Aug. 26, 2005
HOUSTON, Texas - The Auburn soccer team opened its season with a 2-1 loss at Rice Friday night as the Owls were awarded two penalty kicks, capitalizing on one, which would be the game-winner.
"We just need to keep our heads up," Auburn head coach Karen Hoppa said. "We didn't catch any breaks, but we need to refocus and get ready to play the rest of the season. We still have a lot left to play."
The Tigers got on the board in the 24th minute as Courtney Crandell sent a hard shot in from the left sideline towards the goal. Junior defender Ronda Brooks was in position at the right side of the goal just two yards out when she headed in the shot directly from Crandell for the 1-0 Auburn advantage.
"Crandell had a great ball to Ronda and she did a great job finishing it off, but we needed more of that in the game," Hoppa said.
Auburn goalkeeper Anna Fiser, who made three saves in the half, was most closely-challenged on an Owls indirect kick just outside the box 25 minutes into the half. The half ended with the Tigers up 1-0 and shots tied at 3-3.
In the second half, Auburn had its chances as freshman Kara Kasten broke through the Rice defense on a pass from Jada Stewart, but the shot went high over the crossbar.
With 25:05 remaining on the clock, the Owls got the ball into the Auburn end. The ball hit off of a Tiger defender and to Rice midfielder Ashley Lucas, who sent the ball past Fiser from two yards out, tying the game at 1-1.
n the 77nd minute, the Owls were awarded a penalty kick, but Erin Droeger missed left, keeping the score at 1-1. Exactly five minutes later, Auburn was not so lucky as another penalty kick was awarded to Rice and this time Caitlin Robbins got the ball past Fiser for the score and the 2-1 advantage.
Rice out-shot Auburn 9-5 in the game, but corner kicks were 6-1 in favor of the Tigers for the contest.
"Right now we need to concentrate on getting healthy and rested," Hoppa said. "Three of our players got banged up tonight, but luckily we play at night on Sunday so we have a little extra time to recover."
Auburn will now travel to Texas for a 7 p.m. CT match on Sunday, Aug. 28, set to be broadcast live on ESPNU.