In our football-frenzied town, collegiate soccer ranks pretty low in the sports hierarchy. But fans of the Rice University women's soccer team are kicking and screaming in anticipation of the upcoming season. Back from a record-setting 2004 campaign, this year's Owls have one of the nation's most talented incoming classes, and a preseason coaches' poll ranked them at the top of the crop. All that, and the team has been around just five years. Last year's seniors led the Owls to 14 wins and the team's first NCAA tournament. But this year's squad isn't lacking in leadership. Look for top returning scorer Clory Martin and standout forwards Caitlin Robbins and Vanessa Serrano to lead the team away from its defensive-minded approach and get the ball in the back of the net. Coaches also expect the freshmen to light it up. And of course, the Blue and Gray will still play some serious D -- watch for all-conference senior defender Erin Droeger to shadow and shut down opposing forwards.
The season kicks off this week when the Owls take on the tournament-tested Auburn Tigers at the Rice Track/Soccer Stadium in their first of 11 home games. See the ladies show off their skills in the other football at 7 p.m. Friday, August 26. 6100 Main. For tickets and information, call 713-522-6957 or visit www.riceowls.collegesports.com. $4 to $6. -- Mosi Secret
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We get that the fit and trim folks at Bayou City Outdoors are all about the health and fitness. Apparently, if you're into hiking, biking, scuba diving, whitewater rafting and all that other stuff that involves cardio and muscle exertion, you've got friends there. So we're a little surprised to hear that the sports clubbers are getting together to toss back some -- gasp! -- brew. The gang is throwing a mixer for current members and anyone looking to join. No Powerade here -- you'll be sippin' Shiners and Pepsi (though you can nosh on Clif bars, to keep some semblance of your athletically minded diet). Catch live tunes, score some swag, and see if you can convince a fellow sports nut to burn off the beer with you later. 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, August 26. Sun & Ski Sports, 6100 Westheimer. For information, call 713-524-3567 or visit www.bayoucityoutdoors.com. Free. -- Steven Devadanam