Curtis girls soccer has been right there in the state tournament for the last three years and missed it by just a hair.
The team faced first round losses to Jackson and Skyline the last two years, and fell to Tahoma in quarterfinals three years ago.
This season the Vikings (11-1-0 overall, 8-0-0 league) boast 12 seniors, led by forward Morgan Weaver, and are looking to take it all the way.
“Having that experience really helps,” said Curtis head soccer coach Frank Hankel. “So many of these girls have been in big games before. They know how to perform in those big games.”
Weaver, who was a 2014 All-State selection, has scored 28 goals and dished out 11 assists in as many games. A four-star recruit on Top Drawer Soccer, Weaver committed to Washington State her sophomore year.
Weaver is one of five seniors on Curtis’ soccer team who lettered all four seasons after Curtis became a four-year high school in 2012. When she scored almost 20 goals her freshmen season, Hankel knew she had a gift, but Weaver has only developed more in the last three years.
“There’s the physical part of scoring 20 goals and then there’s the understanding what you can do to make those around you better,” said Hankel. “When you have a fantastic player like Morgan – what can that player do to get other players to rise up to that level and make other players understand that it takes everybody working at their highest effort and abilities to get to that point where we want to be.”
We caught up with Weaver on the tight-knit Curtis team, the Puyallup rivalry, and why she wanted to be a Coug.
The last few years you’ve had similar strong starts to the season, but the state tournament doesn’t pan out the way you would like What’s it going to take this year for the team to go all the way?
I think our mental process, honestly. I think it gets to our heads sometimes that we’re worried about what‘s going to happen and we don’t finish strong. But I think this year all the seniors – we have 12 of them – all of them know what we’ve gone through and we’re helping the underclassmen with that.
Can you talk about working with the other midfielders and anyone you have a particular connection with?
Probably Sariah Keister. Sariah and I work well with each other. We always talk about the game. We always make sure we know what we’re doing. There’s always communication with us. We know where each other is. We don’t even have to look at each other, and we already know where we’re going.
What are some of your biggest goals this season?
Biggest goals are probably to stay connected as a team. I want to make sure everyone is on top of their game. Be supportive, and we’re playing as a team and making sure everyone’s happy.
I know a lot of girls are just focusing on club if they want to play at the next level, but why is it important for you to play for Curtis?
When I was younger, when I first started playing soccer I played with most of these girls. When I left that team [for Federal Way Reign after U-11 soccer], I thought, wow, I’m never going to play with them again. When it came to high school, and we got to play with each other again, it just feels like old times. It’s great.
Do you have any professional female soccer players who you try to model your game after?
Alex Morgan probably. She’s my favorite. I just like how she works off the ball, and she’s always trying harder. There’s a lot of girls out there who I look up to. Even girls who aren’t professional – [Washington defender] Jessica Udovich. I’ve known her a long time, and she’s always helped me through everything.
What are you expecting when you play Puyallup next week?
I don’t care about the goals or anything. I’m expecting our team to do really well, and perform what we’re expected to do.
You’re committed to WSU. What drew you to Washington State?
I got an email from my coach from Wazzu, because they couldn’t contact me personally. It said, hey, we would like to contact Morgan. Can you give us a call. It was their assistant coach John, and I called him and he was super nice. Super excited to talk to me. He asked me to come visit, so I went over there. Fell in love with the school, it was amazing. The girls were so nice. Made it feel home for me. The coaches were explaining everything, making sure I felt welcome. It just felt like a family environment for me, and it felt like I was home.