2022 was filled with highs and lows for Rice Athletics. The Roost picked out 10 moments that stood out the most along the way.
10. Rice Swimming wins Open Water Title
Ella Dyson led the way for Rice swimming in Open Water Championship, finishing the 5K course in first place, becoming the first Rice swimmer to win an individual championship in the history of the event. It was enough to propel the Owls to a team title at the event, its first since 2019.
9. Men’s Tennis boasts Freshman of the Year
Haoyuan Huang went 17-5 record in singles in his first year in college tennis. His 13-3 mark at the first line was the best mark at the top position in the lineup by a Rice freshman since former All-American Richard Barker was 15-8 in 2001.
8. Men’s basketball makes a big recruiting splash
Winning on the recruiting front is the easiest way to secure wins on the court down the line, that’s what made the commitment of 4-star guard Keanu Dawes so massive this year. To earn his pledge, Rice had to beat out offers from Texas A&M, Texas Utah, BYU and Oklahoma State. Needless to say, he’s going to be a difference-maker when he arrives on campus in 2023.
7. Women’s basketball upsets Texas A&M
Rice Athletics had several big singular game wins this year but when it came to wins over teams from the Lone Star State, what the women’s basketball team did against the Maroon and White in November takes the cake. The Owls beat the Aggies in College Station for just the fourth time in program history.
6. Men’s basketball upsets UAB
Speaking of upsets, the men earned one of their most notable victories under current head coach Scott Pera way back in January, knocking off UAB — a top 50 KenPom team and a C-USA giant — at Tudor Fieldhouse. Pera was almost speechless. “I don’t remember one bigger than this,” he said at the time.
5. Rice soccer goes undefeated in conference
In 10 regular season matches, Rice soccer went a sterling 9-0-1, an undefeated record with just one tie in their final conference game of the season. The finish tied the 2017 team for the Owls’ best conference record in program history.
4. Women’s Basketball starts 9-0
A year after taking over a program in transition, head coach Lindsay Edmonds has turned Rice women’s basketball into a force. Edmonds and Co. accomplished what no coach had ever done before with a perfect nonconference record and she did it without eventual WNBA draft selection Erica Ogwumike or star center Nancy Mulky, who dazzled in the Owls’ most recent run of dominance on the court.
3. Rice football finally goes bowling
The expressed goal of the 2022 Rice football season was for it to not finish before December, specifically for the Owls to punch a ticket to a bowl game for the first time since 2014. While the Lending Tree Bowl didn’t end well, it was a meaningful milestone for the program as it wraps up its final season in Conference USA.
2. Rice volleyball sends off WKU in C-USA Tournament Finale
Rice and Western Kentucky have been the gold standard in Conference USA for quite a while, but the Owls hadn’t quite figured out how to climb into the driver’s seat in the conference with WKU in the way. The Hilltoppers defeated the Owls in the C-USA Championship match five times since 2014, including the past three seasons — at least until Rice notched the victory in their final C-USA Tournament game ever. How sweet it was.
1. Rice Athletics makes AAC invite official
After the announcement that Rice would be headed to a new conference in 2021, things started to crystalize this past summer when an official date was announced. On June 15, Rice confirmed its AAC membership would begin on July 1, 2023. No longer just an idea, it was officially official. Rice is AAC bound with some sports already completing their final C-USA contests.
How about you? Which of these moments from Rice Athletics did you enjoy the most? Cutting this down to 10 was challenging. Which Rice Athletics events should be added to the list?
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