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Nov. 17, 2009

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina senior defender Blakely Mattern has been named a CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American first team selection for the second consecutive year, the organization announced Tuesday (Nov. 17). Mattern becomes the seventh Gamecock Academic All-America selection as the honor marks the fifth consecutive season that a member of Coach Shelley Smith’s team has earned the distinction.

South Carolina is one of four Division I schools in the nation to have had a CoSIDA Academic All-America selection each of the past five seasons (2005-09), joining Charlotte, North Carolina and Notre Dame as programs to hold that distinction. Mattern (2008, 2009-first team) joins Erin Sullivan (2007-third team), Annie Galloway (2006-second team), Kimmy Criss (2005-third team), Kanika McAlpine (2002-second team) and Jennie Ondo (1999-second team) as Gamecock women’s soccer selections since the program’s inception.

“Blakely is one of the strongest female athlete role models you can find in the college soccer,” Smith said. “She’s unique in the way that she conducts herself on and off the field and strives to be her best in all areas. She is someone that has been such a pleasure to coach. She’s been one of the finest representatives for our program, the university, the Southeastern Conference as the SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year and the entire state of South Carolina. I’m so proud that she’s been a part of this program and deserves this recognition among others that she’s received.”

Mattern (Simpsonville, S.C./JL Mann HS) holds a 3.986 grade point average at South Carolina. The Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award finalist and 2009 SEC Tournament MVP is a three-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll selection and is currently pursuing a degree in international business with a focus on global supply chain. A team captain, Mattern became the first All-American in program history in 2007 when she was named to the Soccer Buzz team following a strong season that saw her become the first sophomore in conference history to earn SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors. Also a 2006 Freshman All-American, she is a four-time All-SEC selection, three-time Academic All-District (III) selection and currently holds the South Carolina records for matches started (91) and matches played (91). She serves as the team leader for the SEC’s top defensive unit that has posted 15 shutouts with a goals against average of 0.53.

To be eligible for Academic All-America honors, student-athletes must be a starter or key reserve, maintain at least a 3.3 grade point average and be a sophomore in academic and athletic standing.