Soccer Opens Up League Play At Rice Friday At 7 p.m.

    Christine Nieva
    Christine Nieva
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    Oct. 4, 2007

    HOUSTON - The University of Houston soccer team opens up Conference USA play Friday against crosstown rival Rice at 7 p.m. CDT in the Rice Soccer/Track Stadium.

    The Cougars (4-4-1) have lost two of the past three and are coming off a tough 1-0 overtime loss to TCU on Sunday.

    Houston's front line has had the appearance of a M.A.S.H. unit of late with three regulars, Nikki Echeverria (Sugar Land, Texas/Clements HS), Christine Nieva (Mesquite, Texas/North Mesquite HS/Arizona State) and Brittany Pfeiffer (Sugar Land, Texas/Austin HS), all missing time during the past five matches.

    Nieva is expected to return to action Friday, giving Houston a much-needed shot in the arm as the offense has produced only four goals in the last five matches.

    Shelby Scott (Mesquite, Texas/North Mesquite HS) has been strong in the net all season, sporting a 1.50 goals against average with 67 saves. She made nine saves in thee loss to TCU on Sunday.

    Rice is 6-3-1 to start the season, knocking off TCU, Stephen F. Austin, Texas State and Lamar. The Owls' only losses have all been on the road, to No. 4 Texas A&M, Mississippi and Mississippi State. Rice has five starters back from its 2006 team that finished with an 11-6-1 record.

    The two rivals' six previous matchups all have been decided by a goal or less. Rice won the last outing, with the Owls earning a win after a goal in the waning seconds of the game. UH's last win at Rice Soccer Stadium came on Sept. 4, 2001, a 2-1 decision for the Cougars.

    Fans interested in tickets can call 713-522-6957. Live stats and streaming video for the match will be available at



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