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Diaz-Matosas comes up big for Broncos

Samantha Diaz-Matosas has a lot of great memories from her four years on the Brookwood soccer team.

Her freshman year, she scored the Broncos' only goal in the state championship game to give them a share of the Class AAAAA title with Parkview in 2003. Her most recent memory was scoring the winning goal against Lassiter, the No. 1 team in the state and the No. 2 team in the nation at the time, in the second round of this year's playoffs.

"I don't really count how many good games I have or anything like that," Diaz-Matosas said. "It's just soccer to me."

Diaz-Matosas' exceptional play on the soccer field was a big part of Brookwood's success this year and is the reason why the senior is the Gwinnett Daily Post's Girls Soccer Player of the Year.

"Others are scared of her," Brookwood coach Anita McLane said. "Even if she's not having her best game, teams will put one or two people on her because she's so explosive. It took the pressure off others on the team."

The South Carolina-bound soccer player scored 21 goals this season and helped Brookwood to a 17-2 record and the state quarterfinals.

"She's just a good athlete," McLane said. "If she didn't play soccer she could be a track star or a star in any sport. She's really athletic and can do anything."

Speed, staying healthy and playing her natural position of forward were big parts in Diaz-Matosas' success this year.

"When a soccer player trains constantly everybody gets a skill, but I don't think everyone is born with speed and that's hereditary," said Diaz-Matosas, who credits her speed from her mother Patricia, a runner on the Jamaican Olympic team. "I definitely have speed over my defenders."

Diaz-Matosas used her speed to score in 15 of Brookwood's 19 games this season.

"This is the first year I haven't been injured in high school," Diaz-Matosas said. "Last year I think I had nine goals, but I didn't play for three weeks. This is the first actual full season I've gotten to play."

Diaz-Matosas played on the junior varsity her freshman year and was moved to the varsity when the playoffs started. Her sophomore and junior seasons, Diaz-Matosas played sweeper, outside midfield and attacking center midfield. Her senior year she got to back to the position she's the most comfortable with - forward.

"I like attacking," Diaz-Matosas said.

Diaz-Matosas will stay busy this summer playing for her GSA 89 Phoenix Red club soccer team before reporting to Columbia, S.C., for soccer on Aug. 8.

"I hate to see her go," McLane said. "You know you have a good player when other schools are glad to see her graduate. She's just a nice person and that makes it even harder for her to go."

At South Carolina, Diaz-Matosas will be closer to her sister Tamara, who plays soccer at Queens University of Charlotte and expects to make an immediate impact for the Gamecocks.

"I better be playing. I don't think I'll be redshirting my freshman year. I better not be," Diaz-Matosas said. "Only unless an injury or something like that happens, I better be playing."

The sooner she starts playing, the sooner she can start adding more great games to her list.

All County Girls Soccer Team

Player of the Year: Samantha Diaz-Matosas, Brookwood, Sr.

Had team-high 21 goals along with five assists

Coach of the Year: Mark Albertus, Parkview

Led Panthers to Class AAAAA quarterfinals and fifth region title in six seasons

First team

Samantha Au, North

Gwinnett, Jr.

31 goals, 13 assists

Tori Carroll, North Gwinnett, Sr.

7 goals, 6 assists

Chelsea Catlin, Brookwood, Soph.

8 goals, 7 assists

Marshett Clarke, Shiloh, Sr.

Anchored Generals defense

Sara Dashiell, Collins Hill, Jr.

14 goals, 6 assists

Marah Falle, Parkview, Jr.

18 goals, 6 assists

Shannon Hackett, North Gwinnett, Sr.

8 goals, 15 assists

Lizzie Hamersley, Providence, Sr.

17 goals, 25 assists

Sarah Jordan, Providence, Soph.

County-best 54 goals, 13 assists

Alicia Plotky, Collins Hill, Soph.

10 goals, 4 game-winners

GK - Jessica English, Brookwood, Jr.

Allowed 8 goals in 19 matches, 12 shutouts

Second team

Mary Brugh, Parkview, Sr.

Cortney Charlesworth, Brookwood, Jr.

Corin Daly, Parkview, Sr.

Angela Franklin, North Gwinnett, Jr.

Bonnie Greenwood, Parkview, Sr.

Kalan Hollowell, Parkview, Sr.

Stacy Krieg, Collins Hill, Sr.

Kelly Penston, North Gwinnett, Fr.

Hannah Plott, Grayson, Jr.

Lindsey Warthen, Norcross, Soph.

GK - Leigha Terry, Providence, Sr.