Pair of offensive all-stars off to great start in 2012-13
Heading into an important weekend of Big Sky action, junior wide receiver Brandon Kaufman of the Eastern Washington University football team and sophomore forward Cassie Black from women’s soccer picked up the EWU Athletic Department Scholar-Athlete of the Month honor for October.
This award recognizes the athletic and academic success of student-athletes, based primarily on performances turned in during the month prior.
Kaufman, a native of Denver, Colo., maintains a 3.20 cumulative grade point average as a sociology and economics major. Black, a 2011 graduate of Battle Ground (Wash.) High School, boasts a 3.70 GPA in pre-medicine.
Both student-athletes will be in action this weekend for a couple important home games. The women’s soccer team hosts Big Sky newcomer North Dakota on Friday (Oct. 4) at 4 p.m. in Cheney, Wash., before taking on defending regular-season champion Northern Colorado on Sunday (Oct. 6) at 11 a.m.
On Saturday (Oct. 5), the football team will also host North Dakota as part of a busy Hall of Fame weekend in Cheney. Kickoff from the Inferno at Roos Field is scheduled for 5:05 p.m.
More on Kaufman
With a current streak of five-straight 100-yard receiving performances, Kaufman already has 24 catches for 559 yards and five touchdowns in the 2013 season for the 3-1 Eagles. He had eight catches for 138 yards and two TDs against Montana on Sept. 29, marking the fourth time in four games this season – and 12th time of his career – he has eclipsed the 100-yard mark. His performance against the Grizzlies earned him College Sports Madness Big Sky Offensive Player of the Week accolades and honorable mention Performer of the Week accolades in FCS by College Football Performance Awards. He also went over the 100-yard mark in the last game he played a year ago.
The 2010 All-American leads the Big Sky and ranks second in FCS in receiving yards per game (138.5), and is 27th in FCS in catches per game (6.0). Earlier this season, Kaufman earned honorable mention Performer of the Week accolades by College Football Performance Awards for his efforts at Washington State on Sept. 8. He finished with five catches for 142 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Kyle Padron’s 93-yard TD to Kaufman in the first quarter knotted the score at seven, and it equaled the fourth-longest pass play in school history.
One game earlier, in a 20-2 win at Idaho, he had five catches for 148 yards. That performance, which included grabs of 58, 35 and 33 yards, earned Kaufman FCS National Wide Receiver Performer of the Week accolades from College Football Performance Awards. He earned the same honor from College Sports Madness. His receptions helped set-up an Eastern field goal and touchdown.
Kaufman redshirted the 2011 season as an injury hardship case, but in 2010 was a first team All-America selection by the College Sporting News and fourth team from Phil Steele Publications. He was a first team All-Big Sky selection with 76 catches for 1,214 yards and 15 touchdowns as a sophomore when he helped lead the Eagles to the NCAA Division I title.
More on Black
During the month of September, Black was honored twice as the Big Sky Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 11 and again on Sept. 18. She also earned College Sports Madness Offensive Player of the Week accolades on Sept. 18, and was recognized with the same honor by InlandNWSoccerNews.com.
After starting the season 0-1-4, Black helped Eastern finally break through with a win against Boise State at the Viking Classic (Sept. 7-9). She scored two goals in that game to lead EWU to a 3-1 victory - its first-ever against the Broncos in 11 meetings. Black was also strong in the narrow loss to Utah State, with three shots in 57 minutes of the field. For her contributions, she was named Offensive MVP of the tournament.
The following week, Eastern picked up wins No. 2 and 3 on the season after defeating Idaho and Hawaii at home. In the 2-0 shutout of Idaho, Black had a hand, or rather foot, in both goals. Early in the second half she put Eastern on the board after breaking through the Vandal defense and driving a shot to the back of the net. Ten minutes later, she sent a perfect cross into the box that was netted by teammate Haley Stading.
Against the Rainbow Wahine, Black scored what proved to be the game-winning goal in EWU’s 2-1 victory. Four minutes into the second half, she received a pass from Stading just outside the six-yard box, and sent it straight home.
Black also played a vital role in securing Eastern’s first conference victory of the season - a 2-1 decision over Idaho State on Sept. 23. After falling behind within the first minute of the game, Eastern rebounded with two goals of its own. Black assisted on the first one, netted by senior Kasey McNeill, and scored the game-winner with a laser shot in the 51st minute.
Black has three game-winning goals on the season, which ranks second in the Big Sky and 37th nationally. She ranks second in the conference in goals and third for points.
In just her second year with the Eagles, she has already become one of the top five point earners in school history. Black has tallied 12 points already this season with five goals and two assists, and had 12 points as a freshman in 2011. She has a 11 goals thus far in her career, which already ranks fourth on Eastern’s all-time scoring list.