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Fresno State senior midfielder Morgan Castain practices during an early morning scrimmage. She and the Bulldogs will head to Albuquerque, N.M., to participate in the Mountain West Tournament. Photo by Khlarissa Agee/The Collegian

Castain leads ‘Dogs to Mountain West Tournament

Fresno State senior midfielder Morgan Castain practices during an early morning scrimmage. She and the Bulldogs will head to Albuquerque, N.M., to participate in the Mountain West Tournament. Photo by Khlarissa Agee/The Collegian

Fresno State senior midfielder Morgan Castain practices during an early morning scrimmage. She and the Bulldogs will head to Albuquerque, N.M., to participate in the Mountain West Tournament. Photo by Khlarissa Agee/The Collegian

As the Fresno State soccer team heads to the Mountain West Tournament game, senior midfielder Morgan Castain is approaching it with a bittersweet feeling. 

“I’m excited for the tournament,” Castain said. “But I’m sad because this is the last few games I’m playing at Fresno State.”

Castain ended the regular season as the team leader in goals (12), points (26), shots on goal (31) and shot percentage (.554). She led the Bulldogs to a 10-7-2 overall record (7-2-1 in the Mountain West), and they are heading into the tournament on an 8-game unbeaten streak.

“Any team or coach is going to be thrilled if they have a specific talisman if they can go to that’s going to help rack up the points,” said Fresno State coach Brian Zwaschka.

After graduating from Castro Valley High School, Castain began her career at Washington State University, where she played one season alongside her twin sister Micaela. Afterward, Morgan decided to transfer to Fresno State.

“When I visited here, I really liked the community, and everyone supported the Bulldogs,” she said. “And I love California.”

Castain’s first game in a Fresno State uniform was on Aug. 19, 2011, at then-No. 11-ranked Texas A&M. In her first season as a Bulldog, Castain was second on the team in goals (7) and points (18). In that year’s postseason, she scored the game-winning goal during the Western Athletic Conference tournament semifinals against New Mexico State.

In 2012, she started in seven games and scored four goals, second most on a Bulldog squad that finished 4-11-5 during the season.

But this year’s team is heading into the postseason as the second seed, a fitting end to a hard-working career for Castain.

“My team has a lot to do with the successful season,” she said. “They’ve given me a lot of support in the games to score these goals.”

“Getting the points may be more Morgan’s job,” Zwaschka said, “but all of the jobs are equally important, and Morgan’s flourishing because people are doing their jobs.”

And the Bulldogs’ good fortune is something that Castain has maintained belief in.

“A lot of people told me over the years that I was going to make it to college,” she said. “So, I’ve carried that confidence with me and I did think we would be in the tournament this year.”