Category Archives: women’s soccer

Blakely Mattern Drafted Today

Women’s soccer All-American Blakely Mattern was drafted today by the Atlanta Beat of the Women’s Professional Soccer League with the first pick in the third round. Congrats to Blakely!

Here’s a quick photo taken by South Carolina women’s soccer head coach Shelley Smith of Blakely with the team’s owner:

Here’s a shot of the new stadium the Beat built in Kennesaw, Georgia scheduled to open this season. The team will share the stadium with the Kennesaw State University women’s soccer program.

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Mattern Looking to the Draft

Women’s soccer senior Blakely Mattern is preparing for the chance to continue her soccer career professionally in the Women’s Professional Soccer league. Click here to read Neil White’s article in The State:

Next week she will be in Philadelphia hoping to hear her name called in the WPS draft, which is taking place in conjunction with the National Soccer Coaches Association convention, where Mattern will be honored at a luncheon as an All-American.

The seven-round draft will see 65 players picked on Jan. 15.

Following a season when she led USC to its first-ever SEC tournament title and NCAA tournament victories, Mattern could not ask for much more.

“It’s a dream come true to continue playing the sport you love,” Mattern said. “The timing couldn’t be more perfect for me. I had one of my best seasons and so did the team. I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity. I hope a team gives me a chance. It’s a really exciting time.”

That chance is likely to come. Soccer analysts expect her to be chosen in the draft. ESPN.com has her ranked as the third-best defender of college seniors entering the draft, while The Soccer Magazine and womensprosoccer.com both have her listed as one of the Top 10 defenders nationally.

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SEC Weekly Feature: Blakely Mattern

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National Recruiting Effort

Neil White from The State writes about the varied backgrounds and hometowns of the women’s soccer team in today’s paper.

Following the South Carolina women’s soccer team requires more than a roster. An atlas comes in handy, too.

The goalkeeper hails from Ohio. The leading scorer calls Florida home. The co-captain playing midfield is a New Yorker. The four-time All-SEC defender stayed in state. The Rhoades sisters are from Delaware. In all, the 11 starters have converged in Columbia from nine states, with Georgia, Connecticut, Kentucky and Pennsylvania also in the mix.

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Women’s Soccer Tonight

South Carolina’s women’s soccer team is back in action tonight at 7 p.m. at Stone Stadium as they host ACC foe Wake Forest in the Round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament. The Gamecocks posted consecutive shutouts in the opening two rounds against Davidson and Rutgers. South Carolina also had the highest two-game attendance in the country last weekend.

The Gamecocks are the lone remaining SEC team in the tournament. Wake Forest is one of seven ACC teams left in the field of 16. The winner of tonight’s game will move onto the quarterfinals to face the winner of the North Carolina-Maryland match.

Tickets for tonight’s match are $8 for adults and $5 for youth and students. The first 450 students will receive free admission to the game.

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Women’s Soccer Link Round-up

With their run to the SEC title and the Round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament, the South Carolina women’s soccer team has been making some news:

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Historic Season Continues

You can cross off “1st NCAA win” from the list of things to do for the Gamecock women’s soccer program.

In a season that can already be defined as historic, South Carolina added one more accomplishment Friday night as they showed no signs of bowing to the pressure and expectation of being a national seed and cruised to a 4-0 win against Davidson in the 1st Round of the NCAA Tournament.

“We wanted to take advantage of being at home and we did,” said South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith. “This team learned how to battle last week against some of the best teams in the country and they’re ready to face any challenge ahead.”

After two seasons of exiting the tournament in the first round, the team mindset going into Friday night’s game was one of perseverance and determination.

“We knew Davidson was going to come out and give us a run for our money,” said forward Kayla Grimsley. “No matter what we have to fight for 90 minutes. You don’t play for 10 or 15, you play for 90.”

That never-say-die attitude worked well for South Carolina in the team’s run to the program’s first SEC Championship. Each additional achievement – the school record for wins, the first conference title, earning the first national seed – continues to fuel the Gamecocks and set the bar higher.

“I think we exceeded some people’s expectations this season,” said Grimsley. “We’re playing for ourselves and this school and state, we’re going to prove people wrong over and over again.”

“They’ve stepped up, they’ve the PKs in the net, they’ve made the game-winning save,” said Smith. “They’re put in pressure situations and they are taking that and turning around and being the best that they can be. I couldn’t be more proud of how they’re facing these challenges.”

While the current players continue to forge into new territory for Gamecock women’s soccer, they are inspiring former members of the program as well. Smith brought former Gamecock player Angela Austin (’96-’99) to speak to the team after the win.

“I wanted them to hear how much they’ve affected everyone that follows our program,” said Smith. “She told them how much it meant to her and how much it inspired her as a person to see what this team is doing. The effect that they’ve had and they way that they play and act and represent the university – I’m proud of that.”

In addition to earning the program’s first postseason win, the Gamecocks brought out the biggest crowd in South Carolina women’s soccer history as 3,813 fans were in attendance.

“The fans that came out made a huge difference and we always say that we don’t lose at The Graveyard,” said goalkeeper Mollie Patton. “The fans really made the home field a huge advantage.”

The Gamecocks return to the pitch Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. for a 2nd-round matchup with Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights dispatched Duke in the early match 2-0.

“I felt like Duke had more possession, but [Rutgers] took their chances,” said Smith. “Our team will need to be on top of their game and bring our best to be ready.”

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