Rice Soccer was one of the sports bumped from fall to spring because of COVID-19 concerns. After a long layoff, the Owls are ready to get rolling. Here’s everything you need to know.
This past offseason has been one like no other for Rice soccer head coach Brian Lee and his team. For one there were no games played before Christmas, an oddity for what is traditionally a fall sport. For another, the vast majority of his team was on campus and ready to play.
Aside from one incoming freshman from England, Catarina Albuquerque, whose arrival was delayed with the unfortunate circumstances, the remainder of the freshman class has been on campus since the fall semester began. “The rest of our freshmen, as part of this delayed season, they don’t feel like freshmen the same way they would in the fall.” Lee said, “Those kids who are back with us, they feel like sophomores already.”
They’ll need all the capable options they can get if they’re going to navigate a shrunken season with the chance for postponed games and last-minute changes. One notable addition was recently announced, Serena Pham, a transfer from Alabama. While in Tuscaloosa, Pham she recorded the most assists by a freshman in school history. She’ll sit this spring but be eligible to play in the fall.
Rice Soccer opens its season with an exhibition against Houston at Holloway Field on Jan. 30. After one tune-up game, the condensed season begins with a road trip to face McNeese State on Feb. 4.
Rice is scheduled to face UTSA twice, Houston once more in a regulation game, and five additional Conference USA opponents. Consecutive weekend games against HBU and Texas Southern (twice), round up the schedule, which finishes at home on Apr. 8 against UTEP.
The Conference USA Tournament, hosted by Rice, begins on Apr. 13. You can see the complete schedule here.
Preseason C-USA Poll
Rice was picked to finish second in the West, runners up to a North Texas program that knocked the Owls out of the conference tournament last season before going on to win it all. Here is the complete poll:
- North Texas
- Louisiana Tech
- Southern Miss
- Florida Atlantic
- Middle Tennessee
- Old Dominion
Preseason All C-USA Team selections
Mijke Roelfsema and Delaney Schultz were both honored as preseason All-Conference selections. Rice was one of three teams with multiple selections. FAU (two selections) and North Texas (three selections) also received multiple nods. Here is the complete team:
- Ambere Barnett, WKU
- Kelsey Brann, North Texas
- Allie Byrd, North Texas
- Luisa Daikeler, FAU
- Peyton DePriest, Middle Tennessee
- Julia Patrum, Charlotte
- Ellis Patterson, UTSA
- Berklee Peters, North Texas
- Caitlin Pierce, Southern Miss
- Mijke Roelfsema, Rice
- Delaney Schultz, Rice
- Cassidy Wasdin, FAU
- Autumn Woodard, Louisiana Tech
Rice Soccer was featured in part of our extended offseason showcase, featuring stories about the growth of the program under coach Lee, which players could step up in the future and how Rice is using the Transfer Portal to their advantage. You can check those five pieces out here.
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