BOCA RATON, Fla. -- The Florida Atlantic University women's soccer team will continue and eventually conclude what will turn out to be a two-week road trip for the road-tested squad, beginning Friday with the 2017 Conference USA opener against Rice.
Owls' Week in Review
The Owls (4-3-1) first tied 0-0 with Oakland on Friday night, with plans to return home for a Sunday match versus College of Charleston. Hurricane Irma forced cancelation of that, and instead the team went from Michigan to North Carolina and defeated Gardner-Webb, 2-1. Moreover, the players, coaches and staff have yet to return to Florida, staying on the road to fly to Houston for their furthest trip even without all of these unforeseen complications. With the shutout draw and then Sunday's win, goalkeeper Jennifer Ocampo moved into the lead in C-USA in three major categories: goals against average (.549), save percentage (.900) and shutouts per game (.429).
Owls' Week in Preview
The road warriors first will take on Conference USA's western Owls, of Rice (3-2-1), an 8 p.m. EST start on Friday (as Houston is an hour behind, in the Central time zone). Of course, Rice too has had disastrous weather issues due to Hurricane Harvey, with two matches canceled and one postponed. The latter was a free match with crosstown rival Houston, rescheduled a week later, in what would be a 4-1 Rice victory. The team has since fallen to Memphis (3-1) and defeated Tulsa, also while in Memphis (5-2). Nia Stallings leads the way with four goals and three assists, the assist tally equaling that of teammate Marissa Topolski.
Following that matchup, FAU moves over yet another time zone, to Cedar City, Utah, taking on Southern Utah (1-6) Sunday at 3 p.m. EST (1 p.m. Mountain). The Thunderbirds notched their first victory of the year last Friday, 2-1 over Nevada, but fell to Wisconsin-Milwaukee two days later, 6-0. MaKenzie Lawrence has a team-high two goals, and four others have one.
The Owls and Owls have met a grand total of three times, with Rice taking two wins, in the first and most recent tilts. Last year in Boca Raton, in the regular season finale for both teams, an overtime goal by Annie Walker gave Rice a 1-0 victory. The year prior, FAU took their only win in the series, 3-2 in two overtimes, with the golden goal coming off the foot of Geovana Alves.
FAU met Southern Utah for the first time in program history to begin last year's regular season, at the home of the football Owls, FAU Stadium. The Owls prevailed 2-1, with goals coming from Elisha Holmes and Sammy Rowland.
The Owls in theory will finally return home, to host Old Dominion at FAU Soccer Stadium on Friday, Sept. 22. It is the only scheduled matchup of the weekend for the squad, and is set to begin at 7 p.m.