freshman forward Izzy McBride. According to McBride, her finish was relatively simple.
“It was just a volley out of the air,” McBride said. “We practice that a lot, crossing and finishing.”
According to head coach Brian Lee, Rice’s strong endurance contributed to the team’s close-fought victory.
“It’s just another example of the character of the team,” Lee said. “We’re fresh and we’re fit. Adding up those two things, we are really good in late-game situations.”
In Sunday’s match against Western Kentucky, Rice players donned pink jerseys to support breast cancer awareness, and the Rice logo at midfield included a ribbon wrapped around it.
Rice started the match against WKU with less offensive aggression than in its match against Marshall. After 15 minutes of play, Western Kentucky outnumbered the Owls in shots, 8-0, and forced two saves from Rice sophomore goalkeeper Bella Killgore. The Owls attempted seven shots over the next 30 minutes, but the game remained scoreless at halftime.
According to Lee, the Owls were unsatisfied with their performance in the first half.
“At halftime, we just talked about being a better version of ourselves,” Lee said. “We were disappointed with our first half performance, more mentally than physically, with our thought process.”
The second half began with several corner kicks taken by both teams, but no goals resulted.
In the 64th minute, Rice created an opportunity to score. Schultz received the ball at midfield and dribbled toward Western Kentucky’s defense. When Schultz arrived near WKU’s penalty box, she lobbed a pass over a Hilltopper defender to Mananquil, who reached for the ball and simultaneously drew a foul for a penalty kick. Schultz then converted the kick for a 1-0 Owls lead.
Mananquil said she has good chemistry on the field with Schultz.
“Any time [Schultz] has the ball I think she’s dangerous,” Mananquil said. “I knew she was dribbling. We love to [combine passes] around the box so I knew she was going to play [the ball to] me. She chipped a little ball in and I just drew the foul.”
Lee said he was impressed by Schultz’s and Mananquil’s effort.
“The game was won on a piece of magic from Lianne and Delaney,” Lee said.
The Owls next travel to the Sunshine State to face a pair of C-USA teams: Florida International University on Friday and Florida Atlantic University on Sunday.
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