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Oct. 5, 2009

VOTE FOR BLAKELY COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina senior defender Blakely Mattern has been selected as one of 10 finalists for the 2009 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award for women’s soccer, presented annually in eight NCAA Division 1 Sports to a senior student-athlete who excels both on and off the field. Candidates are chosen based on their dedication and achievement in four areas: Classroom, Character, Community and Competition.

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

“I’m really excited and honestly surprised,” Mattern said. “To be one of 10 seniors to be nominated across the entire country is pretty special. To even be nominated as a finalist is something I’ll always remember. The award is wonderful because it doesn’t just recognize what you’ve done on the soccer field; it takes in consideration all of the aspects of being a student-athlete. Those things are really important, and whomever this award goes to (it) will be special because of what it symbolizes. It’s a real honor just to be nominated, and I’m excited to represent our program and help build South Carolina women’s soccer for the future.”

From the initial list of 30 candidates, Mattern will now vie for the prestigious honor with the start of the fan-voting element that begins today. Fans can vote for Mattern daily until November 13 at: “” or text their vote for Blakely by texting “W6” to 74567. Fan balloting will be coupled with votes from coaches and media to determine the recipient of the award. Winners will be announced during the 2009 Women’s College Cup in College Station, Texas.

Mattern has had a strong start to the 2009 season in what has become the best start in program history. No. 8 South Carolina is 11-0-1 and one of three teams in the nation without a loss this season. She has led the team to a nation-leading nine shutouts and has contributed four goals and an assist for nine points.

A Preseason All-SEC selection for the third consecutive year, Mattern has been the consummate student-athlete since stepping onto campus. In 2007, she became the first All-American in South Carolina history in addition to being the first sophomore in Southeastern Conference (SEC) history to be named SEC Defensive Player of the Year. A three-time All-SEC and Soccer Buzz All-Region selection, Mattern has started every game of her career at center back and has been the team leader for the first back-to-back NCAA Tournament bids in program history.

Mattern was named a First Team CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American in 2008 and is a three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll selection. She plans to graduate in May 2010 with a double-major in international business and global supply chain and operations management.