WKU falls to Rice 3-2 in Overtime

Austin Lanter

WKU battled from an early 1-0 deficit, but fell 3-2 in the second period of overtime to Rice on Saturday in Houston.

Rice set the pace early, taking four shots in the first eight minutes of the game. The Owls finally connected in the 18th minute with a goal from Jessica Howard to take a 1-0 lead.

WKU (5-3) responded in the 32nd minute with a goal from senior forward Mallory Outerbridge, who chipped one over the keeper. The goal was Outerbridge’s 32nd of her career, tying Jenna Silverberg for WKU’s career goals scored record.

WKU then took its first lead of the game in the 55th minute when Outerbridge connected with sophomore defender Torrie Lange off a corner.

Head Coach Jason Neidell said it was great to see the team fight back Saturday.

“It was absolutely huge,” he said. “We talked about it at halftime and in the postgame. It showed lot of growth and maturity as a team. We played a really good team. Times in the past, it would’ve done us in, but we wiped the dirt off, and went right back at them.”

The lead, however, didn’t last long. Rice scored just three minutes later to tie the game.

The game remained tied 2-2 for the rest of regulation and after the first 15 minute overtime period. But in the 101st minute, the Owls found the goal again to win the game 3-2.

Despite being outshot 28-14 in the game, Neidell said he doesn’t think that was an accurate portrayal of the game. He said that stat actually reflects how good the defense was.

“They were shooting the ball from anywhere,” he said. “They couldn’t get in on us so they resorted to just shooting from outside quite a bit, like 30-40 yards out.”

Neidell also said that although the team started the game off “sluggish,” when they were concentrated, they played really consistent and good.

He said he’ll switch things up and work on playing with two forwards this week.

He said he made the switch to two forwards in the first half of the game and thought the players had some success with it.

Neidell called this season’s non-conference slate the toughest WKU has ever faced.

“It really prepared us for conference play,” he said. “We saw a bit of everything and saw different styles of play. We had to play every time we stepped on field.”

WKU opens Sun Belt Conference play next weekend on the road against two of the league’s top teams — North Texas on Friday and Denver on Sunday.