Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Saturday, June 25, 2022 — Houston, TX

Kilgore carries soccer past UTSA in 1-0 victory

Photo by Aaron M. Sprecher | The Rice Thresher
During the UTSA Roadrunners vs. Rice University Owls soccer match at Holloway Field on Thursday Thursday February 11, 2021 in Houston, Texas. Rice University won 1-0. Photo by Aaron M. Sprecher

By Pavithr Goli     2/17/21 9:41pm

The Rice soccer team defeated the University of Texas at San Antonio 1-0 on Thursday, improving their record on the season to 2-0. Their most recent matchup against Texas Southern University at Holloway Field, which was supposed to be this past Sunday, was postponed. Head coach Brian Lee said The Owls are pleased with how their season has gone so far. 

“We are happy to be off to a winning start, but most pleased that we are improving game to game so far in 2021,” Lee said. “We feel like our progressions in team defending are where they need to be and now can turn our attention more towards our attacking buildup and set piece attacking as a primary emphasis day to day.”

While soccer is a team sport, junior goalkeeper Bella Killgore was undoubtedly the driving force behind the Owls’ 1-0 victory. In addition to recording three saves in goal to shut out UTSA, she also scored the lone goal of the evening. In the 70th minute, on a free kick from near midfield, Killgore’s boot found the back of the net, making her the first goalkeeper in Rice program history to score in a game. Lee praised Killgore’s play after the match.

“Bella commanded her area, and her free kicks continue to pose issues for our opponents,” Lee said.

According to Killgore, the free kicks are something she’s been working on for some time. She said that the extra preparation resulting from the pandemic benefitted both her and the team. 

“I think the most important factor to our strong start has been the ability to prepare all fall,” Killgore said. “We usually don’t get time to acclimate as a team, with the freshmen, but because of COVID[-19] pushing our season to the spring we did.”

The pandemic played a major role in the buildup to the start of the season as it gave the team ample time to improve on their weaknesses and lead to greater player development. Despite the pandemic postponing the season to start in February, players and coaches alike believe that it had a positive impact on the team. 

“The delayed start of the season from August to January has been a huge bonus for the development of our new players,” Lee said. “This allowed them to make an on-field impact in the early going which would have been much more difficult in August.”

A major downfall for most college sports due to COVID-19 is the inability to build strong chemistry and dynamic relationships with each other due to fewer opportunities to interact with other players. However, according to both Lee and Killgore, the team was able to use the pandemic to their advantage to build strong relationships with each other.

“Adversity builds character, and this offseason being heavily restricted by COVID[-19] showed everyone’s grit and resilience,” Kilgore said. “We learned to lean on each other for motivation and energy and because of that, our team chemistry is better than ever.”

Another benefit from the team’s improved chemistry is that the incoming freshmen have had a comfortable and relatively easier transition onto the team. 

“I think that all of my teammates have helped me in some way,” said freshman midfielder Catarina Albuquerque. “They all work really hard at practice, which allows me to work that much harder and push myself to be the best I can be on the field. They have a lot of experience in college soccer and I really appreciate all their advice and I try to take in as much of it as I can to try and learn and improve as much as possible.”

The freshmen experienced more growth due to the extra practice and opportunities to bond with the upperclassmen, and it’s starting to show on the field. 

“The freshmen have had a huge impact on the team especially in the first couple of games,” Killgore said. “They are scoring side volley game-winners, throwing bicycle kick assists and running around wreaking havoc on the other team’s defense. They all have so much energy and high work rates, raising the level of play at every practice and game.”

The Owls will take on Texas Southern University, who is currently 0-1 after losing to the University of Houston, on Sunday, Feb. 21.

More from The Rice Thresher

SPORTS 6/13/22 2:41pm
Forbes takes silver at NCAAs

On Thursday, sophomore distance runner Grace Forbes proved to the rest of the country what her Conference USA opponents and Rice teammates have known for years – she’s one of the fastest runners in the country. Competing at the NCAA championships in Eugene, Ore. for the second consecutive year, Forbes, took second place in the 10,000-meter, the best finish by an Owl at the NCAAs in over a decade. According to Forbes, who missed the indoor season and the first month of the outdoor season due to extreme fatigue later diagnosed as an autoimmune disorder, the result was a testament to the work she’s put in to overcome an incredibly challenging year.

SPORTS 6/3/22 1:21pm
NCAA T&F prelims see five Owls qualify for championships, Forbes take gold

Five Owls will be heading to next week’s NCAA outdoor track and field championships, after qualifying at the NCAA West Preliminaries which ran May 25 through 28. Headlining the meet for Rice was sophomore distance-runner Grace Forbes, who took first place in the 10,000 meters for the second consecutive year. Forbes will be joined in Eugene, Ore., by sophomore thrower Tara Simpson-Sullivan, junior thrower Erna Gunnarsdottir, senior thrower James McNaney and sophomore vaulter Alex Slinkman. Jon Warren, head coach of the men’s track and field program, said that he was impressed not only by the five qualifiers, but by all 13 Owls who participated over the course of the week in Fayetteville, Ark.

SPORTS 5/22/22 10:09pm
Men's team takes third, women's takes fifth at C-USA T&F championships

The Conference USA outdoor track and field championships saw Rice’s men’s team place third with 121 points — their best conference championship performance since 2005 — and the women’s team place fifth with 88 points. According to men’s head coach Jon Warren, he was proud to see the work his team put in all season be on full display at the meet.


Please note All comments are eligible for publication by The Rice Thresher.