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To any Rice alumni pining for some nostalgia about the Rice sports of yesteryear, the last few weeks must have been quite the treat. The soccer team, which just wrapped up its non conference schedule, played three consecutive games against the University of Texas, Austin, the University of Houston and Southern Methodist University. If you notice the common thread between these teams, it’s that they were all members of the former Southwest Conference. Soccer wasn’t alone in this trend. Football’s first three games, against the University of Arkansas, Houston and Texas, were all against former SWC foes. Volleyball, which has already played SMU and former SWC member Baylor University, is set to play Texas this week.
It’s probably safe to assume that we’ll all be long dead by the time Rice’s marketing department runs out of ways to make use of John F. Kennedy’s 1962 speech from Rice Stadium — the one where he famously asks, “why does Rice play Texas?” But after this weekend, it’s starting to look like it might be even longer before the Rice football team manages to beat their in-state rivals.
It’s well established that Rice hasn’t beaten the University of Texas, Austin at football in a while – 27 years to be exact. You’d have to go back even longer, to 1965, to find the last time the Owls did what they’ll try to do on Saturday – beat the Longhorns in Austin. As they prepare, head coach Mike Bloomgren said that the Owls can’t afford to focus on the magnitude of the game.
Two overtime periods proved not enough to decide a winner between the Rice soccer team and the University of Texas, Austin on Sunday night at Holloway Field. The game went the full 110 minutes, but after the teams traded goals early in the second half, neither team was able to break the 1-1 tie. After the game, head coach Brian Lee said that he was happy with his team’s ability to go toe-to-toe with a strong Texas team.
David Bailiff cherished the two times that he won the Bayou Bucket during his tenure as the Rice head football coach from 2007-2017. But that doesn’t mean he has any misconceptions when it comes to the trophy’s appearance.
When the Rice football team beat No. 15 Marshall University 20-0 last December, their first win over a ranked opponent in 23 years, it was easy to see it as a defining moment for the program. The Owls, who had won just one game so far in their pandemic-shortened 2020 season, and only six games in head coach Mike Bloomgren’s three years at the helm, seemingly came out of nowhere to shut out a top-15 team. But according to Bloomgren, for himself and his team, it just confirmed what they already knew.
The Rice volleyball team entered last season’s NCAA tournament on a tear. They were coming off of an undefeated conference regular season, ranked No. 24 in the country and just a few weeks removed from a win over No. 2 University of Texas, Austin. But just as they were set to take on the North Carolina A&T in the first round, they were met with some heartbreaking news. Due to a positive COVID-19 test within the team, they would be forced to drop out of the tournament. According to junior setter Carly Graham, the sudden end to their season was devastating for a team looking to prove itself among college volleyball’s best.
It might be a bit of an exaggeration to describe any Rice sports program as a powerhouse. But to the extent that a Conference USA school can be a powerhouse, the Rice baseball team was one for over two decades. Between 1995 and 2017, the Owls made the NCAA postseason every single year, including a national championship in 2003, and their seven College World Series appearances (all since 1997) are tied for the twentieth most of any program. At the very least, they were the dominant force in their conference, finishing atop the conference standings every year from 1997-2015, with the exception of 2009, when they placed second. Now, only five years removed from the end of that streak, the Owls are coming off of a season where they finished tenth out of C-USA’s 12 teams, failing to qualify even for the C-USA tournament, much less the NCAA postseason.
Rice fired baseball head coach Matt Bragga, the school announced on Monday. The move comes on the heels of a season in which the Owls placed tenth out of the 12 teams in Conference USA, failing to make the C-USA tournament for the first time ever. In his three seasons at the helm, the Owls have gone 51-76-1 (25-36-1). According to athletic director Joe Karlgaard, the lack of progress shown during Bragga’s tenure prompted the change.
Rice has hired former North Carolina State University associate head coach Lindsay Edmonds to take over the women’s basketball program, the school announced on Friday. The hiring of Edmonds ends Rice’s search to replace former head coach Tina Langley, who left the Owls earlier this month to take the head coaching job at the University of Washington. According to Athletic Director Joe Karlgaard, Edmonds is exactly the kind of coach the program needs right now.
Two years ago, Brian Lee was celebrating a Southeastern Conference soccer title with his team at Louisiana State University. Lee was coming off of his 14th season in Baton Rouge, where he had led LSU’s women’s soccer team to six NCAA tournament appearances and had just been named a finalist for National Coach of the Year.
The Rice soccer team defeated Old Dominion University on Tuesday night by a score of 3-0, to advance to the semifinals of the Conference USA tournament. The Owls got out to an early lead, with two goals in the game’s first 30 minutes, before putting the Monarchs away with a third goal midway through the second half. After the game, head coach Brian Lee said that, despite the 3-0 win, the Owls had to fight past a good Old Dominion team to get the win.
Both Rice track and field teams were in College Station over the weekend for the Texas A&M Invitational track meet. Six Owls won events at the meet, three each from the men’s and women’s teams, and 14 Owls had top-3 finishes. According to men’s head coach Jon Warren, the Owls put on a strong show against tough competition.
Rice women’s basketball head coach Tina Langley is leaving the Owls to accept the head coaching position at the University of Washington, it was announced on Monday. Langley leaves the Owls with the highest winning percentage in program history. Rice must now find a replacement to take over a program that won the Women’s National Invitational Tournament title just over a week ago.
Rice volleyball knocked off No. 2 University of Texas on Tuesday night, closing out their regular season with a shocking upset. The win handed Texas their first loss of the season, and capped off an impressive regular season for the 14-4 Owls, who have now won 13 of their last 14 matches. After the match, head coach Genny Volpe said that she was thrilled with the improbable win.
The Rice soccer team downed no. 12 Texas A&M University at Holloway Field on Monday in dramatic fashion. The Owls fell behind 2-0 early, but they were able to climb back into the game with two goals of their own to tie it and force overtime. In the final seconds of overtime, senior defender Caleigh Page sent a shot into the back of the net, giving the Owls a 3-2 win, and securing the upset. After the game, head coach Brian Lee said that it was an important win for the Rice soccer program.
In a week that saw the NCAA championships in both cross country and track and field, three Owls earned All-American honors across the two events. At the track and field championships, which were held in Fayetteville, Arkansas, juniors throwers Erna Gunnarsdóttir and Nick Hicks each took second team All-American honors, with top-15 performances in the shot put and hammer throw respectively. Sophomore distance runner Grace Forbes, meanwhile, placed No. 6 in the 5.000 meter, earning her first team All-American honors. Forbes followed up her performance with a No. 19 place finish in the 6,000 meter at the cross country championships, which earned her All-American honors as well.
After barely escaping last night with a win, Rice women’s basketball fell to Middle Tennessee State University in the final seconds of yesterday’s Conference USA tournament championship game. The Owls managed to bring it to within one point during the final minute but ultimately lost the contest 68-65. Head coach Tina Langley congratulated the Blue Raiders program after the game.
The women’s basketball team held off Old Dominion University on Friday night to advance to the finals of the Conference USA tournament. Rice held the lead all game, but a late Monarchs comeback tested the Owls, who held on to win by a score of 62-60. According to head coach Tina Langley, the Owls proved their character with such a gritty win in the final seconds.
Rice volleyball beat the University of Texas at San Antonio in both legs of a two-match series in San Antonio this week. On Sunday, the Owls defeated the Roadrunners in five closely contested sets, while on Monday they won in straight sets. The Owls have now won all eight of their matches since conference play began, and are 9-3 on the season.