Dec. 7, 2009
COLUMBIA, S.C. – A program-best five South Carolina women’s soccer athletes have been named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-South Region team, as voted on by the women’s soccer coaches throughout the region.
Senior defender Blakely Mattern and sophomore forward Kayla Grimsley both earned first team selections, the first Gamecocks selected to the first team since Melinda Carter grabbed the honor as a freshman in 1998. Senior defender Samantha Diaz-Matosas, senior midfielder Kim Miller and junior goalkeeper Mollie Patton were each selected to the second team.
South Carolina and Western Kentucky each led the region with five players selected to the first, second or third teams.
Mattern was selected to the All-Region team for the third consecutive season after earning second team honors in 2007 and third team honors in 2008. 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).
Grimsley had one of the top all-around performances in Gamecock history as a sophomore. A first-team All-SEC selection, she became just the fifth player at South Carolina to hit double-digit goals in a season and finished with 13 goals and seven assists for 33 points. She finished first in the SEC in goals, second in points and fifth in assists, while coming just one point short of setting the South Carolina single-season record. Grimsley started the season with a record nine-match scoring streak.
Diaz-Matosas earned second team honors after also picking up second team All-SEC honors in her final season. The versatile player started the season at right back and also filled in as a forward, using her speed to contribute four goals and five assists for 13 points.
Miller, one of the most consistent players in her four seasons, also earned All-Region and All-SEC honors for the first time this year after leading the team with 11 assists to go with three goals for 17 points. She finished the year second in the SEC and in the NCAA top 15 for assists while setting the South Carolina record for assists on game-winning goals with five.
Patton had the finest season in goal for a Gamecock by shattering the shutout record with 15 on the year. She also set an SEC record for consecutive shutouts with seven straight. She finished with a goals against average of 0.52, ranking 11th nationally in her second season in goal.