TULSA, Okla. – The senior tandem of Lianne Mananquil and Haley Kostyshyn scored goals near the start of the first and second halves, respectively, to pace the Rice soccer team to a 2-1 season-opening victory at Oral Roberts Thursday evening on the road in Tulsa, Okla.
Not only was it the first time for Rice to win its season-opening game since 2008, the Owls also posted the victory in the debut of new head coach Brian Lee. The Rice seniors were front and center in something that appears to be an early signature of Lee's system – early goals to start a half.
In each of the previous two exhibition matches vs. TCU and Lamar, the Owls jumped on the board with early scores. The season opener followed suit as Blue & Gray quickly got their kicks on Route 66.
In just the fourth minute Mananquil played past ORU defensive traffic and found the back of the net from inside the 18 on her first shot of the contest. In the 49th minute, four minutes into the second period, sophomore Delaney Schultz made a long run with the ball down middle of the field. When the Golden Eagles defenders converged on Schultz, she threaded a pass toward the right wing where Kostyshyn settled and blasted away.
Kostyshyn lined a strike to the top left corner to give the Blue & Gray a 2-0 advantage. The goal was the senior forward's first score in two years after being sidelined all last season. She finished the match leading all players in the game with a career-high five shot attempts.
Rice was in front, but ORU would not go away so quietly at home. The Golden Eagles turned up the offensive pressure and rallied for a goal in the 80th minute to cut the margin to 2-1. Senior goalkeeper Maya Hoyer started the second half and four saves. Sophomore keeper Bella Killgore worked the first 45 and recorded a save. ORU finished with a 12-11 lead in shots and held a 6-3 advantage in corner kicks.
The Owls are next in action on Sunday (Aug. 25) with a home match against crosstown rival Houston. Start time at Holloway Field is set for 7 pm. The match, which will feature a free vuvuzela giveaway, is a way Rice students can officially close out the University's O-Week festivities.