There was a time – an admittedly young, stubborn time – when Morgan Weaver was reluctant to visit the campus of Washington State.
The senior forward will leave Pullman next spring as one of the finest Cougar soccer players to sink her cleats into Lower Field, a distinction borne from the advice of her mother.
A native of University Place, Washington, the former Curtis High star’s intentions were initially locked onto the nearby University of Washington.
Weaver had already begun to picture herself in a purple jersey, peppering Pac-12 goalies.
“I was ready to (commit) to Washington, but my mom (Jana Weaver) made me visit Washington State,” Weaver said. “She thought I should visit others schools before I made my college decision.”
Fifteen minutes into her visit of the Palouse school, she shifted to crimson.
The sturdy WSU women’s soccer program has benefited since.
When the Cougars (9-3-1, 2-2-1 Pac-12) – who recently dropped from the national Top 25 poll – visit Oregon (4-4-5, 0-3-2) on Saturday, Weaver will likely continue her ascension in the school’s record book.
Weaver is two shots short of breaking the Cougars’ career record (306). She also ranks third in career goals (33) and fifth in career points (75).
A two-time All-Pac-12 first-team selection often ranked among the top 50 players in the country, Weaver helped WSU earn back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths, including a run to the third round in 2017.
She believes the Cougars can make it a third consecutive trip as they enter the home stretch of their challenging conference slate.
It’s an expectation for the Cougars, who’ve reached four of the past five NCAA Tournaments and are regularly in the Top 25.
“This is a job,” Weaver said. “You need to win here. You have to win here.”
Weaver is the first player in program history named to the Hermann Trophy Award watch list, given to the top player in NCAA Division I women’s soccer.
“She’s a winner,” WSU head coach Todd Shulenberger said earlier this season. “She’s got a big heart … she’s a fun player to be around. She’s easily coachable, she’s an awesome athletic performer here, and she scores goals.”
As much as the 5-foot-10 Weaver appreciates the accolades, she said she’s more interested in helping the Cougars reach new heights.
Considered the country’s top women’s soccer conference, the Pac-12 features second-ranked Stanford, fourth-ranked USC, 16th-ranked UCLA and No. 25 Washington.
The Cougars face Washington on Nov. 8 in Pullman, the final regular-season game of Weaver’s career. She’s never lost to the Huskies.
“I want to be able to say I gave my best every game,” Weaver said of her career. “I’ve had good teammates.”
Zags appear in rankings
For the first time in program history, Gonzaga reached the No. 3 spot in the United Soccer Coaches’ West Region poll. The Bulldogs also received one vote in the national Top 25 poll.
Gonzaga (9-3-1, 2-0-1 West Coast Conference) travels to Pepperdine (6-5-2, 2-1) on Saturday.
Eagles honored by Big Sky
Eastern Washington senior Brooke Dunbar and junior goalie Kelsee Winston earned Big Sky Conference Player of the Week honors.
Winston had eight saves last weekend in shutout wins over Weber State and Idaho State.
Dunbar had two goals in a 3-0 win over Idaho State.
The Eagles (6-5-2, 3-0-1) host Southern Utah on Friday.
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