Study guide for the start of the year

Rice athletics overview

"But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?" –John F. Kennedy

As the start of the school year approaches, Rice football will continue its tradition of playing Texas with the game scheduled to take place at NRG stadium on September 14th. President John F. Kennedy would have you believe that we choose to do this because it is hard. As a recent graduate from Rice, I now know it's because we think we are so smart that we truly believe our gameplan is going to work this year...

For the first time in my life I live in the city of my alma mater and can't wait to attend games and be a part of the glorious tradition. I unfortunately was severely lacking in basic information from where to park to how much games cost. When reaching out to the athletic department I learned an interesting fact, Rice doesn't just play Football... In fact they have 14 Division 1 sports. Yes Fourteen! And another fun fact, watching most of the games is easy.

The PR team from Rice Athletics sent me over the following data which I am honored to pass on to you the Sportsmap reader. The Rice Campus is beautiful, the games are competitive (and cheap), and they have a great family friendly atmosphere. Armed with the information below I hope I can quickly catch you up on what is going on in the heart of Houston and who knows, maybe I can even convince a few readers to join in on the action. I do know one thing for sure though, I'm going to force you scroll down to see what the 14 sports are.


SOCCER

  • 2019 Season Home Opening game: August 25th at home vs. Houston
  • Stadium & Avg ticket price: Holloway Field, season tickets starting as low as $30 and individual as low as $8 https://riceowls.com/sports/2018/7/17/tickets-w-soccer-tickets-html.aspx?id=13
  • Summary: After finishing 7-9-1 in 2018, the Rice soccer program is under the direction of new head coach Brian Lee – a finalist for National Coach of the Year last season while leading LSU to the SEC Championship. The Owls return seven starters to the lineup in 2019, including C-USA Midfielder of the Year Lianne Mananquil.
  • Key events of 2019: August 25 vs crosstown rival Houston; Nov. 1 vs. North Texas (both matches played at home).

VOLLEYBALL

  • 2019 Season Opening match: Aug 30th @ Ole Miss (Tournament)
  • Stadium & Avg ticket price: Tudor Fieldhouse, individual tickets as low as $8. https://riceowls.com/sports/2018/7/17/tickets-w-volley-tickets-html.aspx?id=14
  • Summary: The Owls are coming off a 24-7 season last year in which they advanced to the NCAA Tournament with a sweep of the Conference USA regular season and tournament titles. Rice returns junior outside hitter Nicole Lennon, the reigning C-USA Player of the Year, as well as all-conference recipients Grace Morgan, Lee Ann Cunningham, Anota Adekunle and Carly Graham. In addition to posting their fifth straight 20-win season with a 24-7 record, the Owls earned their best C-USA record (12-2) while notching the longest winning streak (15 straight) in program history.

FOOTBALL

  • 2019 Season Home Opening game: September 6 vs. Wake Forest
  • Stadium & Avg ticket price: Rice Stadium, season tickets on sale now as low as $135, individual game sales begin next week. https://riceowls.com/sports/2018/7/17/tickets-m-footbl-tickets2-html.aspx?id=8
  • Summary: Mike Bloomgren's second season in leading the Owls features seven home games, including six at Rice Stadium, which begins its 70th season on September 6. Rice opens the season at Army on August 30, then plays in Houston the next four weekends, hosting Wake Forest, Baylor (September 21) and Louisiana Tech (September 28) at Rice Stadium and Texas at NRG Stadium on September 14.
  • Key events of 2019: Rice vs. Texas at NRG Stadium (September 14). Rice's 100th Homecoming vs. Marshall (November 2).
  • MEN'S BASKETBALL

  • 2019 Season Home Opening game: Nov. 9 vs. Penn
  • Stadium & Avg ticket price: https://riceowls.com/sports/2018/7/17/tickets-m-baskbl-tickets-html.aspx?id=7
  • Summary: Rice opens the season on Nov. 5 at former Southwest Conference foe Arkansas. The Owls look to improve on their 13 wins from last year and appearance in the Conference USA Tournament. They are led by seniors Ako Adams and Robert Martin and Conference USA All-Freshman team member Chris Mullins.
  • Key events: Nov. 19 vs. Houston at Tudor Fieldhouse
  • WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

  • 2019 Season Opening game: Nov. 5th vs. Nicholls State
  • Season Tickets: Tudor Fieldhouse, https://riceowls.com/sports/2018/7/17/tickets-w-baskbl-tickets-html.aspx?id=12
  • Summary: Last season was one for the record books for the Owls, reeling off a school record 28 wins while sweeping both the C-USA regular season (16-0) and conference tournament. The Owls, who climbed as high as No. 21 in the AP Top-25 Poll, advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 14 years under C-USA Coach of the Year Tina Langley and established a program record with 21 consecutive wins along the way. Rice returns four starters and nine letterwinners from last year's championship team, including the C-USA Player of the Year, Erica Ogwumike and Defensive Player of the Year, Nancy Mulkey.
  • Key events of 2019: Nov 17 vs Texas A&M, game is played at Tudor Fieldhouse; Dec. 20-21 vs. Virginia Tech/Georgia Tech in Puerto Rico.
  • WOMEN'S TENNIS

  • 2020 Dual opener: January 18 vs. Lamar
  • Stadium & Avg. ticket price: George R. Brown Tennis Center, Admission is free
  • Summary: The Owls captured their seventh Conference USA title in 2019, their sixth in the last seven years and ended the year ranked 40th in the country. The entire starting lineup returns for the 2019-20 season, led by C-USA Player of the Year Michaela Haet. The fall tournament season features the annual Rice Invitational (September 27-29).
  • Key events of 2020: A combined dual with the Rice men vs. LSU (#26 in 2019) on February 23; duals with Texas Tech (#29) on February 8, Kansas (#13) on March 7 and Washington State (#36).
  • MEN'S TENNIS

    • 2020 Dual opener: January 25 vs. Incarnate Word
    • Stadium & Avg. ticket price: George R. Brown Tennis Center Admission is free
    • Summary: Rice welcomes back its entire starting lineup, led by 2019 Conference USA Player of the Year Sumit Sarkar. The fall tournament season features the annual Rice Invitational (October 18-20).
    • Key events of 2020: A combined dual with the Rice women vs. LSU (#48 in 2019) on February 23; dual vs. TCU (#10) n March 13 and the Rice Invitational March 27-29.
    • Note: The George R. Brown Tennis Center will also host a pair of professional tournaments in the fall of 2019. The Texas Tamale Company Houston Cup, an ITF Pro Circuit event, will be played from September 16-22 while the Oracle Challenger Series will be held November 10-17. In addition, the Invesco Series legends tour is projected to return to the Tudor Fieldhouse in November.

    CROSS COUNTRY (MEN'S AND WOMEN'S)

  • 2019 Season Opening Meet: Sept. 13th @ Rice Intramural Fields
  • Avg ticket price: Free
  • Summary: The men and women are each coming off third place finishes in 2018 and return several top runners, including Hociel Landa (men-2nd Team), Alex Topini (men-2nd Team), Adolfo Carvalho (men-2nd Team), Lourdes Vivas de Lorenzi (women-2nd Team), Khayla patel (women-2nd Team), Ryann Helmers (women-Third Team) and Ashley Messineo (women-Third Team).
  • Key events of 2019: Sep 13, Rice Invitational
  • GOLF

  • 2019-20 Opener: Sept. 16-17 at Lone Star Invitational in San Antonio
  • Avg Ticket price: Unfortunately no admission to events
  • Summary: Rice looks to improve on its five top ten finishes from last year, including a fifth-place finish at the Conference USA Championships, finishing one stroke out of the Match Play Semifinals. The Owls return seven letterwinners from last year's squad, including lone senior Nick Duggan and junior Jake Benson, the 2019 Conference USA Champion and NCAA Regional participant.
  • Home Tournaments: Feb. 16-18 at All-American Intercollegiate at Golf Club of Houston; Apr. 13-14 at Bayou City Collegiate Classic at Golfcrest Country Club.
  • SWIMMING

  • 2019 Season Home Opening Meet: Rice Invitational October 11-12 (Rice plus four visiting teams in the five-team meet)
  • Venue & Avg ticket price: Rice Competition Pool, no charge for admission
  • Summary: The Rice swim program has enjoyed steady success under head coach Seth Huston, now starting his 18th year at the helm of the program. A year ago the Owls were the runner-up team at the 31-team National Invitational Swim Meet, often referred to as the "Swimming NIT."
  • Key events of 2019-2020: November 9 at home vs. Texas A&M; Feb. 26-29 at the C-USA Championships in Atlanta.
  • BASEBALL

  • 2020 Season Home Opening game: TBA (February 2020)
  • Stadium & Avg ticket price: Reckling Park, tickets starting as low as $10 adults/$8 youths https://riceowls.com/sports/2018/7/17/tickets-m-basebl-tickets-html.aspx?id=6
  • Summary: In 2019 the Owls went 26-33 under head coach Matt Bragga, who completed his first season on South Main. The Blue & Gray have a solid nucleus of experienced players returning in 2020, including junior shortstop Trei Cruz. Over the summer Cruz was recently named to the All-Star team of the prestigious Cape Cod League
  • Key events of 2020: full schedule is TBA, but the Owls host defending C-USA champion FAU and always play state rivals Houston, Texas and Texas A&M to name just a few.
  • TRACK & FIELD (MEN'S AND WOMEN'S)

  • 2020 Outdoor Home Meets: Victor Lopez Classic (Mar. 26-28) and J. Fred Duckett Twilight (Apr. 25)
  • Ticket Price and Availability: TBD, Tickets sold at gates
  • Past Results: 2018 Men Indoor Finish: 5th/10, 2018 Men Outdoor Finish: 7th/10, 2018 Women Indoor Finish: 4th/13, 2018 Women Outdoor Finish: 3rd/13
  • Top Returners: Men: Natan Rivera (pole vault), Corbett Fong (decathlon), Nick Hicks (thrower), Hociel Landa (distance), Matthew Murray (distance); Women: Michelle Fokam (jumps, All-American), Erna Gunnarsdottir (thrower), Hannah Jackson (sprints), Lourdes Vivas de Lorenzi (distance)
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    Born with a comic book in one hand and a remote control in the other, Cory DLG is the talent of Conroe's very own Nerd Thug Radio and Sports. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio show at www.nerdthugradio.com!

    LAST WEEKEND...

    This weekend in college football was a surprisingly tame one. The SEC saw only great days on the field with the exception of Mississippi State having to go to their Freshman back up in the second half and losing to Kansas State. Tennessee finally found someone they can beat and Florida may want to start celebrating their run in the top ten in days and not weeks.

    THE THREE STARS OF LAST WEEKEND

    Isaiah Spiller, running back, A&M, ran for116 yards on only 14 carries and made two housecalls against Lamar. A monster of a game.

    Cale Garrett, inside linebacker, Missouri, had a pick 6 very early on in their dominant win against The Redhawks and finished the game with a shut out.

    The SEC as a whole; which after 3 full weeks has 5 teams in the top 10. Alabama, Georgia and LSU in the top 5 and Florida and Auburn towards the bottom and while I don't think Florida will stay up there and one of Alabama, Georgia and LSU will eventually come out of that top 5, it is impressive right now.

    GAMES TO WATCH

    This weekend, there are exactly three games that need to be watched in the SEC. Florida hosting Tennessee, simply because I feel like this is where the upset could happen; Florida has been a shaky high rank and Tennessee has actually started to feel good about itself. In the afternoon slot, Auburn comes to Texas A&M in a powerhouse matchup that will be worth the watch as the true Freshman quarterback of Auburn, Nix, continues his dream season. Saturday night, Notre Dame comes to Georgia and we'll see if they brought a golden fiddle.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    The Three Players to Watch this week:

    Jarrett Guarantano, quarterback, Tennessee had three touchdowns on 7 completions and 142 yards of offense. That's the kind of efficiency and killer instinct he'll need to stay in this game against Florida.

    Bo Nix, quarterback, Auburn, this kid is too young to know how impressive he's playing and hopefully he isn't listening to any of the praise and staying levelheaded. He's proven he doesn't get rattled by the moment, so can he win on the road in one of the loudest stadiums in college football, Kyle Field?

    The Georgia defense. They are going to be playing a potent, hard to stop, mobile quarterback-based offense. Every time there isn't a great pass open, he's going to run, so they have to cover everyone including him, it's going to be a true test.

    Feel free to check out my brand new comic book Another Day at the Office or buy a shirt from Side Hustle Ts where some proceeds help people struggling with cancer or listen to Nerd Thug Radio. Thoughts, complaints, events and comments can be sent to corydlg@gmail.com.

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