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Aug. 23, 2007

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The University of South Carolina placed two members on the first soccer coaches preseason All-Southeastern Conference team, the conference office announced Thursday. Senior midfielder Ashley Kirk and sophomore defender Blakely Mattern were Carolina’s selections to the 14-member All-SEC team.

Kirk (Macon, Ga.) was a second-team All-SEC selection in 2006 and a third-team All-Region selection by Soccer Buzz. She also earned second-team honors in 2005 and was the 2004 SEC Freshman of the Year. Kirk, a team captain, leads all returning Gamecocks along with Mattern and Annie Galloway with nine points scored last season on three goals and three assists. Kirk recorded the game-winning goal to lead Carolina to a 2-1 double-overtime win over LSU last season and converted a scoring chance in a shootout to help Carolina advance past Vanderbilt for the team’s first appearance in the SEC Tournament Semifinals.

Mattern (Simpsonville, S.C./JL Mann HS) enjoyed a stellar freshman campaign in 2006 and was named a Freshman All-American by Soccer Buzz. She also picked up second-team All-SEC and SEC All-Freshman honors after scoring three goals and three assists for nine points. Mattern, an SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll member, scored game-winning goals against Furman and Mississippi State.

“It’s nice to have two players that have garnered respect around the conference after last year’s performance,” head coach Shelley Smith said. “We as coaches look forward to a great year of SEC soccer with the talented players like the ones listed on the preseason team.”

The Gamecocks placed the third highest total of players selected for the team. Florida led all schools with four selections. The coaches preseason All-SEC team consists of a minimum of 11 players. Each SEC Head Soccer Coach voted for three forwards, three midfielders, three defenders, one goalkeeper and one at-large candidate. No ties were broken.

Name Pos. Ht. Cl. Hometown
Stacy Bishop, Florida # F 5-10 RS-Sr. Land O’ Lakes, Fla.
Carrie Patterson, Georgia # F 5-7 So. Atlanta, Ga.
Emily Redberg, Tennessee F 5-4 Sr. Brooklyn Park, Minn.
Kylee Rossi, Tennessee F 5-8 Jr. Pennington, N.J.
Ameera Abdullah M 5-3 Jr. Denver, Colo.
Chrissy Strini, Ole Miss M 5-5 Sr. Cordova, Tenn.
Ashley Kirk, USC M 5-4 Sr. Macon, Ga.
Katie Schulz, Vanderbilt M 5-5 Jr. Peachtree, Ga.
Melanie Booth, Florida D 5-8 RS-Sr. Burlington, Canada
Lauren Hyde, Florida D 5-9 So. Carmel, Ind.
Chelsea Potts, LSU D 5-10 So. Aurora, Ill.
Blakely Mattern, USC D 5-9 So. Simpsonville, S.C.
Allison Whitworth, Auburn GK 5-9 Jr. Birmingham, Ala.
Jaimel Johnson, Tennessee GK 5-8 Jr. Dayton, Ohio

#-Unanimous Selection; Ties were not broken