Stephanie Carr didn't know what to expect when she arrived at Southern Oregon in 2009, and was even a little worried following a so-so freshman campaign.
Stephanie Carr didn't know what to expect when she arrived at Southern Oregon in 2009, and was even a little concerned following a so-so freshman campaign.
"I didn't think I had a good first year here," the senior forward out of Upland, Calif., said. "But after my sophomore year I felt like I could make an impression on people and have a nice impact."
Two years later, it's become apparent that Carr underestimated herself.
Continuing a surge that began her sophomore year, Southern Oregon's striker has scored seven goals in six games this season to move within two of tying the school's all-time career scoring record of 32. She almost certainly will shatter the mark, and soon. Carr is averaging a Cascade Collegiate Conference-best 1.17 goals per game and is tied with Corban's Audrey Sullivan for the league lead in total goals with still 11 games remaining on the Raiders' regular season schedule.
Carr's next chance to tie or break the SOU record will be Friday at Atherton, Calif., where the Raiders (4-1-1) will put their impressive start to the test against No. 8 Westmont. Southern Oregon won't play at home again until its Sept. 28 league opener against Evergreen.
Carr, who scored 10 goals as a sophomore and 11 as a junior, both team highs, said she didn't realize the team scoring record was attainable until somebody told her how close she was to making history on Saturday.
"I honestly never think about it when I go into a game," she said.
And how will she react when the moment comes? Carr isn't sure.
"I'm not really one to shout out," she said. "But I'd be really proud of myself and what I've accomplished. It's something that most people don't get the chance to do."
Discussing her phenomenal run at SOU, Carr is clearly uncomfortable with taking credit. Instead she tries to deflect the attention away from her accomplishments and toward a Raider offense that's as potent as any in the conference. It's an explanation that's partly based on fact — Southern Oregon is currently the top-scoring team in the league, averaging three goals per game, and ranks second in assists with 11.
"I feel like a lot of my goals are from the effort of the team as a whole," Carr said.
Carr hopes her record-breaking season coincides with what would be a historic breakthrough for the team as a whole. The Raiders have never qualified for the NAIA national tournament, but through the first three weeks of the season have looked like legitimate contenders this year.
As usual, in order to taste nationals the Raiders will almost certainly have to take down Cascade Conference powerhouse Concordia, which has won 14 of the last 15 league titles and is currently ranked No. 1 in the nation. The Cavaliers' rule has to end sometime, though, and Carr believes this year's Raiders have the talent to finally topple the league bullies.
She may be right. Southern Oregon returned 19 players from a team that placed second in the conference (to Concordia) last season, including eight starters.
The Raiders face Concordia once during the regular season — Oct. 7 in Portland — and possibly again in the league tournament.
What will it take for the Raiders to pull off the stunner? Perhaps just a little patience, explains Carr.
"Concordia plays a completely different game than we do," she said. "They're extremely physical, while we like to open it up and spread it out and pass, and that's going to be the key to getting around them.
"I think it's going to be make or break," she added.
"If we play how they play then we're going to be in trouble. But if we play our game then I don't think it'll be a problem."