Jessica Howard scored her first goal in more than two years as the Rice soccer team honored the seniors with a 5-2 win over Old Dominion at home Friday.
Howard was a preseason all-Conference USA honoree at forward in 2012, but she missed the entire season due to an injury. She has returned to play nine games this year.
With Rice ahead 3-1 late in the first half Friday, Holly Hargreaves kicked it to Howard in traffic. The Dallas native knocked the ball past Old Dominion goalkeeper Meredith Lenox for the goal. It was her 12th career goal for the Owls, and first since Oct. 9, 2011.
Howard was honored with seniors Kasey McKenney, Alexandra Trenary and Hayley Williams during Senior Night festivities.
Rice sophomore forward Lauren Hughes scored a pair of goals in the first 15 minutes and Jasmine Isokpunwu scored on a header in the 34th minute. Gabriela Iribarne added a goal in the second half for Rice.
“We knew Old Dominion was going to be tough, but I’m proud of the girls for how they fought today,” said Rice coach Nicky Adams.
Old Dominion (1-11-3, 1-5-2) hasn’t encountered much success it its first season in Conference USA, but the Monarchs had some chances to keep up with Rice Friday. They took 18 shots, nine in each period. Rice goalkeeper Amy Czyz made nine saves.
Rice improved to 6-7-2 overall and 4-4 in conference play with two regular season games remaining. Rice will host East Carolina (7-8-2, 4-4) at 1 p.m. Sunday.
The Conference USA soccer tournament is on the Owls home field. Rice is currently tied for the sixth best record in the conference.