Nearly there only halfway into her collegiate soccer career, Cassie Black figured that the record would be hers eventually.
The Battle Ground High School graduate tied Eastern Washington’s career scoring mark Sunday by putting the ball in the net for the 17th time as an Eagle, the first goal of a 3-0 road win Sunday over North Dakota State in the team’s final tuneup for Big Sky Conference play.
“It’s like the cherry on top,” Black said. “It’s a great achievement, but I have all of Big Sky this year and all of next year. There hasn’t been too much pressure because I have time, so I’m excited that it’s pretty early in the season and I already tied it.”
Black said she was not keeping track of her progress toward the mark — but she didn’t have to.
“My coach had told me that I was getting close, then in the press release from our last game when I scored, it said I was one off,” she said. “That was definitely motivation to keep going. Even tying it was a huge motivation, and what better time to score and own that record than scoring in the Big Sky Conference? In the end, (owning the record outright) will be cool — but really, we just need wins. We had a really rough preseason. It’s an achievement that I’m excited about, but in the end, I don’t care who scores as long as we get results.”
While goals have not come easily for the Eagles (2-7) this season — five of the team’s losses have been shutouts — Black said the encouraging thing is that they have not been blown out and they know what they have to do better in conference play.
“At this level, the other teams are so good that our little mistakes, they’re going to capitalize on,” she said. “We just need to cut down on mistakes in Big Sky and get some wins.”
Black’s goal in the 13th minute Sunday, a blast from outside the penalty area into the upper right corner of the Bison net, would stand as the game-winner — the seventh of her EWU career, extending the school record she already owns.
Black scored six goals as a freshman and eight as a sophomore, with a pair of game-winners her first collegiate season and four last year. Sunday’s was her third goal this fall, halfway through the 18-game regular season schedule.
The forward’s history has the attention of EWU opponents.
On Sunday, she got a little too much attention.
It was still a 1-0 game midway through the second half when Black got behind the NDSU defense with only the keeper to beat when she was hauled down by the kind of tackle seen in American football and earned a yellow card for an intentional foul.
“Honestly, it was a pretty cheap shot,” Black said. “I had her beat — she was the last defender back — and she two-arm hugged me and pulled me down. It was a well-deserved card.”
The result was an injury to the right elbow that kept her out of the rest of the game.
No that she didn’t try.
“It hurt, but at that time it was 1-0 and I told my coach, ‘Put me back in. I want to play. We’ve got to get the score up,’ ” Black said.
When the Eagles scored about five minutes later then the Bison gave up an own goal soon after that, however, “There really wasn’t any point in putting me back in at that point,” Black said. “We had the win, and we knew it.”
Black learned Monday that she has a possible fracture in the head of the radius, one of the two bones of arm below the elbow. She has another appointment Monday for an examination after swelling has decreased that could confirm the preliminary diagnosis.
Black said she is “100 percent” going to play when the Eagles open conference play on the road today at Idaho State and Saturday at Weber State — likely with the elbow taped so that she cannot fully extend her arm, because that is when it hurts.
“It’s my elbow, but I don’t have to worry too much, because I play soccer,” she said. “I don’t need that. I’m not playing basketball, so I’m good. Nothing’s going to keep me from playing in our first Big Sky game.”