Dick Hannula Amateur Athlete of the Year-Detail

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Dick Hannula Amateur Athlete of the Year-Detail
Dick Hannula Amateur Athlete of the Year-Detail

Morgan Weaver
Curtis High School / Washington State University

    Morgan Weaver - 2020 Dick Hannula Female Amateur Athlete of the Year

    By Craig Hill
    Former Sports Staff member- The News Tribune

    As Washington State University's historic run came to a heartbreaking end with a 2-1 loss to North Carolina in the NCAA women's soccer national semifinals, Morgan Weaver called her teammates together and delivered a message: "We can't be sad right now."
    For four years, the University Place native led the Cougs in scoring, set the tone with an intense work ethic, deflected credit for her success to the team and helped WSU reach new heights.
    "We've done stuff that people haven't done before in Coug history," the forward told reporters when asked what she told the team after her final game.
    It's this unparalleled success that makes Weaver the clear choice for her second Dick Hannula Female Amateur Athlete of the Year award. Weaver won the award in 2015 for her exploits at Curtis High.
    "She's a winner," WSU coach Todd Shulenberger told Cougfan.com in December. "... 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."
    At WSU, Weaver was the star of the best teams in school history. She made the Pac-12 All-Freshman team in 2016, earned all-conference honors her final three seasons. She was first-team All-Pacific Region as a junior and senior and a third-team All-American in 2019.
    Her speed, strength and knowledge of the game were valuable assets as the Cougs made the NCAA Tournament the past three seasons. In 10 tournament games, Weaver scored six goals and WSU won seven games.
    The Cougs advanced to the Round of 16 in 2017 and the second round in 2018, but it was Weaver's senior season that saw WSU set a new standard for success.
    In 2019, Weaver had 15 of the Cougar's 44 goals and five assists. In a Nov. 3 game against Colorado she tied the school record with four goals.
    But the real magic came as the Cougars made their first ever appearance in the College Cup, NCAA soccer's Final Four. WSU beat No. 14 Memphis in Pullman; No. 3 Virginia and unranked West Virginia in Virginia; and then won at No. 5 South Carolina to advance to the College Cup.
    "I dreamed of this since I was a little kid and being able to live the dream is pretty cool," Weaver told the Spokane Spokesman-Review.
    In San Jose, Weaver and the Cougs pushed No. 2 North Carolina to the brink. Weaver scored a goal 6 minutes, 39 seconds into the game to give WSU a 1-0 lead. However, UNC rallied and survived a barrage of WSU shots to advance to the title game where it lost on penalty kicks to Stanford.
    The loss was hard to swallow, but, as Weaver told her teammates in the moments afterward, this season changed the way WSU soccer is perceived. No longer underdogs, the Weaver era established WSU as a powerful force with which to be reckoned.
    After the College Cup, Weaver told her teammates she'd be back next season - in the stands this time - to watch the Cougs take another shot at the title.
    Weaver came by her love for soccer naturally. Her father, Mike Weaver, was a youth soccer coach who sometimes worked the sidelines with his infant daughter in a baby carrier strapped to his chest.
    Growing up around soccer led to a passion for the game that fueled her work ethic.
    "She's got a certain drive that differs from everyone else," Mike Weaver told Cougfan.com in December. "Her drive for the game, working out, getting up at 5:30 a.m. every morning to practice in Wazzu, you know how freaking cold that is? That's dedication right there."
    Before WSU, hard work made her a star on her club teams and at Curtis, where she had one of the best prep careers the South Sound region has ever seen. In four years with the Vikings, she scored 93 goals, had 40 assists and helped the Vikings advance to the state tournament each season.
    She earned South Puget Sound League MVP, The News Tribune All-Area Player of the Year and all-state honors each of her final three years while leading the Vikings to three consecutive league titles.
    As team captain her senior season she had three 4-goal games on her way to 36 goals, 11 assists and All-America honors. Curtis advanced to the state tournament each of her four years.
    She had more success on her club team, Washington Premier, with which she won two national titles.
    Until late in her high school career, Weaver planned on going to the University of Washington. "It's funny, I was always a Husky fan. My dad, too," Weaver said as a high school senior. But once she visited WSU, she says she felt like she was home.
    Now, as Weaver completes her humanities degree, she prepares to leave her new home to pursue the next chapter of her career. She is a member of the U.S. National Team and, in January, the Portland Thorns made her the No. 2 overall pick in the National Women's Soccer League draft. Her future is bright, but she wouldn't trade her time in Pullman for anything.
    "It's been great here, the last four years," Weaver said in a late season press briefing. "I've loved it, every second of it."

    Dick Hannula Amateur Athlete of the Year-Detail
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