The Daily Evergreen

Top WSU athletes: No. 5 to 1

Two athletes on soccer team cracked top five, all picks had immediate impact on WSU when they arrived

TEVA MAYER | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

TEVA MAYER | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

SAM HEIKELL, Evergreen columnist

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The following rankings of current athletes at WSU were determined based on a variety of factors, including impact on their teams on and off the playing surface, achievements in competitions and performance of the team in their absence.

  1. Andres Alvarez

After transferring from Trinidad State Junior College in Colorado, junior shortstop Andres Alvarez has excelled in his time playing for WSU. In his first season with the Cougars, he earned an All-Pac-12 honorable mention, started in all 53 games at shortstop, earned a team-high 60 hits and had the second best batting average on the team at .308. Alvarez is the team’s speedy leadoff hitter, but he can also get it done in the field. His 166 assists in the 2017 season ranked third in the conference. This year the Cougars haven’t been seeing as much success as they had hoped, with an overall record of 10-19. Alvarez is currently batting .243 with nine RBIs, and is second on the team in hits with 28.

  1. Morgan Weaver

Since her freshman year playing for WSU soccer, sophomore forward Morgan Weaver has not only started in every game, but has also been a huge contributor to the Cougars’ success. She earned Third Team All-Pac-12 honors this past season and was invited to participate in the U-23 USA National Camp back in December. As the Cougars’ go-to scoring threat, Weaver led the team in shots and scored seven goals to go along with two assists in 2017. The highlight of her 2017 season may have been her game-winning goal against No. 14 Nebraska in the 69th minute, where she put one past the goalkeeper off a deflected pass from a teammate. Weaver also had a few other game-winners and went on a four-game goal streak last season, the longest of her collegiate career.

  1. Ella Dederick

An excellent soccer team is never complete without a strong goalkeeper, and WSU has exactly that in redshirt junior Ella Dederick. She has started in nearly every match since her first season for the Cougars and has become an important player and leader on the team. The 5-foot-10-inch goalie out of Camarillo, California, earned Third Team All-Pac-12 honors after finishing this past season with 11 shutouts. That’s the second most shut outs of any goalkeeper in WSU history, the second most in the conference this past season and the ninth best in the nation. Dederick earned shutouts in close games against difficult opponents all year, including wins against No. 19 University of Minnesota, No. 14 University of Nebraska, No. 2 University of California, Los Angeles, and No. 8 University of Central Florida. Dederick still has one more season of college eligibility and will be looking to lead the Cougars to another NCAA Tournament run next season.

  1. James Williams

With a new quarterback at the helm next season, WSU football will need to rely on its veterans, and one in particular: redshirt junior running back James Williams. Since his first year on the field, Williams has been a workhorse for the Cougars. He was second on the team in all-purpose yards his redshirt freshman season, scoring seven touchdowns and receiving a Freshman All-American honorable mention by Campus Insiders. Last season, Williams was a major contributor to WSU’s 9-4 campaign. He played in all 13 games while leading the team in carries and the nation in receptions for a running back, as well as hauling in the most catches from a running back in WSU history. The 5-foot-11-inch, 195-pound running back has adapted well to Head Coach Mike Leach’s offense and will be one of the Cougars’ main threats next season.

  1. Taylor Mims

After another successful season playing for WSU volleyball, junior outside hitter Taylor Mims undoubtedly solidified her number one spot. Standing at 6-foot-3-inches, Mims provides dominant athleticism and hustles on every play, which is how she led the Cougars in kills. Mims was fifth best in the Pac-12 with 4.10 kills per set this past year. The attacker is WSU’s go-to threat, with one of the most powerful strikes in the conference. But she can get it done on the defensive end as well, as she was second on the team in digs in the 2017 season. After receiving an All-Pac-12 honorable mention her sophomore year, Mims came back and was named to the All-Pac-12 Volleyball First Team and helped lead the Cougars to another NCAA Tournament berth. In the first round of that tournament, Mims led the Cougars to a 3-1 win over Florida State University, where she tallied a whopping 28 kills and 22 digs. With her senior season coming up next year, Mims will look to continue to stack the numbers and lead WSU to another run in the NCAA Tournament.

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Top WSU athletes: No. 5 to 1