The University of Idaho fought back at Portland State to snag a 2-1 victory to remain atop the Big Sky Conference at 5-1-0 Sunday while Eastern Washington, second with a game in hand, blanked Weber State to remain unbeaten at 4-0-1.
In Cheney, the victory was also a bit of a celebration for junior Chloe Williams, who officially took the top spot in nearly every statistical career scoring table. Already at the top of the points and assists lists, she broke Cassie Black's record of 24 career goals early in the first half. With the defense posting the shutout, the goal also doubled as the record-setting 10th game-winning goal, another record held by Black. She went on to add another goal and an assist to expand all the marks.
"She's special. She's a good player and the thing about Chloe that I love is she works hard every day and just keeps her head down," coach Chad Bodnar said of Chloe setting the career records as a junior. "I don't think that stuff she even really cares that much about - she just wants to work hard and wants to win. I think she enjoys that as much as scoring all the goals."
True to that, Williams was constantly hustling throughout the contest, providing key defensive pressure on the Wildcat back line and playing midfield for portions of the match. She even surprisingly took an early corner kick before Aimee Inthoulay entered the game instead of placing herself in position to score.
The record-breaking goal came in the 18th minute... with surprisingly little celebration, which also matched Bodner's description of the standout striker. She calmly jogged back, stopping only twice to receive congrats from a pair of teammates.
"It's really cool. It's an honor, but I couldn't do it without my teammates and coaches and everything," said Williams. "We are not done yet, just gotta keep working.
A freshman when Black set the records, reaching her former teammate's records was not even in her sights.
"Not at all. I don't know - I didn't even know what it took to get the record. I don't really pay attention to that stuff. It's cool, it's exciting," she said, showing more interest in getting another win and the idea of reaching and potentially hosting the Big Sky Conference tournament. "Hopefully we can get to host this year - that would be really cool."
"I've really enjoyed it here. Been lucky to have good teammates and everything," she added about her career thus far. "We've been doing really well and the program has been getting better every year so that's exciting. It's good to be a part of the change in the program and everything."
Though her hold on the records are gone, Black is happy to see her alma mater excelling.
"Chloe is a phenomenal player and an even better person. I couldn't be more happy for her and the entire EWU Women's Soccer Team," said Black, who is currently working at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, pursuing a career in the medical field. "I know I speak for many when I say that I am a proud EWU soccer alumni and I can't wait to see where coaches Bodnar and Weber take this team. Chloe is not only an incredibly talented athlete, but she has worked hard and is very deserving of the Eastern record-board.
The results through the midway point have the Eagles and Vandals duking it out as the favorites for the regular season title and the right to host the Big Sky tournament.
The results have the Eagles and Vandals
"It's going well, Bodnar said of the season thus far. "That's a tough road trip we took last week. We kind of slipped up at Portland State, but that may have been as much the field as anything else. We are really just focused on getting the next one because the conference is funny with travel and the way things shake out sometimes. We are just kinda trying to focus on us and making sure we get three points every time we go out.
"That would be nice," Bodnar said of the thought of possibly hosting the Big Sky tourney this year. "It's a long ways from now - we got five games left. Halfway through you couldn't ask for much more.
"[The Vandals] are plugging away too, and keep winning. We keep hoping they slip up, but like I said, we just talk about all we can control is the games that we have and that we play so we are just gonna focus on the next one.
Weber State 0 :: 3 Eastern Washington #####
The Eagles controlled the contest from the start and constantly possessed the ball in the attacking third of the field, creating chance after chance. It was a ball out of deep midfield in the 18th minute from Laci Rennaker (Spokane, WA), however, that led to the first goal as she hit Chloe Williams (Spokane, WA) in stride running right up the middle of the pitch. Williams drove past a tracking defender and then slipped it past the goalkeeper for the record-setting career goal.
Williams later turned provider in the second half driving along the left end line and delivering a low ball into the six that Devan Talley one-timed past the keeper from close range in the 58th. She wasn't done yet, getting a second goal in the 71st minute when she took a ball from Allison Raniere, looked up and pinged a ball from the right corner of the box that banked in off the far left post for the commanding three goal lead.
"I thought overall it was probably the best 90 minutes we have played all season," Bodnar said. "Just the organization in the back and we scored some good goals, and thought we played well in combination play in between. So, it was a good performance at home - we need it. We just got to keep plugging away one game at a time."
From there Mallory Taylor, the defense and a multitude of reserves took care of business to help the Eagles post their third consecutive shutout, maintaining their unbeaten conference record and overall nine-game unbeaten run (8-0-2). League-leading Idaho remains the only Big Sky team that has scored against Eastern. MORE [+]
Idaho 2 :: 1 Portland State #####
Kristin Moyer scored on a 23 yard free kick in the 32nd minute to put the host Vikings in front, but the Vandals erased the deficit quickly in the second half and moved in front a short time later to earn the victory.
A corner in the 47th minute led to the equalizer when Amanda Pease was taken down inside the box for a penalty that Elexis Schlossarek converted to even things up.
Ten minutes later they found the winner on an indirect free kick after the PSU keeper handled a back pass. The restart at the corner of the six was a crafty in which Schlossarek smacked the ball off the foot of Clara Gomez, sending it on from where Kelly Dopke redirected it in for what held as the game-winner.
Goalkeeper Torrell Stewart kept the hosts off the board, finishing with four saves, including one on another dangerously taken free kick, extending Idaho's conference win streak to four games since they lost to second-place Eastern Washington in overtime in their second match of the season. MORE [+]
Idaho State 1 :: OT :: 2 Sacramento State #####
The Bengals' three-game win streak came to a disappoint conclusion in Sacramento with the Hornets getting the winner in the 100th minute via Kassidy Kennedy, who put away a rebound of a Kayla Collins shot that banged off the crossbar. After a scoreless first half, Jennifer Lum put the hosts on the board first in the 69th minute, but Esmerelda drove to the end line in the 78th minute and crossed the ball into Michaela Didericksen for the equalizer. MORE [+]
Northern Arizona 0 :: 3 Northern Colorado #####
After dropping two on the road last week in Idaho, last season's Big Sky tournament champions bounced back at home this weekend and posted a pair of three-goal performances. The second came in a shutout performance against fellow mid-table side Northern Arizona to move them into third place and within striking distance of the EWU and Idaho if the two falter.
Kassy Castillo put the Bears on the board in the 25th minute and Mariel Gutierrez doubled the lead on a penalty in the 38th. Sydney Schroeder put the match out of reach in the 68th.
Southern Utah 1 :: 4 North Dakota #####
In a battle at the bottom of the table, the Fighting Hawks picked up their first Big Sky win of the season and ended a 10-game winless streak (0-9-1). Veronica Kessler fed Bella Mantaro in the third minute. The hosts struck again early in the second half with Emily Smithson scoring five minutes in on a corner. She then turned provider, sending Kessler on a breakaway in the 68th and finding Katie Moller in the 73rd. Haley Adams spoiled the shutout with a penalty in the 80th for the Thunderbirds.
Coming Up #####
Friday, October 14
Sacramento State @ North Dakota 3:00
Eastern Washington @ Southern Utah 3:00
Portland State @ Northern Colorado 6:00
Idaho @ Weber State 6:00
Montana @ Northern Arizona 7:00
Sunday, October 16
Idaho State @ Weber State 11:00
Portland State @ North Dakota 11:00
Sacramento State @ Northern Colorado 12:00
Eastern Washington @ Northern Arizona 12:00
Montana @ Southern Utah 12:00