Dec. 8, 2009
COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina senior defender Blakely Mattern capped her record setting and impressive career with the Gamecocks by being named a National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) First Team All-American, as voted on by soccer coaches across the country. She was also selected as one of five members on the Lowe's Senior CLASS All-American First Team as announced by the organization at the Women's College Cup.
Mattern, a 2006 Freshman All-American, already became the first Gamecock to earn All-America honors when she was named to the 2007 Soccer Buzz fourth team list in the year she was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year. After leading the Gamecocks this season to an NCAA Round of 16 appearance and the program's first SEC Championship, Mattern was selected by the coaches for first team honors - one of only three defenders to make the 11-player list.
"It's an amazing honor to be an All-American," Mattern said. "That's something that not very many people get a chance to be. As a student-athlete, you work really hard and hope someday you can achieve it. It makes it more special knowing that the other coaches around the country recognized your play and thought it was at that level. I'm proud to represent our program at South Carolina and my teammates. Knowing we won the SEC and finished in the top 10 means even more to me. I'm just proud I could be a part of something like that and the season we've had."
A finalist all season for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, Mattern was picked as a first team All-American by the organization in a nationwide vote of Division I women's soccer coaches and national soccer media. Emily Peterson of Texas A&M was named the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award winner, and she was joined on the first team by Mattern, Emily Betterbed of Army, Kelsey Davis of Portland and Kelly O'Hara of Stanford. Mattern is the first Gamecock to both earn a nomination as a finalist for the award and to earn All-America honors.
"Blakely has proven over and over that she is one of the top college players in the country this year," South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. "I am so happy for her to receive these well-deserved honors as our program's only First Team All-American and First Team Lowe's Senior Class Award finalist. She continues to make this soccer program, the university and the entire state of South Carolina so proud with her impressive achievements on and off the field and with the national recognition she has received. We couldn't be more thrilled for Blakely and her family."
The All-America honors are the second and third this year for Mattern who was also named an ESPN The Magazine First Team Academic All-American last month. The 2007 SEC Defensive Player of the Year and three-time All-SEC First Team selection, Mattern had perhaps her best season this year in leading her team to the SEC Championship and a berth in the NCAA Round of 16. She was captain of a defense that led the SEC in every defensive category including having 15 shutouts and a 0.55 goals against average. She also contributed seven goals and an assist for 15 points to finish her career eighth on the South Carolina all-time scoring list with 38 points. In her final season, Mattern led the SEC in shot percentage with a .333 clip (min. 0.5 shots/game).
Highlights from Mattern's final season included scoring two goals at Clemson to lead the program to its first victory at Historic Riggs Field, and hitting the tying goal against LSU in the SEC Tournament Final with only two minutes remaining in regulation. She also hit a penalty kick in the shootout and was named SEC Tournament MVP. She has also earned numerous weekly honors this season, including becoming the second Gamecock to ever earn NSCAA National Player of the Week honors. She twice earned SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors, four times was named to the Soccer America national team of the week, twice was named to the CollegeSoccer360 Primetime Performer team of the week and also earned a Top Drawer Soccer national team of the week nod.
"I look forward to seeing her continue to reach further success after college," Smith said. "As a player being considered for the professional league and as a role model citizen and leader in whatever career path she chooses, her future is bright. I couldn't be more proud to have Blakely represent our program and be a part of our Gamecock soccer family."
2009 NSCAA Women's NCAA Division I All-America Team
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