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Rice soccer picked to finish third in Conference USA

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Behind the talents of preseason all-conference selections Lauren Hughes, Holly Hargreaves and Quinny Truong, the Rice women’s soccer team is predicted to finish third out of 14 teams in Conference USA.

That was the findings of a 2014 preseason poll announced Tuesday by the conference. The poll is voted on by coaches.

Charlotte is the preseason favorite, followed by North Texas and Rice. FIU and UTEP round out the top 5. Last year’s champion, Colorado College, is no longer playing soccer in C-USA. They beat the Mean Green 3-0 in the conference tournament title game on Rice’s field last year.

The selection of Hughes, Hargreaves and Truong gave Rice the most players on the 11-player preseason team.

“We are extremely proud of our players,” Rice coach Nicky Adams said in a school-issued news release. “Quinny, Lauren and Holly each had a solid campaign for us in 2013, and definitely deserve this preseason honor. It shows how highly respected they are by the other coaches.”

Hughes was a second-team conference selection following her freshman season in 2012. Last season she was a first-team choice after scoring 9 goals and recording 8 assists. Hargreaves also scored 9 goals last year and was a first-team selection. The New Hope, Pa. native has nine game-winning goals in her Owls career.

Hughes and Hargreaves are forwards while Truong has been a staple at midfielder during the past three seasons. The senior scored five goals last year, including one in three consecutive games.

Rachel Holden of North Texas was tabbed as Preseason C-USA Offensive Player of the Year. Rice hosts North Texas on Oct. 12. The Owls won last year’s game between the two teams by a score of 4-0.

Monica Trickett of Charlotte was chosen as Preseason C-USA Defensive Player of the Year. The Owls host the 49ers on Oct. 26. Charlotte is the site of this season’s C-USA tournament.

“Conference USA has proven to be a tough conference to play in and every game will be a challenge,” Adams said.

The Rice season starts Aug. 22 at Baylor.

2014 C-USA PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM

  • Amanda Jones, Sr., M, Charlotte (Mahwah, New Jersey)
  • Monica Trickett, Jr., D, Charlotte (Raleigh, North Carolina)
  • Ashleigh Shim, Sr., F, FIU (Jacksonville, Florida)
  • Claire Emslie, Jr., M, Florida Atlantic (Penicuik, Scotland)
  • Olivia MBala, R-Sr., D, Florida Atlantic (Toronto, Canada)
  • Rachel Holden, So., F, North Texas (Lancaster, Texas)
  • Holly Hargreaves, Jr., F, Rice (New Hope, Pennsylvania)
  • Lauren Hughes, Jr., F, Rice (Ottawa, Canada)
  • Quinny Truong, Sr., M, Rice (Fort Worth, Texas)
  • Aleah Davis, R-So., M, UTEP (Hewitt, Texas)
  • Emma Makela, So., GK, UTSA (Mukilteo, Washington)

2014 C-USA PRESEASON POLL

  1. Charlotte
  2. North Texas
  3. Rice
  4. FIU
  5. UTEP
  6. UAB
  7. Marshall
  8. Florida Atlantic
  9. Middle Tennessee
  10. WKU
  11. UTSA
  12. LA Tech
  13. Old Dominion
  14. Southern Miss
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