Cougars take on the Tigers in round one of NCAA

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Cougars take on the Tigers in round one of NCAA

Senior forward Morgan Weaver dribbles the ball against Arizona on Oct. 10 at the Lower Soccer Field.

Senior forward Morgan Weaver dribbles the ball against Arizona on Oct. 10 at the Lower Soccer Field.

HSING-HAN CHEN | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

Senior forward Morgan Weaver dribbles the ball against Arizona on Oct. 10 at the Lower Soccer Field.

HSING-HAN CHEN | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

HSING-HAN CHEN | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

Senior forward Morgan Weaver dribbles the ball against Arizona on Oct. 10 at the Lower Soccer Field.

JACLYN SEIFERT, Evergreen reporter

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No. 24 WSU soccer will play the No. 8 University of Memphis Friday to kick off Dad’s Weekend at Washington State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at 5 p.m. on the Lower Soccer Field.

“I know we are ready. Mentally we are strong, physically we are ready and we can’t take anything for granted, because winning is hard and we have a great opponent here,” head coach Todd Shulenberger said in a press conference.

This is the first time the two teams have played each other. This is the eighth time in nine seasons Washington State has headed to the NCAA tournament.

Memphis will travel across the country from Memphis, Tennessee.

“It is a great opportunity for our group to again play in this tournament,” Shulenberger said in a press conference. “We’re very grateful for the opportunity and have earned that spot again.”

Washington State finished its regular season 12-6-1 overall and 5-5-1 in the Pac-12. They recently fell to the University of Washington last Friday in a 1-0 loss for the first time since 2003.

Memphis has a regular-season record of 17-2-1 and 8-0-1 in the AAC. The Tigers have scored 54 goals while the Cougars have scored 36.

Last year, the Cougars also hosted the first round of the NCAA tournament and played the University of Montana winning 5-1. Then, fell to No. 2 Georgetown in Washington, D.C 1-0.

WSU made a sweet-sixteen appearance in 2017.

Memphis junior forward Clarissa Larisey scored 16 goals this season. Larisey is tied for sixth in the country for goals scored. She additionally leads her team this season in shots and shots on goal. She was recently named the American Athletic Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Year and named to the first team.

Junior goalkeeper Elizabeth Moberg was also named AAC Goalkeeper of the year and first team.

Senior forward Morgan Weaver leads the Cougars with 11 goals scored. She also leads her team in shots and shots on goal.

Five other Cougars were named to the All-Pac-12 alongside Weaver including junior defender Brianna Alger, graduate student midfielder Averie Collins, graduate goalkeeper Ella Dederick to the third team, and freshman forward MacKenzie Frimpong-Ellertson to the all-freshman team.

Shulenberger said Memphis has a unique style different than most teams but said WSU does as well.

“They are direct … they are physical so it’s nothing that we have not seen in our conference,” Shulenberger said.

Both teams have committed a similar number of fouls this season. The Tigers have committed 219 and the Cougars have committed 206.

“We are good enough to be here and we are good enough to advance,” Shulenberger said.

WSU will begin play against the University of Memphis Tigers at 5 p.m. Friday on the Lower Soccer Field. The game can be viewed on WSU Live Stream.